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A Resolution of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA The Churches and Public School

Adopted Nov. 5, 2003

Whereas, the General Assembly of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA in 2000 committed to a decade-long mobilization to overcome poverty;

Whereas, the NCCC has affirmed that quality public education is the primary route for impoverished children to access full and meaningful participation in the life of our communities;

Whereas, quality public education for all children must be a component for the future welfare of our country, and we live in a time where grave concern about world affairs is overshadowing domestic issues such as public education;

Whereas, public education faces incredible economic challenges such as:

  • A ‘No Child Left Behind Act' that mandates holding schools accountable to high national standards without the Federal government demonstrating intention to adequately fund its required reforms.
  • A budget crisis in all states and in federal domestic spending that shreds what is an already torn and tattered safety net for children in poverty by cutting into health care, child care, school-age after-school care and mental health supports, all of which were designed to assist children in America's public schools.
  • Continued inequity in school funding that persists at a time when research demonstrates that, in order to close the achievement gap, increased funding is needed to advance reforms such as: 1) reduced class size, 2) incentives to attract excellent teachers to urban and remote rural schools, and 3) universal, accessible, affordable and enriched preschool programs.

Whereas, "at the beginning of the twenty-first century, American public schools are now twelve years into the process of continuous resegregation”; and

Whereas, our nation's teachers are asked to change lives and solve problems with resources nowhere near commensurate with the task while facing constant criticism by politicians, the public, and the press for their alleged failures and inadequacies;

Therefore, in light of these urgent and ongoing challenges, the National Council of Churches of Christ reaffirms and commends to our member communions for study and action the policy statement The Churches and Public Schools at the End of the Twentieth Century adopted by the General Assembly in 1999, and

Furthermore, we call upon our member communions to encourage their congregations to:

  1. Engage in on-going efforts to reform public education funding as a way of bridging the achievement gap between rich and poor schools.
  2. Initiate partnerships with local schools that focus on the needs of children and their families and are guided by the principles of the separation between church and state.
  3. Designate a Sunday to affirm the role of public education in our society and to acknowledge and pray for the women and men who teach and work in our public schools.
  4. Discern if the school district boundaries and busing patterns in our communities contribute to the re-segregation of public schools and, if needed, devise strategies in response to these findings.

Submitted by: Committee on Public Education and Literacy with affirmation from the Committee on Justice for Children and Their Families (program ministries of the Education and Leadership Ministries Commission)