Southern Baptists fed up with public schools

Here’s another item on the question of where and how religion fits (if it does) in public education.

The Southern Baptist Convention is apparently so fed up with the absence of God in public schools that it wants to “train church leaders”: to open private schools.

“In the public schools, you don’t just have neutrality, you have hostility toward organized religion,” Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, told Yonat Shimron, the terrific religion writer at the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. “A lot of parents are fed up.”

I know Southern Baptists are little more than a curiosity to many New Yorkers, as there are few Southern Baptist churches around. But the Convention is the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, representing more than 16 million people.

What the Convention does in regard to education could rub off on other traditions.

Right now, evangelicals who don’t like public education often choose home-schooling for their kids.

But, maybe, down the line evangelicals will start to build a system of private education like the Catholic schools. It’s a big undertaking, but who knows?

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.