In the early 1970’s, fundamental Christian pastors became alarmed by the inroads of secular humanism in the public schools. Prayer and Bible reading had been removed in the previous decade by order of the U.S. Supreme Court, and it became increasingly clear that our children would be swallowed up in the tide of secularism.
Pastors began to look for alternatives to public education, and finding nothing that fit their needs, began to organize Christian schools as an integral part of the local church’s ministry. These courageous men often found themselves in conflict with their state officials. In some cases pastors went to jail rather than follow the dictates of their State Department of Education (teacher certification, separate building codes for churches and schools, health department regulations, etc.).
Thankfully in New York conflict was avoided by a group of men who united to form the New York Association of Christian Schools. Rev. Carl Bish was selected to serve as our first president, and later as funds became available Rev. Duane Motley was asked to serve as our executive director.
These men, along with others who served on the board of directors, worked out potential conflicts with state and local officials.
One of the most important of these potential conflicts concerned the State Compulsory Education Law. Private schools, including the new Christian schools, could request a determination by their local school district of “substantial equivalency.” This assures the state that children enrolled are being educated, while allowing the church/school to control its own ministry – the Christian School.
The New York Association of Christian Schools has maintained a cordial relationship with the New York State Department of Education. This is not to say that there are no differences – there are –but these are generally worked out.
There are currently 40 member Christian Schools in NYACS. Member schools must annually apply for membership renewal and have their pastor and administrator sign our doctrinal statement.