Pros, cons of area Christian Schools

In your feature on Christian Schools ("God, Grades, and the Gospel," February 15) I was disappointed to see little information on faith, enrollment, standards, or test scores. I was dismayed to note only a half sentence about one school --- the Rochester Christian School --- in the four-page article.

This, the oldest Christian elementary school in Monroe County, is a quality school. All classroom teachers are state certified. The teachers are caring and talented; many parents volunteer. The student population is diverse, with 15 percent minority students. The scores on standardized tests are high.

Our daughters graduated in 1984 and 1987 and received a great, well-rounded education in a safe, caring environment. As parents, we wanted our children to be taught Biblical truths to reflect those taught in our home and church.

Yes, at RCS the class size may be better, the parents better motivated, and the students more orderly than in many schools. However, the reason our children attended is the Christian perspective in every subject and in all facets of life.

My neighborhood city school, School 46, is excellent, but we wanted our children's education to reinforce the saving faith so important to us.

Life is short; eternity is long.

Sharon Bloemendaal, Quentin Road, Rochester

The state of the nation, our society, our schools: all can be studied and debated. Let us do so. But we can not when error stands in our way, as is shown in the beliefs of some persons in charge of local Christian schools.

To believe that in public education "there is no God... man is the highest authority... we all belong under some kind of socialist-communist doctrine" is an error. It shows the grossest ignorance of what is taught in American public schools.

No matter how polite, no matter how dutiful, Christian school students who are inculcated in such sadly wrong ideas are crippled in any future taking on of the responsibilities of American citizenship.

Alexander Simpson, Peachtree Lane, Pittsford

A Penfield parent who sends her children to a Christian school laments that she gets "nothing" in return for her school taxes. Apparently the message is that we shouldn't have to pay for what we don't directly use or benefit from. If that's the case, gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgendered individuals, who are often forbidden to marry or to raise children, shouldn't have to pay school taxes. Perhaps the GOP and Christian Coalition should be stumping for that tax refund.

As a pedestrian, I could claim that since I do not use roadways, I want a refund for the taxes used for salting, snow plowing, and pot-hole repairs. Since I re-use, recycle, or compost 99 percent of my consumable waste, I should get a rebate for what I've paid in taxes used for landfills. I want a refund of the portion of my county taxes that COMIDA has paid to ADT in Henrietta and Target in Irondequoit. I use neither of them, and their presence does not benefit my neighborhood.

I guess when I was raised, I presumed incorrectly that we did some things in life for the betterment of the collective because in our unity we could not only wield support but also economic power. But perhaps my rural, public-school upbringing has made me a part of "some kind of socialist-communist doctrine," as Greece Christian School's Herbert Parker claimed.

Shawn Patrick Wallace, Hickory Street, Rochester

I admire the parents who take the extra step to provide their children with a great education and moral foundation. But in reading the article on Christian schools, I am reminded of the lines of division that run through our lives:

Lines of separation that we make when we tell our children that Christians have the market cornered on God and that only Christians can have "consistent loving relationships."

Lines that exist when school principals tell their students that because public schools teach science and do not promote a particular religion, they are trying to replace God with communistic man. (I think Christ laid the way for socialism when he said that he pays all his workers the same no matter how many hours they worked.)

In conclusion, we should remember the wacky far-out holes in Darwin's theory. They are:

1) Every organism produces more seeds or offspring than will actually survive to adulthood. 2) There is variation among these seeds or offspring. 3) Traits are passed down from one generation to the next. 4) In each generation the survivors succeed --- that is, they survive --- because they possess some advantage over the ones that don't succeed. And because they survive, they will pass that advantage on to the next generation. Over time, therefore, the incidence of that trait will increase in the population.

Pretty revolutionary stuff. Where do those evil scientists get off with their lies?

I see no division between the findings of science and the workings of God. It is the lack of understanding of our neighbors that has brought us to where we are on the world stage.

Adam Smith, Pearl Street, Rochester

Thank you for an excellent article on Christian schools in the Rochester area. Tim Macaluso is to be commended for his research and relatively non-judgmental reporting.

Unfortunately, I have had a limited experience in the college classroom with students who have attended Christian schools as well as home-schooled students. The few students I have so identified have an extremely limited perspective on United States history that is reflective of the education they have received. One student went so far as to assert on a final exam that everything in the US Constitution came from the Bible.

I am not the least bit surprised that they would have pictures of George W. Bush or the Bush family in the classroom, or that at one school, graduates not going to college go into the military. I would love to see how US history is taught in some of these schools.

A small error in Mr. Macaluso's article was the statement that one of the first Christian schools in this region was "Houghton Academy in Allegany." Allegany is a village in Cattaraugus County and is the home to St. Bonaventure University. Houghton Academy in is the village of Houghton in Allegany County. Small point but a big difference in locations.

One last point: the mother who is so proud that her children are well mannered is justifiably proud. However, I have always been told how well mannered and polite my children were and are. They are graduates of Brighton Central High School (a public school). Their manners are a reflection of the home environment in which they were raised, not a reflection of a church or school. Parental responsibility and example are what shape character more than any outside influence.

James L. Swarts, Brighton


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