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.