King's Business - 1954-06


The Gospel and Our Public Schools

W hich is the greatest mission field? I asked this question of a nationally prominent man not long ago, and he replied: “ I’m not sure which is the greatest, but I do know which is the forgotten one—it’s the American public school!” I don’t know how it ever happened. It seems incredible that we could get so interested in everything else, that we would forget the minds and hearts of our young people. The United States is furnishing leadership to most of the world, and that lead­ ership is trained almost entirely in the public schools. We have turned the schools over to non-Christians and the materialistic crowd, and we are reaping the harvest! We have stood by, adjusting our mission sights to distant places, while the very foun­ dation on which we were standing has been deteriorating. It is true that teachers who mould our nation’s minds and hearts, mould our future. Not only do elementary, high school, and college teachers af­ fect the future; but they affect the present. Children cannot vote until they are grown, but they do influ­ ence families, parents, communities, churches and institutions long before they reach the age of 21. Demand for Teachers One of the greatest professional demands in the history of the United States is the current one for educa­ tors. The critical shortage is alarm­ ing. Top educators are frantically worried about the diminishing sup­ ply of teachers. If a great army of 312,000 qualified educators should suddenly descend upon the United States, every one of them could be given a position immediately. Cali­ fornia alone needs 13,000 new teach­ ers every year. New York City’s child population has jumped 53.3 per cent since 1940, and at the same time teachers have become more scarce. For example, the teacher can­ didate enrollment at New York Uni­ versity dropped from 11,010 in 1949 to only 7,237 this year. Not All Educators are Teachers So many young people have said, “ I would like to work with children or with young adults, but I’m just not cut out to be a teacher.” There was a time when the educational pro-, fession was comprised nearly entire­

ly of classroom teachers. Today the picture is different. A Christian can be in the profession and not be a classroom teacher at all. With only a slight variation for each education­ al level (elementary, secondary, col­ lege) we need school nurses, admin­ istrators, secretaries, guidance direc­ tors, deans, supervisors, business man­ agers, attendance officers, education consultants, social workers, psychome- trists, and school psychologists. These positions are all vital and interesting. In fact, some educators without class­ room responsibilities have as much or more opportunity to influence a school or community for Christ as the classroom teacher himself. Opportunities for Witnessing E. W. Kayser, a district school superintendent in California states: “What opportunities we have to wit­ ness for our Lord and Saviour. I am glad that I am a born-again Christian because I have found in Christ a strength and a power to meet prob­ lems in education under which I might otherwise fail and give up in my effort to help youth of today. As I face my daily tasks I have a Helper for whom there is no equal. Happy as an educator to be a Christian? What utter folly to be without Christ in this, or any other work. When parents enroll their children in school, it is not difficult to sense spir­ itual interests and needs. Christians are among our strongest supporters. Parents who are not Christians defi­ nitely respect my stand.” The need for Christian educators is evident at all levels. As Dr. Leo T. Phearman, a college professor, re­ lates, “ The opportunities I have for witnessing are innumerable. The way I live is a constant witness. Good teacher traits are typically Christian ones. I never need to go out of my way to witness for Christ. My edu­ cational career is packed with oppor­ tunities to speak to others.” In Los Angeles, Leona Schneider, a high school teacher, says, “ I am glad that I am a Christian teacher. Students come to me after class to ask about Christianity, and I am happy that I can help them and tell' them what Christ means to me. We need many, many more Christian teachers in public education. I think continued on page 29

greatest mission field

M aybe you ’ ve never thought of the public

schools as a mission field . Some teachers have and their testimonies make thrilling reading


Dr. Clyde M. Narramore, graduate of Columbia University, New York City, is a psychologist and Consultant in Research and Guidance with one of the largest school systems in America.


JUNE 1954

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