UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Growth of non-FISA Christian schools in British Columbia, 1975-1985 Calvert, Gordon C.


This thesis examines the growth of small, church-related Christian schools in British Columbia, in particular those schools, largely non-funded, outside of British Columbia's Federation of Independent School Associations (FISA). The early chapters provide an overview of the history of private schooling in Canada and examine the social context of the growth of Christian schools. They show the importance of private alternatives in both Canadian and British Columbian educational history. They demonstrate that the growing disenchantment with public education is a by-product of societal changes in the last twenty-five years. Later chapters examine the Christian school parent's concern with the perceived lack of Biblical values and with the "secular humanist" philosophy of the public school curriculum, as well as the rationale underlying the growth of Protestant evangelical day schools in British Columbia. Although derived from a wide range of sources, much of the information was obtained from primary sources such as reports, directories, enrollment statistics and, in particular, oral interviews and questionnaires with principals and others involved in the Christian school movement in British Columbia. Private Christian schools in Canada have built their reputation on an increasing popular dissatisfaction with public education, its "secular humanist" philosophy and its perceived lack of Biblical values. This study demonstrates that the church-related Christian schools are not a phenomenon of any one urban or rural area but rather are spread quite consistently throughout many communities of British Columbia. The majority of these schools (64%) were founded between 1977 and 1981 and are small, employing one to two full-time teachers. Government funding for private schools began in 1977 but as this study shows, had little to do with the founding of these schools, a significant finding since 80% of the schools were founded after 1977. The Christian school's popularity can be traced to the philosophic convictions of the parents who view these schools as a bastion of Biblical truth and morality in a secular world. In elucidating this philosophy, the thesis points out the diversity of the Non-FISA Christian schools on such issues as government funding and control, teacher certification and curricula. The unifying theme is that religion was the raison d’être for the founding of the schools and that the home and the church were the preferred places in which to teach children how to live. It is evident that the private schools, particularly the Christian ones, meet a need for advocates of family choice in our pluralistic Canadian society who have become disillusioned with the public school system, and desire a more traditional education suited to their philosophy.

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