School Choice Stories

Rev. Keith Ratliff

...parents must have to be able to give

their child an education that isn’t at odds

with what they’re teaching at home."

 

"Back in 2008, Mrs. Chris Hurley and myself began talking to each other about the importance of having a Christian school in the urban area, in Des Moines – one that would also be affordable for the local kids.

“We opened the doors to Joshua Christian Academy in the fall of 2009. We started off with only nine students, kindergarten through third grade. The following year we grew to 27 students, and so we moved into another building. We went from 27 to 54 and we kept growing every year, so after about three years we moved to the building we are now. Today we serve about 170 students, kindergarten through 12th grade.”

“We believe strongly in what we call a three-legged stool approach – where what the kids learn in school is reinforced in the family and taught in church. School choice is so critical in giving parents the ability to choose the best path for their children and making that three-legged stool approach possible.”

“There are moral questions involved with school choice. There are some moral issues that just cannot be separated neatly in life, and parents must have to be able to give their child an education that isn’t at odds with what they’re teaching at home. Our students understand the importance and the moral challenges that are before them, and what to look for and what to strive for.”

“We are blessed at JCA to have an entire community of supporters and donors that believe in our mission and help make it a reality. We don’t have a set tuition per student… we ask what the family can afford and try our best to meet them where they’re at.

“But even then, there are parents that want to come here, want their child to receive the education we offer, but can’t afford the minimum – $50 per month.”

“Families come here because they value the education their child receives; they value the smaller class sizes and the Christian community around the school.”

 

Rev. Keith Ratliff
Executive Director and Elementary Principal
Joshua Christian Academy
Des Moines, IA

 

“We average 15 students per class, and that’s what we drive home with parents – smaller class sizes are what help students succeed. Our teachers have more one-on-one time with students and are able to help when help is needed. Our public schools provide crucial services, but too often many are left behind in the inner city and teachers can’t dedicate the time or attention some students need.”

“One thing I’ve noticed in my time here, is that our students learn good study habits at a young age. It's not just JCA, but across the board at Christian schools and other schools of choice – because of the learning environment we’re able to give them. We want to provide an opportunity to succeed for those kids.”

“Education savings accounts would make a world of difference for many families to want to come here – or to any other Christian school in Iowa.”

“It would be a huge help for the school and would allow us to bring even more teachers and counselors on board, as we expand and reach more and more children in the Des Moines urban community.”

“We provide a critical service here in the inner city, as an urban Christian school and we could make a larger impact if parents are afforded greater freedom to choose the school that fits their child’s needs.”