Sometimes it can seem like evangelical Christians have pressed the “mute” button when it comes to public education reform. Who is talking about the Christian faith and how it compels us to work for justice in education? What resources are available for believers who want to learn more about connecting the Gospel and education for our nation’s most under-served children?
I’m an evangelical Christian holding traditional beliefs about the Bible, Jesus, and salvation. But I’ve often felt alone or even opposed as I try to encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ to engage with the public education system. (I’ve previously written on this topic here and here.) I came across the book, Educating All God’s Children- What Christians Can- and Should- Do to Improve Public Education for Low-Income Kids, by Nicole Baker Fulgham.
Dr. Fulgham walks her readers through the obstacles low-income children face in attaining a high-quality public education that allows them to compete in the 21st century working world. She then marches through a host of reasons, stemming from the Christian faith and its teachings about justice, for evangelicals to plunge into the mission of public education reform.
My friends at The Urban Gospel Mission snagged an interview with Dr. Fulgham (wish I had been there!) to talk about her background and new book. Here’s an excerpt…
You recently wrote a book called “Education All God’s Children: What Christians Can—and Should— Do to Improve Public Education for Low-Income Kids.” One of the things that I love the most is that you talk about how your faith motivates your heart for urban education reform. When did you notice that your faith was not only something that you experienced on a Sunday service but something that permeated through all of your life and the way you care for education?
I think it always has been there for me personally. My faith became especially important to me when I went to college and I was growing deeply in my faith. While I was a teacher that was something that helped sustain me through the year. I used my private devotional time to pray for my students and for myself so I could look beyond the immediate problems in the classroom, and also so that I could have the wisdom and strength to make it through my daily challenges. But I believe it was during the last ten years of my life when I started to encourage other people of the faith to see education inequity as a way to putting their faith in action and a way to serve those who are disenfranchised. I saw many Christians focus on many different social issues but not education, and I felt like there was a disconnect for most people in regards to the issue.
I encourage you to read the rest of the article here.
We need more men and women like Dr. Fulgham to articulate the basis for Christians to get involved in public education as a natural consequence of their faith commitments. You don’t have to send your kids to public schools or support all that they teach in order to advocate for the kids and their families who have less access to high-quality educational options.
Discussion Question: Do you think evangelical Christians should advocate for public education reform? Why or why not?