Should Christian parents send their children to public schools?

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Should Christian parents send their children to public schools?

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Chip Van Emmerik's picture
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The op doesn't really provide

The op doesn't really provide any direction, it simply identifies the current question. Most of the article refers to something Mohler wrote recently. That's probably more informative to any any discussion here.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

farmer Tom N's picture
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Let's try rewording the question?

Should Christians parents send their children to be taught by a coven of witches?

The official religion of the government run public skrewl system is Secular Humanism.

from Wikipedia
Secular Humanism

The philosophy or life stance of secular humanism (alternatively known by some adherents as Humanism, specifically with a capital H to distinguish it from other forms of humanism) embraces human reason, ethics, social justice and philosophical naturalism, while specifically rejecting religious dogma, supernaturalism, pseudoscience or superstition as the basis of morality and decision making.[1][2][3]

It posits that human beings are capable of being ethical and moral without religion or a god. It does not, however, assume that humans are either inherently evil or innately good, nor does it present humans as being superior to nature. Rather, the humanist life stance emphasizes the unique responsibility facing humanity and the ethical consequences of human decisions. Fundamental to the concept of secular humanism is the strongly held viewpoint that ideology—be it religious or political—must be thoroughly examined by each individual and not simply accepted or rejected on faith.

http://americanhumanist.org/Humanism/Humanist_Manifesto_I

See US Supreme Court decision in Torcaso v. Watkins (1961)

 "Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism, and others."[6]

You can not teach Christianity, or any other religion, but the government system teaches that there is no God, that there is not morality apart from ones own personal morality, no sin nature, no creation.

How can anyone who claims the name of Jesus Christ allow someone holding these positions to train up their child?

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farmer Tom N wrote: You can

farmer Tom N wrote:

You can not teach Christianity, or any other religion, but the government system teaches that there is no God, that there is not morality apart from ones own personal morality, no sin nature, no creation.

How can anyone who claims the name of Jesus Christ allow someone holding these positions to train up their child?

 

I am currently attending a public university, and no one there is teaching there is no God.  In fact, the level of spirituality that you have is not only a topic, but is also encouraged.  Now do they team the same spirituality, or view of God as I do?  No.  But hey, that is what I have my daily devotions, family and church for.  Are there teachers out in left field?  Yes.  But there are also Christians and more balanced approaches in our classes.  I have attended 5 public Universities (University of Wisconsin, Clemson, Marquette University, College of Charleston, Jacksonville University), and I have attended a Christian University (BJ).  While I had greater affinity to my teachers at BJ because of our shared beliefs, I never once felt my faith was assaulted at any of the public Universities that I attended.  Sure I learned about other faiths and positions, but I also felt that was valuable in its own right.  I never felt my faith was weakened.  I gleaned through the truths and untruths.  I wasn't at any of the Universities (including BJ) to increase or grow in my faith.  I was already actively doing that personally, through my own support group and my local church.  Of course, BJ provided some additional benefits as the teachers and peers helped me grow as well, but that was not my focus or reliance.  There were ways that public University grew my faith that a Christian University was unable to offer.  I didn't have to share or defend my faith in the same way at a Christian University than I had to do at a public University.  I am not advocating either choice.  Each person has to make the choice that is right for them.  I just don't buy into the throw our arms up and run from a situation because it doesn't look or talk the same way that I do.  While it was great having my faith supported and nurtured through my experiences at a Christian University, I felt that my time at other Institutions really solidified my faith.  This doesn't mean this works this way for all individuals, but lets be careful how we articulate our views to paint a less unbiased picture.

Susan R's picture
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I agree that we should not view private schools and homeschooling as 'alternatives', especially not as last resort options. The question right out of the box (or out of the womb?) should be "What is the best method available to me to educate my child?", and then work out the details of how to accomplish that. 

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I agree as well.  We

I agree as well.  We always have to keep a few things in mind:

  • We are all biased by our training, education, experiences and values
  • There is rarely a simple answer for all scenarios, and there surely isn't a single right answer for all scenarios
  • We must put our faith ultimately in those organizations ordained by God (i.e. family, church) to be sufficient to combat against the world
  • We are to be engaged with the world
  • It is the parents sovereign choice to make the right decision for their children given the information they have and the circumstances that they are in, and we should be extremely cautious in judging these decisions

I gave my view that is biased by my own experiences.  It is certainly not the right choice for all, and maybe shouldn't even be the choice for your situation.  I think it is an example that is only valid to combat the thought process that a Christian University or a Christian School, or even homeschool is the only right choice for all parents and all children.  If we believe the church and family is surely sufficient to combat against the very Gates of Hell, we must surely believe it is sufficient to combat against a few teachers in a University or school setting.  Even so, that still doesn't mean it should be your own choice or the choice of others.

farmer Tom N's picture
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Apples and oranges

Each of the examples you cited was a public university, for adults.

