To Families on The Fence: A Compelling Case

This is an education worth sticking around for.

To Families on The Fence: A Compelling Case


Jenn Casterline

February 7, 2020

Walker Percy once said, “You can get all A’s and still flunk life.”

The implementation of classical Christian education (cCe) at JECA is our attempt to teach our children how to thrive in this broken world. This is our doing the very best we know how with what we have and where we are. JECA, along with 300+ sister schools around the country that are members of ACCS, longs to assist Christian families in rearing their children to be lifelong learners who, with wisdom and beauty, shape and influence their world for Christ.

And the results???

The results are measured slowly day by day. In fact they are measured over a lifetime. Some days cause us to wonder…and some days we are filled with wonder about how our children are progressing and the beautiful things that are occupying their minds. I sat at a thesis kick-off lunch with our seniors this week and heard them talk about the directions they were thinking of going with their upcoming thesis projects…and it made me sure (again) we are on the right track.

Another way to try to measure results is to look to the macro level…and that is being done.

Cardus is a research company that wants to promote a flourishing society. They produce a bi-annual study called The Cardus Education Survey that seeks to measure the outcomes in thinking and living between students from different educational systems. The study is a cooperative between Cardus and the sociology department at Notre Dame University. For the first time, the latest report includes data from graduates of ACCS (classical Christian) schools and compares them to graduates of homeschools, private non-religious [“But all education is deeply religious,” I retort], private traditional Christian, Catholic, and public schools.

I strongly compel you to review the findings. These charts and graphs were issued by the researchers at Notre Dame. The findings measure life outcomes for participants 24-42 years olds in seven key categories:

  • Influence
  • Thinking
  • Conservatism
  • Christian Thinking
  • Christian Practices
  • Outlook on Life
  • College and Career Preparedness


JECA did not have graduates able to participate in this study at the time the research began, but our school is a member of this association and highly regarded by the leadership. We are still a young school, but standardized testing results in comparison to other ACCS schools show us hanging steady in the middle of the testing category results. We have teachers who buy in to this mission and treasure the opportunity to see their classrooms as mission fields and their classroom lessons as vital content in preparation for teaching our students to be joyful, lifelong, Christ-centered learners.

Of course, we haven’t achieved educational or cultural Elysium. There are ebbs and flows. There are hard days mixed in with wide open swaths of great days. When I remember, I promise parents interviewing for admission that, “There will be trouble; we will fail. We will repent and seek to grow better.” This is an education worth sticking around for. JECA has a super-low attrition rate of 5% over the past three years (and 7.5% over our whole history), but we know families need to move on at times. We long to support you well in your transition when this needs to happen.

We see that cCe is good for strong students and regular students; and it’s good for students who struggle. We are working diligently to tend to known needs and to take strengths and make them even stronger. We have a strong desire to make our school a vibrant, careful, joyful, transformational educational option to complement Christian families and churches strongly committed to rearing children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Our hearts break to think of our children “flunking life,” majoring on the minors, or finding their satisfaction in anything other than Christ. We are a glad classical Christian school. We have a glad board, glad administration, and glad faculty and staff going the same direction.

And so here are the findings of the study. We’ve had these results for months, and they became available for the public this week. We hope our school family and the viewing public will benefit from these findings. The following website has lots of graphic information, and the report linked in the study contains the full findings as issued from the researchers and then packaged up by our friends at ACCS.

Good Soil: A Comparative Review – Seven Life Outcomes of ACCS Alumni

Whether you are an all-in family at JECA, considering JECA as an option, currently attending but sitting on the fence, or watching JECA from afar, we are for you and the choices you are making. We are glad to offer educational assistance to families who aren’t here or won’t be here-just ask! It is no shame if a classical Christian education isn’t available to you because of your location or intentional parenting choices. Families bent hard toward Christ and seeking to follow Him in rearing their children intentionally in complement with Gospel-preaching churches shouldn’t have heart regret about missing out. But Nashville-area families who are in strong accord and looking for a classical, Christian option should be considering JECA even if tuition seems burdensome. Our school has never turned a family away for not being able to afford full tuition. Please schedule a tour and find out more.

May Jesus Christ be praised with this school and these Kingdom-minded efforts made for Him.