An Ontario pastor is expecting a busy year at the classical Christian academy he launched last year, as more families look for alternatives for their kids’ education due to the increase of woke activism in public schools.
Dr. Aaron Rock, lead pastor at Harvest Bible Church in Windsor and chancellor of the recently opened Harvest Classical Academy, spoke to True North about the new school.
“A lot of our parents are frankly fed up with having public education teachers indoctrinate their children into wokism and other anti-Christian ideologies, be it cultural Marxism or radical sexual education agendas,” Rock explained.
“Most of us that grew up in public or Catholic education didn’t use to have to go to school and constantly be exposed to anti-Christian ideologies, but that’s the reality now in 2023.”
Harvest Classical Academy launched in the fall of 2022. It offers a “thoroughly Christian” classical education, with a mission “to cultivate wisdom and virtue by nourishing the soul of truth, goodness, and beauty, so that, in Christ, the student is better able to know, glorify, and enjoy God.”
Rock said that “many of our conscientious, Christian parents have been looking for alternatives,” adding that “some of them have sent their children to traditional Christian schools, many of them for the sake of cost are homeschooling.”
“We decided to offer another option for our community, which is a classical Christian school model, which we think is academically very rigorous, but also helps kids to think clearly about the issues of the day.”
Classical education is a 2500-year-old method of teaching which emphasizes on “the seeking after of truth, goodness, and beauty and the study of the liberal arts and the great books.” It teaches students how to learn and how to think.
Classes at Harvest are also capped at 18 students, and the school has a full roster of qualified teachers.
The community response to Rock’s new classical school has been overwhelmingly positive, with 50 students enrolling for the 2022-2023 school year. Rock told True North they expect around 80 students to be enrolled for the upcoming 2023-2024 year.
“We’ve had a lot of parents who have said this is like a breath of fresh air and an answer to prayer, and something that their kids have really benefited from.”
Despite early success, Rock says there remains some challenges, amid Ontario being the only major Canadian province not to offer school choice.
Harvest’s tuition ranges from $4700 to $6100 per year, and the school offers discounts for families with more than one student enrolled. While the tuition is less than Ontario’s average independent school tuition of $11,910 per year, it is still a barrier for some families.
Rock believes the Ford government should implement a school voucher system, allowing families to redirect education funding towards the school of their choice.
“It’s a real commitment for parents to send their kids,” said Rock. “They’re already paying taxes into the public education system. They’re doubly paying out because they don’t want to give their kids away to a system that will not honor their beliefs.”
“The government shouldn’t be taking school tax dollars from families that conscientiously object to the public system,” he added.
Rock told True North he pulled his kids out of the public Catholic school system amid them pushing a radical agenda. He is also advising Christian families against sending their kids to public school given the current woke climate.
“The public education system is not a neutral space for people of various faiths to flourish. It’s a space that has been hijacked by a very specific group of ideologues who are absolutely committed to indoctrinating children to one particular worldview.”
“This new pseudo spirituality in our school; it’s like if you don’t bow down to the rainbow flag, you’re a bad person, you’re intolerant, you’re hateful.”
In the past two years, Ontario’s public schools have been the subject of several woke controversies.
Notable controversies have included a transgender teacher being allowed to wear massive prosthetic breasts, a high school student being suspended and arrested after saying there were only two genders, a teacher caught on tape publicly berating Muslim students who abstained from LGBTQ pride activities and the recent suicide of principal Richard Bilkzo, which came after he was allegedly bullied at a TDSB Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) session hosted by the KOJO Institute.
More information about Harvest Classical Academy can be found here.