Peter Groff, the Director of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships for the Department of Education, will be headlining a Teachers College conference on the role of faith congregations in education. This afternoon, I’ll be outlining these 10 specific ways that congregations can make a difference:
2. Mentor/Tutor: a church can help organize volunteers to provide tutoring and mentoring for schools during the school day.
3. After school/Summer school: congregations can extend learning by providing faith-based learning during non-school hours/days.
5. Voucher School: In European countries, faith congregations can run publicly funded faith-based schools. In a couple US communities, vouchers or private scholarships allow low income students to attend private schools.
6. Alternative Schools: Street School Network members, mostly churches, provide free alternative education to struggling teens.
7. Affordable Private School: Cristo Rey is a network of 24 affordable Catholic schools supported by work-study sponsors. With improvements in online learning, there is the opportunity to run high quality low cost faith-based private schools that blend the best of online and onsite learning.
8: Charter School: When parochial schools are no longer viable, congregations have converted faith-based schools to public charter schools. While they can’t provide religious instruction during the day, congregations can still provide services 1-3 above. Faith leaders can also provide leadership for development of new public charter schools in underserved neighborhoods.
9. Community Development: John Perkins spent the last 20 years championing Christian Community Development–congregations banding together to serve under-resourced neighborhoods.
10. Pray: faith congregations can join together to support kids and teachers with in prayer breakfasts, prayer days, and back-to-school prayer rallies.