Your Children in Public School – the Easy Way Out?

hallway-1

I would not normally use such an inflammatory title to an article I would like to be one of calm, rational and open-minded consideration; but knowing some of my audience and the sure-to-be lengthy nature of this article and it’s reference article, I need to show the importance of the subject matter.

I want to consider here the question of whether or not we as Christians should currently be sending our children to public schools, and if we do, whether or not we might need to pull them out in the future.

Before I begin, I feel the need to relate my credentials and experience in this area. I do not do so to claim full understanding, but to show that I have experience in this field. I would also like to state a couple of things that will hopefully verify my heartfelt consideration in this area.

Experience:

1 ) I spent one year as a student in a Montessori school.
2 ) I spent 12 years as a student in a Christian grade school.
3 ) I grew up the son of a Christian school principal.
4 ) I spent 3 years in and graduated from a public
high school.
5 ) I spent one year in a secularized private college.
6 ) I spent three and a half years in a Christian college.
7 ) I have an undergraduate degree in Middle Level education from
a Christian college.
8 ) I have a Masters degree in Middle Level education from a
secular university.
9 ) I am in my 9th year of teaching
10 ) I spent 2 years teaching in a Christian school
11 ) I spent 7 years teaching in a public school

As you can see, my life has been divided between both sides of the secular / Christian academic playing field.

For those that may be tempted to think that I am a rabid anti-public school proponent, let me state the following:

1) I am currently a public school teacher
2) I am open to allowing my children to attend our local public
school system during their early grade school years.

There are some things in life that are worthy of research. I believe this to be one of those things. If we are willing to research HD TVs, car parts and the newest cell-phones, God help us if we are too lazy to research the education of our children, for which God will one day hold us accountable.

The ultimate influence on the lives of our children is the internal influence of the regeneration of the Holy Spirit. However, I believe there is a triangle of external influences that shape whom we will become. The typical triangle is this: Home – School – Church. They are purposefully placed in that order. It is the order of influential power. I would have us notice that school is placed before church. Research clearly indicates that a person’s family, their home-life, is the most powerful influence on them. A more surprising factor may be that school is more influential than church. The fact that may blur this truth from some Christian’s view is the relationship between church and the regeneration of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the supreme influence, but this argument is made from the view of external teachings, worldview and peer influence.

A child spends more time at school than at church. The peers that will sway them the most are the ones at school, with whom they spend their time. The culture and teachings of school can permeate a child’s worldview. The family and church can work together to counteract the secular influence of a public school, but it is undeniable the tremendous impact the culture of a school makes upon children over the years. The point of all of this is to bring to the forefront the power of the school.

The idea for this post was inspired by a short (I promise) article written by Dr. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Before you continue in this post, I invite you to read this short article. The suggestion being posed by Dr. Mohler is that Christian parents begin creating an “exit strategy” from the public school system. He is not advocating that all Christians immediately pull their children from public schools, although that could be necessary depending on the circumstances; but that all Christian parents should be aware of their particular school system and be mentally prepared to change the educational situation of their children if need be.

I will link here to the article. For those that would not be willing to read an entire short article I will at least post the following quotes:

————

As a rule, schools in more rural areas, with local political control more concentrated in the hands of parents, the effects of this educational revolution are less evident. In some school systems, the majority of teachers, administrators, and students share an outlook that is at least friendly and respectful toward Christianity and conservative moral values.

In other places, the situation is markedly different. In many metropolitan school districts, the schools have truly become engines for the indoctrination of the young. This process of indoctrination pervades, not only the more recognizable aspects of radical sex education programs and so-called “health education,” but other aspects of the curriculum as well. Unless something revolutionary reverses these trends, this is the shape of the future.

————

I believe that now is the time for responsible Southern Baptists to develop an exit strategy from the public schools. This strategy would affirm the basic and ultimate responsibility of Christian parents to take charge of the education of their own children. The strategy would also affirm the responsibility of churches to equip parents, support families, and offer alternatives. At the same time, this strategy must acknowledge that Southern Baptist churches, families, and parents do not yet see the same realities, the same threats, and the same challenges in every context. Sadly, this is almost certainly just a matter of time.

—————
I am not advocating that my friends or I immediately pull their children from public school. What I am imploring the reader to do is simply this: Be fully aware of the worldview culture of your child’s school. Know about their teachers. Know about their peers. Know about their curriculum. Question your children with open-ended questions to determine the influence secularism may be having on their critical worldview.

