We used to have a collective commitment in this country to educate each child to the best of her ability and to share the costs among us all. That’s part of what made this country great. We used to believe we all benefited when every child got a great education. We used to believe public education was for the common good.
But in recent decades our public schools have been under attack, dismantled, and de-funded. Robert Putnam’s new book Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis documents the disappearance of that earlier consensus with wrenching personal detail and thorough research data. The new consensus seems to be that education should be privatized, our children belong to us alone, and we are responsible for no one else.
Alexia Salvatierra, a faith-rooted community organizer, teaches Christians to look for the lies the world tells that perpetuate injustice, so I propose these two:
Since God gave the church for the benefit of the whole world, it’s our privilege — and our responsibility — to confront these lies. The church needs to speak the truth that poor children are being deprived of the education they need to reach their God-given potential. We need to speak this truth, because too few others are doing so. We need to speak it together, because we need the volume. We need to speak it with power.
Already our voice has called The Episcopal Church to a 2017 national symposium about the moral crisis in our nation’s public education through Resolution B005. But we don’t want just one conversation, and we don’t want to wait until 2017. We want action that will make a difference in our schools across the country and right now.
So we’re not waiting until 2017 to have one national symposium. We’re getting started with six regional forums in 2016.
We want to meet you who are passionate, or curious — or passionate and curious — about the crisis in our schools. We want to see and hear about what your congregations are already doing and discover what you want to learn. We want to support you as you discern, organize, and act in your local contexts on issues we can’t know as intimately as you do, since we don’t live there. We want to listen in on your conversations with one another. We want to add your voice to the many who are already part of All Our Children’s network.
So come and see what’s already happening as congregations across the church build a bit of God’s kingdom by partnering with their schools.
Bring a team from your congregation (individuals are of course welcome, but teams give strength!) to:
So far we have two forums on the calendar with more to come, so stay tuned:
February 19-20 – Province 1 (New England)- Barbara C. Harris Conference Center, Greenfield NH. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!
May 20-21 – Diocese of Western New York – Ministry Center, Buffalo NY