Diving Into The Public Schooling Vs. Home Schooling Issue

There are a handful of topics that are almost guaranteed to stir up controversy and spirited debate in many Christian circles. There are, of course, theological matters (e.g., infant baptism, methods of communion) and political issues. But in my experience, one topic can easily trump them all: the education of children. Or, more specifically, public schooling versus home schooling.

In the past, I could watch such debates with detached bemusement, but that’s no longer the case. Our oldest turned 5 this year and my wife and I are preparing him (and ourselves) for kindergarten. We’ve chosen to send him to a nearby public school, for several reasons (e.g., it’s a very good school, my wife and I both had positive experiences with public education, the current composition of our family would make homeschooling difficult).

We’re comfortable with our decision, though we fully realize that it’s not the option that every (Christian) family may choose. We have good friends who have chosen to home school their children for reasons that make sense for their family. I must confess that, in the back of my mind, I’ve been bracing myself for some pushback, which is why I appreciated several recent blog posts from my friend Maralee Bradley on it.

Maralee and her husband chose to send their son to a public school for kindergarten — incidentally, the same school that our child will be attending next year — and she’s been reflecting on that decision, and what it means in light of the controversy that often surrounds education in Christian circles, rightly or wrongly.

One post that I found particularly interesting dealt with how social media, blogs, etc. has changed how we discuss our education choices. She mentions that she often sees snarky commentary directed at the public school option, and asks for some grace and understanding from those who have chosen otherwise.

What I’m saying is this: If we remove our children from our neighborhood schools, that doesn’t mean those schools no longer matter. When you say something demeaning about those public school kids, you are often talking about children who are your brothers and sisters in Christ, or kids who are growing up in difficult situations, or kids who have unique needs. While all publicly schooled kids aren’t in a bad spot, most kids in a bad spot are also in public school. And yes, some of those kids are growing up without positive influences and may have developed troubling behaviors as a result. God grieves for those children. If you remove your kids from that environment you may have taken away those negative influences on your children, but you may have also removed your ability to influence those hurting families who desperately need it. Even if you structure your life so your kids never interact with those children, their adult world won’t be quite so segregated.

Needless to say, the post has generated quite the heated discussion.

Reading through Maralee’s posts, I’m reminded of the awesome/terrifying God-given responsibility that my wife and I have for our children. In her introduction to the series of blog posts, Maralee quotes a former youth pastor:

In my years of working with kids I’ve seen great kids come from public schools. I’ve seen great kids that have been homeschooled. We did both with our kids. I think the primary factor influencing the character of children isn’t what kind of school they go to, but what their relationship with their parents is like. If you want your children to have your beliefs you need to be living them authentically and spending time connecting with them.

We might give into some fear that the culture “out there” is going to usurp our kids’ formation and maturation, but as Maralee’s posts remind me, my wife and I will always be the primary worldly influence in the lives of our children. And while that is reassuring, it is also frightening. Sometimes our influence will be overt and obvious, but many times, it will be in ways that we could never have imagined.

What I want, more than anything else, is for our children to know that we have made decisions regarding their education with their best interests in mind. That we want them to be successful in life — not simply materially, but also intellectually and spiritually. Right now, we believe that desire is best achieved through public education, a decision we have made based on research, discussion with friends, and personal experiences. That may change in the future, and it might be different for our other children, or at different stages of life, but at the root of that choice — whatever it might be — will always be our love and dedication to them.

About Jason Morehead

Jason Morehead lives in the lovely state of Nebraska with his wife, three children, zero pets, and a large collection of CDs, DVDs, books, and video games. He's a fan of Arcade Fire and Arvo Pärt, Jackie Chan and Andrei Tarkovsky, "Doctor Who" and "Community," and C.S. Lewis and Haruki Murakami. He's also a web development geek, which pays the bills — and buys new music and movies. Twitter: @jasonopus. Web: http://opus.fm.

  • sandi

    I love this post, as a 30 year vet of homeschooling 4 children, i love that your focus is on the relationship cultivated with parents. I have seen far too many homeschool disasters. Home schooling promises a lot. It has a pit fall of perfection. So many parents are lead to believe that they can raise perfect kids, if only they remove them from the system. The only problem is , we can never remove our children from the system of sin, in or out of the home. Key points upon reflection are: 1. I appreciated that home schooling allowed me to begin each school topic and subject with God. I do feel that many Christian families sell their children short by not “educating” them , that God is the beginning of all truth. without this, we destine our kids to think truth has 2 beginnings, church and all else. 2. There is a shadow of falsehood in the public school. This shadow leaves God out of the discussion of something as simple as why Peter Rabbit should have stayed out of Mr Mcgregors garden. Western Civilization is rooted in the history of Gods movement in the lives of man…the public school will not celebrate this truth. BUT every parent, who is paying attention, can be that source of truth for their child, we just need to pay attention. GRACE, GRACE, GRACE. All parenting replicates the parents to a certain extent…that is a scary thought….but God’s Grace can get us all to a place of joy in our parenting.

  • Helen Lee

    I appreciate your balanced, reasoned approach to this question. Yes, there is entirely too much judgmental snarkiness out there with regards to this question, both directions. My eldest was in public school for his kindergarten and 1st grade years, and I’m grateful for those opportunities to connect with families in our neighborhood and community that we are still connected to now that he is entering 6th grade due to sports teams and such. Homeschooling has also been a great choice for our family for a number of reasons, but I will be honest and say it’s been harder to make those connections with our younger sons’ peers without the school context to facilitate those relationships. In any case, more grace is needed all around to understand and support one another’s decisions in this area, and to recognize there is no one size fits all when it comes to these decisions, as you have done here. Thanks for your post, Jason.

  • Susan Gerard

    We all want spiritual, intellectual and academic success for our children, at least so that they can provide for themselves. We want our children to know God and to know safety, security and love. We want so much for them that when it comes to education, it’s an agonizing decision for many of us. There is no foolproof method to educate our children, and anyone who claims that there is is oversimplifying.

    I homeschooled our children except for one year when we were building a house (the contractor was calling me every day with new problems), and when they got to mid-HS, when I could no longer offer them what they could get at school. I can list the up-sides and down-sides for both. Though they have finished college, I am still not sure we made the right decision.

    Homeschooling can be expensive. Be prepared to explain yourself to disbelievers. Imagine my children living with their teacher 24/7 – not good. Sometimes they needed an advocate against their teacher, someone who was simply a loving mother. On the other hand, my husband and I split one full-time position wherein we were scheduled off 11 days in a row out of every eight weeks. This allowed us to take fantastic home-schooling vacations. They had regular cooperative chores and time to do them. Their God-centered education was academically superior, and they had plenty of time to socialize with a large number of homeschooling families in our community. When they did go to school, they were advanced a year and were still ahead. One was a Natl. Merit Scholar. They received honors scholarships to Christian colleges and did well. We had a lot of quality time because we had a lot of quantity time. I learned more than they did, which was really fun!

    Upsides to public schooling: they could come home and I could simply be a loving and supportive mom. They had other authority figures they needed to learn to deal with. They were exposed to the harsher realities of school life and kids their own ages, and how to deal with them. They didn’t learn their swear words from us. I had more time for myself. The downsides: their education was inferior (it was frustrating to see this and not let on to them). They were labelled as “strange” by their teachers because they played with children of both sexes and all ages (otherwise boys played with boys and girls with girls, and never the twain was supposed to meet). We had far less family time together. They saw less of their friends. They were introduced to peer-pressured sexism and substances of abuse.

    No snarkiness or judgement here. It’s a difficult decision. I would encourage people who are afraid they can’t do it to try it if they want to. It was a wonderful experience, and almost anyone can do it well. I would also caution people if they do not have an extensive support network (a well established homeschooling community/co-op) in place to think twice. Finally, it is a strain on the family which takes wisdom to work out. My husband had to take over a significant chunk of the domestic duties.

    I am glad I am not facing that decision again. My kids think their educational experiences were wonderful. They are on the fence about homeschooling their own, leaning towards doing so. If they go for it, I will be glad to be a substitute teacher. If not, I will certainly understand, and will respect their wishes.

  • Beau Tefal

    Thanks for this, Jason. It’s really hard to figure out how to fall on this debate. We had a great experience with public schools but these homeschool successes make me wonder if we could have done better: http://foxnewsinsider.com/2013/05/24/harding-family-sends-6-kids-college-age-12.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PghC63V6AHw

    I know some public school kids that get into college early but I don’t see how that’s really possible.

  • Jared Wheeler

    . . . Are you suggesting that this prodigy was prepared for college by age 12 because of the superiority of being educated at home? Because . . . no. That’s absurd. Every student is different. Some thrive in a homeschool environment, while others wither. But *truly* strong students, like this kid, excel no matter what. It’s pretty ludicrous to suggest that he is evidence of the “success” of homeschooling vs. public school.

    But what I really don’t get is this statement: “I know some public school kids that get into college early but I don’t see how that’s really possible.”

    Is that a remotely relevant measure of the quality of education? Whichever method gets a kid out into the world fastest is best? The way public schools handle the lead-up to college is simply different. Rather than packing a young teenager off to university early (and what *is* the benefit of that, anyway?), public schools offer AP classes and dual-credit courses that give students a chance to earn college credits and get a head start on a degree while still participating in a normal high school experience with their peers and living at home with their families.

  • Susan Gerard

    I’ve seen homeschool prodigies (nothing like this boy, and I agree with Jared). I haven’t seen public school prodigies, but my kids weren’t in a large public school.

    Homeschooled kids typically do significantly better on standardized tests than publicly schooled kids. Every school administrator I questioned about this gave me the same reason: parental involvement in education. If a parent is actively engaged in the child’s education, the scores are comparable. If the parent cares enough to sit and do some homework/reading/enrichment with the child, that child values the learning experience more, and this is reflected on standardized test scores. One can take issue with how well test scores reflect learning, but not the facts.

    Having said that, I only know 4 national merit scholars my kids’ ages, and 3 were homeschooled for most/all of their education. The other had very involved parents.

  • Esther Starr

    The problem I see in many of these conversations is that people have difficulty separating social graces from strongly held private opinions. Of course I don’t believe we homeschoolers should take every opportunity to harass personal friends who have chosen to send their children to school. That’s just bad social etiquette. You need to be able to have a healthy interpersonal relationship with these people. However, we shouldn’t extend that (obvious) truism to our own convictions about the inherent superiority/inferiority of certain educational choices. I can have sympathy for a friend who feels public schooling is her only option while still believing in my own mind that homeschooling is the better option in every respect, and not just “for me personally.”

  • Esther Starr

    It seems odd for you to list exposure to harsh realities and bad language at a young age as an UPSIDE to public school. I was homeschooled all through highschool, and yeah, it was a bit of a shift when I got into college and suddenly all the students around me were swearing. But I adjusted quickly, and I can assure you that I vastly preferred making the adjustment then to making it earlier, and I would want the same for my children. Yes, they’ll need to understand things to be able to navigate in the world, but it’s the parents’ job to introduce them gradually as they feel is appropriate for their child. Not to simply toss them into the school environment with the argument that learning the f-bomb at 10 is necessary to prepare them for the real world. Somehow.

  • Jared Wheeler

    I think that’s exactly the right approach. But it is worth saying that, as great as homeschooling *can* be (I was homeschooled for 7 of my 12 pre-college years), it simply is not *inherently* superior. A lot of parents are simply not qualified to educate their children through grade 12, and a lot of parents don’t have the temperament for it, either. And not every kid has the temperament to thrive in a homeschool environment. There *are* advantages that exist in a formal school environment that don’t exist for homeschoolers, or are prohibitive to pursue. It isn’t reasonable to say that the advantages of homeschooling *inherently* outweigh the advantages of public schools in all situations for all people.

    And, when you say, “I can have sympathy for a friend who feels public schooling is her only option while still believing in my own mind that homeschooling is the better option in every respect” . . . Is it a friend who *feels* that public school is the only option, or is public school *actually* the only option, as it is for many, many people? As someone pointed out above, homeschooling is expensive, and many families need two incomes (or only have one wage-earner). Homeschooling is not the better option in those cases, because it just isn’t an option at all. And that doesn’t mean that their kids are doomed to receive a sub-par education. I have a lot of anecdotal data about homeschooled students who are exceptionally well-prepared for *college* and receive scholarships and win awards and whatnot . . . But I’ve never heard a lot about life after college. Are homeschoolers doing significantly better in the 35-40 years of a career that begins after the mere 4 years of college than their public schooled peers are doing? I doubt it.

  • Brian

    Most articles
    and posts I see by Christians on this form-of-education-for-children discussion
    miss the most obvious questions. What does God say about the discipleship
    (i.e., teaching of/leading in values, ways of thinking, the gospel, reading,
    writing, doing basic math for commerce/home living) of children? To whom does
    He give the duty and responsibility? Who is responsible? And who is not? Read,
    study, and enjoy Genesis 1:1 through Revelation and you will see, clearly, God repeatedly gives the job to parents, with the support of the local church. He proscribes
    the State from being, in any way, the discipler of children. The State has not been and is not for Christ and neither is its curriculum and most of its teachers. Far too many of
    these articles/posts get far into opinion and utilitarianism (e.g., I sent away
    some of my children to State-run school and he turned out okay). Christians are
    to be scripturalists, not utilitarians or pragmatarians. Parent-led home-BASED
    discipleship/education is the God-given normative way. There is no biblical
    argument for anything else (e.g., My unsaved/unregenerate 6-year-old will go be
    salt-and-light to the 40-year-old pagan God hater State-controlled teacher; get
    my point?).