I believe that most Christian parents would affirm that there is an imaginary line that the public school system could cross, that would cause them to remove their children. The difference between some people is what they believe about how close to that line public schools systems actually are. I think Dr. Mohler said it best when he said, “…parents do not yet see the same realities, the same threats, and the same challenges in every context. Sadly, this is almost certainly just a matter of time.

We are fortunate in the South, to have resisted the newest severe and offensive curriculum of the secular educational machine. During my graduate level work, I became more familiar with the agenda that is being imposed in the inner city schools, and in the Northeast and other liberal areas.

Some examples are the placing of pink triangles on classroom doors to indicate a safe-zone for homosexual students. The prevalent teaching of the new definition of “tolerance” in the character curriculum (required in every public school nationwide), that teaches that students are to accept everyone’s beliefs as equal and acceptable.

There are plenty of examples; some of which are not new news to us. We are already aware of the teaching of evolution as truth and fact, which works itself out with the devaluing of life. We already are familiar with the anti-God mentality of the public school system. The newest trends are those of the homosexual movement and of the postmodern tolerance movement, which logically works itself out in aggression towards Absolute Truth claims made by Christians. The gay-friendly curriculum is even reaching, with full-force, into the elementary grades. You may be familiar with the title of elementary books such as “Jennifer Has Two Daddies.”

Having “gay safe” zones with gay symbols on classroom doors is not something that just could happen, it has been happening pervasively for years. If you move to the inner-city, especially in a non-Bible belt area, you will experience it all firsthand.

I am including here a list of a few links of actual examples:

This becomes extremely relevant for those of us living in the South, because the ideological movement is making its way south. Although the public school system is already Godless and anti-religious in nature, these further extreme liberal views will invade Southern public schools in a matter of years.

Although it is often unbeknownst to the Christian teachers and administrators themselves, there is what amounts to a last stand of Christian influence in certain local school systems. It is there that the liberal influences are resisted. But the national educational machine is fascist in nature and is slowly tightening the clamp on this resistance, of which I am a part. Eventually, it will come to a “personal convictions” climax not only for Christian teachers and administrators, but for Christian parents as well.

Perhaps you were already aware of this crisis, or perhaps this is a Paul Revere warning to you, or perhaps you do not agree. In any event, if you have read this post, you can see that ignorance can no longer be an option.

Having said all this, perhaps you wonder why it is that I say that I would consider sending my children to the public school system in my area, during their early grade school years. As I mentioned earlier, there are still a vast number of local school systems in this country that are attempting (on a personal level) to resist these liberal influences. In the upper grades, it is now impossible to stop the flow of liberal curriculum. It is mandated by the state standards to be taught. If it is not sufficiently taught, the students will then begin to score low on the standardized tests based on those standards. That will eventually result in the removal of the teacher from that classroom. Also, as we all know, peer influence has the capability to become powerful during the pre-teen and teen years. But during the earliest of grades, many classrooms, when manned by Christian personnel or at least a Christian-like environment, these liberal influences can be small to non-existent. However, for me personally, this is not a free pass to close my eyes during the early elementary years of my children. It is a year by year, teacher by teacher process of evaluating the environment of my children’s would-be teacher and curriculum. If the environment is deemed acceptable, then I would have no problem allowing my children to attend there. I am fortunate to live and work in a Georgia county that is extremely Christian-friendly, as far as public school systems go. But even in my Christian-friendlier county, I see every workday, firsthand, the unstoppable, evil corruption of the Christian worldview that can happen.

Some argue that they send their children into the public schools because their children should get used to being around non-believers and they should learn to be a Christian influence where they are. I, and this is my opinion, reject that notion out of hand. The early years of our children’s lives are when we are to train them so that when they are learned, they can defend themselves intellectually and spiritually from evil thoughts and worldviews. You do not send a civilian into combat so that they will learn to be a soldier.

God commands His people to raise their children in the way of the Lord. Whether or not we have them in public school, we are responsible for paying close attention to what they are being taught. I believe for some, the day has already come, and for the rest of us it is coming, when the evil written and living curriculum of the American public school system will necessitate the removal of our children from it. Until that day comes to your family, be aware. Just be aware.

