By: Brock Ratcliff
Contrary to what others may think, Common Core is not an invasion by the federal government into our children's classrooms. And Common Core has a lesson for your church.
When inner-city children plant an urban garden at school, they soon put into practice math, science and language-arts skills. And who knows what other creative ideas will sprout?
Producers of a miniseries about the Bible say it's time to encourage – even mandate –teaching the Bible in public schools. But their commendable goal is not so easy to achieve.
A college degree in the humanities may not set you up for a high-paying job, but job preparation is not the only, or even the primary, function of higher education.
Contrary to what Mike Huckabee believes, God can't be systematically removed from our schools. Even if you removed all Christians, that wouldn't keep God from showing up.
When you speak to children, do you show them who's boss or do you help them find their inner voice? A nurturing, supportive voice helps children build confidence.
Every child is different. Teachers and parents need to work together to find what will inspire children to read and learn. For one second-grade boy, it was bugs.
As Chicago's teachers went on strike, many city churches opened their doors to students. They aced Jesus' test by welcoming the vulnerable. How do you measure up?
All teachers have them – the students that make your day feel like a year. They behave differently than the others, but they have bright ideas waiting to burst out.
School is rough for kids pegged as outsiders, whether they're geeks, loners or nerds. But those traits that make school tough can help them succeed in adulthood.
Children are like seeds. They need the right environment and nurturing to grow and thrive. But some things can stop that growth in its tracks, like gender stereotyping.
Children of first-generation immigrant parents often start school with the motivation to try hard, but they often end up apathetic and in low-performing schools. Will we help?
Plenty of factors – from social and political forces to discouragement – will convince teachers that some kids can't be taught. That's when teachers need to unite as a community.
By the time they're in fourth grade, 70 percent of low-income children can't read at a basic level. Sometimes, it only takes one person to inspire a child to read.
Not all heroes are in the spotlight. As talk will soon center on Olympic heroes, consider these heroes: a 7-year-old Down syndrome boy, his mother and his teachers.
Seemingly small acts of kindness are like seeds. We don't see them grow and it may be years or decades – if at all – before we learn what fruit grew from our long-forgotten acts.
College students are studying less but earning better grades. For colleges that depend almost exclusively on government-funded tuition, students with decent grades keep their schools funded.
Even though the crime rate has dropped 40 percent in 20 years, the United States still has the highest incarceration rate in the world. The financial and social toll is devastating.
Think one person can't make a difference? In 1947, a farmer petitioned his school district to provide bus transportation to all students, not just the white ones. His case evolved into Brown v. Board of Education.
The children in our public schools come from every imaginable and unimaginable situation, but never underestimate the power of a good teacher to make a difference in their lives.
As one pastor tells his local school board, majority religions need to be intentional and proactive about protecting the rights of people of minority faiths or no stated faith.
Disappointed you didn't win a Mega Millions windfall? Join the club. State lotteries have failed to deliver on repeated assurances that they would be a windfall for public schools.
Linda Jimenez is a model student. But she and other undocumented immigrants in Georgia would be kicked out of their colleges if a state senator's bill becomes law.
Calling it a biblical principle, an Alabama senator opposes raising teachers' salaries because it will attract people who are not called. But guess who voted for a raise for state lawmakers?
Odds are Paola, an immigrant first-grade student, will suffer from poor nutrition, inadequate health care, an inferior education. But she teaches all of us to love our neighbors.
Ms. Sandra impacts the lives of hundreds of students at her school every year. She's not a teacher. She's the janitor. Let's be thankful for all the Ms. Sandras in our nation's schools.
NEW YORK (RNS) The U.S. Supreme Court let stand ruling that bars congregations from using space in New York City schools for worship services.
A 23-year-old woman has spearheaded a populist movement to take on Chile's educational and political system. When will Christian universities and churches begin to produce such students?
A college education means more than getting ready for a career and boosting your personal income, according to a letter from university chaplains in Britain. Universities serve the common good.
In the first years they are in the United States, immigrant students are both valuable and vulnerable. Many, including some as young as first grade, have mastered two languages to navigate home and school.
Some GOP presidential hopefuls seem to be waging a war on public education, sending dog-whistle messages to the Christian Right that they can count on them to support the teaching of creationism in science classes.
As second-graders learn about Harriet Tubman's legacy, one boy's innocent observation is a reminder that Tubman's story is still being lived out by undocumented immigrants throughout the nation.
VATICAN CITY (RNS) The Vatican took a swipe at new sex education classes in New York City schools.
State lawmakers from a half-dozen states have proposed anti-evolution bills this year, with several of them claiming their bills would ensure academic freedom and prevent workplace discrimination.
WASHINGTON (RNS) The Supreme Court rejected a challenge to an Arizona school tuition credit program.
Some segments of the Christian community believe public schools are waging war on their faith. Instead of fleeing, Christians should work with others to provide every child access to the best education possible.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (RNS) Should a street preacher be banned from approaching students at a bus stop?
(RNS) Oregon state officials released a policy intended to give school districts guidance in applying Oregon’s new law on religious clothing.
Glenn Beck's crusade against the environment took a bizarre turn when he recently accused environmentalists of worshipping the weather god of ancient Babylon because they value nature over people.
(RNS) A leading “ex-gay” group has ended its role in the annual “Day of Truth” events.
(RNS) A majority of Americans think students should be able to express their religion in public schools.
In the Congolese city of Butembo, where about 75 percent of the people live on less than $2 a day, school fees burden families and make it harder to escape poverty.
In an effort to prevent violence, El Salvador approved a law calling for Bible passages to be read in schools. Religious leaders, however, warned the measure could bring about religious conflict.
