No Child Left Behind…Really?

by Joseph Parker

As Christians…what should this mean to us?

For five years I worked in the academic world of No Child Left Behind in one of the largest after school programs in the country. I am, therefore, very familiar with the whole No Child Left Behind Pros and Cons conversation regarding ALL kids need for improved and sustained academics.

But I ask again, as Christians, what should this mean to us?

For me, No Child Left Behind is a term very similar to the one I use for “at-risk.”

Any child that does not know Jesus Christ as his/her Lord and Savior is “at-risk” of being “Left Behind.”

As Christians, I believe “No Child Left Behind” should have a deeper meaning than simply assisting kids through their “academic career.” Our every goal should be toward bringing these kids to a relationship with Jesus Christ.

I do not mean that to sound “Christianeze” either.

I mean, to do this, we MUST reach their academic needs, but as Christians we must also be committed to reaching their spiritual, social, emotional and physical needs as well.

And is this possible through a Big Number Program that “works with” kids 4-5 day a week in an after school program?

Maybe…maybe not.

Based on the research, study and experiences I have had I would say by and large the majority of kids going through after school programs are not much better off as adults than those kids who had never been in a program…PARTICULARLY in the area of their relationship with Jesus Christ.

How do we realistically make a change in kids lives when I am ONE adult with FIFTY kids?

Okay, some of you are saying…I’m not working with 50 kids…I only have 15 or 20.

So I ask, realistically, how much real change through deep, intentional, long term relationships can you impart dividing your time between 15-20 kids?

We are humans, we only have so much time…so much energy…so much ability to reach kids through a sincere relationship.

I don’t know, you tell me…but that sounds like pretty staggering, if not impossible, odds to see the kind of results we hope to achieve.

Rather, why not seek to follow the very example our Lord Jesus gave us in how he discipled a small group of men…who, ironically, made a larger, longer impact on this world than anyone could have imagined.

To me, NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND means we need to build relationships with kids in such an intentional, long term manner they will grow to become Christ-changed, hope-filled productive adults… and who, in turn, will change their communities…their world.

KidTrek has a strategic plan to disciple small numbers of kids, while still reaching the masses through the local church; visit our website to learn more and then let us know what you think.

Read Deuteronomy 6 and Matthew 18 and then post a comment and let me know what you think…what are your experiences…how do you read this passage as far as God’s command for us to “walk with kids through life.”


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