  • Esther Starr

    First of all, parents don’t need to have PhDs to give their children a competent education with the help of good curriculum. Second, a lot of this is about priorities. I believe many parents send their children to school not because it would be *impossible* to homeschool but because it would be *inconvenient*, believing in the back of their minds that public school really isn’t as bad as all that. Sure, I could come up with scenarios where it truly is impossible (the illiterate single mom with no income, etc.) But those are less common than you might think. I think if more parents were aware of just HOW bad the public schools are, they’d tighten their belts and prioritize. Sadly, what you often get is a split in the marriage, where one parent (the mother perhaps) would like to homeschool, but the father is adamantly opposed. I have great sympathy for mothers in that situation because they’re trapped between what they want for their children and what their husband mistakenly thinks is correct. But that’s a purely interpersonal situation, and it doesn’t contribute evidentially to the question of whether homeschooling is actually superior.

    As to enabling children to move on and have careers, one could argue that in the area of, say, polite language, homeschoolers are preparing their children BETTER for “the real world” by raising them to have mature speech. On the other hand, public school children who develop the habit of swearing from an early age are actually not going to be served well in the career world by such a habit, because it’s professionally expected that people clean up their language.

  • Susan Gerard

    Where does God proscribe the state from teaching children? It is the responsibility of the parents to teach their children about Him, and about wisdom (as far as possible, with the beginning of wisdom being Him). You are being legalistic. We do not live in an agrarian society where we can have a child in the fields or tending sheep along with us all day long. Also, what did education consist of in Scriptural days? The study of Scripture and a trade. For Scripture study, they started at home but later sat at the foot of the teacher, which was a rabbi. For trade, they either learned it at home or through an apprenticeship.
    Can you teach your child a BS degree, in, say, Engineering? No. They need a university degree. If you have integrity, you’ll admit they aren’t getting that “at home” but MAYBE at a computer in your home, though again that’s unlikely. So, down to a HS degree. Can you teach any sciences that require labs (Earth Science, Chemistry, Physiology, Anatomy, Physics, etc.?) Unlikely. Sports? Art? Language? Unlikely. You would need an advanced Home School Co-op to do these, and that’s not at home. I taught Latin at 3 co-ops (one an advanced co-op), and I can tell you that about 60% of my students were not able to learn the language in one lesson a week. I had to dumb it down so the majority would just pass. The second semester, when students with the lower grades switched to an easier language was much better. But it’s still not a once-a-week language. Best were the students I tutored.

    If you love your children, and want them to get the best all-around education possible, you must take an honest look at your home situation. Not every parent is capable of giving their child a great education. Most dedicated parents can, however. But it’s serious work, and it is a stress on the family. The lower grades are easy enough, but there comes a time when the teacher (or the student) will be spending a significant amount of time on the computer finding the answers to questions they don’t know. Some parents can’t do a good job, and some don’t do it at all (the “unschoolers”), but keep their kids at home because they think it’s the ‘right’ way. Perhaps in 100 AD but not today.

  • Susan Gerard

    The “sympathy” you have for a friend who chooses a public education is much different from the respect one should have for the ability of parents to judge for themselves what is best for their child and their family. Have you had experience in both? To what can you compare your own experience?

  • Susan Gerard

    Jared, you have presented the truth here very well (as I understand it, as a mom who homeschooled her kids.) Your last question is valid. A small study compared Yale graduates to Univ. of CT graduates, their median starting incomes to their mid-career incomes, and on average, it took 17 years of working in a career to make up for the difference in tuition. I’ve never seen a homeschool vs. public-educated study, and frankly, I wouldn’t trust it anyway, because the only organization that would have the interest and enough money to do that study would have a vested interest in promoting home schooling (such as a major curriculum supplier or the HSLDA.

  • Susan Gerard

    Esther, that was humor. At least they didn’t learn their swear words at home… (get it?) My kids learned the f-bomb inadvertently in the second grade from a public-schooled friend. I’m glad none of them actually knew what it meant. My kids knew all the swear words form co-op kids, but you’re correct, homeschooled kids have much cleaner language. The harsh realities my kids learned in school are the same for any kid in public school: there are bullies in school, there is peer pressure, there are unfair teachers, not all kids are wholesome, homework stinks. It was one year, and they appreciated their homeschooling more after that year, a definite plus for me!

  • Esther Starr

    I know a lot about how public schools are run and the problems they have, most of which should make the hair on the back of any parent’s neck stand up if they knew. I’m quite confident many parents are simply lacking this information. It’s come to me through many sources, but one is that I’ve personally known people who had their kids in school and shared stories from their experience.

  • Esther Starr

    Ah, I see. I’m sorry I missed the sarcasm in your post (and I, the queen of sarcasm).

    It’s nice that your kids were happy to go back to homeschooling. Some are, but I’ve known of cases where there was resistance because the children had made some friends and connections. The older they are, the harder the transition seems to be.

    You’re doing a great job of making my own case for me, so I’m not sure why you’re intent on finding disagreement between us.

  • Brian

    Ad hominem attacks, a logical fallacy, and labeling me with the “L” word will not work. You begin your post by your understanding of what Hebrews did, not what the word of God commands and teaches. Jesus said, if you love me you will obey me. Christians must be scripturalists, not experientialists and over-relying on
    their reason. Whether America is largely agrarian or industrial or techno is irrelevant. And your arguments about bachelor’s degrees and physics is irrelevant.

    You somehow missed I wrote that, biblically, it is parent-led and
    home-based with assistance from others who are freely chosen and not agents of the State (i.e., funded by legal plunder and the force of the State); I did not say mommy and daddy are the only teachers until the child is 39 years old. Your anecdotal stories about the abilities/not of homeschooled (or other schooled) children are also irrelevant; whether in a mostly-parents-only home education, homeschool co-op, private institutional school, or State/public school, some can/will learn X, others Y, and very few will learn/be good at
    everything—regardless, this is not what is scripturally most important. There
    are plenty of private and State schooled adults who are incompetent or
    unlearned in many areas. We are talking, however, about Christians and the
    education/discipleship of their children and how to teach them what they need
    to know to hear the gospel and serve God for life. What God commands,
    prescribes, often indicates or clearly shows what He proscribes. Clear biblical teachings and principles are more significant and powerful than anything that might be vague or obscure. I will soon list several scriptures but there are many more scriptures about what God prescribes and proscribes regarding His doctrine on the education/discipleship of children. God’s word does not forbid shining a laser in my neighbor’s eye but the Word certainly forbids using a laser this way (unless perhaps for self-defense).

    First, consider that, He (Jesus) also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully
    trained will be like his teacher (Lk 6). The whole day (e.g., LGBTQueer theory professors who teach the teachers and develop the curriculum; pagan/unregenerate teachers; books and videos that do not exalt Christ; influence from unregenerate 6-, 9-, and 12-year-old peers) is the child’s daytime teacher like
    whom he will become. You can be sure, the large majority of children of Christians who are raised in State schools will become like their daytime teacher, godless government schools/curriculum and godless agents of the State schools
    who work in them. God’s promises this and research shows it.

    Second, fathers must listen up here since this is very serious business; if you put a stumbling block in front of your children, woe to you: He (Jesus) called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my
    name welcomes me. (Mt 18). “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who
    believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! (Mt 18).

    Here are some more, but you must study on your own: Exodus
    34:10-16, Deuteronomy 6:6 9, Psalm 1:1 2, Psalm 78:1 11, Psalm 127:3 5, Proverbs 4, Proverbs 6:20 23, Proverbs 13:20, Proverbs 22:6, Proverbs 23:7, Ecclesiastes 4:12, Isaiah 54:13, Jeremiah 10:2, Ezekiel 33:1-9, Mal. 4:5 6, Matt 7:24 29, Matthew 18:1 7, Matt. 22:21, Luke 1:57 80, Luke 6:39 40, John 7:15, Rom 13, 2-4 (on role of government), 1 Corinthians 15:33, 2 Corinthians 6:14, 2 Corinthians 10:5, Ephesians 6:4,2 Tim. 2:15, 3 John 4.

  • Jared Wheeler

    Oy. Okay . . .

    “First of all, parents don’t need to have PhDs to give their children a competent education with the help of good curriculum.”

    Where is that coming from? Did I suggest anything remotely that silly in what I said? My parents don’t have doctorates, but they found a solid curriculum and we did the homeschooling thing for most of my education (as I said). BUT, even though they had both taken higher-level math themselves in high school and college, by the time I got to Algebra II in 10th grade (and a good bit before that, as well), they were struggling to keep up. Which was fine, because I was a strong student, and with a few exceptions, I was able to teach myself with minimal difficulty. But none of my 3 younger brothers are particularly good at math, and that would have been a SIGNIFICANT problem had we not all begun attending a private school when I was in 11th grade. And I was able to take Trigonometry and then AP Calculus and get 3 hours of college credit out of it, which would NOT have been possible for me at home.

    “Second, a lot of this is about priorities. I believe many parents send their children to school not because it would be *impossible* to homeschool but because it would be *inconvenient*, believing in the back of their minds that public school really isn’t as bad as all that.”

    And I think it’s precisely that kind of judgey-ness that this post is talking about. A parent that does not have the will, the drive to homeschool their own children ABSOLUTELY SHOULD NOT DO SO. I’m sure you know how challenging it is. I think it’s very rewarding, too, but I’m an educator, so I would think that. Some people have that gift, and some people don’t. And it doesn’t seem right for you or anyone to be (silently or vocally) judging them because, in your opinion, they could do it if they were just willing to put themselves out for the sake of their kids.

    Furthermore . . . Public school really *isn’t* as bad as all that. What basis do you have for saying that it is? There are good and bad public schools. My wife and I have taught at several of them between us, and while none of them was perfect, none of them was “as bad as all that,” either. All of them were, at the least, filled with smart, passionate professionals who are dedicated to providing the best education possible for every student that enters the building. And one of the key factors is parental involvement, because that’s what really matters. Parents need to be deeply engaged in their kids’ education, and just because they aren’t homeschooling them, that doesn’t mean they aren’t, or that their kids will be disadvantaged as a result.

    “Sure, I could come up with scenarios where it truly is impossible (the illiterate single mom with no income, etc.) But those are less common than you might think.”

    Any *single* element of that scenario would clearly be a deal-breaker. If a parent is illiterate (or ESL), they aren’t qualified to homeschool. Pretty much no single parent can homeschool, because then they would, by definition, have no income. A lot of couples (my wife and I among them) need 2 incomes to get by, especially in this economy. Considering that something like 1 in 5 Americans are currently below the poverty line, only about 23% of families with children have a stay-at-home mom, and around 45% of American children live in single-parent homes . . . I’m guessing these situations are quite a bit *more* common than you might think.

    “I think if more parents were aware of just HOW bad the public schools are, they’d tighten their belts and prioritize.”

    This is the part where you need to tell us just HOW bad ARE the public schools that these fail parents are too lazy to pull their kids out of?

    “As to enabling children to move on and have careers, one could argue that in the area of, say, polite language, homeschoolers are preparing their children BETTER for “the real world” by raising them to have mature speech. On the other hand, public school children who develop the habit of swearing from an early age are actually not going to be served well in the career world by such a habit, because it’s professionally expected that people clean up their language.”

    These kinds of sweeping generalization about public school children are pretty offensive, and your conclusion is utterly ludicrous and has no connection with actual outcomes in the job market. Here’s a real-life example for you:

    I’m a math teacher. As I mentioned earlier, I pretty much taught myself math from 6th through 10th grade . . . In particular, Algebra I & II and Geometry. Not having a qualified math teacher for these subjects was a significant handicap for me starting out, because there were a LOT of things I didn’t really learn, and a ridiculous number of widespread teaching tricks and shortcuts that I missed out on (like the “box” method of multiplying polynomials, for example). I’ve had to work extra hard to pick those things up, playing catch-up with my public-schooled peers in order to become an effective math teacher. This public/home dichotomy is just not that cut-and-dried.

    Anyway, sorry this is so long, and sorry if I’m coming on too strong. I’m confident that you don’t mean to come off in such a condescending manner towards non-homeschoolers, but that *is* what you’re doing, and what you’re saying simply isn’t justified by reality.

  • Susan Gerard

    I think you made my point about the ad hominem attack. Legalism, bifurcation, pandering to fear (there are Godly Christian teachers in public schools, my brother-in-law being one of them) a straw man (the laser), and cherry-picking/taking Scripture out of context to support your position. Yes, I am ***absolutely certain*** that when Jesus spoke about the millstone, he meant it for parents who sent their kids to public school.

