I read this article on my (Heart of Wisdom) homeschool support yahoo group today. It may sound extreme to most, yet there is truth in the words. On the same note , even though it wasn't mentioned in the article....did you know that our constitution as written at the founding of our nation, does not say anything about the government at any level being responsible for the education of our society. It is hard to read the article below and not have a "knee jerk reaction" as many good things have come from public education, or has it? Just to make it clear this article does not touch on collage and other further education facilities. Remember that these "used" to be student funded exclusively. Further education schools were and still are necessary for most careers. These facilities "were" privately owned and operated, yet they to have been taken over by government agencies and funding. This article deals specifically with the k-12 public school arena, and the perpective that "christians" should have on public schools in referrence to the word of God.
What's Really Wrong with Public Schools?
by David H. Chiltonfrom
The Biblical Educator, March 1981
Institute for Christian Economics
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"To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding" (Proverbs 1:2)The usual arguments against public education are very convincing yet very wrong nonetheless. They typically run something like this: We realize that public schools have become breeding grounds for violence and sexual promiscuity; that they are often outlets for socialist propaganda; that they now constitute a formidable enemy of Christianity (e.g. by teaching evolution and prohibiting prayer and Bible reading); they are an enemy of the family (by teaching sex education and deriding traditional authority structures), and so on. Now its true that this well-intentioned conviction is not an absolute tragedy since it is being used, under the providence of God, to lead more and more people of faith to abandon the system of public education. So, no matter what the reason, the result is certainly a good one. Unfortunately, this argument is not as principled as it looks. It is not an argument against state education but only against certain perceived ills within the public schools. Thus, even among Christians upset with state education you will find the following attitudes:(1) "The real problems exist in the inner-city schools, but there's nothing wrong with public schools in the better suburbs and in the rural, God-centered traditional values communities; (2) "We should work to make public schools more moral by pressuring our legislators to reinstitute prayer and abolish sex-education;(3) "We should try to force the public schools to give Creation 'equal time' with Evolution."These and similar positions all attest to the fact that much of the opposition to public schools focuses mainly on mere details. That is, we are very willing for the state to control education as long as we can be reasonably sure our children won't be beaten, drugged or raped in the library. To put it bluntly, we want our socialism, but we want it clean. If only the public schools would teach what we want them to teach we would be happy to have our children's education funded by legalized theft. Philosophically speaking, this is quite an interesting position. We'll give our children a "moral" upbringing by robbing our neighbors (socialism) to pay for it.Put in another perspective, as Christians, we do not argue against abortion simply by citing the physical and mental dangers attendant to the procedure nor should we consider it sufficient to oppose state education simply because of its evil consequences. We do not work for safer methods of abortion nor should we work to improve public schools. The basic argument, you see, is that the very existence of state schools is immoral -- regardless of the level of "morality" contained in them.According to the Bible (see Romans 13:4 and surrounding) the state has an extremely limited function which may be summed up in two points: punishing criminals (as defined by God's law) and protecting the law-abiding citizens. That's it. God has appointed civil rulers as His ministers, and their responsibility is to administer His laws.The Bible severely limits the powers of the state and just in case rulers might misunderstand the extent of their commission God built a "strict constructionist" interpretation into the law: The ruler "may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or to the left" (Deut. 17:20).The Bible does not give civic rulers the power to educate children. That responsibility belongs to the parents. State schools are therefore immoral in principle and exist only because God's laws have been violated -- by greedy rulers who covet the powers of deity and by blindly greedy citizens who covet "free" education at their neighbors' expense. Viewed in this light, it is no wonder the public school system has spawned a generation of illiterate criminals who assume the world owes them a living. Why is this attitude not surprising? According to their baby-boomer parents the world owed them an education. They're just extending that logic to the marketplace.The existence of public-school crime and violence is nothing but superstructure built atop a rotten, humanist foundation. It is quite predictable and, in fact, was predicted in Deuteronomy 28 with its list of curses which necessarily fall upon a culture that departs from God's law. If our educational principles are not founded on God's word we have shut God out of our system of knowledge and committed cultural suicide. Romans 1:28-32 tells us what happens to people who will not have God in their knowledge: It reads like a modem report card on "citizenship. " "But," it may be objected, "if the state doesn't provide education and force its citizens to submit to it, some parents won't bother to do it themselves." This is true. It is also true that some people don't brush their teeth. Does it follow then that we should provide free dental care and send bureaucrats to each home every morning and evening armed with dental floss to enforce public compliance with oral hygiene? Where do you draw the line? You draw the line where God draws it which is in His law. God has defined the responsibilities and limits of the state and whenever it falls short of those responsibilities or transgresses those limits it is making itself into a new kind of god. The inevitable result is national damnation.No matter what your own particular objection to all this, it fails the ultimate test and is an example of non-conformity to God's law. When you say the "moral," community-oriented public schools are still OK all you're saying is that the full harvest of apostasy hasn't caught up yet with what the schools are doing. But the fact that none of your bad checks have returned is no justification of forgery. Those wonderful schools are possible only by the illegitimate beneficence of a deified state which plunders your neighbors to give your kids a free lunch and a free education. There's just no way around it. Public schools are immoral, and always have been even in the bygone, halcyon days of old, when students got regular doses of birch rods and McGuffey readers. Look at yourself for a prime example. You went to a "nice" public school, and you didn't turn out so badly did you? You didn't take LSD in 5th grade, you didn't carry a switch blade in Jr. High, and you were a virgin on Graduation Day. State education didn't pervert you. Or did it? Consider for a moment your reaction to this essay:Regardless of the biblical evidence you still find it hard to swallow the idea that the state shouldn't do some things over and above God's requirements. You think the argument that public education involves theft is somewhat "abstract." But, face it: You're a socialist. Many of your ideas about the proper role of government were fed to you from K through 12, and it's like pulling teeth to get rid of them. I'm constantly running into sincere Christians who are absolutely aghast at the notion of abolishing unbiblical government regulation and they do so by posing quasi-rhetorical questions such as: "But, how will the mail get delivered?" I even heard one theologian boldly assert that the value of gold and silver comes from the paper money behind it!The real problem with public schools is that they exist in the first place. They are ungodly, unlawful, collectivist/ socialist- based institutions. The many evils now spewing out of them derive from the curse that God inflicts upon all institutions that defy Him.He has commanded parents to educate their children in terms of His law and thats something that cannot be done in a public school. If we want our children to fear Him and to grow into diligent workers for His kingdom we cannot afford to train them in an institution which has as its fundamental presupposition that I am entitled to as much money as I can vote out of my neighbor's pocket.Prayer doesn't belong in a public school (Proverbs 28:9). Your money doesn't belong in a public school. Most of all, your children don't belong in a public school. Institutions premised on sin must not be redeemed but abandoned. We dont send chaste young maidens into brothels in the interests of "equal time for the other side." As the light of the world, we must set the standard. Our Lord never called His people to help build the tower of Babel hoping theyd include having a Bible study in the basement. He commanded us to build our own city on a hill.