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I attended the Justice Conference at Oakdale Park CRC this morning, sponsored by Association for a More Just Society and Office of Social Justice. Thanks for putting it together.

At the panel on Justice & Education in Grand Rapids, I wanted to say "Amen" to Mindy Hamstra's dream of families choosing to send their children to Grand Rapids Public Schools as an act of justice. I also wanted to add, piggybacking on Hamstra's comment, and in response to Kate Kooyman's question about what is the church's role in the question of justice in education, this thought: If the children of Christian Reformed Church families in Grand Rapids were attending GRPS, and their parents were investing in the lives of their children and the city's schools, the church's role would be religious education. The church should be speaking into the lives of our children and youth by studying the Bible, understanding doctrine, discussing practical faith application, and encouraging the sharing of the gospel. This should not be a novel idea, but some churches may be relying too heavily on Christian day-school education to provide this religious education, leaving the church impotent to impact the next generation.


I have an even better idea--let's find ways to make sure that the Christian day schools we support (whether in Grand Rapids or out here in the provinces) are capable of admitting children from every ethnicity, race, and income level. That way everyone has access to a Christ-centered education.

I missed this conference, but I would like some clarification on what this was about – if anyone has the time.

Hey Michael, The conference was a Saturday gathering of folks in the West Michigan area who wanted to talk about how to be engaged in justice right now. There were a number of workshops that covered topics like restorative justice, education, immigration, justice in Honduras, human trafficking, racial justice, and lots more. It was the second annual conference of this kind -- both this year's and last year's were sponsored by the Office of Social Justice and the Association for a More Just Society. The education conversation that Noah was referring to was part of a panel discussion on justice in education, where representatives of the Grand Rapids Public School board, Grand Rapids Christian Schools, Potters House, and a new school called Living Stones all spoke to seeking justice in our community's education system. Does that answer your question?

If is a fair representation of the Grand Rapids metro area then the Grand Rapids School District seems to be a typical large American city with good schools in the rich districts and poor schools in poor districts. Would you who might pull your kids out of Christian schools be putting your kids in a rich school or a poor school? I suspect the rich neighborhoods are not very "diverse," maybe less so than the church you attend?

Are your children old enough to understand the social and educational implications of making this change? Are you qualified and have the time to home teach your kids to make up for any deficiencies in the public school you choose?

I admire adults who intentionally go into harm's way for a good cause but is it "fair" to use one's children no matter how good the cause?

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