At the onset of beginning the journey of starting an urban Christian school, people would often ask me questions about why do we need another school, let alone another Christian school. At first, this question seemed very surprising to me because of how knowledgeable our communities seem to be in the educational climate of Kansas City, Missouri. But as I soon realized, there are many different opinions about how the ideal educational atmosphere can be attained. So in order to clarify to our communities why we exist, I thought I would write a small blog post about it.
Why Christian Education?
I, Marcus Oatis, am a product of the educational system of Kansas City Public Schools. In many ways, I feel that the education that I received was not solely attributed to KCPS but to other smaller organizations that were able to supplement the things that I needed…..character. If it were not for these different influences, I am sure that my “East of Troost” self would have went down a very different path in life. Martin Luther King said, [blockquote indent=”yes” ]”The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”[/blockquote] I love this quote because it highlights what should be happening in education. As most teachers know, it is impossible to only teach students the academics. Constantly, teachers are faced with having to instruct their children in what it means to have good character/make good choices. Ultimately, these types of influences are going to be what guide and shape the child into potentially having a successful future in the broadest sense. But the most challenging part of teaching good character in school is that character is a matter of the heart and what flows out of our hearts is our beliefs.
Teachers within the public sector of education who have the desire to speak into the hearts of students are not able to because of district policies. If we are to, as Martin Luther Jr. stated, integrate intelligence and character into our educational practices, then there must be an environment where students are able to discover, learn, and grow in their understanding about themselves and the world around them…..their beliefs. At Providence, we integrate character into our curriculum by first looking at what the students believe. By working through topics such as the created world, the human condition, the need for reconciliation, and future restoration, teachers are able to build a foundation that supports the understanding and development of good character. This foundation will guide students as they begin to practice/live out their beliefs. (Eph. 4:21-24)
So Why Another Christian School?
Because we see Christian education as a necessity for the growth of our families, communities, and world.