——————————————————-

[Originally written January 12th, 2008; revised 2009]

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Published in: on November 7, 2008 at 12:51 pm  Comments (5)  

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  1. The following are the comments that have been transferred from their previous location. The author’s name is located AT THE BOTTOM of the comment.

    Responses

    Charlie, your article is timely and well-written. You make good points. I agree whole-heartedly. However, IF you have the option, it is my opinion that it would be better to send your children to Christian school even in the early grades.

    There are several reasons. One, and an important one, is that children function best in a familiar surrounding. To pull a child out of his circle of friends in grade three or four is not an easy transition. In my years of experience, that has been noted by several parents with whom I have talked candidly.

    Also, even in the young years, there are wide variations in acceptable dress as well as exposure to vulgarity spouted by peers who hear such language commonly in their homes.

    In general, public school children are more disrespectful to authority. Your children, at such a young age,won’t be able to understand why this is acceptable at school and not at home or at church.

    In most instances, the Christian school curriculum will be more advanced. Phonics is not emphasized as much in public school and research has proved that phonics instruction is the best foundation for reading. Literary skills are vastly related to success in future school years. We have children in our K-5 (Christian school) who are reading at second grade level already. None of those have spent a day in public school.

    While you may be fortunate in getting a good teacher in public school, chances are you will not for consecutive years. Of course, it is also true you may not get a teacher of choice in a Christian school either, but at least you have a better chance of intervention in a Christian setting, especially if you are paying tuition. Public school is not going to ever get better.

    Thankfully there are still teachers like you who are trying to have a positive influence in a secular setting. That said, I still would not sacrifice my /own/ children to that environment IF I had a choice. In fact, if my children could not be in a Christian school environment after kindergarten, I would definitely home school.

    Your mother.

    * Edit Comment

    By: Mom on January 12, 2008
    at 6:03 am

    I think those are very good points to consider. Personally, the only way I would have my children in the government system is if I verified their environment. If I found it unacceptable, they would not go. But through kindergarten and maybe 1st or second, it would be concieveable, though unlikely. I personally envision that our kids will be sent to Pre-K, and public Kindergarten, and then homeschooled or sent to a Christian School.

    There are some issues I have with many a Christian School, too; but I decided to write on a more foundational issue.

    It is of course preferable to have your children with the same peers so as not to cause separation anxiety when removed, but I have gone through it and survived; and more importantly the cost savings would likely outweigh their personal feelings in that instance.

    * Edit Comment

    By: Charlie on January 12, 2008
    at 6:16 am

    Way way way way too long.

    I started reading then I saw how long this is and I decided that I’d rather go to bed. I read it tomorrow.

    Having said that, we are putting Kainaan in a private Christian School next year. I have my reasons and I’ll compare the pros and cons with the article and your opinion tomorrow. Ultimately, if either the article or you disagree then I’ll expect an immediate change of heart by you and then my picture to be posted on your new page.

    * Edit Comment

    By: david on January 12, 2008
    at 12:55 pm

    The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.

    * Edit Comment

    By: Charlie on January 12, 2008
    at 7:13 pm

    I read it.

    I tried to look at the pictures but they kept pulling up the prison break picture. j/k

    Being in the job I am in I have the chance to see school newspapers from all over the country. It is unnerving to see how many ads, articles and entries support perversion (sex before marriage, homosexuality, movies that promote a promiscuous lifestyle).

    It is definitely a necessity to be completely involved in your kid’s educational environment. It has been through our involvement that we have decided that next year will be Kainaan’s first year in a private Christian School.

    * Edit Comment

    By: dec322 on January 13, 2008
    at 6:28 am

    I’m proud of you. For reading that much. jk.

    I think Christians who really get a good look at whats really going on in the public school system often come to that conclusion.

    * Edit Comment

    By: Charlie on January 13, 2008
    at 10:57 am

    I’m kind of backwards from you Charlie, I plan to start the kids at home or a Christian school and then later consider public education. Elementary and middle school were very confusing and hard on me and did nothing to instill a sense of self respect. As I got older I had issues I had to work through that could have been averted with a more solid start, and I was even in one of those small rural schools with Christian teachers.

    I think a lot of the choice for Christian parents of where to school your kids comes from the question, why choose something other than public school? Is it to help your children have a solid foundation or is it to shelter then from the world? Young children do need to be sheltered no doubt, but ultimately I believe they should be well grounded so that they can later assimilate into the world as missionaries and not get their head blown off by their Philosophy 101 prof.

