Written by Don Byrd

Last week, public school educators, administrators, and advocates celebrated Public Schools Week 2019, an annual celebration of the accomplishments and importance to our country of public schools, which educate 90% of America’s children. The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty partnered in this effort, emphasizing the key role public schools play in protecting religious liberty.

In case you missed it, here are some #PublicSchoolProud highlights from the week that are worth your time:

-EthicsDaily.com hosted a series of columns on the topic, including Suzii Paynter’s reflections on church ministries that uplift their local public school; Charles Foster Johnson offers “6 Reasons to Support Public Education“; and the BJC’s Jennifer Hawks explores “5 Ways They Support Religious Liberty For All.” Read all three! Here is an excerpt from Hawks’ essay in which she discusses her own experience as a public school student:

It was in my public elementary school that I first met peers who were Methodist, Catholic, Jewish, Jehovah’s Witness and agnostic.

We had different approaches to religion, but our public schools gave us an opportunity to start working out how to coexist and be community despite our religious differences.

-The Baptist Joint Committee also issued a new handout on religious liberty in public schools, a guide to the ways religion can be a part of public education without violating principles of church-state separation. For even more on this topic, see the BJC’s Religion and Public Schools Resources.

-The BJC also continues to advocate against school voucher systems. As a member of the National Coalition on Public Education, the BJC explains that vouchers harm religious liberty by funding religious education with taxpayer money. That arrangement forces Americans to provide financial support for religious beliefs that are not their own, and it extends the reach of the government into religious institutions in a way that undermines the church’s autonomy, and threatens its prophetic voice. In other words, vouchers are a bad deal for both the church and the state.

Check out the hashtag #PublicSchoolProud on social media to find more.