ACSI Certification v. State Certification

It seems that Christian school boards are requiring that their teachers have State Certification and do not look with equal regard on Asociation of Christian Schools International (ACSI) certification.  Moody Bible Institute trains teachers in teaching methods, gives them a strong Biblical foundation and teaches them to integrate their faith with their learning.  They graduate ACSI certified.  I have even heard that Ms. Ellen Black of ACSI has been saying that teachers should be State Certified, which seemingly undervalues certification from her own organisation.  There may also be the assumption that integration is something that one can add to a Christian Educator’s training like a Faith and Learning course.

I believe that the decision by some boards to prefer State Certification over ACSI certification shows serious flaws in worldview.  It is a reflection that Christian Education is frequently in the hands of those who do not know what Christian Education is. 

A teacher is not naturally integrated.  The way that we are trained for the State (and yes, I was trained at National-Louis) gives us some good teaching methods but the methods lack the core and the foundational distinctives of Christian Education.  Frequently boards are thinking that they have to hire teachers who are at least as good as the State schools because they see themselves in competition.  They assume that State-certified teachers are better than ACSI certified teachers.  That is simply not true.  The State schools generally hire teachers who have good methods but their faith is not integrated with their curriculum.  Christian school principals complain to me that their teachers are not seeing God throughout the curriculum.  To say that “All truth is God’s truth,” and to teach that ‘all truth is God’s truth’ are two quite different things.  Many teachers who are State trained assent to a Christian worldview, but in practice there is no difference between their teaching and the teaching in the State school down the road.

To create a Christian school we need to train our teachers with a Christian view of Language Arts, Mathematics, Art, Music, Science, etc.  We have teachers who are Christians and are devoted to God in their moral life, but do not see God revealed in the General Revelation of the Curriculum.

I am afraid that well-meaning parents who want to raise the test scores for their children are moving the Christian schools in the same direction as Harvard and Princeton;  Schools that were founded on a solid philosophy of Christian Education and then drifted away.  I think that prefering ACSI certification over State certification would guard against this.  Those who are ACSI certified should be well prepared to teach in the classroom – better prepared than those who are State certified. Philosophy of Education should not be reduced to the aquisition of knowledge because such a philosophy lacks grace and wisdom.  The teacher who knows their subject perfectly, but has no relationship to the author of that knowledge is ultimately a fool by Biblical standards.

Christian schooling is not just private schooling with a lower price tag.  Unfortunately the composition of Christian School leadership leads to a situation in which we have “Lions led by donkeys”. Christian schooling needs to be led by those who know how to teach with an integrated worldview. 

 Welcome to the Illinois State Board of Education

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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9 Responses to ACSI Certification v. State Certification

  1. nanahuff says:

    Very eloquently stated… and dead on target. You might consider forwarding this to your alma mater’s Education Department, or perhaps the ACSI. It’s something well worth mulling through during one of their upper level business lunches.

  2. if Christian schools are now requiring state certification, is everyone who is in the elementary education department now going to need extra schooling in order to teach? What are the implications of this on future teachers? Are all Christian schools now requiring this, or just a few? I’m curious.

  3. There are plenty of schools that are NOT moving in this direction.  It is just frustrating that so many are.  We at MBI will be talking to TIU about whether their REACH program could be advertised in our Philosophy of Christian Ed. Class.  It means that those who want to work for a school that requires State certification can go there.  they would take a series of classes one day a week for a year and then receive Illinois State certification. 
    It is also a pain that these schools that would ideally require teachers to have both ACSI and State don’t pay premium wages for premium teachers.

  4. Surely State trained teachers spend more time learning how to teach well.  The boards want teachers who will use the latest methods that are available.  Won’t most Christian schools suppress creativity and new methods, though, with their back to basics attitude?

  5. rookie1987 says:

    What I’m wondering is do you have statistics of what the test scores of Christian schools that are taught by ACSI certified teachers are and how they compare to Christian schools taught by State certified teachers?  
    I do agree that there is a difference between teachers who are state certified and ones who are certified and intergrate God into everything that they teach. I can see the difference after spending so much time at public schools and now being at a Christian school. I can tell you that I’d take those ACSI teachers anyday over state certified teachers. Some of what is taught in schools is just down right wrong and a total waste of time, but that is a totally different subject. What I really find interesting is that ACSI certified you know what you are getting where as each state has its own requirements for certification and some…… don’t have much.
    Salt and Light

  6. The results of ACSI schools are generally 20 percentile points higher than state schools.  However, state schools include more variety in socio-economic status, but not necessarily student ability.  Some ACSI schools are very selective in who they take in, but these schools tend to score in the 80’s or 90’s.  An educator can tell that those kind of results aren’t really representative of a normal population.

  7. rookie1987 says:

    So are there stats yet of Christian schools that have all ACSI teachers and ones that have all state certified teachers? Because if they have the same results then there is no support for the school boards, the parents, or anyone else for that matter to say that state is better then ACSI. That’s why I was wondering if you had any stats on just Christian schools.
    Salt and Light

  8. THos kind of stats are produced by organisations like ACSI and the Sanford testing group.

  9. I agree Christian schools should have their teachers ACSI certified. Christian School’s need to have Christ at the Core of who they are. All teachers there need to teach where their faith is intregrated in the bible and what they teach. Maybe each school can do parents meetings and send home flyers that explain the difference between each certification.Parents who send their kids to Christian schools need to be searching for a good one that is going to impact their kids life and teach them to have a biblical intergrated world view. They need to be discussing with their kids what they are learning each day, in other words they need to be INVOLVED in their kids lives. If the parents see that the kid is learning the subjects with God in them then they should be excited and want to understand more too if they don’t already. Christian schools as Christian school for a reason…they are suppose to teach about Christ in all subjects. The teachers need to make their classroom exciting, lifechanging, and present the truth.When this is done then parents should be happy, if they aren’t then it is good for them to ask questions and then it is the responsibility of the school to give back good answers to their questions but not to change how they are certified if they are teaching with their faith intregrated.Did these schools that are bringing this issue up ever stop to pray and listen to the Holy Spirit’s leading/guiding?

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