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Education is a child's most valuable tool. The complexities of society today demonstrate the growing need for every person to have a solid foundation in education and values. Christian education provides the best tool for knowledge, values and a firm foundation of instruction for young Christian adults. Statistics show, and common sense should dictate, upon graduating from a Christian institution, a young adult is ahead of crowd in the game of life. There are many advantages to private schools.
Christian education is the most common form of private school education in America. 77.1 percent of private schools are Christian affiliated with the most popular religion sect being Catholic. Unfortunately, in comparison with public school education, this accounts for only 9.5 percent of school-age children in America. The South has the largest number of Christian schools, with the Mid-west trailing slightly behind and the West coming in last place.
Early History of Christian Education
One of the earliest and strongest proponents of Christian Education was Martin Luther, the Protestant reformer. There were many reasons why Luther (as well as certain other Reformation leaders) emphasized the need for changes in education and schooling alongside the religious and other reforms that they actively championed. They are primarily:
- Directing society towards the Christian Faith
- Spreading cultural literacy to insure the masses could read and understand the Bible
- Empowering people with a personal relationship with God
Prominent among these reasons was, of course, a keen recognition of the importance of education in directing church and society back to the source of the Christian faith. For instance, given the aforementioned "Scripture alone" philosophy as a rallying theme for the Reformation, education emerged as a crucial tool for countering widespread illiteracy and for enabling the masses to read, understand, and respond to the all-important biblical texts. As such, Luther regarded education, perhaps first and foremost, as an essential important tool for empowering the lay faithful to establish more intimate and meaningful relationships with God. Nonetheless, there were also more practical reasons for Luther's advocacy of educational reforms, especially the need to enable large audiences to read and understand his own revolutionary messages of religious, political, and social change. The Reformation involved "the first major, self-conscious attempt to use the recently invented printing press to shape and channel a mass movement." For the first time in Western history, the printing press was ingeniously exploited to communicate broad messages of change to larger audiences than any other preceding movement had ever reached. In fact, many analysts have characterized the Reformation as a "print event," suggesting that this dramatic alteration in the course of Western history would never have succeeded to the extent that it did without the printing press. And, more than any other preexisting communications medium in Western history, the printing press enabled Luther and the other Evangelical publicists involved in the Reformation to swiftly and effectively reach a large audience with messages aimed at radically changing Christianity.
Thus, notwithstanding the lofty idealism espoused by these publicists, their efforts might be seen as constituting a major propaganda campaign involving heavy reliance on "persuasive literature that attempted to redefine a major institution in its social world: the Christian church and its beliefs." Although over a period of several crucial years these publicists together issued thousands of pamphlets attacking the established Church and promoting a new Christian faith, the ensuing campaign was dominated overwhelmingly by Martin Luther. Luther had far more of his works printed and reprinted than any other propagandist in the Reformation: in the vital period between 1518 and 1525 the presses of the German-speaking territories generating more vernacular works by Luther than by the other seventeen leading Evangelical publicists put together, while during Luther's lifetime the German language presses generated almost five times as many works by this author than they did for all of the other Catholic controversialists combined.
Current State of Christian Education in America
The education received in Christian schools is far more advanced than in the public education. The study from the U.S. Department of Education shows that 76 percent of all students in Catholic schools are enrolled in college prep courses, compared to only 45 percent in public schools. The survey also found that only 34 percent of those who had attended public schools expected to earn a graduate degree. However, when they were interviewed two years after high school, 59 percent those who had enrolled in Catholic schools expected to earn a graduate degree. In addition, public school children from single-parent families were twice as likely to drop out of school than those from two parent families. But in Catholic schools, the drop out rate from both groups is the same.
Another interesting indicator of the desirability of a Christian education is demonstrated by United States Congress persons. 44.4 percent of senators and 29.5 percent of representatives who have children of school age, choose to send their children to Christian schools.
Christian schools also provide pillars of success within a community. Dave Thomas, owner of the Wendy's hamburger chain, graduated from a Christian high school and is now one of the most widely recognized and successful businessmen of our time. His promotion of family values, along with a keen business sense, make him an excellent role model. Other graduates of Christian schools include Tom Landry, of Dallas Cowboy fame, and the infamous Osmond family, all of whom still promote and declare their solid Christianity.
A graduate of a Christian high school has advantages over those of a public school. Though the secular world is often negative towards the Christian, it values the morals and ethics of the Christian in the workplace. According to the Christian Education Organization, Christian schools provide a better education than public schools, graduates from them are more sought after in the job market.