It seems like everywhere I turn, I am finding another article, blog or podcast on how education has and will remain changed forever because of COVID-19. There is little doubt that schooling will be done differently than it has been done for years. It appears that schooling will include some element of virtual learning and more parents may fully turn to homeschooling their children. The use of technology will also play a bigger role in the future of schooling young people.
Last week I was invited to participate in a webinar that Dr. Greg Jones of Forward Solutions was conducting. In this webinar I was asked how school leaders can make a successful comeback from COVID-19. I was also asked to share what I had experienced over the past couple of months due to this pandemic. You can watch the full webinar here.
In responding to Dr. Jones questions, I shared my belief that it is important to not merely focus on what might change. I believe it is even more important to focus on things that will never change and on some critical things that we cannot allow to change.
I hope that I have gained a small amount of wisdom from the 65+ years that I have been involved in schooling, both as a student and an educator. I have witnessed a lot of changes that people said would revolutionize schooling. If I would have focused the majority of my time and energy on those things that changed and not on the things that wouldn’t or shouldn’t change, I don’t think I would have survived.
There is no doubt about it. Schooling will be different in the days ahead. But that isn’t anything new. I have shared before how privileged I was to spend the first 4 years of my schooling in a one-room school with one teacher and 8 grade levels of students.
The black slate chalk board can no longer be found in a school today. The desks with the inkwell holes in the top are also gone. Just about everything about the one-room schooling experience I had is completely gone! But there are some things that are still the same and will remain no matter what other changes will take place in the future.
Allow me to make an analogy at this point. Because of my responsibilities, I have done a lot of traveling over the years. The total number of miles that I have flown in airplanes boggles my mind. I well-remember how air travel changed forever after 911. There are those long security screening lines, the rifling through one’s baggage and the all too common patting down of my body. Air travel has definitely changed.
However, with all these changes there are some things that haven’t changed and I am thankful that they are still in place. Air travel still needs and relies upon good pilots being at the controls. Every airplane still needs to be designed to lift off the ground, cruise at various altitudes and safely land at the end of every flight.
The “how” of air travel is different but the “why” of flight is still constant. The same is true of education, especially schooling. In fact, my challenge in writing this blog is to make sure that we don’t allow certain things to change when it comes to educating our children and youth.
No matter what different methods of instruction etc. that may result from COVID-19, the need for and purpose of education must not change. All children and youth come into life and will continue to do so in a fallen state. They will always need to be guided into truth so that they might come to know the God of creation and to know themselves as image bearers of God.
Education must always prepare students for the future. But not just for the temporal future of life here on earth but also for the eternal future that begins when this life ends.
So, what are the keys to success in the future? Here are two realities that we must embrace.
- We must accept the fact that some things about education will be different in the future.
- As we prepare for the changes that will be taking place on what and how we educate future generations, we must be committed to making certain that some foundational principles will never be allowed to change.
Dr. Albert Mohler in his book, Conviction to Lead, talks about the importance of convictional leadership needed for a school to survive and thrive. What Mohler says about leaders is also true for schools. Just as new leaders will bring their own ideas, passions and vision for the future to the school, Christian schools of tomorrow may have a different look and/or feel when it comes to how they operate due to this pandemic.
No matter what idiosyncrasies a new leader might bring to an organization, it is critically important that the organization’s foundational beliefs never change. As school boards and administrators adjust budgets, develop new strategic plans and prepare for what the new “normal” will look like, they must never allow the biblical foundation on which Christian schooling was long ago established to change.
My fear for what Christian school leaders might face in the future is that the changes that are being talked about will consume their time, energy and resources. As their attention is focused on face-to-face teaching, virtual instruction or some hybrid of the two, will they give equal or greater attention to God’s purpose for their existence?
Change has taken place and it will continue to do so in the days, months and years to come. However, God’s Word is eternal and never changes. We must make sure that we know, understand and remain committed to a biblical philosophy of education. We must also give priority to making sure our teachers and parents do the same.
You and I can’t stop change from happening. However, we can make sure that the convictions on which kingdom education is built never change.I close with some thoughts from Mohler’s book and from his May 12th The Briefing.
The loss of a secular institution is a shame. The loss of an institution founded on biblical truth is a tragedy.
If your Christian ministry does not state clearly what your beliefs are and make those obligatory throughout the institution, then you can basically just watch your institution collapse to the left.
I invite you to consider participating in this summer’s Kingdom School Institute. This year’s institute will be presented online. Find out more information and register here.
Also, I want to encourage your school to become a part of a fast-growing group of schools who are intentionally helping their board and staff members develop a biblical worldview by becoming a KEM Prime Member. Learn more about the wide variety of kingdom resources available to Prime Members here. To become a member, click KEM School Membership and receive a special school discount.
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Remember, God and His Word doesn’t change. There is not even the slightest turning of shadow with Him. This must also be true for Christian schools as they strive to fulfill God’s plan for educating future generations.