Help for Christians Teaching in Public Schools in the Age of Equity
Christians teaching in public schools
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Segment 1: Interview with David Schmus
David Schmus is the Executive Director of the Christian Educators Association International (CEAI). CEAI is a membership organization that seeks to equip Christian educators to faithfully represent Christ in an increasingly challenging cultural environment.
David helped us gain some understanding (and encouragement!) regarding Christian teachers in public education. For example, the atmosphere in public education has changed dramatically in recent years. Three to five years ago, members of CEAI were seeking help for specific, student-related questions such as handling a behavior issue, curriculum or special education issues, etc. In the last few years, teachers have been repeatedly seeking support in these 4 areas:
Critical Race Theory (CRT)
Schools are becoming much more hostile places for Christians to teach in and thrive. However, David and his organization believes public education is still a place where Christian teachers can thrive!
What does CEAI do?
1. Full service professional association that operates from a Biblical worldview that is an alternative to teachers' unions
2. Provides equipping and encouraging for teachers to walk out their calling as a public school educator, with the perspective of the educator as a missionary
David taught in a public high school for 15 years (AP U.S. History and Government). He said, "I started teaching because I love my subject; I continued teaching because I love my students."
What can you tell us about this idea of "educational equity" that many teachers are facing?
Equity used to mean looking at students who may have come from disadvantaged groups (starting point) where extra support/accommodations could be helpful for success. However, what equity means now is getting everyone to the same finish line (very challenging and nuanced issue!).
David recommended this article by William Jeynes: "Shrinking the Achievement Gap"
What is the status of Christians in public education? How many are left?
Previous data showed that just under 50% of teachers attend church at least 1x per month.
David gave us an inspiring message that he believes there's an army of public school teachers waiting to be woken up! Similar to Daniel and Esther in the Bible who had to work for secular and pagan systems and God used them in key moments to shift the environment of a nation! CEAI is committed to helping teachers wake up to their calling as missionaries and ambassadors according to 2 Corinthians 5.
How can a teacher push back on some of the issues coming at them? (Examples: signing an ally statement, using pronouns for a student, but not being able to tell the parents, etc.).
Christian teachers have to draw a line and say, "I'm not going to do this"...they may be able to ask for a religious accommodation. People can call CEAI and ask for individualized help for specific situations they are facing.
What can pastors do?
Support your congregants who are teachers! Let them know you see them and support them!
Check out Gateways to Better Education and their "Free to Speak Campaign"
Gift your congregants a free membership to CEAI
Recognize and pray for the teachers on in your congregation on "Recognition Sunday"
The Center for Biblical Unity has a private support group for educators on Facebook.
Check out the upcoming Rise Up Conference happening live online October 22-23. The conference is for Christian educators in both public and private schools. Our very own Monique will be one of the featured speakers!
Check out the Christian Educators Association International website for a wealth of resources
Connect with the guest
Segment #2: Announcements!
It has been a busy season of writing! Check out Monique's latest blog post, "4 Ways To Remain Present in Hard Conversations about Race".
Monique was invited back to talk with Allie Beth Stuckey on her podcast, Relatable. The episode is titled "We Need to Change How the Church Is Doing 'Racial Reconciliation'":
Our 6-week study, Reconciled, is out now! Gather your small group, church staff, mom's group, or high school youth to explore what it means to pursue unity from a Biblical perspective!
The UP Conference is here! Get all the info and sign up for the session recordings.
Our book groups are in full swing! Take a look at the books we're reading this fall! If you missed this opportunity, we'll have new book groups starting in January 2022!
Be sure to check out our sponsors and show your support by liking, sharing, and picking up some merch!
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Family 210 Clothing. Tonight's featured t-shirt: "Truth Has No Color"