  • Susan Gerard

    So, you use (literally) hearsay to support your conclusion. Why do you think parents have none? Don’t you think parents are wise enough to find out what the schools are like in their districts? Do you think they talk to other parents? Before we decided to homeschool, we vetted the school districts by talking to parents and teachers and moved to the best one. One shoe does not fit all.

  • Susan Gerard

    OK, so here is an adult (parent?), Jared, who was homeschooled and public schooled, is now a teacher, who is married to a teacher (therefore years of combined experience in teaching) who is telling people of his experiences of both. Here is a person with high credentials to speak to this issue reasonably, and is doing so. Not too long, and spot on! Great Job.

  • Susan Gerard

    ???

  • Esther Starr

    I’m sorry, did you just accuse my friends and neighbors, who would have no reason to lie to me, of lying?

  • Allison

    Susan, I’m sorry but Brian is right. The government was never designed to educate but to protect our ability to do so. Jesus is the Master Teacher…and His Spirit informs every subject imaginable. He doesn’t compartmentalize or withdraw Himself from subjects that are beyond Him. We are told to buy truth (Proverbs 23:23)….period. That doesn’t mean that everything unbelievers teach is false, it just means that we are to invest in His worldview so that we are actually better equipped to discern the difference…not loosing discernment because we’ve chosen the wrong person to listen to in the first place (Prov. 14:7).

    Parents and the Church are responsible. Wisdom simply doesn’t willingly give responsibility to those who don’t know Him.

    If we really care about those hurting in difficult situations in public schools….we will go into these neighborhoods and offer them the truth, rather continue to support a worldview that denies truth exists.

    God created everything for a purpose, and the purpose of education, teachers, students, tuition, etc…doesn’t change with the current of our times because it’s based on His character. And only those who love Him first will care enough to know and understand His intentions before they come up with their own.

    Our government’s school system never had biblical goals in mind. It sought to separate faith from education…and it worked. Now our nation is full of grown up disciples who believe they can separate their faith from their work. And you know who are responsible for teaching them by word and example? Teachers like me, who at one point substituted in a public school and suppressed my faith as I tried to enmesh myself into the belief system in control.

    Now our oldest wants to be a teacher and teach the same classical and Christian way she by God’s grace as been taught. Thankfully she understands why God holds teachers in stricter judgement (James 3:1)…and takes her role as a minister of His seriously.

    Finding a college who equips this way, based on purposes, is difficult to find. But I see the tide changing as we remind each other of Christ’s heart for us all.

  • Esther Starr

    I’m not going to gainsay your specific, individual experience with the schools where you’ve taught, since, obviously, I haven’t seen them. However, there are news stories *about every other day* that show how *many* public schools have badly skewed priorities, low education standards, uncontrollable bullying, and a determination to help children lose their innocence as quickly as possible (in addition to all the other environmental factors that are already doing so).

    I’ve heard an experienced teacher like you, who is _not_ a crusading pro-homeschooler, speak casually, almost jokingly, about how any innocence your child might start off with will be “completely gone” by the time they graduate highschool. I’ve seen Christian parents on forums speak resignedly about how it’s not that unlikely that their children will become sexually active in highschool, and what they should do *when* that happens. I’ve spoken with a teacher who taught public school after graduating from college and told me with deadly seriousness that he would not send his kid to public school. I don’t even know if this guy is a Christian, let alone a conservative. I’ve had friends whose children were beaten up in school, one _specifically for his Christian faith_. My nominally Catholic *hairdresser* had a daughter who wasn’t learning to read in school because of the “new education fads” (which I’m sure you’re all on board with, since you seem so rah-rah public school education), and she zipped to the top of her class after we gave her _Why Johnny Can’t Read_. In a matter of *weeks*.

    To bring in another factor, are you not even aware of the push to bring sex education into elementary schools? Do you not see how inane it is to speak seriously of having “missed out” on the box method of multiplying polynomials while pre-teen children are learning about perverse sex acts from their curriculum? You seem to have muddled through somehow without learning the box method of polynomial multiplication. But innocence is irrevocable. I’m going to be a math teacher too, so my children will get to have both. But if it came down to a choice between the two, I’d say their innocence is a smidge more important than learning the box method of multiplying polynomials.

  • Susan Gerard

    hearsay: the report of another person’s words by a witness, usually disallowed as evidence in a court of law.
    What you are told by someone else is not your own experience. It is hearsay. That is a definition, argue with it if you like.

  • Jared Wheeler

    I hadn’t really caught on to this earlier, but . . . I take it you actually *disagree* with the post that we’re all commenting on?

    “I’m not going to gainsay your specific, individual experience with the schools where you’ve taught, since, obviously, I haven’t seen them. However, there are news stories *about every other day* that show how *many* public schools have badly skewed priorities”

    Yes, thank you for basically repeating my entire point back to me. If you are acknowledging that there are good public schools as well as bad public schools, and that parents should do the legwork to find the best option they can for their children, and remain completely involved in their education whether at home or not, then we agree. What I’m hearing from you, however, is vast, sweeping generalizations that ALL public schools are vile dens seething with iniquity and shoddy standards, and that any parent who chooses not to homeschool has failed their children. That’s simply not true, and if that’s not what you’re saying, you need to clarify what your position is.

    “and a determination to help children lose their innocence as quickly as possible”

    A *determination*? Oh, yes. That’s pretty much the agenda of every public school faculty meeting I’ve ever attended: “How can destroy our students’ innocence in the most rapid and efficient manner?” Come on . . . Tone down the rhetoric.

    “speak casually, almost jokingly, about how any innocence your child might start off with will be “completely gone” by the time they graduate highschool”

    Was it almost jokingly? Or was it, perhaps, actually jokingly? Not that there isn’t an element of truth to that. I mean, heaven forbid that a teenager on the cusp of adulthood should have attained some knowledge of the world during their high school experience . . . I know we want them to stay tiny and innocent forever. I have a two-year old, and if I could freeze her in place, I probably would. But someday that innocence is going to be gone, and she’ll be an adult. It’s sad, but it’s life. And it’s not like homeschooling is the magic bullet. I was not only homeschooled, but a missionary kid, growing up inside a ministry in an all-Christian community, and my “innocence” was certainly gone by high school.

    “I’ve seen Christian parents on forums speak resignedly about how it’s not that unlikely that their children will become sexually active in highschool, and what they should do *when* that happens.”

    Whether certain parents have given up hope is not terribly relevant to this discussion. The reality is that we live in a sexualized culture, where the rate of pre-marital sex among Christians is not very different from that among non-Christians. It’s going to come down to, first, how you instill your values in your children, and second, how they implement those values when they encounter certain situations (as they *inevitably* will) out in the world. Maybe you can put that moment off a year or two by homeschooling (and maybe not), but the time will come when it’s out of your direct control. But “I don’t think I will be able to keep my teen from having sex” is an utterly ridiculous argument against public schools.

    “I’ve spoken with a teacher who taught public school after graduating from college and told me with deadly seriousness that he would not send his kid to public school. I don’t even know if this guy is a Christian, let alone a conservative.”

    Not sure what relevance his politics have, but clearly there isn’t a problem with people who feel that way. They should make the choice to go another route. I have taught in schools that I would prefer not to send my child to. But this is an issue of personal choice and hopefully an informed decision, not an “I’m better than you because I made the sacrifice to homeschool my kids” moral imperative.

    “My nominally Catholic *hairdresser* had a daughter who wasn’t learning to read in school because of the “new education fads” (which I’m sure you’re all on board with, since you seem so rah-rah public school education)”

    My wife teaches first grade, so she would know more about that than I do. Educators learn new methods and try new things all the time to constantly adapt and improve the way we teach children what they need to know. I don’t get along very well with administrators who are constantly trying the latest thing, and then drop it after a year to chase the next latest thing. But competent leaders will train their teachers in research-based best practices, and good teachers will always be honing their craft and assimilating new methods and new information . . . Not because it’s “the fad” but because the world is constantly changing around us, and we know that there is no “one size fits all” way to teach anything.

    I don’t know what went on in the specific classroom you referenced. Maybe it was overcrowded with too many students and too little time. Maybe the teacher was young and inexperienced, or maybe the teacher was coasting on complacency. Or maybe it was none of those things. As I said, my wife teaches first grade, so that’s what she deals with the most, and every year there’s at least one student who struggles and doesn’t seem to get it. The best solution is always the same: Parental involvement, working with the student individually at home, because that’s something that some students just *need.* I’m guessing your hairdresser, since she’s got a career, isn’t able to be a full-time homeschooler. But she got involved and the problem got solved, and that’s how public school works. I don’t see why you’d consider that a flaw.

    “To bring in another factor, are you not even aware of the push to bring sex education into elementary schools?”

    Do you seriously think it’s a problem for kindergartner’s and first graders to learn the correct names for various body parts and the difference between “good touch” and “bad touch”? Well, maybe you do . . . but you’ve made the decision to homeschool because of things like that. That doesn’t make your opinion more valid than someone who makes a different choice.

    “Do you not see how inane it is to speak seriously of having “missed out” on the box method of multiplying polynomials while pre-teen children are learning about perverse sex acts from their curriculum?”

    Almost as inane as your taking my example completely out of context. I’m not like, “Oh no, I’m so deprived because I didn’t learn the box!” It’s one example among many of concepts that I didn’t get by homeschooling which have directly affected the career I chose to pursue. That’s it. And I’m not sure what “perverse sex acts” you’re referring to since you didn’t provide any actual information, but I have a strong suspicion that you’re overstating the case, as every anti-sex-ed parent I’ve ever encountered tends to do.

    “You seem to have muddled through somehow without learning the box method of polynomial multiplication.”

    That’s pretty much my point, actually. Students who have involved parents tend to muddle through somehow, and it doesn’t matter much where they go to school. Any parent who genuinely wants their kids to have a quality education can take steps to make that happen, even if they choose not to, or are unable to, homeschool them.

  • Esther Starr

    Allison raises yet another interesting point, which is the fact that many teachers in public schools are actually Christians, but they’re forced to suppress their faith in ways that will definitely take a toll on one’s conscience if practiced long enough.

  • Esther Starr

    Help me understand what you’re saying here, because you’re just not being clear: You’re saying I shouldn’t take my friends seriously, even though they have direct eye-witness testimony of what happened to their families… why? Are you going to tell me I also shouldn’t take the Bible seriously because after all, I didn’t personally experience the crucifixion and resurrection, I’m just reading the disciples’ personal eye-witness accounts?

  • Jared Wheeler

    One more thing that I didn’t want to fold into the previous comment. You’re stacking the deck in your argument, which means that what you’re saying isn’t valid. You can’t present all the cons of public schooling alongside all the pros of homeschooling and pretend that you’ve proved anything.

    As I keep saying, there are bad public schools, and there are bad students in them, and there are bad parents and bad teachers and bad administrators. All of these things exist. But there are lots of good people, too, and you’re denigrating every single one of them (unintentionally, I think) with everything you’ve said. Teachers don’t make a lot of money. We’re there because we care about kids, and most of us are really good at our jobs . . . And our jobs are *not* to be your kids’ parents. That’s your job. Parents who fail to do that job because they think the school should be doing it are a big part of what screws up public education. Another big part is that the people with power to make decisions, legislators and school board members and the like, have NO IDEA what it’s like inside a public school. They’re making snap judgments and uninformed decisions left and right, and the fallout can be devastating. But teachers very quickly become adept at reaching their students and teaching their students despite all that mess.

    Meanwhile, I know people who have homeschooled who simply *had no business homeschooling.* They cared deeply about their children, certainly, but they didn’t know how to turn that love into a quality education. They were bad at math, couldn’t spell, had very little knowledge of history or science. Their kids did great in the elementary years, but after that their success or failure was predicated on how good or how disciplined of a student they were on their own, and many of them were not good, disciplined students. Some of them even needed special programs for learning disabilities, but didn’t get them. A few didn’t even finish high school, and certainly have no plans to go to college. Even the stronger students ended up with pitiful gaps in their education. These homeschoolers are out there, and the students they produce are often every bit as ill-equipped as the horror stories coming out of public schools. It happens. Homeschooling is great. I am a homeschooling advocate. We will probably homeschool our daughter for at least some of her school years. But homeschooling is *not* inherently better. It just isn’t . . .

  • Susan Gerard

    Allison, I can appreciate your desire to follow Christ, and the kindly way you have addressed someone who has a different viewpoint. I loved homeschooling, and I recommend it.

    We are responsible for their education in Godliness and in wisdom. We are responsible to be involved in their education. However I do not believe we are commanded to be responsible for every part of our children’s education.

    God is eternal and unchanging. The Bible is God’s word written in the context of time and culture. The Bible is not God. Finally, the Bible must be interpreted through Jesus Christ as well. If you honestly believe that OT laws are still valid because of their timelessness, you should, at the minimum, not eat pork, shrimp or shellfish, milk and meat together, wear clothing of mixed fibers… you see where that interpretation of the Bible gets us?

