Albert Mohler, Southern Seminary, thinks public school education is increasingly less of an option for evangelical Christians. What do you think?
The ideological revolution has been even more damaging than the political change. Those who set educational policy are now overwhelmingly committed to a radically naturalistic and evolutionistic worldview that sees the schools as engines of social revolution. The classrooms are being transformed rapidly into laboratories for ideological experimentation and indoctrination. The great engines for Americanization are now forces for the radicalization of everything from human sexuality to postmodern understandings of truth and the meaning of texts. Compulsory sex education, the creation of “comprehensive health clinics,” revisionist understandings of American history, Darwinian understandings of science and humanity, and a host of other ideological developments now shape the norm in the public school experience. If these developments have not come to your local school, they almost surely will soon.
Added to these worries is the general breakdown of discipline within the schools and the fact that the public schools are now seen as social service centers. Many schools are asked to do social work as much as education, and the very idea of what such an education should be is up for debate. Standards have fallen, discipline has evaporated, armed guards roam many hallways, and teachers feel increasingly unable to teach or to maintain order.
This is not just the fault of the schools and educators. Politicians demand that the schools fix society’s problems. But no school can replace a broken or dysfunctional family; no teacher can replace a missing father.
Many fine teachers and administrators serve in the public schools, and many Christians serve among them. In some parts of the country, the public schools still operate in some sense as community schools under local control. And yet, this is already not the case for the vast majority of schools and communities, and the handwriting is on the wall for the rest.
Is public school an option? For Christians who take the Christian worldview seriously and who understand the issues at stake, the answer is increasingly no. The number of Christian parents coming to this conclusion increases each year. We can understand the nostalgia that many Christians hold about the public schools. I spent every minute of my school life from the first grade to high school graduation in a public school. And yet, I saw the ideological transformation of the schools before my own eyes. Long ago, the public schools entered a Brave New World from which no retreat now seems possible.