Annual Messages on Public Education

  • The UCC Justice & Witness Ministries 2013 Message on Public Education:The Public Purpose of Public Education, examines what those who have thought seriously about the public nature of public education have expected the institution to accomplish and whether today's myriad attempts to privatize what our society has valued as the foundation of our democracy can produce a better outcome.
  • The UCC Justice & Witness Ministries 2012 Message on Public Education, "Why the Conventional Wisdom on School Reform is Wrong and Why the Church Should Care," explores the impact of poverty on the lives of children and on their education.
  • The Justice and Witness Ministries 2011 Message on Public Education explores how public schools are being affected by programs like Race to the Top and the other huge competitive federal stimulus programs, as well as what we still need to do to protest the test and punish impact of the lingering No Child Left Behind Act. 
  • The Justice & Witness Ministries 2010 Message on Public Education explores the politically charged issue of immigration as it affects public schools and children who are new to our country, their communities, and their schools. As primary civic institutions, public schools reproduce the strengths and also the injustices in our society. It is important for us as faithful citizens to reflect on ways we can work to make public schools more equitably serve all children.
  •  Justice and Witness Ministries' annual resource, the 2009 Message on Public Education, lifts up the importance of schools to form each whole child, created in the image of God, in contrast to the test-and-punish philosophy of the federal education law, No Child Left Behind, that has dangerously narrowed the curriculum in schools serving America's poorest children. A second key article challenges us to evaluate justice in charter schools according to values of access, equity, and public purpose. If you would like additional printed copies for discussion in your congregation, please contact Jan Resseger (216-736-3711) or
  • 2005:  Whose Child Left Behind? Why? Between 2001 and 2005 a UCC Public Education Task Force was charged by General Synod 23 to, "identify systemic barriers to excellent public education and to recommend strategies to address those barriers." Four years later and after reflecting on site visits to schools in greater Cleveland, Ohio; Phoenix, Arizona; Hartford, Connecticut; and Wartburg, Tennessee, the Task Force reported on, "inequality in inputs from one place to another. Vastly unequal investment will inevitably deny opportunity for the children who attend poorer facilities, in larger classes, and with less investment in teachers' salaries and ongoing training."