The Richmond Register

Education

June 18, 2014

Bluegrass Christian School may close

Needs 10 more students to enroll by month’s end

RICHMOND — After 12 years in Richmond, Bluegrass Christian School may close for good when its board makes a final decision late this month.

About 20 students are committed to attend the school in the fall, but 30 more student contracts are needed for the school to stay open, said Dr. Bonita Cobb, who was appointed the school’s headmaster last summer.

Essentially, enrollment contracts must be signed for 10 additional students or the school will close, she said. If the school does not reach its goal, however, the $100 application fee will be refunded.

Several families have shown interest in sending their children to BCS, said Cobb, but with tuition at $4,500 a year, many simply cannot afford it.

And with the recent loss of a major private donor, the school cannot lower tuition, she said. It would operate solely on tuition income next school year, plus a “handful” of regular church donations.

Last year, the school had about 40 students, eight teachers, two of which were part-time, plus a secretary and the headmaster.

If it were to remain open, three teaching positions would be eliminated and the school would move from its current facility on Pin Oak Drive. There is a sign on West Main Street that reads “No Common Core” and points to the school’s location.

In May, Bluegrass Christian’s board initially decided to close the school, where enrollment has “been in decline probably for the past four to five years,” Cobb said.

However, there was an immediate “outcry” from those in the community who support an “excellent Christian education,” and the board postponed the decision to see if enough students could be enrolled, she said.

BCS offers classes in grades P-12 and is state certified. That means students who graduate from BCS earn a nationally-recognized diploma and are eligible for Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES) funds to attend in-state colleges, the headmaster said.

The state certification “really is a big deal,” Cobb said. “A lot of people who graduate from other private Christian schools must still earn a GED.”

That’s a big reason Bluegrass has tried so hard to stay open — to offer “quality Christian education” to Richmond and surrounding areas, she said.

“A lot of people compare us to Model (Laboratory School), but they’re not a Christian school,” she said.

Cobb attributed the “huge public outcry” after news of the school’s closing to rejection of Common Core Standards, education standards in English, language arts and mathematics recently adopted by education departments and legislatures in nearly every state.

Even some of the elite private schools in Lexington are aligning their curriculum to Common Core, she said.

But at Bluegrass Christian, “Common Core is our baseline. It’s not our ceiling,” said Cobb. “There are a lot of things about Common Core that are developmentally inappropriate.”

Under Common Core, students in lower elementary are required to learn abstract mathematics too quickly and should master concrete mathematics first, she said. “Students’ brains haven’t developed enough for abstract (math) yet. This causes a lot of frustration (for students).”

In language arts guided by Common Core, students must learn to read manuals, flyers and brochures “or whatever the government wants you to read” instead of classic literature, she said.

Cobb compared the new Common Core literature to “propaganda,” that promotes pro-choice ideology, “alternative lifestyles and things not in line with a Christian worldview.”

“Everything we do (at BCS) is in line with a Christian worldview,” she added.

Cobb said Kentucky’s school science standards also are not compatible with the Bluegrass curriculum. Instead of teaching about the history of science and the accomplishment of scientists through the years, “it is being replaced with everything global — global warming and more global thinking.”

Evolution also is presented as fact and not as theory under public-school science standards, she said.

Common Core Standards “are telling you what to think, instead of how to think. Those are our greatest concerns with education,” she said.  

Over the years, Bluegrass has graduated around 15 students, but many children attend school there through elementary and middle school and go on to public school for the upper grades, she said.

“It’s hard to compete with free education,” she said. “But I truly believe we are a better education.”

For more about Bluegrass Christian, visit bcsky.org.

Crystal Wylie can be reached at cwylie@richmondregister.com or 623-1669, Ext. 6696. 

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