By Twania Griffin
Our children are our future and education helps mold their future. That’s why pastors, though busy with numerous roles to fill, are being urged to become a part of a national movement to help transform public education.
Recently, faith leaders from across the country attended “The Stand Up Education Policy Summit” in Atlanta, Georgia, to discuss the dire need for education reform.
CNN reports the daylong conference was hosted by education organzations StudentsFirst, founded by Michelle Rhee and Stand Up, led by her husband, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson.
Though black churches come in all sizes and varying degrees of organization, and cannot impact education at the same level, Rev. DeForest Soaries, Jr., a senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey told CNN every church needs to “do something.”
Soaries believes churches should be involved on three levels: creating programs focusing on things like literacy; being active in local politics focused on impacting schools, as well as the school board voting process; and advocating for policies that will enhance the likelihood of success in schools.
Bishop Charles Blake, Presiding Bishop and pastor of West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles stresses the importance of the local church’s knowledge of the educational landscape in its community. “I think churches should become acquainted [with] the schools that are in their community,” said Blake.
He also recommends that churches recruit members of its congregation to volunteer at educational facilities in order to evaluate the overall health and well-being of schools.
“I think that if churches work holistically into the lives of the people in the community, then the community will produce better children more capable and able to excel educationally,” said Blake.
Is your local church involved in education? If not, what steps do you think can and should be taken?