5 Things Every Christian Can Do—Right Now—to Help Close the Achievement Gap
① Volunteer as a tutor, mentor, or reading partner.
School-based and off-site tutoring and mentoring programs are always in need of volunteers. Their lessons are typically scripted, and they provide training for people who may need to brush up on those old elementary school skills. National service organizations like Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the United Way will facilitate the volunteer placement process for you as they specialize in connecting volunteers with direct reading, tutoring, and mentoring opportunities.
② Support public school partnerships through your church.
Many congregations are already supporting schools and families through book drives or school clean-up days and by sponsoring field trips or offering after-school and summer programs for neighborhood students. Find out what your church is doing and volunteer. Many of these ministries need administrative and logistical support, so even people with unpredictable work schedules can still help. For more ideas, check out the terrific resources in the "More than Paper and Pencils" on this page, and read about the many exciting things happening in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area in "Church/School Partnerships = Win/Win."
③ Advocate for early childhood education and other important reforms in your state.
This can be done through the traditional routes of civic engagement by contacting your congressperson or state legislature. You can also educate yourself and others on pressing educational issues by researching the following organizations: National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC.org), The Children's Defense Fund, Stand for Children, and the Education Trust.
④ Make financial contributions to effective organizations.
Most educational equity organizations are nonprofits that rely on the gracious financial stewardship of individuals. In addition to offering our time and talents, financial contributions are yet another way that we all can support organizations that are working tirelessly to make educational equity a reality for all children. Most organizations also accept online donations through their websites. (See "More than Paper and Pencils.")
⑤ Become an "Ambassador" for The Expectations Project in your region.
TEP Ambassadors are a huge asset to us as they help form grassroots coalitions of churches in regions where TEP does not have a permanent office. TEP staff will provide training and support materials for those interested in educating others about the achievement gap, forming small groups around the book Educating All God's Children, committing committing to praying for our children and schools, as well as a host of other opportunities. Learn more.