While many in North America want to be just like us when it comes to our Educational system, a large percentage of Adventists are abandoning our schools.
Because of a perceived reality that just isn’t true!
That our schools are less than the best…
Ellen G. White wrote,
““Something better” is the watchword of education, the law of all true living. Whatever Christ asks us to renounce, He offers in its stead something better.” –Education, p. 296.
Adventist Education is that something better! Don’t believe me how ’bout we look at the data? What about what others are saying?
What about this headline taken straight out of the pages of the Los Angeles Times,
Or what about the fact that Martin Doblmeier a non-Adventist award winning producer and director is making a documentary for PBS, (tentatively titled: “Teach the Children Well”) examining the success of Adventist Education.
In a clip I saw of this video there is even a line addressing the fact our own people are not attending our schools, “with all of this proven success, Adventist schools are still shrinking.”
So why is everyone else other than “US” (Adventists) impressed with our schools?
Because of the following data:
A 4 year study was done on Adventist Education. In this study 800+ schools in the United States, Canada, & Bermuda were studied. 51,706 students participated in the study.
And the findings show something amazing!
Our students were ABOVE the National Average in:
- in all subjects (science being one of the highest)
- for all grade levels
ABOVE predicted/expected achievement:
- in all subjects
- for all grade levels
- for all school sizes
- regardless of ability level
That last line in all red is one of the things that shocked researchers most. Unlike most studies that throw-out the lowest end, those that may qualify as special-ed students. These studies included every single student that attended Adventist schools and found that even our students that were considered special-ed/needs students scored on average above predicted/expected achievement.
Specifically researchers looked at the Sciences as that is considered to be weaker in Adventist schools for two reasons:
- We teach Creation and that macro-evolution is a false theory
- We do not have (in most of our schools) the resources to have the adequate labs and classrooms to provide the services many other Christian and Public Schools are able to provide.
So what were the results?
- Above average in science in every grade
- Higher in science than would be predicted by ability scores
- Above average for all sub-areas of science
- Highest sub-area is Scientific Inquiry
- Higher science the more years in Adventist schools
There were differences in the sciences found between the smaller Adventist schools which constitutes more than 60% of our schools (and when they are speaking of smaller they are talking about schools in the elementary level even smaller than Sierra View Junior Academy about 90 students K-8 & comparable to Armona Union Academy for High-School level).
We would expect differences in these areas though–the larger schools were better–wait…what STUNNED researchers:
In every category the differences were consistently in favor of the smaller schools.
In fact the amazing thing about Adventist Education that adds an entirely different level of separation between our school system and every other:
“Students in schools with fewer financial resources do as well as those with more financial resources.”
Think about all the talk in the public arena about the schools that have and those that have not? And the unfair advantage that is available to kids in schools with great financial resources.
In the study of Adventist Ed, there is no distinction. Even our 1 room classrooms with absolutely no science labs, still on average score above the national average in science and all other subjects on national standardized tests.
And the last little detail I want to share with you that has been found in studies addresses a fundamental desire that is in most parents hearts, to see their child have greater opportunities than they themselves had:
It has been found that a child that works their way through our Adventist Educational System will likely advance to a higher socio-economic level than their parents.
The way it was stated is this:
Adventist Education is the only known system by which it is highly-probable that an individual will advance to a higher socio-economic status in ONE GENERATION.
Because the watchword for Adventist Education is “Something Better.”
This is why PBS is having a documentary made & the Los Angeles Times is doing stories on our educational system. They want to know and understand why.
And maybe we as Adventists, should pause, and take a second look as well.
But here to me is ultimately why we should take a second look at Adventist Education:
“In the highest sense the work of education and the work of redemption are one…” –Ellen G. White, Education, p.30
Our church is in a crisis. More than half of our young people are leaving the church and saying, “No” to the Adventist life and beliefs. This can be thwarted but part of the change comes with connecting to an Adventist school.
You see the Valugenesis study found three key elements to a childs spiritual development. Spirituality and Adventist values taught at home, a quality local church, & attending a quality Adventist school.
- For the young people that are members of our church but really don’t have any of these three they found over the course of a generation of students only 35% had developed a mature faith in Jesus Christ.
- For the young people that have one of those quality venues in their lives they found 55% of them had developed a mature faith in Jesus Christ.
- For those with two quality venues 69% had a mature faith in Jesus Christ.
- And for those with all three quality home, church, & school 75% had a mature faith in Jesus Christ.
Now some people may say, “you see I don’t need the school there is only a 6% difference between the two quality venues and the three quality venues.”
Well, let me just say I hope no one would say that. Let us hope that every parent would say, “even for just a 6% greater opportunity of faith, I would do anything for my child!”
These are the numbers but here is the testimony of more than 81% of students that attended Adventist schools:
“Attending an Adventist school is the most important thing that has helped me develop my religious faith.”
That is the testimony of my life. I accepted Jesus through the influence of my Academy Bible teacher, Pastor Neil Richmund & my Academy peers. I am forever grateful to Spring Valley Academy for the impact that wonderful school had on my life. And more so I am grateful that my parents made the decision from day one that there was no other option for our family, all three of their kids were going to Adventist school whether we liked it or not our entire lives. The schools weren’t perfect and nor were we, my older sister and I went the way of the world for a time, but we had our roots and we are both back walking with the Lord. She teaching in an Adventist Elementary school, and me working as an Adventist pastor. And my little sister praise the Lord never wandered and she recently had the great privilege of enrolling the next generation into an Adventist school, Armona Union Academy.
If you haven’t considered it or you have decided Adventist Education just wasn’t worth it for your family; Will you pause and see past the perception to the reality?
**The statistics found in this post are from a presentation by Dr. Elissa Kido