I was infuriated as the Chicago Sun-Times reported: “Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said at a dramatic 10 p.m. Sunday press conference. ‘Real school will not be open [Monday].’”
Seriously?! “Real” schools?! There are thousands of teachers, students, and families in parochial schools who will beg to differ.
In my own Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, a network of 2,444 top-notch schools spans this nation – real schools with high standards of excellence! Historically, the standards set by our schools not only meet, but exceed that of their public counterparts. In the 19th century, while many public schools had teachers with 8th grade educations, our Lutheran schools insisted on a Normal School education, equivalent to two years of college, which they received either in Addison (or later, River Forest), Illinois or Seward, Nebraska. In addition to the reading, writing, and arithmetic, history, geography, spelling, music, art history & appreciation, etc., while many public school children might have learned *a* foreign language, our students were at least learning German, English, Latin, with some of our schools adding French, Greek, and Hebrew to boot! In the 21st century, where funds allow, state-of-the-art technology is used and experienced. Due to the quality of education, many states simply accept the accreditation of our real Lutheran school system, because it exceeds their own requirements for accreditation.
Families in real Lutheran schools are not there because they think they are better than anyone, or because it is somehow easier than public school; neither is true. Families come to our schools and stay, knowing that there are smaller schools with faculties that really know their children, providing them an excellent environment in which to be challenged and grow academically, spiritually, and emotionally, in a safe, Christ-centered context.
To Union President Karen Lewis I would say: “Madame, you are very wrong. Sixteen very real schools of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, as well as several other Lutheran schools, many Roman Catholic schools, and a number of other private schools are quite open. These safe, welcoming communities of real learning are praying for you to solve your labor differences, without begrudging the fact that your teachers already (on an average) are making *double* the salary that ours are. Still, most of them would much rather remain where they are, required extra-curriculars and all, knowing the mutual love, concern, and encouragement they receive from very real colleagues, families, and students.