The National Council of Churches, of which the United Methodist Church is a member, has released a pastoral letter on national education policy.
Here’s a summary of some of the main points made by NCC representatives who discussed the letter with the Secretary of Education:
A good society must balance the needs of each particular child and family with the need to create a system that secures the rights and addresses the needs of all children.
Persistent support and assistance remains society’s best strategy for raising achievement in the schools that are struggling. The delegation has serious reservations about turn-around models in “Race to the Top,” and rejects the current dependence on standardized testing.
Federal leadership is needed to address long-standing resource inequality across states. The U.S. government must allocate resources for equal treatment of children and press states to close gaps in opportunities offered to children.
While competitive, market-based measures may increase educational opportunity for a few children, the concern is that they do not introduce more equality into the system.
We must work together to eliminate policies that blame public school teachers for many problems beyond their control. The Race to the Top “turnaround model” that fires principals and staff in struggling schools without evaluating their performance constitutes scapegoating and tosses out professionals society cannot afford to lose.
You can download the .pdf of the letter here. I’ve not yet compared the letter to the UMC Social Principles, but I assume that given the presence of United Methodists among the signers of the letter that it passes doctrinal muster.
The Washington Post has a blog post that discusses the letter and reprints it as well.
It’s like they are trying to give Will Willimon and Stanley Hauerwas a fit or something.