Unaccredited Thanksgiving

Imagine the following conversation between a home-schooled student and his mother:
Son: "So Mom, according to the book we're using, we should be thankful for family and friends. But, what about God?"
Mom: "Well of course we should be thankful to God. The pilgrims had a terrible time the first couple of years, but God was with them, and they were grateful. Their life centered around him."
Son: "Well if this is true, and God was such a central part of their life, then why isn't He mentioned in our book?"
Mom: "We've been over this before." We're not allowed to use Christian textbooks or books that refer to God or Jesus. Not if we want to receive credit.
And so the conversation goes...
A while ago I got a call from one of the principals of a local charter home school program. He and one of his staff members wanted to come visit me. It seemed that some of our students were transferring from our program into theirs so that they could access the local community college for free. There appeared to be a problem with awarding credit for some courses taken in our program.
When they arrived we grabbed a private office. The conversation was light and the tone friendly. Then we got down to business and one of the men popped a question. Was it true that we used and recommended a science textbook that held that the origin of the universe found its source in God and that evolution was simply a theory? I said, yes, that's right. I thought my answer would have been a "no brainer" to them in as much as our school name was New Covenant Christian Academy.
The question reminded me of the time I spoke at an Elks Club meeting and was asked what I saw as a basic difference between public schools and private Christian schools. I answered, thinking I was simply stating the obvious, that the difference between the two was one taught and supported evolution while the other did not. My comment stirred up a strong protest by some of the government employees in the room claiming the public school "doesn't teach evolution, it teaches 'about it'." Rising to the challenge, I countered that "yes, they actually do teach it," and then the tension really increased. The moderator wisely saw what was developing and rang his little bell announcing the meeting was now over and it was time for all of us to go to work...
Back to my meeting with the principal and his staff member. The next question went something like this: "Is it true that some of our students take a class titled Classical Literature, and that the subtitle of this course was The triumph of Christianity in the Ancient World?" I asked why that should be a problem in as much as Christianity, under Constantine, became a dominate religion in the fourth century. This was, after all, an historical fact that nobody disputed. There was a strange silence as if my point wasn't clear to them. They wondered why the subtitle was necessary. I think if we had been willing to change it or delete it the course would have been "approved."
What was becoming very clear was that students transferring from our program into their charter home school program would not receive credit for any class where God was part of the curriculum. I thought to myself here were families who, with the help of our teaching and advising staff, were doing a remarkable job in educating their children. Unfortunately, because Jesus happened to be involved, no credit was going to be recognized or extended in order to protect the charter's "accredited status."

One Comment

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