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Being an Elite School-Minus the Snooty

Posted by Chuck Evans on Sep 3, 2019 9:10:00 AM


Classical Christian schools are sometimes accused of being, to use a sophisticated term: snooty. Latin and Greek names for everything, Socratic dialogue, uniforms, Cotillion, a spring formal instead of a prom… An outsider might conclude the people who teach in a classical Christian school or who send their kids to one are elitist.

And then there’s the factor of cost. Any private school, charging any level of tuition will exclude someone, even with all the financial aid in the world. Some families adhere to a fundamental conviction that private schools segregate communities and should be avoided, if not closed down altogether.

So how does CCA—a classical Christian school charging tuition from $11,000 to $17,000—not slip into elitism?

It’s probably useful to start with defining terms. First, the term “elite” conventionally means “superior in terms of abilities or qualities” or “exceptional.” An elite school is one that does what other schools do but more capably or more purposefully.

“Elitist,” on the other hand, denotes an individual or social class with an attitude of superiority, which is usually not based on capability or purpose. An elitist attitude may be based on taste or wealth or social standing. In essence, an elitist school community believes that it is innately superior because the people in the community are innately superior to other people and their circumstances.

Elitism produces disdain within a school community for other schools—public or private, Christian or non-sectarian. Instead of healthy pride in our own accomplishments, elitism diminishes the success or good fortune of others. Elitism instinctively compares us to others, pointing out their flaws and resenting their virtues.


In contrast, an elite Christian school fulfills its commitments. It pursues the fulfillment of its mission. It chooses well, not because it is too good for this or that, but because it wants good things for its people. It celebrates good grades and performances and victories. It shares with others, it designs itself to be inclusive, and it admires ways in which other schools and their communities excel.

Most of all, an elite Christian school gives thanks. We recognize that everything we have and are is from God’s hand, not because we are special or deserving, but because He is good.

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Topics: Education