For a long time, I've had this dream (vision, idea, call it what you will) of seeing Christians open schools in poor urban neighborhoods. Or just in neighborhoods in general where the public option is less than desirable. Schools that are rigorously academic, possibly classical, but most importantly strongly Christian.
It doesn't have to be based out of one church. In fact, I think it is better if it's not, and instead is a collaboration between different local churches, though a local congregation may have the space for the facilities. But it must have a statement of faith that is solidly Biblical, to which all the teachers agree. Perhaps the parents don't have to sign the statement of faith, just agree that their student may be taught there with an understanding that it is based on God's Word. Of course, Christian education and education in general should begin and end in the home, with the parents, but perhaps that could also be a role of the Christian school (as it already should be of the local church)-- to equip parents to teach their children in the Lord as they go about their day. Because without God's Word as the foundation education is futile.
And it would most certainly be a neighborhood school, serving the community around it. (All these recent local ATL discussions about busing and rezoning and redistricting notwithstanding, I think there is a place for the "school down the block.") Not quite the same thing as the parochial Catholic schools, but a worthy, well-run firmly Christian school that would offer deep discounts, possibly even free education to needy students nearby. That last bit it the important part. Can't all those wealthy suburbanites and upwardly mobile inner-city yuppies get together and agree that this is a worthy cause to support with their disposable incomes? Could they send their children there? I'd hope so. What a great way to benefit the larger advancement of the kingdom, by supporting one or more of these schools, like Paul asking the Christians to send money to Jerusalem to help out those who were struggling.
I know, I know. I'm an idealist. That's why I married a realist, to balance me out. But then I read this article by Anthony Bradley that advocates the same idea -- missional education -- and I find out that some people are already doing this sort of thing! So, my only question now is, since Philadelphia's program seems to be working, how can we get this going in Atlanta?