    All that being said, I also don’t believe that home school and/or Christian schools are the end all-be all. There are some parents who just aren’t cut out for teaching, and some Christian schools that flat out shouldn’t exist. I feel that , although 99.9% would disagree, the title to this post is spot on with how most parents truly approach their kids education. The bottom line is that for some, public school is the only option, but that still doesn’t mean it is the government’s responsibility to teach our children. It will always be OUR responsibility to make sure that our children are taught.

    * Edit Comment

    By: michaelrogerslive on January 14, 2008
    at 4:00 am

    Thanks for the great insight. I agree that children need to be well grounded, whether that means kindergarden / early years in Christian school, homeschool or public school. Do you really think most children can be well-grounded enough for them to safely enter into public middle school and high school? I know that, knowing what I know now, if I were my own parent when I was 14, I wouldn’t have put me in public school. It was a learning experience, yes, but a dangerous one. Apart from the grace of God, I almost got myself into trouble in several times. Thank God for our Youth Group. Those high school years are so crucial; so easy to mess yourself up for life there.

    I agree with your comment about some homeschool parents and Christian schools. We are fortunate to live in a time where homeschool parents have resources that they have never had before. If you have ever had that possibility cross your mind for yourself, I encourage you to research all the help that is now available for homeschoolers. It is no longer the case of the parent off by themselves.

    I think we are all agreeing on the main point of this post; parents are responsible for and need to be aware of their children’s education. I am happy that my closest friends have their parental antennas up, and are involved and aware. I hope more parents will be so; their children’s worldview, and subsequently their lives are at stake.

    * Edit Comment

    By: Charlie on January 14, 2008
    at 4:37 am

    Oh yes, one more thing I want to mention. High school, when we were there (10 years ago!!!), and high school when our children get there, are two very different things. It is my opinion, that by the time ours get there, we will not in good conscience be able to send them.

    Time will tell.

    * Edit Comment

    By: Charlie on January 14, 2008
    at 4:39 am

    I don’t particularly care to send mine to public middle school, but I will explore the possibility of public high school when the time comes if there isn’t a good Christian school around. I loved playing football and think my kids might want a shot at sports as well.

    I gained an interesting perspective by not only going to a small high school in a rural Christian area, but also by going to a very large high school with no Christian influence. Thankfully it was only the last month of our junior year and our senior year that I was in the large school, and I did well. The only reason I did well was because God started drawing me near during the end of our junior year and I had my head on a little more straight. I think that if my kids have a solid educational, social, and spiritual grounding during elementary and middle school, they will be able to do well even in a public high school. I also plan to remember the parenting lessons learned as a youth pastor, most of which came under the category of what NOT TO DO.

    Audra’s brothers were both home schooled through middle school. One was because he was diagnosed with a learning disability during the elementary years. The school would not give him the 1 on 1 attention he needed, so they pulled him. He went to a Christian high school and graduated with honors. He is very socially adept. Her younger brother was home schooled through both elementary and middle school and started a Christian high school in 9th grade. He was much further ahead of the other kids. He ended up dual-enrolling his junior year, and did a collegiate high school for his senior year. He graduated with his AA, then the next week had his high school graduation. He is also very socially adept.

    Again, I think the key is to start them strong, then monitor their assimilation into the world.

    * Edit Comment

    By: michaelrogerslive on January 14, 2008
    at 5:16 am

    It is hard to “plan” what our kids will be doing in 10 years. I know that the school we hope to send Kainaan to only goes up to 8th grade. Their view point is that this is enough time to create a solid foundation to help battle the ideas of society. I guess it depends on the child and the school. I know in my life that I graduated with a class of 653 kids in a public school (Hoover High School….TwoaDays….MTV…..coach loves football more than family…..either of his families….) and the Christian influence in my house was/is nonexistent. Yet, in God’s grace, I was called and He set me apart against all odds. All that to say that He is ultimately Sovereign (this is not an excuse to dismiss my responsibilities for my kids)

    * Edit Comment

    By: dec322 on January 14, 2008
    at 7:16 am

    I suppose it “just all depends” on a lot of things for all of us. This is probably the same line of thought that we all have had for a long time.

