I’m often asked “why Lutheran schools?” An interesting question and a vital one for anyone who is raising children in the 21st century. A recent study completed by the NAEP, National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as “the Nation’s Report Card”, reported excellent news for our Lutheran school system. This study is the only nationally representative and continuing study of American schools and what our students are learning. The report concluded that in five of eight categories Lutheran schools finished first and in the other three we finished second. The groups studied included the following-- other religious, nonsectarian, Catholic, Lutheran, public, Conservative Christian and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Students were tested in 4th, 8th, and 12th grades in reading, science, and math. This study would reinforce the ACT scores we have witnessed at LHSKC over the past decade—an average of between 24-26 per graduating senior, or about 20% above national norms.
Some would argue that Lutheran schools have parents who are more involved. Some would say it is not fair to compare students from such a wide range of schools. Others still would maintain that attending a Lutheran school is a choice. To each of these statements there is some truth. Either way the news is GOOD NEWS. In addition to teaching math, reading, science and all other subjects, we have the unique privilege of sharing the most important truth of all: God has won the victory over sin, death and the devil through the redemptive work of His Son, Jesus Christ. The Good News is not only academic, rather it is systemic. That news is-- He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed!
I recently attended the annual Association of Lutheran Secondary Schools (ALSS) conference. There are 85 Lutheran Church Missouri Synod secondary schools located in the United States. The Lutheran High School of Kansas City is the 44th largest school with an enrollment of 137 for 2014-2015. In other words, we rank in the top half of LCMS secondary schools. Twenty years ago there were over 100 Lutheran Secondary schools in operation. This fact just points to the reality that the task of running Lutheran secondary schools continues to be a challenge, not only in Kansas City, but all over the country. The fact that LHSKC is alive and well some 35 years into its formation is a testament to the Lutheran community of the greater Kansas City area. We should all praise God for this continued support, but we should also realize the work is far from finished. The more students we can touch with the Gospel, the larger Christ’s church here on earth can grow. Let us all understand that we cannot rest on our laurels. As our nation changes and grows more diverse there is even a greater need to reach the lost. Lutheran education is one of the instruments we have at our disposal. Praise God for Lutheran Schools.
Dr. Cary Stelmachowicz