Educating All God’s Children: What Christians Can—and Should—Do to Improve Public Education for Low-Income Kids by Nicole Baker Fulgham

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“By the time kids who live in low-income communities reach the fourth grade, they’re already three grades behind their peers in wealthier communities.” This is how Fulgham introduces her readers to the brokenness of America’s public school system.

But Fulgham, an educator and founder of a faith-based education reform group, also offers solutions. She roots out some of the causes of the gaping achievement gap and then asserts that Christians and public schools can and should work together to close it. She lays out a simple action plan that seeks to mobilize Christians to “do justice” for the 15 million children who are living in poverty.

According to Fulgham, the United States has more than seven times as many churches as it does high-poverty schools. Is there any reason we can’t get this job done? The book concludes with over 10 pages of websites, books, and documentaries Christians and educators can use to learn more. (Brazos)

About the Author

Kathryn Hoffman is getting greener every day, and she is a member of Neland Ave CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich.

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The writer should investigate the Canadian scene as well and offer solutions. Here the First Nations schools are under funded, compared to other schools. It needs a bit more than 'working together'.

Although I applaud this book's author for her intentions, my perusal of her book suggests that despite her lip service to seeking "justice" and "structural reform," she is unwilling to really advocate for either.  She barely mentions "school choice" (vouchers), let alone advocates such reform; nor does she adequately acknowledge the inescapable problems created when local schools are controlled by a power duo consisting of higher level government (that loves one-size-fits-all rules) and teacher unions (that advocate first for teacher salary, benefits and pensions).  At one point, she does mention that many within the black community have pushed for "school choice" (vouchers), but she won't join that perspective or even fairly explain why so many in the black communication have pushed for it.

In short, this author really advocates for little change to public policies that perpetuate existing problems, despite the fact that she bemoans the effects those public policies have created.

Ironically, this author herself was sent to private schools (in Detroit) by her parents who sacrificed to pay the tuition, a choice that she herself says made all the difference in the world in her own life.  Notwithstanding, she now fails to connect the dots as to the systemic public policy changes needed.  Despite her own success that she attributes to her parents' private school choice for her, she quickly dismisses "school choice" as a solution by stating it is "not a silver bullet." 

To the extent we in the CRC lose enthusiasm for private education, we mirror the thoughts of the author of this book, to the detriment of our children and the communities -- even the nation -- they will live in.