The Continuance of SDA Schools
I need not tell you that many of our schools lack adequate budget to operate. Some are barely making it and were it not for the commitment of dedicated conferences and missions through their boards, some of these would be closed. In fact, I have been in places where I have heard the call to close some down on the basis that “they are a financial drain on the church.” So what do we do? Do we continue to fund Adventist Education?
Adventist Education Need Our Support
No doubt funds are limited, and persons who we thought would patronize Adventists education opt out for numerous reasons inclusive of inadequate facilities, unimpressive and unattractive classes and what they term “some uncommitted teachers.” In some cases, there might be some truth to their charge. “But are those reasons enough to warrant removal of our children from our schools or not to send them at all?”
Therefore, it is necessary that school boards and administrations give attention to the aforementioned issues, real or perceived, and address them as best as possible. Even with limited funds, ways need to be found in order to remedy some of the concerns. Additionally, the courage is needed to confront workers who fail to rightly represent the Christ’s method of teaching and relating to students and parents. At the same time, we must ensure that teachers are adequately compensated. Nevertheless, above and beyond the aforementioned is the need to focus on sustaining Adventist Education.
Checking of the Philosophy
George Knight makes the point, “It is impossible to arrive at your destination unless you know where you are going.” This is critical, as it points to the need for a philosophy for Adventist Education; reasons for making decisions that we make; What is our goal? What is the end game? These all demand and necessitate a philosophy. Ellen G. White cautions, “By a misconception of the true nature and object of education, many have been led into serious and even fatal errors. Such a mistake is made when the regulation of the heart or the establishment of principles is neglected in the effort to secure intellectual culture, or when eternal interests are overlooked in the eager desire for temporal advantage” (Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 49).
Therefore, the above clearly explains why we establish Adventist Christian Schools. “The necessity of establishing Christian schools is urged upon me very strongly” (Fundamentals of Christian Education, p.541).
Staying the Course
If we subscribe to the philosophy of Adventist Education, then board members and members in general must seek ways to sustain and enhance our schools. Administration must do its part by not spending aimlessly but within the context of what matters and that which informs the true philosophy of Adventist Education. Yes, it must not be expected that only our educators sacrifice while we cater to other workers. A belief in Adventist Education demands that our giving comports with our pronouncements and belief. We must consider our children now and those to come and what we desire for them. George Knight asks, “Why do Adventists and other Christians spend millions of dollars each year on private systems of education when free public systems are widely available? Because of their metaphysical beliefs regarding the nature of ultimate reality, the existence of God, the role of God in human affairs, and the nature and role of human beings as God’s children” (Educating for Eternity, p. 10). Accordingly, in the sentiments of Shane Anderson, an Adventist pastor, let us find ways to give Adventist Education “a fighting chance” so that it does not die (How to Kill Adventist Education, p. 11).