There may be no surer footing for Christian fidelity and simplicity than Jesus' formula for putting God first: "But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you besides" (Matthew 6:33). As the nation fusses and frets over state standards, Common Core, and regaining our competitive edge internationally in education, let's consider applying the Kingdom-first ethic to curriculum--knowing that when Jesus makes a promise, He keeps it. If He promises that putting God first will sustain all our human endeavors, then curriculum and standards should be no exception.
The fist step, then, in creating effective educational standards and curriculum, is to make education God-centered rather than state-centered/economic-centered. This is not to say that we need to bring up the old debates over prayer in schools. Prayer in schools would be the effect of a properly designed curriculum, emerging naturally from a focus on God and the works of God in the world. No matter how well-intentioned our vocational fixation in education is, it does not work. One must be oriented in one's design and purpose in order to discover the gifts with which God has endowed one for the exercise of earthly dominion. Put more simply, our children will not be motivated to pursue success in vocation until and unless they understand what they are, their purpose for existence, and the divine ordering of creation to the glory of God.
Kingdom-first curriculum unfolds God's presence and plan in every form of knowledge. God is the reason we learn, and so educational lessons should always proceed from a desire to understand God and the human beings He created in His image. Learning what we need to know about all subjects, including those that might not immediately seem to pertain to God and human nature, will come about as the fruit of divine wisdom. After all, God promised us this much--that seeking Him will produce all that we need besides.