    The only difference I see, and this was one of the reasons for the post, is that I agree with Dr. Al Mohler that a more severe educational situation is coming that could possibly take this option off the table for us. Like I said in my post, this has not happened fully everywhere in the South yet. But I see it coming soon. We may not end up having as many choices as we currently would. I hope against it, but I agree with Dr. Mohler and others that it is coming.

    I do especially, however, cherish the fact that David alluded to at the end of his last comment. I believe in the Sovereignty of God; and that those he calls will come, and he will sustain them. He did for me in those crucial moments in HS when I tried to mess myself up, but he did not allow me to. There is a mysterious balance between that and our responsibility to do what we know is right for our children.

    PS – I think these kinds of comments are great…really good, meaty stuff. You know we should do an online Bible stu…………oh wait; nevermind.

    * Edit Comment

    By: Charlie on January 14, 2008
    at 10:17 am

    Haha, I’m going to pick that back up now that life is slowing down a little. At least I think it is slowing down some. I interview Wednesday morning so pray for us. As much as I love the special connection I have by being in the same state as David every Sunday and Wednesday, I’m ready for the madness to stop.

    And BTW – I still think karate will benefit kids more than Boy Scouts.

    * Edit Comment

    By: michaelrogerslive on January 15, 2008
    at 5:22 am

    Gun beats kick everytime. Especially guns made in the woods by a boyscout.

    * Edit Comment

    By: Charlie on January 15, 2008
    at 5:52 am

    Did this just turn into modified paper-rock-scissors? Cause you know if we’re doing all this extra stuff I’m about to throw a nuke…nuke beats everything except God…that means you lose.

    * Edit Comment

    By: michaelrogerslive on January 15, 2008
    at 10:14 am

    Who do you think built the nuke?

    …a boyscout.

    * Edit Comment

    By: Charlie on January 16, 2008
    at 12:34 am

    I emailed a couple of other people I know that are informed in this area, one that I have heard back from is Dr. Samuel Smith. He was my headmaster at WCS, when I taught there. Now, he is a professor of history at Liberty University. I decided to just post his response to my email here…I don’t believe he would mind, there is nothing personal in the email.

    Hi Charlie,

    Great to hear from you. I have a good friend who started an organization called Exodus Mandate. His name is E. Ray Moore. He has written a book on the subject as well. He certainly hopes that that is the case. I am not sure if it will actually happen in our lifetime, but it could. My view is that you have to be sensitive to the Lord’s leading as a Christian teacher. Sometimes God wants his people in the secular places to be “Salt and Light.” I do not believe it is wise to put our children in those situations, however. That is why Becky and I are committed to either Christian Schools or Homeschooling. I will look at Mohler’s article. He is usually excellent. He spoke here at Liberty last year. Let me know as your thinking develops on this. God bless and good to hear from you.

    Sam

    Samuel C. Smith, Ph.D.

    Associate Professor of History

    Liberty University

    434-592-3114

  2. Sometimes what is good for your children is bad for society. The fact that the public schools are so bad is in large part because of good parents removing their children for the system. In fact, I think Christian schools and homeschooling are one of the major causes of the culture shift in our country in the last 50 year. I desperately hope people don’t follow the suggestions in this article, for the sake of our country.

    • Brad, I must admit this is an accusation that I have never even heard levied at Christian and homeschooling before. I believe it is unfounded. We also live our lives based off of priorities, and my family is a higher priority than society – which the bible describes as being wicked and under the dominion of Satan himself.

      You said that you desperately hope people don’t follow the suggestions in this article, but if you read the article carefully, you should see that I advise mainly, the close parental supervision and involvement in their children’s educaiton – especially in the area of world-views. I hardly think that is something that should be avoided.

  3. I’m a little confused as to your credentials. K-12 took me 13 years to complete and it looks as though it took you 15-16. 1 year montissori + 12 years grade school + 3 years public high school = 15 or 16 allowing for some pre-k.

  4. At the Christian school where I grew up, we had in the early 80’s what our school called K-3, K-4, K-5, and then on into first grade, etc. Today, K-3 and K-4 would simply be called preschool. My parents actually put me in K-3, when I was only 2. They said I was ready intellectually, but later decided I was not socially mature enough after K-5 to go onto 1st grade, so I spend a year in a montissori school (treading water) to get a little more socially mature to go on to first grade.

    So I was at that Christian school from 1982 – 1994, with one of those school years being spent at the montissori school.


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