Public School Ruminations


I wrote the following in July of 2008:

Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
-Proverbs 22:6

So, without realizing it, I slowly became absorbed once again, with the topic of public schooling.

Yesterday I started reading “The Christian Home School” by Gregg Harris. I was impressed that it is a gentler version of “The Harsh Truth About Public School,” it’s a more swallowable reading for those Christians that don’t understand the passion and deeper meaning within the Christian homeschooling movement.

Earlier today I was typing a tentative article about taxation and government  and one of the examples I used was taxes being taken from everyone in the community for public school, regardless of whether they have children in homeschooling, private school or don’t even have any children at all.

Then I talked with a dear friend of mine about the book, and I got a little more fired up. The fire died down for a bit, until I read an article at The Common Room. (I love that blog!) Intoxicated Tweens.
Here’s a clincher from the article (more at the link):

Here’s the thing I cannot understand- we object, vehemently, when adult women are told to stay put in abusive relationships. We don’t want adult women to stay in places where they are hit, sexually harassed, subjected to verbal and emotional abuse, and we often ask ourselves why a woman stays in a relationship where she is abused. Maybe she learned that in school- where she had to stay in classrooms, on schoolyards and on the bus with those who taunted and abused her. Maybe she learned that when she came home from school in kindergarten in tears, saying she didn’t want to go back because her classmates were mean to her and her parents told her she needed to learn to get along with people like that ‘in the real world,’ but then didn’t give her any of the options available to people in the ‘real world.’

As I was walking to the library, I thought of an analogy, about a house, for why it’s shouldn’t be okay, in a Christians mind to send their child to a “religiously neutral” school for the majority of their growing years.

Before I get to my analogy, I want to point out that there is NO SUCH THING as religious neutrality. God is very clear about this.

“He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters.” -Luke 11:23

My analogy thought is more of a question for self-thought, but here goes:

Would you be willing to give your home to the government, while getting no profit in return? No? Well, what if you paid them to take your home? That would be an outrage! What about your car? Would you give your car to them, paying them to take it and do whatever they want to it? How about your clothes, your food, your comfy little luxury items that you know you don’t need but want them so badly? Well, why not?

Why then, would we be willing to do the exact same thing with living, breathing human beings, that were placed in our care by the Lord God? Not a grown human being with the reasoning and means to protect and defend themselves, but little humans, sweet and vulnerable children.

Doing so (sending our children into public school) and expecting the system to change to suit God’s standards is a little like giving someone a home to do whatever they want with and expecting them to fix it how you envisioned it. It’s not going to happen.

We should not be surprised to find so many teens and adults that came out of the public school system loathing the church and God. They (and I am one of them in part) were trained to. If not in their 3rd or 4th grade class, certainly in middle school and high school when they are told they came from a pile of ooze and something as complex as the universe happened by a grandiose accident. The training certainly comes when they take the D.A.R.E. classes that do not guide them lovingly and protectively to the truth that drugs are harmful and dangerous, but allows children to “find their own answers.” (Once called “values clarification.”)

As I went to look up Luke 11:23 the last time, I realized the verses just proceding it, and how well they address the issue of what goes on with the “my children are a light to the lost” mentality of sending our children to public school.

When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed. But when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied and distributes his plunder.

-Luke 11:21-22

It’s ridiculous to think that sending a small child into do a firmly planted, well-trained adult’s mission will work out without harming the child.

Timothy Dwight, President of Yale University between 1795-1817 said, “to commit our children to the care of irreligious persons is to commit lambs to the superintendency of wolves”.

Many would say, “But there are Christian teachers in public schools!” Yes, there are. The truth of the matter is, that God sends mature, grounded adults into various situations, that are far from godly and might even be dangerous, to witness to the lost. He does not have parents send children that have not yet been fully trained up in righteousness.

Unfortunately, Christian teachers are forbidden from witnessing to their students, and if they do so and are found out, they can and will be fired. Teachers that share Christ’s message are in a sticky little situation. On the one hand, a genuine Christian knows that whatever they do, it should be for the glory of God, and would want to proclaim His love where-ever they are. On the other hand, for a public school teacher, to do so is also civil disobedience and is grounds for termination.

It’s really a trap, if you think about it. Because if the Lord has called someone to teach children (and I know there are many, many men and unmarried women that He has/does/will!) outside of a home atmosphere, and they choose the public school, they will either have to choose to be silent to keep their job or speak about God’s message and be fired.

Of course, they could go to a Christian school at that point, but if they were set to be in a public school, they’ve lost that chance by being what God called Christians to be – vocal embassadors of Christ.

If it were any other work-place, speaking about the Lord might get you reprimanded, but this one alone will automatically get you fired, first time.

It’s sad that so many evangelical Christians look to public schools to send their children to using the “salt and light” approach. If grown adults can’t open their mouths about the Lord in public schools, what makes us think that children can? They are ridiculed, harassed and demeaned when and if they do.

Random thoughts on public school today, but I do see them as entwined.

These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your
heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them
when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down
and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they
shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the
doorposts of your house and on your gates.
-Deuteronomy 6:6-9

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