  • Esther Starr

    No, this teacher was acknowledging loss of innocence as one of those things everybody knows about public school, in the course of a frank roundtable discussion about how parents can prepare their children for the real world. And I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to do some fast talking to convince me that learning to swear like a sailor, roll a joint, and use a condom before the age of 16 are so wonderful I should send my kid to school so he can learn to do so ASAP.

    My hairdresser’s daughter was a very bright student. The “educational” method she was encountering was to teach children to spell without vowels. She only improved after _we_ lent her a book that teaches kids how to read the _right_ way, by basic phonics.

    You really think sex ed is all about “good touch” and “bad touch”? I’m sorry, but you just haven’t done your research. Google “Planned Parenthood” and “sex education,” and then get back to me. Read this woman’s account of a PP-sponsored sex ed conference, for starters:

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/teens-teach-porn-class-and-other-madness-inside-a-planned-parenthood-sponso

    A relevant quote:

    “…One of the first things I encountered was a table manned by three young teen boys. On the table was a collage that included many depictions of totally bare female genitalia—obviously pornographic and, one would think, illegal.

    The collage included a drawing of a woman circa 1950 declaring, in the most base terms, what a woman’s private parts should smell like. It also included a drawing of a pigtailed little girl riding on a tricycle with the word “Vagina!” written above her, and another drawing of a young female child standing by a rose, with the word “Vagina” written below her on a chalkboard.

    “Everyone can come inside” are the words visible along the outer edge of the piece, which appeared to be a decoupaged plate.”

  • Jared Wheeler

    “My hairdresser’s daughter was a very bright student. The “educational” method she was encountering was to teach children to spell without vowels. She only improved after _we_ lent her a book that teaches kids how to read the _right_ way, by basic phonics.”

    Obviously I have no way of making any informed comments about what was going on there. I wonder if the entire class was struggling as well. My wife has taught first grade for 7 years, and she said she’s never heard of the method you’re describing, so if it was a fad, it must not have been very popular. We’re in Texas, which, as one of the largest textbook markets in the country, tends to be quite influential over curriculum, but there are other large markets as well. Where do you live?

    “You really think sex ed is all about “good touch” and “bad touch”? I’m sorry, but you just haven’t done your research. Google “Planned Parenthood” and “sex education,” and then get back to me.”

    My mistake. I thought we were talking about things that are ACTUALLY happening inside ACTUAL American ELEMENTARY schools . . . As opposed to things that are supposedly transpiring around teens at a Planned Parenthood conference. Maybe if you had been more clear when you said “sex education into elementary schools,” I would have known that *wasn’t* actually what we were talking about . . .

  • Jared Wheeler

    What a mess. I’d dearly love to see a CaPC post addressing the terrible exegesis and rampant misunderstandings about public education I’m seeing here . . . but I’m all out of energy for mounting such an effort myself. Just . . . ugh.

  • Susan Gerard

    Esther, I don’t know if you can hear this, but you should, because of all the times it’s been mentioned after your comments.

    You have a strong tendency to weaken your arguments by making outlandish accusations. “Are you telling me I also shouldn’t take the Bible seriously…” That does not logically follow. It is not “if A therefore B”. That is called a propositional fallacy. I said you had no personal, first hand knowledge of what happens in public education. What you have is second hand knowledge, and that does not carry the same weight as personal experience. You, who love to point out perceived logical fallacies of others, are not able to refrain from their use yourself. Rhetoric and Logic are good subjects to teach in school, but it does no one much good if they only see it in others.

    Finally, unless you have a personal revelation from God, you accept the authority of Scripture on FAITH. Again, that’s faith, not first hand experience. That’s why Jesus said, Blessed are they who have not seen yet believe. Faith is the substance of things *hoped for*, the evidence of things *not seen*. You will never win a debate with an atheist mistaking faith for fact, however strong your faith.

  • Susan Gerard

    ^ BOOM!

  • Susan Gerard

    ” I’d say their innocence is a smidge more important than learning the box method of multiplying polynomials.”

    How demeaning this comment is. Jared shared this in good faith that the truth of his experience would not be handled inappropriately. You’ve twisted it into a truly ridiculous, insulting, unkind parody of reasoning.

  • Brian

    Christians must see the macroperspective. God never gives to the State/civil government the job/duty of discipling children and He clearly gives it to parents, with the assistance of Christian brothers and sisters. The State’s (e.g., the USA, all/most nations) schools were never and are not now designed to lift up the name of Christ, teach the gospel to little ones, and advance the gospel and kingdom of God. In fact, they are very much to the contrary (read, e.g., The Messianic Messianic Character of American Education by Rushdoony, The
    Underground History of American Education by Gatto, visit the Annual Meeting of
    the American Educational Research Association, or read the myriad planks of the
    National Education Association). Mentioning that State schools are rife with
    anti-Christ, anti-scriptural, and ungodly teachers, curriculum, and peer
    pressure is not ad hominem but only a fact (and I have a long history of
    experience with them and deep understanding of them). Whether some Christians
    teach in State schools is irrelevant to God’s commands regarding who should be
    educating/discipling the children of His sons and daughters. In that vein, there are also some professing Christians who get drunk or commit fornication but
    that does not legitimize either in the eye of God. Could it be that Christians teaching in State/government schools is a way to further entrench a godless system that has direct, daily influence over about 87% of American children for about 13 years of their lives? Or that such involvement gives the appearance (or actuality) that professing Christians are endorsing the anti-scriptural
    teachings of State schools?

    Yes, I am quite sure that when Jesus spoke of millstones 2,000 or so years ago – and when God (via His word) well over 2,000 years ago — warned His people about getting entangled with the world, marrying foreign wives and how they would influence His people toward idolatry, and forbade other things, He knew about all kinds of stumbling
    blocks that parents might or would put in front of their children today or 100 years ago; He is not surprised by anything.

    All education worked out on children – whether in State schools, private schools, or home-based parent-led education – is value-laden. “This means that the teacher cannot be neutral nor subscribe to humanistic philosophies with respect to his field of study. Either there is a neutral void behind every fact, or the living God. In
    our teaching, we will always consciously or unconsciously acknowledge one or the other” (Rushdoony, The-Philosophy-of-the-Christian-Curriculum, p. 167). Even
    if State-run education were endorsed by God in his word, and it is not, try teaching the gospel and the truth of the word in every subject area and see how long you last as a teacher in the school. Jesus, said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Lk. 11). It is time that Christians and church leaders stop playing loose and anti-scripturally with the minds and hearts of the children God gave to them to disciple.

  • Susan Gerard

    Rushdoony? Really? Who’s next, Mark Driscoll?

    “Could it be that Christians teaching in State/government schools is a way to further entrench a godless system that has direct, daily influence over about 87% of American children for about 13 years of their lives?”

    Could it be that you’re really stretching here?

    You are convinced of one thing. I am convinced of another. I do not believe we will change each other’s opinions.

  • Allison

    I would love to know what you are referring to and learn more. My understandings come a rep from the US Dept. of the Interior who shared about the creation of our current “secular” school system, which began at the university level with the University of Virginia. Apparently, Jefferson and others believed that religion should/could be removed from education, that the government should be responsible for educating our citizens, that it could/should be done without religious bias. He wanted to create schools in contrast to the ones in existence…ie: Harvard, Yale, etc.. Later I learned that the government was trying to make everyone comply with the state mandates, when the Catholic Church stood and fought for the ability to educate according to their faith (Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 1925). They won their case in the Supreme Court, but the original errors were never corrected, allowing the system to continue under the guise of neutrality until now.

    The ironic thing is that while Jefferson tried to remove faith from education, he simply replaced it with his own and convinced the nation to pay for it. He may just be the most prolific pastor in our nation’s history.

    However, the Supreme Court doesn’t see any public school teacher as a minister of a faith. This is one of the saddest aspects of it all for me. See also the opinion handed down for the recent Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC case. Sadly, they are people who actually believe that truth is relative and no one way is right or wrong. And they are as exclusive as any other. Just try teaching the truth and see how long they are “neutral” about your teaching.

    Christians are basically shucking their identity and beliefs in order to cooperate with a dishonest, dysfunctional approach to filling a vacuum that insanely was created by Christians. Our job isn’t to force anyone to invest in His perspective, but to not offer it or to neglect what we do have to offer makes me about as speechless as you.

  • Allison

    I don’t remember mentioning Old Testament law, but I do remember mentioning the New Testament law…in that loving Him and others (in that order) is what He wants for/from us. How can you not want to learn more about how your First Love thinks and not want to share that with those who want to know Him more too? Sunday just isn’t enough! :)

  • Jared Wheeler

    I’d be happy to help, but I don’t really know how to begin addressing errors this vast and this deep . . . There are over 7 million public school teachers in the United States, and most of them are just ordinary Americans, like you and me (but probably a bit more like me, since I’m also a teacher =P). They certainly aren’t organized members of a vast historical brainwashing conspiracy that blankets the nation and stretches back to Jefferson.

    Almost nothing that you said even remotely resembles reality, and I have no idea where this perception is coming from. It’s certainly not from any actual personal experience inside a public school. You can’t believe everything you read, and if it sounds crazy, it probably is . . . Where do you live?

  • Jared Wheeler

    “Allison raises yet another interesting point, which is the fact that many teachers in public schools are actually Christians, but they’re forced to suppress their faith in ways that will definitely take a toll on one’s conscience if practiced long enough.”

    Nonsense. I’ve taught Puritan poetry to high school students and we discussed the faith of the Puritans. No one cared. The last school I taught in reminded students each week of a student and faculty-led Bible study and all were welcomed to attend. There weren’t any problems. The idea that Christianity is somehow being suppressed and that teachers are forced to keep their mouths shut in American public schools is a load of bunk.

    There are isolated incidents where actions are taken against students or teachers for various things, but when these things actually go before a court, very little tends to come of them. The trouble is, most school administrators are cowards . . . They’re not anti-Christian (many of them are Christians), they just don’t want any trouble, so if one vocal person makes enough noise, and they can change some minor policy to appease that person, they’ll generally do it. But if there is blowback from the opposite corner of the community, it can just as easily swing back the other way. What you can’t do is use your position of power and influence over young minds to interfere with the will of a child’s parents . . . But this is just as much for protection of Christians as non-Christians. I daresay you wouldn’t want a Muslim teacher trying to convert his students, and you wouldn’t say he was being forced to suppress his faith if it was expected that he refrain from overtly proselytizing. This isn’t a difficult concept.

  • Susan Gerard

    I’m sorry, you’re correct. Your OT references were from Proverbs, not law. I misrepresented your view. If you want me to edit my comment, I’d be happy to.

    “God created everything for a purpose, and the purpose of education, teachers, students, tuition, etc…doesn’t change with the current of our times because it’s based on His character.”

    From a too quick reading of this, I mistakenly assumed you think Scripture is timeless. Again, my apologies.

    I did want God to be manifested in my chrildren’s education. That is the major reason we homeschooled them. But I don’t believe it’s ethically wrong to send children to public school. Parents must carry the burden every day to teach their children about God and wisdom, not just on Sundays. They can do it outside of school, though. Sometimes that’s their only option, for a number of reasons, including that they do not feel called to homeschool. Homeschooling is a bit like being a missionary; it’s a full time commitment in a different culture you can’t get away from. If one does it out of guilt, there will be less joy in it, and maybe resentment. Maybe worse. Not everyone can do it. Not everyone wants to do it. If they choose an alternative, that’s OK.

  • Allison

    Actually…I graduated from a public high school and public college, I’ve taught in a public school, been a parent of a child enrolled in a public school, and have volunteered and been a part of the PTA at a public school. In Texas. Nearly the entire time, I knew those in teaching and leadership either believed what they were teaching or didn’t but felt they had to teach a particular way so they complied with the state’s expectations. Either way, they were wrong…and so was I…because I knew better. It wasn’t until later that different questions and inconsistencies arose that caused me to ask God to help me unlearn what I thought I understood. I had the responsibility of children then, and I knew God took my care of them seriously….but felt that I needed to be educated about education before I had any hope of teaching/training our kids. I knew my assumptions and what I had been taught wasn’t adding up, but I didn’t know what needed to be corrected. Slowly but surely He answered my prayer. And, as with marriage and the roles of a husband and wife….He has purposes for education and the roles and responsibility of teachers and students. I’m not sure about a conspiracy, but I do believe in national demise…and the millions that knowingly or unknowingly contribute to it. Martin Luther had the same approach to education in Germany and his partnership with the government took the nation in a horrendous direction. I don’t think he intended for it to result the way it did. He just tried to fix a problem his way…like we’re all prone to do.

    http://www.worldmag.com/mobile/article.php?id=24391

  • Jared Wheeler

    Well, in that case, maybe *you* could tell *me* more about what you mean, for instance, by statements like “Christians are basically shucking their identity and beliefs in order to cooperate with a dishonest, dysfunctional approach to filling a vacuum that insanely was created by Christians.” What?

    And maybe I just misread you on the conspiracy thing, but all of this “Jefferson replaced the Christian faith in public schools with his own faith” . . . I just don’t know what you’re referring to. And “However, the Supreme Court doesn’t see any public school teacher as a minister of a faith.” . . . What in the world . . .?

