#1 – Yes, it is true that ACA does not follow a Regents curriculum and no, it is not a liability. Instead, it is one of our greatest assets. Proverbs establishes a pattern of learning that begins with knowledge (information), followed by understanding (logic and reasoning), and culminating with wisdom (just application of knowledge). This pattern hinges on two biblical presuppositions: that knowledge is grounded in truth and righteousness and that the entire learning process is in submission to God. The NYS Board of Regents does not adhere to either this pattern of learning or the presuppositions behind it. Rather, they adhere to radically different understandings of how people learn and what they should learn. ACA has chosen not to follow the Regents curriculum because we believe that a Biblically consistent curriculum and methodology that has stood the test of centuries and produced architecture, literature, music, science, and art that we still marvel at will yield a more excellent course of study and also a more God-honoring one.
#2 – A founding understanding at Augustine is that all education is discipleship. By this we mean that it is not possible to teach anyone anything without also communicating a worldview. The question isn’t “is a teacher discipling?” but instead “how are they discipling?” This understanding is rooted in our conviction that there is no truth apart from God, indeed that God is sovereign over things. The NYS Board of Regents promotes an alternate understanding. First it presents secularism as ideological neutrality, putting students in the precarious situation of being under an authority that refuses to recognize that it is preaching a worldview. In a philosophical battle the dragon guarding his lair is not nearly as dangerous a foe as the wolf in sheep’s clothing who lurks among you. Secondly, by teaching that there exists academic truth apart from God, say that 2 + 2 = 4 is true independent of God, they teach their students that God, if He exists is quite small, as much of reality can go on independent of Him. In effect, a secular education disciples Christian students into believing that there are two worlds: the “real” world that operates and exists independent of God, and then the spiritual realm that can comfort them on Sundays and Wednesday evenings. We believe that this dualistic perspective produced by secular education is at the core of the discipleship crisis that has resulted in the majority of students growing up in Christian homes “graduating” from their childhood faith before their freshman year in college. Rather than try and redeem this flawed philosophy with a veneer of Christianity, we are committed to departing from it and returning to the philosophies and standards of an age when the church led the world in education. Just as we would never invite the Board of Regents to direct our Sunday Schools or our pastor’s sermon teaching, we would never see the Regents as a suitable partner in discipling our children. Jesus made this clear when he warned us not to render unto Caesar what is God’s.
#3 Sadly, in these days we have a third answer to this question. By not registering to teach the State curriculum or taking any State or Federal funds, we avoid the mounting pressure to conform to the current popular misunderstandings of gender and marriage.