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Meet the Tri-City Christian Academy, epicenter of New Hampshire’s voucher tax credit program.

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Most of New Hampshire’s Creationist Christian schools are unaccredited, but the Tri-City Christian Academy in Somersworth is the largest unaccredited private school in the State.  The Academy has  19 teachers and 344 students, mostly in the preK and elementary grades.  Accreditation is clearly a sensitive issue for the Academy.  Tri-City is currently accredited by Nicene Schools International which, they say, “was founded by our church and some friends from a church in Florida.”  Tri-City has been working on a more recognized accreditation for years and anticipated approval by the most important accreditor, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, in 2011, but that has not been granted yet. The web site now features the prospect that the school is a candidate for accreditation sometime in the future.  Tuition is about $4,000 per year.

New Hampshire’s Christian schools were the main lobbyists supporting the voucher bill – and the Tri-City Christian Academy was central to that effort.  Tri-City principal Paul Edgar and 3 others from the Academy testified to the Senate Education Committee on the bill.  Mr. Edgar testified on behalf of the Granite State Christian Schools Association, who’s address is c/o Tri-City, saying that the education tax credit would relieve overcrowding in NH schools.  Mr. Edgar later sent another letter to Senate Education Committee saying that his school was struggling and that Christian school parents had to pay twice for their educations since they paid local taxes whether or not they went to the public schools.  Here is James Pinard, on the Academy’s professional development staff, speaking here for the Granite State Christian Schools Association.  Mr. Pinard has worked with the voucher sponsors and spoken at every public hearing on the bill.  A few weeks ago Mr. Pinard presented the bill’s sponsors with Distinguished Service Awards at the Association’s annual awards banquet.

And now that this voucher bill is passed, Tri-City has been in the forefront of marketing and defending the program.  Tri-City and New Hampshire’s only scholarship organization, a California group called the Network for Educational Opportunity, scheduled a scholarship information session at Tri-City’s open house.  The school’s web site looked like the state-wide headquarters for marketing the tax credit program and lobbying against repeal, urging parents to contact the Network for Educational Opportunity, apply for vouchers and persuade their legislators to oppose repeal.  Here is one example, a letter the Academy sent to all school parents urging them to apply for scholarships.  In response to the recent attention, Tri-City and NEO have wiped their web sites clean of all references to each other,  but their shared philosophy will surely continue to bind them.

The Network for Educational Opportunity says its goal is to get government out of education.  That sounds a lot like Tri-City’s philosophy statement, an essay called “The Education Battlefield:”

…government schools have assumed a virtual monopolistic influence over the lives of the vast majority of American families with school-aged children….The use of centralized, publicly-financed, government-owned schools was imported from authoritarian Prussia, and we “lived without it” throughout the formative years of our nation,

The Unitarian liberals…rejected God the sovereign…King of the universe, and replaced Him with a hapless, helpless God.

…The centerpiece institution for implementing…a cultural coup de tat [sic] would be universal public education….The kind of “education” they had in mind…would…replace…Christian theism with the moral relativism of secular humanism.

Basic to the success or failure of the humanist, anti-Christian revolution…is the degree to which the…sovereign, independent family acquiesces to, or resists, the dictates of the State. …Christian education….[is]..a bulwark…against the relentless expansionism of the total State.

…the micro-managers of the secular State cannot tolerate,…competition….Meanwhile, the student-conscripts of the government education corps have become the equivalent of human guinea pigs.

Tri-City goes on to say in its parent/student handbook,

…all education is to be God-centered. God is the absolute sovereign over all things. Every fact in the universe is a God-created, God-interpreted fact, and therefore all instruction is to be given in terms of God. There can be no neutral areas. There are no subjects in which God can legitimately be excluded. As He is Lord and King over all creation, so He is to be central in all the instruction we give to our children… God has actually delegated a portion of His authority to parents in the area of their children’s education….This control can be in effect whether the child is in a Christian home school or a Christian school. It is virtually impossible, however, to control the child’s education in the state (public) school. It is nowhere specified in Scripture that the civil magistrate (the state) is to have responsibility for the education of our children.

The school explains its “senior high program” this way:

All instruction will be approached with the first presupposition being that the Bible is truth. Students will be taught that the Word of God sits in judgment over us…students will be instructed that God controls history…The Lord Jesus Christ’s bodily return will occur after He has subdued His enemies…Tri-City Christian Academy was founded upon the foundational principle that Jesus Christ is Lord over every area of life….We need to saturate our students with a biblical worldview in an attempt to train them to take dominion of the creation in Christ’s Name.

Tri-City Christian Academy is not designed to please everyone. Many reject the premises stated above and would only encounter personal frustration while possibly even hindering the work of Tri-City Christian Academy…

This philosophy is faithfully carried out in Tri-City’s curriculum.   Tri-City says that, “Memorization of Scripture verses (King James Version) will be an integral part of Bible class in all grades -Kindergarten through High School.”  Here is the kindergarten memory assignment, and for elementary school, and for high school.  Classwork is constructed around the A Beka Book curriculum and the SevenStar online curriculum.  Both curricula integrate Biblical teaching into every lesson.  Here are some samples from the A Beka curriculum:

  • From Some Thoughts on Thinking: “The Godgiven ministry of Christian schools is to lead young people to Christ and train them in the Bible, Christian character, language, and traditional subject matter. Today’s students need to be taught the accumulated wisdom of the past from God’s point of view and trained in the way they should go (Prov. 22:6) so they will have a firm foundation from which to evaluate the present and make proper decisions for the future….the basis of critical thinking is the ability to come to well-reasoned judgments supported by biblical principles.
  • From The Lessons of History: “We can without hesitation present political conservatism as the Christian’s proper response to America’s glorious heritage because of our Biblical perspective. The Christian teacher should teach the Scriptural principles upon which America was founded and instill within the students the desire and the intelligence to remain true to those principles which establish political and religious freedom through republican self-government and separation of church and state. Only as our citizens understand these principles and order their lives in light of them can we continue to progress as a people and retain our religious and political freedoms. Only as we teach the freedom and dignity of the individual under God can we produce responsible citizens who can be a just authority for future generations.”
  • “The A Beka Book Science Program presents the universe as the direct creation of God and refutes the man-made idea of evolution. Further, the books present God as the Great Designer and Lawgiver.” (A Beka marketing materials)
  • Economics: Work and Prosperity in Christian Perspective (Economics:  Work and Prosperity in Christian Perspective, vol. 2; A Beka, 1999)
    • “Some of [Milton Friedman’s] practical ideas include the abolishment of the United States’ public school system and Social Security Program.”
    • “…many of the ‘crises’ on the environmentalists’ agenda are simply not supported by scientific evidence….and are promoted by environmentalists for destructive reasons.”
    • “True world peace will only be possible after Jesus Christ comes to rule and reign” (photo)
  • An eighth grade civics text, under the heading “A Liberal Supreme Court,”: “The Supreme Court made several liberal decisions in the 1970s, indicating the moral decline of the nation as a whole.” (America:  Land That I Love; A Beka, 1994)
  • “Modern liberalism has had many tragic consequences — war, tyranny, and despair — for mankind.”  (World History and Cultures in Christian Perspective, vol. 3; A Beka, 1995)

Here are some snapshots from their books and from the A Beka and SevenStar curricula.  Notice the seamless integration of academics (lite), conservative politics and Creationist Christian belief.

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