    I read a bit about the “Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC” case you mentioned, but I don’t understand what point you were trying to make in referring to it. The school in question seems to be acting somewhat regrettably.

    I am interested in more specifics about this: “Nearly the entire time, I knew those in teaching and leadership either believed what they were teaching or didn’t but felt they had to teach a particular way so they complied with the state’s expectations. Either way, they were wrong…and so was I…because I knew better. It wasn’t until later that different questions and inconsistencies arose that caused me to ask God to help me unlearn what I thought I understood.” What were they teaching that was so wrong . . .? And why did they feel they had to continue teaching it? What sorts of inconsistencies raised questions for you?

  • Heather Underwood

    I am a mom of 3 girls and I have done public schools and homeschooled. Did I mention that we are military? So we move and there are some great public schools out there and some that make you shake your head in total disbelief. Here is what it all comes down to as Christians: 1) Did you pray and ask God where He wants your kids? 2) Are you going to be obedient? Personally I pray every school year and ask public or homeschooled Lord where do you want them. I am not worried about the influence of the kids at the school as much as I am the teachers and the curriculum. Teachers can push a mindset and an agenda better than any other person of influence. I have seen both the positive and negatives of this with my children. If God has told you to homeschool and you are broke well let me tell you about a great website that is free all the way up to 12th grade called http://www.allinonehomeschool.com if the Lord calls you to send them to school then trust Him. Personally, I have come across pride and division in both places and I can say that you have to let your little light shine with love in both circles.

  • Esther Starr

    You still haven’t answered my question: What exactly are you implying about how seriously I should take the very credible witness of my friends and neighbors? Returning to the Bible, I’m not committing a fallacy, I’m drawing a reasonable parallel, and I think YOU are the one who doesn’t understand the weight and use of evidence. Read _Cold Case Christianity_ for an experienced lawyer’s perspective on the reliability of the gospels. The kind of evidence we have in these documents is CRAZY good, of a kind that would make a court *salivate*, of a kind which we simply don’t have for other contemporary documents that everyone accepts as genuine. I don’t have faith in the Scriptures merely because of some burning in my bosom. I have faith in the Scriptures because they meet every standard for being highly reliable, well attested historical documents. In short, I am a Christian because the public evidence supports it. If that’s offensive to you, I’m sorry, but words like “hope” and “faith” don’t mean that God expects us to check our brains at the door. Perhaps you’re a presuppositionalist, in which case that would explain a great deal.

  • Esther Starr

    We are. See this quote from a 2009 article. Put out by a Texas publication, I might add:

    “Next week, the Nueces County Health District (NCHD) will meet to make a final decision on government funding for Planned Parenthood’s (PP) sex education courses, including their work in public schools.

    On Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 6:00 p.m. at 555 N. Carancahua St., Suite 950-A (NCHD Board Room), in Corpus Christi, the NCHD will have a public hearing on PP’s request for $70,000 of government funding for 2009-10.

    We recently obtained a grant proposal from PP, where they list schools participating in sex education. Schools where PP claims to be performing sex education include numerous elementary schools. Schools include:

    Baker Middle School, Banquete High School, Calallen High School, Carroll High School,Collegiate High School, Driscoll Middle School, Evans Elementary, Gibson Elementary, Grant Middle School, Hamlin Middle School, King High School, Lamar Elementary, Lotspeich Elementary – Robstown, Martin Middle School, Miller High School, Moody High School, Ortiz Intermediate School – Robstown, Ray High School, Port Aransas Elementary, Middle and High School, Robstown High School, San Pedro Elementary, Seals Jr. High, South Park Middle School, Tom Browne Middle School, Tuloso Midway High School, West Oso High School, Zavala Elementary.”

    - See more at: http://txvalues.org/2009/09/16/nueces-county-elementary-schools-have-planned-parenthood-sex-education-county-to-decide-on-planned-parenthood-funding-your-action-needed/#sthash.nK5fxrp1.dpuf

    Is using google really that hard for you, Jared?

  • Allison

    My primary point isn’t that everyone is called to teach their children full-time….there are a variety of ways to accomplish educating your children. But I do believe everyone is responsible for making sure our children are being instructed and evaluated as biblically as possible, on Sunday as well as Monday. The bottom line for me is that in the basic sense, we are all homeschooling in that we are training our children how (or how not) to love God and others as He intended. This means seeking His best for not only our children but also others and their children….As well as teachers, administrators, etc… who are responsible before God for what they promote. And He loves everyone enough to let us know when we aren’t heeding His will and wise ways. He created us all…those who believe and those who don’t….and knows better than we possibly could about how best to love those who He wants us to support, as well as those whom He removes support from in order for them to understand that they aren’t only working against our children, but primarily working against God and the sooner they realize the enormity of this, the better.

  • Allison

    Great questions…A school is a group of people under the teaching and authority of one teacher. One worldview. While many argue that some are secular, or without belief, the truth is that they all are belief/view-based. Imparting a view is just inherent in the profession of teaching, which is why Christ (Who knows this infinitely better than anyone) takes this so seriously. However, we have developed our own compartmentalizations, and the Hosanna-Tabor case exposed this. The Appeals judge calculated the number of minutes the teacher taught “secular” subjects versus “spiritual” ones. Because she spent more time teaching “secularly,” the church/school was not protected by ministerial exemption and would be forced to reinstate someone who was not interested in submitting to the leadership of the church/school. This means that any Christian church, camp, organization who builds homes, feeds the poor, serves the elderly, etc… in the name of Christ would be legally bound to hire those who don’t know Him and aren’t submitted to Him. But, as ministers of the faith (1 Peter 2:9) ALL that we think, say, and do is because of His Spirit within us. ALL work is an act of worship. But confusion abounds at least partly because we have allowed the compartmentalization of our faith. Then we get all upset (rightly so) about Mr. Green of Hobby Lobby, who is not being allowed to work according to his faith. The Justice Dept. expects him to compartmentalize too.

    Justice Alito’s opinion on the Hosanna-Tabor case sums up their confusion about what a minister of the faith actually is. He states on p. 8 of his concurrence that a teacher in a secular school wouldn’t qualify for “ministerial” exemption, but the truth is that we are all ministers of a faith/belief/worldview. It’s just a matter of which one we’ve chosen to submit to.

    Our local school district’s handbook states that they are committed to uphold their “constitutional duty to remain neutral in areas of religion.” But neutrality doesn’t exist. It’s simply a veil for relativism that appears to be neutral until you disagree. Not to mention the fact that the constitution doesn’t require anyone to be “neutral” but protects us from having to be.

    Yes, parents are ultimately responsible for their children…and it’s their decision as to whose view they want to partner with. Likewise, teachers/schools are responsible for making it clear the perspective they teach.

    Having also been a student at a Christian school and been a parent of children in Christian schools…along with teaching them myself…I could see the vast difference in perspective. What I also saw though was how similar it was too….the public school was simply promoting something else they believed in. At least somewhat…

    When I realized that the “neutrality” in the classroom was really another faith, I felt the need to withdraw our son mid-year. But, I also wanted his principal and teachers, etc. to feel loved. I prayed and knew that God wanted me to make it lovingly clear why we were moving him back to our former Christian school (which is a hybrid, part-time at school and part-time at home). I told her that we believed a biblically based education was God’s best for him and that God holds us all accountable for what we teach. Her first words were, “Well, he’s not going to get that here.” Her last words were, “I wish all parents cared as much about their children’s education as you do.” The nurse looked at me with a look that she too was convicted and his Jewish teacher witnessed the depth of our beliefs. Our son knew that this would affect choices in our lifestyle, but that nothing mattered more than what Christ wants us to give and receive…before, during, and after school.

  • Allison

    By the way…just for clarity I didn’t say Jefferson replaced the Christian faith in public schools. Our current public school system, while had some Christian influence, was never created with Christ as the foundation. Jefferson created them because he believed faith/religion needed to be removed from education, in contrast to the Christian institutions of the day. (But, very much in line with his faith.) Thankfully, the Catholic Church’s actions (Pierce v. Society of Sisters) ensured our ability to make that decision for ourselves and our children.

  • Brian

    I do not think I am stretching anything here. I sit with, hear, and dialogue with year after year the professors and doctoral students at the AERA annual meetings I mentioned. They teach, train, and indoctrinate the teachers who teach, train, and indoctrinate 87% of all American schoolchildren for 13 years of their lives. The
    worldviews and specific teachings of these academics have a direct and anti-biblical effect on all that happens in State/public schools. I sit in classrooms. I know the public-school curriculum, in its broadest sense, and in particulars. I read the National Education Association (NEA) and know their worldview. The foundation, 150 years of practice, and current direction and practice of State/public schools is not with Jesus and He (the omnipotent Savior and King) said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Lk. 11). If a Christian promotes or advocates for Christians placing their children in State/public schools, then that Christian must tell us how State schools are with Jesus, in whole and in part.

    I do not need to convince you of anything or change your opinion but if you claim the name of Christ then I adjure you and all who read this to carefully seek what the Word
    of God says about the discipling of children. God holds us all accountable to do this, and this is not my opinion since “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in
    righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16). There is nothing in the Bible that endorses or promotes or okays what State/public school do to and with children and teens, and there is plenty that proscribes it. We must live by the Word and not by our experiences, what nice Christians do, the Christian community status quo, nor community standards.

    Regarding books and authors I mentioned: Can you tell me what is unbiblical or unfactual about the Rushdoony quote I included or what he writes in either book I cited? Or, anything inaccurate about what Gatto writes? Apparent attempts at poisoning the well by mentioning authors I never mentioned are not fitting for this kind of
    discussion. I am glad to deal with and evaluate theses and specific concepts by God’s mighty word, but not by ad hominem, poisoning the well, or red herrings.
    I am enjoying the discussion.

  • Brian

    For context and
    what it’s worth, I have over three decades of having been saved by God and His
    wonderful grace, intimate and in-depth knowledge of public schooling, private
    schooling, and homeschooling, and raising “several” children. Getting mired and
    lost in the details of points such as (1) I know a Christian teacher who got to
    teach Puritan poetry and discuss Christianity in State/public school, (2) There
    are a lot (whatever that means) of Christian teachers in public schools, (3) Government/public
    schools aren’t as bad as a lot of Christians say, (4) We used to say the “Our
    Father” in public schools, all keep Christians right where the enemy of God
    wants them — distracted, emasculated, and ineffective in obeying God’s word,
    heeding Christ’s instructions, and raising children in the nurture and
    admonition of the Lord (Eph 6) under the actual leadership of fathers with the
    assistance of the church as God directs. If you are a Christian and do not
    understand jurisdictions (e.g., family, church, state) and do not believe that,
    “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof,
    for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16), then you will
    get taken by red herrings and snookered almost every time. The ever-so-gradual
    engulfing of 87% of American children (and it is very similar in many other
    nations) and the large majority of American Christians’ children into
    State/public schools that were neither designed to nor in actuality lift up the
    name of Christ and hold all things under His authority and the fact that the
    State being in authority over a child’s teaching, training, and indoctrination
    is a clear sign that church leaders and the church in general in America got
    taken in by the unwitting culture and those who purposely wanted to become the
    philosopher-kings over all. Why are those commenting on this site who are
    apparently promoting or endorsing Christian fathers having the State
    indoctrinate their children for 6 to 8 hours per day 5 days per week and 9
    months per year not dealing with Jesus the Christ who said, “Whoever is not
    with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Lk. 11)
    when it is a clear and incontrovertible fact that State/public schools are not
    with Christ? It rather disturbs me that people who imply they are Christians
    will not deal with the various simple and clear axioms like this. Why defend and
    promote to Christian fathers and mothers putting stumbling blocks (Matt 18) daily
    in front of their saved and unsaved children? This is wholly anti-biblical. It
    is destructive and misleading to Christian brothers and sisters. In meta-perspective,
    I think most readers of this site would be better off reading the Bible
    (beginning to end, asking, e.g., Who has the duty to educate the children of
    God’s children? Does God give the job to the State?), The Messianic Character
    of American Education by Rushdoony, The Underground History of American
    Education by Gatto, The Myth of the Common School by Glenn, and Hold On To Your
    Kids by Neufeld and Mate than reading much more of the anecdotes and
    undocumented claims that are a part of many of these posts.

  • Brian

    There is nothing
    in the Bible about a “calling” to Christian parents to be the first and key teachers of their children, to teach the gospel to and educate and disciple
    one’s children; it is a command to fathers and mothers and a privilege to do
    this with the heritage (Ps 127) God gives to His heirs, the ones He saves. And
    there is clearly no biblical “calling,” ever in the Word (and I am open to being
    shown something I have missed in God’s Word), for a Christian to volitionally
    send his children away to be taught, trained, and indoctrinated by individuals
    or a system that is against God. It is unbliblical to talk about a husband’s “calling” to cherish his wife; it is a command, a duty. Likewise, it is against scripture and logic to talk about a “calling” to send one’s child away to be discipled by those who are dead in their trespasses (Eph 2:5); the blind cannot lead the blind, Jesus said (Lk 6). As I have written, what the Word says is the
    most crucial element about the discipling of the children of God’s children. Examples
    from life simply illustrate God’s design for things. Ergo, here is one example
    (amongst millions) of how State/public schooling indoctrinates children and
    uses them in ways that are anti-God: ‘We Have Two Moms’: Third-Grade Kids
    Introduce Obama At White House’s Gay Pride Event [and ask for more forced
    redistribution of wealth to fund State schools] http://www.theblaze.com.

