The COVID-19 pandemic has upended Americans’ lives in many ways. One area of American life that has dramatically changed since the COVID-19 outbreak is education. The pandemic, together with the ensuing government restrictions, has led many parents to seek more school choice and greater involvement in their children’s education.
The Center for Christian Virtue, Ohio’s largest Christian public policy organization and NYFRF’s counterpart organization in the Buckeye State, created the Ohio Christian Education Network (OCEN) in 2018. OCEN is working with churches to build a network of Christian schools that will provide an alternative to public education. “‘We’re trying to identify churches [that] are willing to start a school using existing facilities,’” said Troy McIntosh of OCEN. “‘It’s driven by this sense that it is part of our calling as Christians to provide education for children.’”
This fall, the Network-affiliated Westside Christian School is scheduled to open in Columbus. According to The Columbus Dispatch, Pastor Ben Douglass of Faith Community Church in Columbus had a vision for a school for children in his church that were having difficulty in public schools. Westside Christian School receives funding from eight churches; a state-sponsored scholarship program is expected to provide financial resources for some students. Significantly, the Ohio Christian Education Network plans to open another 12 schools in the 2023-2024 school year.
Wouldn’t it be a beautiful thing if churches in underserved areas in New York followed Ohio’s example and banded together to advance Christian education?