So much content last week at the CCDA conference in Minneapolis.

Friday night we heard the preaching of Charles Blake, presiding bishop of the Church of God in Christ.  Bishop Blake started with barely a growl but ended with convicting power.  That when there is nothing, when it is too late, then God acts.  It comforted and inspired us to hear this.

Saturday morning Nicole Baker Fulgham, founder and president of The Expectations Project, talked to us about America’s public schools.

Nicole said that 60 years after school desegregation we yet have two “separate and shockingly unequal public school systems” determined by race and economics.  She cited statistics:  by the fourth grade students from households in poverty are three grade levels behind in reading skills.  All three theorized causes for education underperformance – the school system, families and parents, poverty and economic disparity – are intertwined.

They need to be addressed by a reconciled school system which holds students to strong academic attainment regardless of racial or income gaps, engages and empowers families for the educational process, and provides a high quality school for every child.

What’s required to make this happen?

  • a mindset shift (do we really believe that the least likely child can succeed?)
  • reconciling the current debate by working for compassionate and collective responsibility rather than blaming and scapegoating
  • transformational courageous change which is radical rather than mere ‘tinkering’
  • action by the faith community in the education process as vision casters, laborers and advocates

“These are just some of the things I think about every second of the day.”  Is Nicole Baker Fulgham intense about America’s schools?

How intense are we about our schools?  Some appear to feel that it’s too late to save public school systems, especially our large urban systems in Chicago, St Louis, Detroit and many more cities.

But if Bishop Blake’s word is good it may be time finally for God to work in the schools through his people on earth, in our cities:  the church.