  • Susan Gerard

    I did answer you, Esther. Your second hand experience doesn’t trump Jared’s personal experiences with both homeschooling and public schooling.

  • Jared Wheeler

    “Getting mired andlost in the details of points such as (1) I know a Christian teacher who got to
    teach Puritan poetry and discuss Christianity in State/public school”

    Oh, yes. Let’s not get lost in the details of actual real life when we need to be focusing on the bizarro alternate universe you appear to inhabit. And I don’t *know* a Christian teacher who did what you described above, I *am* the Christian teacher in question.

    Your continued insistence that the public education system exists to replace the role of the parents is plain stupid. My job is to teach children mathematics 5 days a week, then send them home to their parents, whose job is to work to support them, raise them in the faith, nurture a solid family environment, participate with them in a strong spiritual community, etc. When we both do our jobs, everything is fine . . . I can hardly believe that a person exists who would suggest that my career has usurped the biblical role of fatherhood from my students’ parents. Are you insane, or merely foolish?

    But then, I hardly know what to expect from a man who so highly recommends the writings of Rushdoony, a racist Holocaust denier who believed interracial marriage should be illegal. How on earth can you expect to be taken seriously, sir?

  • Esther Starr

    My friends and neighbors’ first-hand experience of public schooling *does* weigh against Jared’s, as do the experiences of *numerous* people who have encountered *all* the things I am describing in my comments (in addition to many, many other things which I haven’t had time to go into), and suffered and/or pulled their children out because of it.

  • Esther Starr

    Let me add also that the evidence I have access to is the same evidence that *any atheist* could access if he had the motivation and the desire. In fact, many have and have been persuaded by the evidence. One is a close personal friend who left the faith and came back *because* he met someone who could answer all his objections to the evidences for Christianity. He simply ran out of excuses.

  • Jared Wheeler

    “A school is a group of people under the teaching and authority of one teacher. One worldview.”

    No it isn’t . . . Of course it isn’t. You’re absolutely right, obviously, when you say that everyone has a worldview, and every teacher brings that worldview with them into the classroom. But it’s completely ridiculous to suggest that all teachers in a school are totally subservient to a single dominant worldview. Put 20 different teachers from the same school in a room together and ask them a question, and you’ll likely get 20 different answers, just like with any group of people. If every teacher brings their worldview with them into the classroom, then how does it make sense to say that a school is “a group of people under one worldview”? Or maybe I’m just not understanding your point again . . .

    What I took away from what I read of the “Hosanna-Tabor” case was what appeared to be a ministry that was attempting to wrongfully terminate an employee, removing her livelihood in an illegal manner, and get away with it by exploiting a loophole in the legal system. I’m pretty sure the ramifications of this ruling are nothing like what you say: The case had nothing to do with forcing anyone to hire an employee whose worldview was in opposition to the goals of the ministry. This was a woman who shared the ministry’s worldview, and who had already been working for them. Due to physical circumstances beyond her control, she was unable to teach for a time, and the school responded by violating their contract, despite this teacher’s intention, willingness, and ability to return to work in a timely manner. It is unfortunate that the matter had to go all the way to court in order to be resolved, but the ruling seems completely right and proper to me, and there is no reason to expect the larger consequences you fear as a result.

    “He states on p. 8 of his concurrence that a teacher in a secular school wouldn’t qualify for “ministerial” exemption, but the truth is that we are all ministers of a faith/belief/worldview. It’s just a matter of which one we’ve chosen to submit to.”

    While that may be true in some vague figurative sense, it would be completely to say that in a legal sense. Surely you can see the ramifications of defining every American citizen as a minister, and therefore able to qualify for “ministerial” exemptions, would render the entire idea of religious protection absurd within our legal system.

    “Our local school district’s handbook states that they are committed to uphold their “constitutional duty to remain neutral in areas of religion.” But neutrality doesn’t exist. It’s simply a veil for relativism that appears to be neutral until you disagree. Not to mention the fact that the constitution doesn’t require anyone to be “neutral” but protects us from having to be.”

    This is the sort of confusion that I see all the time. Neutrality may be an unattainable goal, but that doesn’t mean that teachers can’t exercise awareness and discretion regarding the diverse backgrounds their students have. That’s just basic common sense. As a private citizen, I am perfectly free to have and express opinions, whatever they may be, but in my role as a teacher, it is my job, not to *refrain* from expressing my opinions, but to refrain from using my position of authority as a “bully pulpit” to forcibly manipulate my students into embracing my views. It is certainly a delicate balance, but surely you must understand that the same Constitution that protects my rights by allowing me to believe and say whatever I want as a private citizen also protects the rights of my students and their parents by preventing me from subsuming the parental responsibility of defining the child’s worldview in the course of performing my duties as a teacher.

    Just because teachers frequently fail to achieve this ideal perfectly, that doesn’t mean that the ideal itself is flawed, or that teachers are unable to maintain an acceptable level of neutrality in the workplace. These sorts of balances are what make our entire system of American freedoms function.

    “Likewise, teachers/schools are responsible for making it clear the perspective they teach.”

    I’m genuinely curious about what you think this ought to look like, and what perspective you think that is in most cases (with regard to how specific subjects are taught, not just in general).

    “What I also saw though was how similar it was too….the public school was simply promoting something else they believed in. At least somewhat…”

    And it’s in that “at least somewhat” that the whole thing lies for me. Different teachers, and different schools, will “promote” different things to a greater or lesser degree, and it is up to the parents in that school to either support or counterbalance those beliefs as they can. In your case, it sounds like you did the right thing, and I certainly support your decision and the way you implemented it (not that you need my approval . . .).

    My big problem in this discussion is the people who keep taking the attitude that parents with students in public schools have failed their children by not being willing to sacrifice to school them at home, and who insist that public schools are a homogeneous secular indoctrination machine that exist only to subvert and pollute American children, and that any Christian involved in this system, no matter who they are, where they are, what they believe, or what they are trying to do, has abandoned biblical teachings. The level of judgmental buffoonery on display in support of these two assumptions is deeply troubling . . . but I apologize for lumping you in with it.

  • Jared Wheeler

    That’s . . . not how discussion works. If your friends and neighbors were here, then we could weigh our different experiences against each other. As it is, you’re playing the telephone game with me. I don’t suspect anyone of dishonesty, but distortion is inevitable, and I’ve seen enough confusion and miscommunication between schools and parents, to say nothing of how that confusion gets magnified and distorted exponentially as it becomes removed from the primary source, to know that there’s no fruitful ground for forming conclusions there.

    But you’ve continually missed (or at least not responded to) that I’ve repeatedly tried to address with you. We can tell each other stories all day long, but I’ve already acknowledged, over and over and over, that bad things happen. There are nearly 100,000 public schools in this country, spread out over all kinds of different cultures and situations: rural, urban, rich, poor, northern, southern, western . . . It would be madness to suppose that all of those schools shared each others’ values and methods, or that mistakes don’t happen and problems don’t exist in many of them.

    While I have had largely positive experiences with public schools, I still acknowledge that problems are going to exist, and some of them are quite serious. You, meanwhile, insist on treating isolated examples of other peoples’ experiences as typical of every school and every experience. That’s a major fallacy of faulty generalization.

    Stop acting like no one can possibly thrive in a public school environment and like no public school in the nation is capable of providing anything like a quality education. Stop talking like you’re so much better than everyone who doesn’t homeschool their children. It makes you look bad and damages any reasonable point that you might hope to make.

  • Susan Gerard

    *ugh*, *ugh*, and *ugh* to your asterisked comments!

    You are not an authority on public schooling. You are an authority on your experience of homeschooling.

  • Susan Gerard

    I bet you’re a really good math teacher. You have patience, persistence, intellect, humor, courage, wisdom, and you are incisive. I can’t think of better qualities for a teacher, let alone a math teacher. I could have benefited from a teacher like you in high school math. I flunked Algebra II. Soooo embarrassed now. Calculus in college was a required nightmare for me. Physical Chemistry (all math) was beyond a nightmare. And yet… we all have our gifts. So glad you’re a teacher!

  • Allison

    Well, it’s true. And it’s also what school districts and the Department of Education believes. Webster Dictionary also defines it as “a group of persons who hold a common doctrine or follow the same teacher.” And, the doctrine of the state is the one I mentioned….”neutrality,” or relativism to be accurate. Yes, twenty teachers will disagree with each other, their peers….but that is not the expectation of the state, nor the parents who expect the “neutrality” they promise.

    I would read further about the Hosanna-Tabor case before you draw any more conclusions. She didnt return in a timely matter, her leave was extended for months and then she quickly threatened the Church and filed a law suit before they could resolve it. Bottom line is that the Supreme Court agreed and unanimously sided with the school/church. The confusion still resides though on the concept the we, as believers, are ministers of the faith. God determined this, not me. And if we are not worshipping Him in what we do, we are worshipping His replacement.

    Public school teachers are intended to uphold a relativistic view, which has the guise of neutrality….and this is just as much a worldview as any other taught.

    No, it is not the role of the teacher to be the parent or usurp their authority…it is their role as a follower of Christ to be faithful to Him first and His worldview. And, then the parents choose which teacher they want to hire, if any. Luke 11:23 says, “There is no neutral ground. If you’re not on my side you’re the enemy;if you’re not helping, you’re making things worse.” If this is how Jesus sees it, why then would He, the Teacher, hold neutrality as a goal?

    What would this world be like if Christian singers and songwriters, authors, speakers, camp counselor a, babysitters, artists, scientists, etc…believed they needed to be neutral? Why are teachers, of all professions, the ones being held hostage? Does not God want the same freedom for the Monday school teacher as He does the Sunday school teacher?

    Was it not for freedom that Christ set us free? (Galatians 5:1)

    As for what I think this ought to look like…I yield to the way God designed it in the first place. The government is designed to protect our freedom to live fully as human beings who are made in His image and held accountable before Him in all we think, say, and do. As a teacher or student, our first job is to pray and seek His wisdom and understanding of the subject, whatever it may be. It’s about leading ourselves and others into a fuller understanding of Him and the world He created. After all, if He created the world with wisdom, is it not through His wisdom we learn about it as well?

    Nothing matters more than our complete adoration of Him, trusting completely that the God of all understanding knows exactly who/what we need to understand.

    This doesn’t mean that those with other views have nothing to offer….it just means that placing them in a position where they are given the honor of evaluating the hearts and minds of our students is clearly a risk Wisdom warned us not to take. Our children may walk away from the faith…which would be horrible, but much if our foolishness contributed to their condition, we are the shepherds who will be held responsible.

  • Beau Tefal

    Wow, thanks for this article. We’ve been thinking about homeschooling but its a big step. We found this article really inspiring. And I did some searching and what these families did is amazing:

    http://foxnewsinsider.com/2013/05/24/harding-family-sends-6-kids-college-age-12

    http://www.blackeconomicdevelopment.com/young-black-prodigy-attends-morehouse-college-at-age-12/

  • Esther Starr

    I am sure that somewhere there exist public schools that manage to get more things right than not. However, there are enough major concerns with a large enough percentage of public schools to make parents reasonably concerned. Nowhere in this conversation have I said that all public schools have the same problems, or as many problems. For example, I’ve noticed that charter schools tend to be better. However, homeschooling is *still* so much better than public schooling that for those whose situation doesn’t make homeschooling completely unfeasible, it’s *vastly* preferable. And that is my point.

  • Esther Starr

    I noticed Jared didn’t want to come back and respond to this quote. Maybe he will once he gets his foot out of his mouth.

  • Esther Starr

    Agreed. Relativism is ostensibly “neutral,” but this is a lie. In fact, Christian students often are bullied into cooperating with an unbiblical worldview. Consider this recently passed “transgender rights law,” where children in Massachusetts schools have been threatened with penalization for not referring to transgender kids by their preferred pronoun (or complaining when these transgender children are allowed to use the restroom associated with their “new” gender). There was also a case where a Christian student was *asked* to contribute a piece articulating the Christian position on homosexuality in the school newspaper, but was then punished after the fact for “bullying.” (By the way, Christians should always be aware that these “anti-bullying” campaigns are not just about making sure gay kids don’t get beat up behind the monkey bars after class. They’re very much bound up with the gay agenda writ large, and both teachers and students have already been punished as so-called “bullies” merely for having or expressing the view that homosexuality is a sin, even privately.)

  • Jared Wheeler

    “Webster Dictionary also defines it as “a group of persons who hold a common doctrine or follow the same teacher.””

    I’m sorry, but that is very ignorant. I don’t whether you don’t know how to use a dictionary properly, or you deliberately misused it, but you’re wrong. Webster’s has several definitions of the words “school” including “a large number of fish or aquatic animals of one kind swimming together” . . . You can’t just go pluck out the one you want to use to prove your point and pretend that’s the definition most appropriate to the circumstance.

