Grace-Based Education

I get a kick out of all the changes education standards and curriculum have enjoyed over the years. We have gone from the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) to SmarterBalanced. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) is now STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math). High school graduation requirements have grown from 18 to 24 credits. All of these tweaks are interesting, but they fail to address two fundamental questions: what is the end goal of education and how do these changes meet that goal?

The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction offers the following as a vision statement for their work: Every student ready for career, college and life. (http://www.k12.wa.us/AboutUs/default.aspx). This is a noble vision, but it lacks any real meaning without defining “ready,” “career,” or even “life.” These goals are like clouds being continually shaped and reshaped by the varying pressure that surround them.

Last week, I stated that education at Shoreline Christian has two distinctives. The first is: The school's curriculum and programs model the cohesiveness of creation and challenge the student with the redemptive power of the cross.

From the dawn of creation, God educated Adam by having him explore the creation with which God had surrounded him. His thesis was presented in glory and Adam was to be the student of His curriculum. Science, engineering, technology, and math exists because God exists. The arts, the social sciences, and languages are the vehicles of response and exploration that God created. These disciplines work together to instruct students in God’s sovereign rule over all of His creation.

This course of study is rigorous and reflects the completeness of creation. We know Adam worked at his education; he explored the garden and named the animals. At the same time, God knew that Adam was not going to make all right choices. To address this, God’s curriculum is marinated in grace. Shoreline Christian should offer no less to our students. Grace helps to make sure that the school’s curriculum is available to all of our students, regardless of ability or talents. Grace has to be administered in ways that encourage curiosity and hope. But even beyond our human ability to extend grace, the end goal of a student’s education at Shoreline Christian School is that it leads them further into God’s grace.