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by RANDALL MURPHREE | AFA Journal Editor

"Parents must not abdicate their parental responsibilities to their child’s public school," says Finn Laursen. Laursen is executive director of Christian Educators Association International (CEAI). He is himself a product of public schools and worked 32 years in public schools.

Founded in 1953, CEAI became the first national organization of professional Christian educators working in public, private and charter schools.

From the beginning, the group has served the education community by encouraging, equipping and empowering Christian educators in public and private education.

For many, CEAI is the perfect alternative to the National Education Association, a teachers union that has been leaning hard to the political left for decades. Like NEA, CEAI provides many benefits for its members, such as professional liability insurance. It also views teaching as a God-given calling and ministry and promotes the Judeo-Christian ethic in public schools.

Recent issue concerns: ‘gay’ agenda, abortion
CEAI does not become involved in local school debates. However, when moral concerns or parental rights are at stake, CEAI is eager to see parent-friendly results. For example, in Lawton, Oklahoma, CEAI regional director David Williams learned in January that the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network was attempting to form an affiliate at his son’s high school. Lawton is a city of 81,000 in Southwest Oklahoma.

Williams, who teaches in another school district, went into action. First he sought prayer from believers in the area. The local paper published his letter to the editor, and he enlisted the help of KVRS radio station manager Dan Allen. KVRS is the local American Family Radio station. Next came a local TV story addressing equal access and parental involvement. Local church members distributed materials by ex-gays to students at the high school. Hundreds of E-mails went to local politicians, school board members, teachers and parents.

"To make a long story short," says Williams, "the club was voted down by the student government. What was intended to quietly appear without parent notification was thwarted." One result of the project was a practical 10-step plan of action that Williams (davidw@ceai.org) will furnish to others who face the homosexual agenda in local public schools.

As a former public school counselor and administrator, Laursen agrees that teachers legally function in the role of parents when they supervise and teach children during the school day. However, he says schools should always respect the parent-child relationship.

As an example Laursen recently commended the school board in Roseville, California, for its decision regarding students leaving campus for medical procedures including abortion. The school board was expected to amend district policy to allow students to secure such procedures without parental knowledge.

However, when parents learned of the proposed change, they packed the January 4 board meeting and found the board responsive to their concerns and rights.

School spokesman Larry Brubaker told AFA Journal that, while this issue is certainly divisive in many school systems, the Roseville board stood with their parents.

"The school will not release students for medical reasons without parental permission," he said. The city of 45,000 is near Sacramento and has 8,000 students in its school district.

2005 prayer focus
CEAI is not politically aggressive, and its leaders take care not to enter the public arena in a combative stance. One CEAI vision for 2005 is to improve education in America through prayer and networking.

"The goal," said Williams, "is to enroll one million prayer partners who are committed to praying for their own local schools. The prayer focus is to have a teacher encouragement group offering prayer support in every school nationwide."

The over-riding purpose of everything the group does is defined in this — to preserve traditional Christian values of faith and family in our schools. CEAI offers personnel in public or Christian schools — administrators, teachers and support staff — a place to call their professional home.

For more information:
www.ceai.org
www.raiseyourhand.us (for the 2005 prayer project), or call toll free
1-888-798-1124.