Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Building Faith Every Day More Seeking Religious Education for Children

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Building Faith Every Day More Seeking Religious Education for Children

Article excerpt

This year, Rodolfo Engmann is sending his 16-year-old son, Eric,

to Jacksonville's Bishop Kenny High School.

His 6-year-old, Kevin, will attend Palmer Catholic Academy,

scheduled to open next fall in Ponte Vedra Beach.

It isn't that Engmann is unhappy with public schools or because

he has familial ties to Bishop Kenny or Palmer Catholic. And he

doesn't believe he has to pay for a better education for his


One of the main reasons for Engmann's decision is that he wants

Eric and Kevin to build their faith every day.

"As opposed to building it up later in life," Engmann said, "I

want my kids to benefit from being taught and raised in a

Christian environment all the time."

Engmann is far from unusual. Throughout North Florida, the

growth of people seeking religious education is evident.

According to the Florida Association of Christian Colleges and

Schools, which accredits about a dozen schools in Jacksonville,

there has been steady growth over the past five years in the

number of schools affiliated with a church, synagogue or mosque,

a trend mirrored nationally.

Next year, Our Lady Star of the Sea Church in Ponte Vedra and

St. Michael's Catholic Church in Fernandina Beach will complete

construction of schools.

Religious schools aren't all registered with one organization,

which means there's no record of the total number of religious

schools for any state or city.

The practice of sending kids to religious schools once was

common among Catholics and fundamentalist Christians frustrated

with public schools. But alternatives to public education are

becoming popular to many families seeking safety, discipline and

academics. Jacksonville has about 21,000 students in all private

schools, according to the state Department of Education.

"In my 15 years as an administrator, we've more than doubled

ourself," said Solomon Schechter Principal Willard Kennedy.

At Solomon Schechter, 192 students make up kindergarten through

seventh grade.

And what's happening there is happening statewide at other

religious schools.

"We've grown consistently," said Howard Burke, the executive

director of the Florida Association of Christian Colleges and

Schools. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.