Navigating Your Child's Education: Grades 1-5

2 min read

Education as Soulcraft

Jun 19, 2019 9:23 AM

I love talking with students and listening to their future hopes and plans. Doing so is a great reminder to me of the task that educators, from kindergarten teachers to elementary school educators to high school instructors have; that is, not merely to fill students with information or knowledge but to help form them into the kind of people God meant them to be.

David Coleman, President of the College Board – the organization that develops and administers the SAT college entrance exam and the Advanced Placement (AP) program – has recently commended the high value that religious educational institutions offer to their students in preparing them for college and beyond. He laments the current culture of college admissions, which places far too much emphasis on raw knowledge and the arms race of participation in activities that students can place on their applications. Instead, Coleman writes, “For us to change our culture, all of us in education [must] recognize that education is a soulcraft. The disciplines we cultivate in young people hold sway for the rest of their lives.”

Very rarely in educational conversations – especially in the secular educational environment of the College Board – do you hear such a call toward schooling as soulcraft. Instead, such conversations are dominated by test scores, graduation rates, career readiness, STEM, 21st-century learning and so forth. While these elements are of high value, they really ought only to be serving the larger purpose of shaping and forming our students’ souls. A child’s education is a lot more about the kind of person she will be and less about what she will do. Our children are human beings made in God’s image, not human doings. As Coleman writes in support of religious schools, “The best traditions of religious learning offer lessons for healthy intellectual and social development that prepare students to flourish not only while swept up in the admissions process but in the deeper challenges beyond.”

New call-to-actionReligious schools face a challenging climate, as pressures from a pluralistic society have begun to bear a creeping existential threat. Accreditation bodies and governmental agencies that resist positions that align with statements of faith have already begun to fire their first salvos. That is why when people like Coleman not only defend the right of religious schools to exist but expresses his deep gratitude for their existence, it is worth noting. 

To read or hear more about why Coleman believes so strongly in religious schools, you may wish to read his brief article in Christianity Today.

Troy McIntosh
Written by Troy McIntosh

Currently serving as Executive Director of the Ohio Christian Education Network, Troy has been in education for over 25 years as an elementary teacher, elementary/middle school principal, and as Head of School at Worthington Christian School. He and his wife Julie have three adult daughters. Troy loves spending time with students, especially when it is centered around asking and answering big questions. He is passionate about watching students grow and mature by learning new ideas and how they relate to their world.