An elected official in an Arizona community took offense at a school mural featuring different ethnic children, questioning why the biggest picture was a black person. But, as the councilman tells it, that doesn't make him racist.
The Texas State Board of Education's effort to distort history is only the latest scheme to portray America as a Christian nation that must reclaim its original covenant. Too bad they preach a false message.
As part of a church series on social issues, a former judge on the Arkansas Court of Appeals, who's now a pastor, addressed educational issues for African-Americans in the South.
Efforts at so-called educational and immigration reforms in Arizona have rightly brought about protests of racism and prejudice. Still, perhaps we should thank Arizona for a valuable lesson.
The Southern Baptist Convention is criticizing public schools as bastions of anti-Christian attitudes and urging churches to foster private schools or home schooling. It is past time for the SBC to reverse its course.
Speaking up for tax increases for public education is the right and hard thing to do. If the conservative state of Arizona can do it, then other states can do it – no matter how loudly the conservative forces of "no we can't" yell.
Missing from criticism about the final report of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force, intended to reorganize the stagnant Southern Baptist Convention, is concern about the statement's anti-public school agenda.
School districts across the country have fallen short of budget expectations and many are looking at reducing the number of teachers on staff. We must invest in public education. Our democracy depends on it.
With its proposal to include Jefferson Davis' inaugural address with Abraham Lincoln's speeches, the Texas Board of Education seems to be aligned with those who claim the Civil War wasn't about slavery.
Conservatives on the Texas Board of Education pushed through controversial new education standards that will impact what school children across the nation learn about history and economics.
As a 12-year-old, I couldn't fathom the uproar desegregation caused. My church barred blacks from entering. A mob gathered at my school. But my mother, who drove the school bus, provided the best lesson.
If a Kentucky bill to allow Bible courses in schools becomes law, two outcomes are likely. Christians will not approve of a true academic study of the Bible, or classes will favor certain religious views over others.
A Muslim woman, filling in for a Christian woman, taught children in a Texas classroom about Hanukkah. It's an example all of us need to see, not just kindergarteners.
Parents pull their children from school so they aren't exposed to President Obama's speech. A Baptist pastor in Arizona prays for the president's death. What fuels such fear and hatred?
Why is there such unhinged anger toward and paranoia about President Obama speaking to school children? Have the racist sins of the fathers finally visited the children?
Southern Baptists have moved to the right in their critique of public education. One video, featuring three Southern Baptists, urges the rescue of children from "pagan, godless schools" and uses footage of Hitler and Nazis.
The Southern Baptist Convention's chief executive officer advocates the launch of a Christian alternative to public education. Rather than retreat from public education, however, goodwill Baptists must speak up for public schools.
Many parents, especially Christians, are convinced that public schools are waging war on their values. While some have turned to home schooling, a case can be made for Christians to keep their children in public schools.
Ten years after the Columbine High School massacre, the shootings have become part of conservative evangelical culture war mythology. However, much of what we heard and much of what we as evangelicals told ourselves simply was not true.
The Baptist Center for Ethics helps faith communities take thoughtful, informed actions in support of public education.
A group dedicated to getting Christians to leave public schools has launched a new offensive. This time, it’s “A Call to Dunkirk.”
The call for an "exodus" from public schools continues to gain momentum in the Southern Baptist Convention, according to sponsors of a resolution being proposed at this summer's SBC annual meeting in San Antonio.
The head of the nation's largest teacher union hailed a summit meeting for clergy and educators initiated by the Baptist Center for Ethics an historic first step toward building bridges between public schools and people of faith.
As first lady of Mercer University, Lesli Underwood is most closely identified with Christian higher education. But she also is a strong advocate for public schools.
A Houston school district recently honored a Baptist pastor in large part for his support of a pastoral letter supporting public education issued this spring by the Baptist Center for Ethics.
The American Family Association is reporting that the National Education Association has voted to endorse gay marriage, while officials with the teacher union maintain the group has no position on the subject and accuse the religious right of trying to create unrest within the 2.8-million-member NEA.
Failure to report a Southern Baptist Convention resolution calling for an exit strategy from public schools is not an affirmation of public education, but rather a strategic shift aimed at controlling the school system instead of withdrawing, according to a moderate leader.
More than 200 signatures are on a Baptist Center for Ethics pastoral letter supporting public education issued three weeks ago.
Public education has been under assault for some time now from segments of the Christian community. That's why it is all the more amazing to learn that a Baptist entity has decided that instead of attacking public schools and undermining the morale of teachers and administrators, why not affirm the work of those who teach our children, and ask God to bless their efforts.
America's noble experiment--universal education for all citizens--is a cornerstone of our democracy.
As a father of two students enrolled in a public school, I have become increasingly alarmed by anti-public school rhetoric. Most of that talk is coming from Christian groups. I would like to share my concerns, but a bit of biography is necessary to explain my passions and possible prejudices.
The head of the nation's largest teachers' union has asked ABC News for equal time to rebut last Friday's "20/20" program, which portrayed public schools as a government-run monopoly that is cheating kids out of a quality education.
A Baptist editor says it is time for the Southern Baptist Convention to make a "positive, comprehensive statement" on Christian schools, but stopped short of endorsing a call for investigating homosexual influences in public schools.
Bruce Shortt's book about public schools is endorsed by TV preacher James Kennedy; Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Seminary; and Southern Baptist fundamentalist leader Paul Pressler.
A resolution calling for Southern Baptists to exit public schools could face an uphill battle, if supporters of church- and home-based education attending a meeting in one state are any indication.
Government funding for abstinence education is at an all-time high, reaching $120 million this year.
In his book, Education, Religion, and the Public Good, Martin Marty addresses the intersection of religion and education. This book, and an earlier volume rose out of Marty's work with the Public Religion Project for the Pew Charitable Trusts.