    In this case, the most appropriate definition is *obviously* the very first one: “an organization that provides instruction: as a: an institution for the teaching of children.” Instead, you wandered to the FOURTH definition on the list, which is the definition of a “school of thought” (perhaps you’ve heard the phrase) rather than a school attended by children. Totally different thing. Indeed, when copying and pasting the definition over, you conveniently left part of it off: “a group of persons who hold a common doctrine or follow the same teacher (as in philosophy, theology, or medicine)” . . . This is clearly not a definition that describes the elementary school down the road.

    And, by the way, it’s very tiresome to have to take time to explain all of this to people who I’m pretty sure know better (or certainly ought to). So tiresome, that I feel a bit drained of the energy to tackle the entirety of the rest of your post, particularly when your overriding point eludes me. You don’t appear to understand how life (let alone public education) in a democratic society, where everyone is free to believe what they want, works. Are you saying there shouldn’t be a public education system at all, or are you saying that Christians shouldn’t participate in it? Or are you saying that, if Christians participate, they should push their own worldview onto their students as much as possible, and not worry about all the teachers with opposed worldviews who are then free to do the same thing? Your approach to the situation is incoherent and impractical, disconnected from the reality of actual life, which Christ never was.

    Also, your continued insistence that teachers are “hostages” is foolish and disconnected from any experience I’ve ever had or witnessed. Of course I’m not free to do whatever I want around impressionable young people. I can’t talk about my sex life. I can’t call students names or contradict their parents. I can’t use math time to lead a Bible study. If you think common-sense limits are a violation of my freedom of speech, I’m afraid you understand neither the Constitution nor the teaching profession.

  • Jared Wheeler

    “(By the way, Christians should always be aware that these “anti-bullying” campaigns are not just about making sure gay kids don’t get beat up behind the monkey bars after class. They’re very much bound up with the gay agenda writ large, and both teachers and students have already been punished as so-called “bullies” merely for having or expressing the view that homosexuality is a sin, even privately.)”

    Heaven-forbid that Christians not be encouraged to pass judgment on every person they meet. What a tragedy. I love how in one breath you denounce public schools for the bullying that takes place there, and in the next you denounce them for taking steps to put a stop to bullying (physical, verbal, or otherwise). Very consistent of you.

    Also, I’d like to see some examples of people who were punished for privately-expressed opinions. If these opinions were so private, how did they come to the attention of the people in charge?

  • Jared Wheeler

    “However, there are enough major concerns with a large enough percentage of public schools to make parents reasonably concerned.”

    So you say. And if you, as a parent, feel that in your estimation that is true, it is your responsibility to act on those concerns. Which you have. What you don’t get to do is tell all of the other parents that they’re doing a bad job if they don’t share your concerns (many of which, I have to say, are pretty much deranged).

    “However, homeschooling is *still* so much better than public schooling that for those whose situation doesn’t make homeschooling completely unfeasible, it’s *vastly* preferable.”

    That is very often true. And that’s great. It is not *always* true, nor is it *inherently* true. That is my point.

  • Allison

    Jared, All schools, no matter the age group, are under the authority of a leader. No surprise. And all schools do have one worldview over which their teaching happens. Yours is a great example of this with your idea that “neutrality” is the goal, which falls in line with the government’s mindset of “neutrality.”

    There are plenty of private schools and homeschooling parents who teach and train with the very same relativistic perspective. Public schools are just funded differently.

    The problem is that we have different world views about God’s wisdom and His intention for His parents, teachers, students, tuition, etc.

    God was wise to leave the government out of education and give the responsibility of worldview training/teaching to parents and the Church. The truth is all Christ has to give.

    Yet, He also gives us a choice as to which way we go. And I pray more that more people than ever chose His.

    Praying for you, Jared.

  • Esther Starr

    I’m saying that “bullying” is a vague blanket term that can take on whatever meaning the people in authority want it to take on. You say “Heaven-forbid that Christians not be encouraged to pass judgment on every person they meet,” which misses my point so completely it’s not even funny. One of the cases I had in mind was a school newspaper where the student was ASKED to write an op-ed tackling the issue of same-sex adoption, juxtaposed with another student who supported it. The SCHOOL asked HIM, knowing he was a Christian and knowing he would present the opposing side. You can read the dueling pieces here:

    http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/assets/pdf/U0183892114.PDF

    For the school to demand that a Christian student give his opinion on this hot-button issue, then punish him for doing what they asked is… well, come to think of it, a form of bullying. And that’s part of my point. Who are the real bullies here? Is it the Christians who, when approached, express a biblical view of sexuality? Or is it the schools who put Christians in such situations? Maybe I missed it, but I haven’t seen you address the transgender issue yet. I look forward to hearing what you think about schools forcing children to perpetuate this particular sinful fiction or suffer the consequences.

    And yes, real bullying is a problem, but zeroing in on just one group of people and elevating them to the level of a protected class isn’t going to get at the root of the problem, which is systemic and organizational. Children are cruel and they will pick on other children for any number of reasons. But why aren’t short kids or nerds getting the silk pillow treatment? It’s because there’s no political agenda dedicated to making sure that short kids and nerds are never so much as offended, let alone bullied. Am I saying that it’s perfectly fine to physically assault gay people? That would be absurd. What I *am* saying is that you can’t always expect a term like “bullying” to be applied reasonably.

    The big case I was thinking of when I mentioned privately expressed opinions involved a teacher’s personal Facebook account. Apparently he’d accepted a friend request from someone (a student, I believe) who got him in trouble with the school for posting a negative comment about a homosexual kiss he’d just seen on TV. The teacher expressed a strong dislike for this (wholly natural and reasonable), and for that he lost his job, even though he never talked about the issue in his public teaching. Just goes to show you can never be too careful with what you post on Facebook, even on a private wall. He was an excellent teacher too, from what I understand.

    And by the way, I don’t appreciate the way you’re treating Allison in this conversation. Here you come archly telling everyone else to shut up because you’re the only one in this conversation who knows what he’s talking about, but Allison brings years of teaching experience to the conversation as well. Yet because she disagrees with you, you’re brushing her aside condescendingly as if her perspective doesn’t count. Real fair and balanced, that.

  • Esther Starr

    “(many of which, I have to say, are pretty much deranged)…”

    Including the one about government-funded sex-ed from Planned Parenthood in elementary schools, which you never did admit you got completely PWNED on?

  • Coxster89

    o.0

  • Brian

    If you are a
    Christian, you must be a scripturalist. Christians go to God’s Word regarding
    the proper role of family, church, and civil government. You have made no
    biblical case for the existence of State-controlled education/discipleship and
    you have made no biblical case for the State (regardless of whether you are
    part of it, which is not the issue) taking one man’s money/property by force to
    teach, train, and indoctrinate another man’s child. I have given solid
    scripture regarding who should teach, train, and indoctrinate children, and all
    education does, whether that regarding the teaching of reading, math, history,
    or art. No teacher can teach from a value-free position and clearly no system
    can. The education that fathers and mothers give to their children is either
    focused on and integrated with teaching the whole counsel of God and His plans
    and His grace and His good news, or it is not. The evidence is robust, clear,
    and continuous that State/public schools of education/discipleship (the world
    over) are not designed and do not, in practice, honor the triune God and bring
    all things coram Deo. If the existence and practice of U.S. State/public
    schools are biblical, wholesale and in the vast majority, then please show me
    and other readers the biblical, and empirical evidence for this. Again, attempts
    at poisoning the well (regarding any author or book mentioned) are
    inappropriate in a biblical discussion. We need to go to the Word, first and
    foremost, and show whether a particular author on a particular subject is
    scriptural, or not.

  • Jared Wheeler

    Brian, I should tell you that as far as I’m concerned, you are the lunatic fringe of this conversation. I’m not sure there is anything to say to a person who is taking your position. Even Jesus paid his taxes, and he was a 2nd-class citizen of an occupied nation, not a free citizen of a world power, so knock off the Tea Party crap.

    Regarding the “poisoning of the well” you refer to, I submit that you are confused. I am merely pointing out that the water you keep introducing into the discussion is poisonous. I wasn’t the one that poisoned it.

    Finally, the way you keep using parental discipleship as described in the Bible as totally interchangeable with modern education for the adult workforce would be laughable if it weren’t so annoying, and so characteristic of the historical and cultural illiteracy with which so many Christians approach the Bible. Unfortunately (fortunately?), life is too short, even for a teacher during summertime, to bother trying to argue you down on this. We’ll just have to agree to disagree, and you can content yourself with knowing that you’re The Best Christian on the Internet, while I can content myself with knowing that your opinion doesn’t matter.

  • Jared Wheeler

    I’m lost again, Allison, but no worries. We’re talking in circles around each other, a bit, and I more than half suspect that we agree about more than we disagree, just from different points of view. I will continue to do the best I can as both a Christian and a public school teacher, and your prayers are appreciated.

  • Brian

    I am sad when
    people who imply being followers of Christ refuse to present scriptural lines
    of reasoning or argument. If Christians, and the church at large, do not
    believe that God’s word instructs us and blesses us for all time throughout
    history in all areas of life, then they are in big trouble. You have still not
    presented a scriptural case for 13 years of strangers down the street or across
    the neighborhood and strangers in the universities of America being the
    5-day-per-week/9-month-per-year disciplers of a Christian father’s children. Do
    you have it? That is the challenge we all face as Christian men to whom God has
    entrusted children. If you have the biblical case, please lay it out.

    I do not need to
    “argue down” anyone. I have found that it is good to challenge Christians (including
    myself) to think biblically and not go with the flow and status quo of the past
    150 years of American life (and the norm in many other nations).

    Referring to “Tea Party c***” = poisoning the well fallacy.

    It seems you are implying you are a Christian but never introduce a scriptural argument for the State forcibly re-distributing one man’s wealth to teach, train, and indoctrinate another man’s children while referring to biblical principles regarding paying taxes = red herring fallacy and refusing to reason as if God’s revelation in Timothy 3:16-17
    is true for all time. Christians should not be positively impressed by what “is” in any particular nation (e.g., abortion/killing unborn babies is legal; killing U.S. citizens without a trial; zapping humans with drones and saying “sorry” for collateral damage when no war has been declared) but should be arguing for and promoting what “should be” (e.g., what God has designed and commanded regarding who should teach, train, and indoctrinate the offspring of His regenerated children). That is to say, we should not fall for the is/ought fallacy because our minds are being renewed at all times.

  • Jared Wheeler

    I spent about 40 minutes last night trying to research the story about the student editorial you mentioned, and I found out a few things:

    1) I can’t turn up anything to suggest that the school came to this student and requested that he write this editorial. It might have been a class assignment of some kind, but it’s very unclear.

    2) The situation was bungled on practically every possible level by people in charge of the school. It sounds like the superintendent should be under review by the school board with his job on the line. He and the principal behaved stupidly on almost every conceivable level. I don’t even know where to start. That said, I can’t find any evidence that the student was actually punished. He was certainly bullied, but there don’t appear to have been any actual consequences beyond the obnoxious behavior of the adults involved. Happily, he has the best legal representation in the country for cases of this nature.

    3) All mention of this story vanishes without a trace about a week after it first blew up. I can’t find any kind of follow-up anywhere, which is typical of stories that outrage American Christians . . . the tale is still widely circulated 18 months later, but NO ONE has bothered to find out how it was ultimately resolved. The absence of court proceedings in my search (and the cowardice of the school administrators indicated by the story) suggests that the school likely folded like a house of cards under pressure. That’s certainly the most likely thing to have happened, because the fact is, as much as we like to cry “persecution,” Christians are not an oppressed minority in this country, and most of these types of stories are cut-and-dried in favor of religion and the expression of religious beliefs.

    4) I just don’t have time or energy to go chasing around the internet tracking down the real stories behind all of your Googled anecdotes, particularly when you don’t provide any kind of source or identifying info on most of them. As I’ve already said, you can tell stories all day long, but it’s ridiculous to pretend like they’re typical of the public school experience . . . You have no idea. And furthermore, there are likely significant factors you don’t know about in each case.

    Perfect case in point: The teacher who was supposedly fired for posting on Facebook that two guys kissing on TV was icky. You *had* posted that you thought he was exposed through a friend connection with a student (though you appear to have edited that out). If that were the case, it’s as likely to have been the cause of the outcome as anything. Friending students on Facebook is a HUGE no-no, and any teacher, particularly a Teacher of the Year, ought to know better.

    Since you didn’t provide a link, I can’t be certain I’ve tracked down the original story because you appear to have gotten several details wrong (which is my problem with your hearsay-heavy approach to argument). I found one story where a Teacher of the Year was briefly suspended after a complaint about an anti-gay remark he made on Facebook while the district investigated whether he had violated the school’s social media policy (pretty standard). It was determined that he had not, and he returned to the classroom. I found a different story about a special-ed teacher who posted several anti-gay rants on the public page of a Bible study group that she led at her school (note that she was permitted to lead such a group in a public school). She was ultimately fired after it was revealed that, among other things, she had denied services to a special-ed student because he was wearing a gay pride bracelet.

    So, the take-away lesson here is simple and obvious: If a story seems just too awful to be true, it probably is. You likely don’t know the whole story.

    And, again, I do not have time to go find the true story for you over and over again, particularly when you seem so willing to just accept whatever you read that confirms the bias you already have.

    Meanwhile, I don’t understand what you think I ought to do as a Christian teacher in a public school, but you seem determined that I should be left with only the non-Christian students. You’re creating a self-fulfilling prophecy by giving up the public school system as a loss and advising Christians to withdraw from it. In my experience, any given school district tends to be a pretty strong reflection of the families that attend it. Yet you appear to think the best course of action is to remove the influence of Christianity from schools entirely. It’s pretty lame for you to shout from the rooftops that public education is dead while simultaneously attempting to drive the nails into its coffin.

    Homeschooling is a fine choice for any parent that wishes to make it, but at some point your children are going to be out in a society made up almost entirely of the products of an education system that you believe Christians should abandon. That’s just short-sighted.

    Finally, Allison seems perfectly capable to me of holding her own and standing up for herself. I haven’t told anyone to shut up, and if you think the way I’ve addressed her is a problem, you’re going to need to be more specific, because I don’t know what you’re talking about. She is obviously a very nice person, she seems intelligent, and I believe I have more in common with her perspective than with anyone else I’ve been disagreeing with. Even where I think she’s wrong, she’s not throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater like some of you are.

    If I am being a jerk, I’m certainly not the only one. You’ve taunted me childishly at least twice. Nevertheless, we soldier on in pursuit of healthy, productive conversation. I imagine we’re all adult enough to get over it.

  • wisdomhunter

    One very quick note: you wrote: “Any *single* element of that scenario would clearly be a deal-breaker. If a parent is illiterate (or ESL), they aren’t qualified to homeschool.”

    About ESL: this is hardly a “deal breaker”; my wife has English as a second language and home schools quite effectively our two children.

    I agree with much of what you wrote, but I had to reply to the ESL comment which doesn’t make much sense to me at all, and not just because of my personal experience. Brilliant people can have English as a Second Language and it is zero detriment to homeschooling, in and of it self. It is by no means a “deal breaker.”

  • Jared Wheeler

    Great point! Thanks. Of course I know that . . . I even grew up in a Spanish-speaking country. I was thinking specifically of all the “ESL” parents I’ve encountered who really don’t know any English at all. They’re really not ESL at all, their children are.

    And even in those cases, many of them are quite brilliant, some are even well-educated . . . They just don’t speak English, which would be a significant issue for educating a child in America (as opposed to educating the child elsewhere).

    Again, thanks for pointing that out.

  • Esther Starr

    I’m sorry, but Planned-Parenthood-circulated sex ed curriculum and forced affirmative action in favor of transgender students are *not* “anecdotal,” and you still haven’t addressed either issue.

    It’s certain that Jerry Buell didn’t behave savvily in that situation, and if it was a student who complained (which as you mentioned I couldn’t find any specific info on), he shouldn’t have accepted that friend request. Nevertheless, the mere possibility that he could have lost his job for simply opposing same-sex marriage on Facebook is, to put it mildly, a bit creepy.

    I also did some reading on the special-ed teacher. To my mind, the real outrage in that case is the fact that there was even such a thing as LGBT history month, complete with celebrity display board! That tells you something about the sexual environment of the school: homosexuality is being promoted as a wonderful, normal, natural thing to be celebrated. Are you on board with that? I’m completely on Miss Vicki’s side. As for the “denying services,” there are no further details on what that even meant and I would have to know more.

    Finally, here are a few of the things you’ve said to Allison that qualify you for my “jerk” label. We’ll start with this gem:

    “Almost nothing that you said even remotely resembles reality.”

    Granted, this was before she revealed that she actually knew whereof she spoke, but you might have erred on the side of not being a jerk to begin with.

    “I’m sorry, but that is very ignorant. I don’t know whether you don’t know how to use a dictionary properly, or you deliberately misused it, but you’re wrong.”

    See what you did there? Instead of simply leaving it at “Well, I’m not sure I would agree that this definition is the most appropriate one under these circumstances” and getting on with the argument, you threw in several *completely unnecessary and unwarranted* jabs at Allison’s intelligence and her ability to use a dictionary properly.

    “Also, your continued insistence that teachers are ‘hostages’ is foolish and disconnected from any experience I’ve ever had or witnessed.”

    Oh, so because it doesn’t match *your* experience, it’s foolish? Got it.

    “And, by the way, it’s very tiresome to have to take time to explain all of this to people who I’m pretty sure know better (or certainly ought to).”

    Translation: Why can’t everyone just agree that my experience is the yardstick by which all others should be measured and stop wasting my time by disagreeing with me?

    You, sir, need to learn to argue like a man. It’s never too late to start.

  • Jared Wheeler

    As I’ve already said, I don’t see the point in running around for the next several days addressing every little issue you can turn up on the internet.

    What makes it a little issue? Not that it isn’t important, but that it’s localized to a small area, not characteristic of the nation as a whole, *which is what we’re discussing.* We’ve both already agreed that there are good things and bad things happening in public education . . . What else is there to say? You bring up a small, localized example of something you have a problem with and I either say, “I don’t see what the big deal is” or I say, “I agree that’s the problem.” Repeat, ad nauseum. Are you thinking at some point I’m finally just going to get overwhelmed, throw up my hands, and cry, “Okay! That’s 748 stories of public school atrocities! You win! Let’s burn the system to the ground!” Where is this going . . .? You’re still just picking and choosing stories that confirm your anti-public education bias. It’s a pointless exercise.

    “Nevertheless, the mere possibility that he could have lost his job for simply opposing same-sex marriage on Facebook is, to put it mildly, a bit creepy.”

    He couldn’t have lost his job for opposing same-sex marriage . . . he could have lost his job for violating his district’s policy regarding employee use of social media (a policy which I’m sure he reviewed and agreed to abide by, because most schools have handbook training every year). I tracked down the staff handbook and read it. It’s pretty standard stuff, and very clear that teachers cannot afford lapses in judgment on social media and should take precautions accordingly. It doesn’t say that teachers can’t express opinions on Facebook (actually, it says they can), it just says they need to use common sense and avoid situations that could reasonably be expected to cause problems for the district. I don’t see the problem.

    “As for the “denying services,” there are no further details on what that even meant and I would have to know more.”

    I agree. It *was* referenced in official court documents, which makes it seem like a substantial charge, but I, too, would like to know more. Still, her use of a public, school-affiliated page shows very poor judgment. Honestly, I hate to see teachers (and a lot of people in other professions) coming to so much grief over some minor Facebook lapse. It’s a Brave New World out there in social media, and as we all adjust to this new reality, a lot things are happening that shouldn’t, all across society, and that’s lame. But that’s a totally separate discussion from “Are public schools good or terrible?”

    Regarding my alleged status as a jerk: I have apologized at least once (twice? I don’t remember and I don’t feel like scrolling around through this discussion to check.) to Allison for my tone regarding certain things. However, I stand by the dictionary comment. That’s not a matter of opinion. She was dead wrong, and I believe that she is intelligent and well-educated enough to have known that before she did it. Skimming down to cherry-pick the definition that you want to use, and deliberately leaving off the part of it that doesn’t support your point, is dishonest argumentation.

    Calling teachers “hostages,” i.e. someone who is held against their will by threat of violence, is an absurd use of hyperbole. Period. If she has a point to make about limitations that teachers face as part of their profession, it can be made without resorting to exaggeration. It’s not the disagreement that’s foolish, it’s the ridiculous overstatement. Obviously. There’s no need to be obtuse . . . Here, as with your “translation,” you seem more interested in scoring cheap points than in sincerely getting me to rethink my comments.

    It’s nice of you to try and stick up for her and all, but as I said, I’m pretty sure that if there’s a problem (and there doesn’t seem to be for anyone but you) we can work it out without tossing your insufferable snark into the mix. Though I would be infinitely amused to hear how, in your estimation, one ought to go about arguing “like a man.” Might as well, as you seem to be taking this conversation nowhere fast.

  • Esther Starr

    No Jared, the sex education issue is a problem *all over the country*, not just a small area.You’re just *wrong* about that. State legislatures are having to try to pass bills one by one to shut Planned Parenthood out. You really need to look into this more—what you find may surprise you.

  • Jared Wheeler

    So, I keep posting lengthy, carefully-researched responses to what I believe is the substance of your argument. You keep ignoring 95% of what I say to snipe at me. At some point I’m going to get bored and disappear, and I want to let you know now that that’s what happened lest you think you stumped me and I retreated in defeat. If you stump me, I’ll let you know. If I disappear, I just lost interest in this tail-chasing exercise.

    Here are a few extraneous facts for you:

    -Sex education is extremely important. Why that is and what good sex ed ought to look like is a whole separate debate from this one. Here, it’s a rabbit trail.

    -”Planned Parenthood believes that parents and guardians should be the primary sexuality educators of their children.” Direct quote from PP.

    -Only 69% of American schools have any kind of sex ed policy in place, and less than a third of schools even discuss contraception.

    -Only 22 states require sex ed at all. 37 states require that parents be involved in any sex ed program. 35 allow parents to opt their students out.

    I repeat: public school students being forced to be educated in sexuality by Planned Parenthood is NOT a national problem. The only conceivable way I could see that happening is if Christian parents take YOUR advice and cede the battlefield.

  • Brian

    Esther and
    Jared, the minutiae of X, Y, and Z problems are the red herrings that keep
    Christian parents busy missing the point: What does God say, via His perfectly,
    timeless, clear word about who should teach, train, and indoctrinate the
    children of His children? PP this and Common Core that and a public school
    teacher raping a 12-year-old are simply the tips of many icebergs that are the
    full fruit of nations and, especially, Christians not following God’s design.
    He commands Christian parents to do the teaching/discipling, with the help of
    the church, and He proscribes the civil government from doing so; He warns
    parents throughout His word to not send their children away to be taught by individuals
    or systems that are antithetical to Him. Christians should not quibble about
    all the XYZs and get down to the Word on this. I still have not seen Jared make
    a scriptural case for Christian parents sending their children away from home
    to have strangers and individuals and systems that are not followers of Christ
    to teach, train, and indoctrinate their children, nor have I seen Jared make a
    scriptural case for the State using the force of taxation to take one man’s
    property/money to disciple another man’s child. This is the fundamental
    discussion on education that the church must face, and it has avoided it for
    nearly 150 years in the United States (and elsewhere); may God be patient with
    us.

  • Brian

    Sometimes it
    helps to bring in those with a big, nationwide and international perspective. Many
    Christians find it hard to believe what is and has been going on in State-controlled
    schools. Since Jared has committed ad hominem with me and poisoning the well
    regarding one of the three authors I mentioned in another post, I submit to you and other
    readers the following regarding the “teacher” that is State schools
    and the fact that they are not in the business of being for Jesus the Christ. Scholar
    Warren Nord (University of NC) did his research and concluded, “Indeed, I will
    argue that at least in its textbooks and formal curriculum students are
    indoctrinated into the modern (secular) worldview and against religion”
    (Religion and American Education, p. 160). Scholars James Carper (U of SC) and
    Thomas Hunt (U of Dayton) find: “In sum, then, we contend that the public
    school is the functional equivalent of an established church, buttressed with
    religious language, expected to embrace all people, legitimating and
    transmitting an orthodoxy or worldview, and underwritten by compulsory
    taxation” (The Dissenting Tradition in American Education, p. 4). Academic
    Richard Baer (Cornell U) concluded: “… evidence for the claim that our public
    schools are dominated by secular humanistic values and beliefs is overwhelming
    ….. In virtually all government public schools humanistic values and beliefs
    are taught about the nature of the good life and the good society, and many of
    these values and beliefs directly compete with and undermine traditional
    Christian and Jewish beliefs. In sharp contrast, the latter are routinely
    excluded from school curricula” (Why a Functional Definition Of Religion Is
    Necessary If Justice Is To Be Achieved In Public Education, p. 107).
    I pray
    that no thoughtful Christians attempt to diss these scholars as part of
    something like the “lunatic fringe” (as Jared did earlier). Next, I wonder why Jared did not try
    poisoning the well regarding Gatto (26-year public school teacher, NY State
    teacher of the year) and Glenn (a long-time university professor) to whom I
    referred. It might be that what these folks have studied and revealed does not fit the
    paradigm that many Christians want to believe about State-controlled schooling.
    Finally, for this post, I again ask Christians reading this who believe it good
    to support or promote State-controlled schooling to present the scriptural case
    for (a) the State taking one person’s money/property by force to teach, train,
    and indoctrinate another man’s child and (b) for a Christian father to
    volitionally turn his children over to agents of the State to disciple his
    children.

  • Matt Davis

    I find it difficult to get past one point you made a couple of times. How do you know what God wants you to do? I’ve never known anyone who can actually hear the voice of God, and how they’d know they weren’t just schizophrenic. Do you mean you just think you know what God would want you to do?


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