The question was about sending ones children to public skrewls.

Do you let five year olds drive the car? Do you let five year olds carry a gun?

Of course not. They must be properly trained and educated to do those tasks. Yet some people send their ignorant(unlearned), uneducated children to a skrewl which is teaching them things that are directly opposed to the parents worldview. How are those children any more prepared for defending their faith against a godless socialist humanist than they are prepared to drive a car?

Sending children to a public skrewl is entirely a different subject than sending a young adult to a secular university.

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I am a pastor that has 3 of

I am a pastor that has 3 of my children in some type of public education.  This was never our plan, and 10 yrs ago, we would have looked down on anyone who would have made the decisions that we have.  We home-schooled our children at first.  When she was in 4th grade, we put her and her brother in a a LCMS Lutheran school that only goes through the 8th grade. Our third child also is still at the LCMS school.  Our youngest has autism.  Our desire was to never put him in public education, but there is no choice in our area (and based on my research, most Christian schools are not equipped to handle autism and a plethora of other special needs). 

I can't answer for every public school - only the ones that my children have attended or attend.  They have their deep problems, but they also have some good advantages.  My high school age kids have had done well, because they have had to live their faith every day.  I agree with others that said that all three choices can be valuable, but its up to the parents.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

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Sorry thought, that the

Sorry thought, that the article was pointing to public Universities.  Either way, what I outlined still holds.  And yes I attended both Christians Schools (the largest fundamental Christian the country), as well as large public schools, and the same held true.

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As parents who are almost

As parents who are almost finished with kids at home, we have fully examined public vs private vs home schooling. We have 3 kids. The youngest has excelled and continues to excel in public school (currently in high school).  His older sisters tasted all three options.  Each child is an academic star, with the older two both having finished medical undergraduate degrees on full ride academic scholarships.  The oldest receives her medical doctorate in the spring.

Everybody's experience will be different because kids are different, schools are different, and circumstances are different.  It makes questions like this unanswerable and not worth asking.  There is no across the board right answer.

We loved home schooling because I work for an airline.  (Yep, with no school schedule we zipped all over with the kids.  Reading Killer Angels?  Lets go to Gettysburg next week.)  Yet, it was the socialization issue that led us to a Christian school that amazingly had a stellar math and science curriculum.  My girls both had a surgeon for a teacher who taught in the am and cut in the pm.  Both attended open chest procedures such as bypass surgeries.  (Dad, my face was 12" away from his heart!")  That school was from God. 

My son however thrives in a completely different environment.  Like his sisters he loves math and science and is at the top of his class academically.  He's on a sports team. He joined the chess club and some other club.  He has friends who are mostly in his church. We have become very comfortable with him being in a public high school. We believe this school is from God too. He loves it.  He loves Jesus.  It's all good.  

 

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An thus the conclusion ....

farmer Tom N wrote:

Should Christians parents send their children to be taught by a coven of witches?

An thus the conclusion ....:

  • Any so-called 'Christian' teaching in a public school is a witch in Christian clothing
  • And parents who so send their kids are so derelict they obviously are in complete disobedience to the Scriptures
  • Best to follow through and exclude them from fellowship

Image below: Public school teachers

 

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Parody

For the benefit of any to whom it isn't obvious, the previous post is not intended to be taken seriously.

Susan R's picture
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Pushback

The article may be somewhat of a pushback to those who propose that a Christian should send their kids to public school to be 'salt and light', treating their children like junior missionary trainees. 

We aren't instructed by Scripture to use our children as tools in this manner. I believe our first responsibility is to train them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Then when they have been converted, have been properly discipled, and are mature enough to perform the task of independent evangelism, they can be 'sent'. The idea of sending 5 and 6 year olds to school for the purpose of evangelism is ludicrous, and unScriptural. 

The main point is that public schools are 'free', and until about 20 years ago, there were few if any alternatives. We've allowed this conditioning to influence our thinking that public school is always the first choice, and other options are alternatives if the local public school doesn't work out. This thought process is out of whack. 

In my experience, a child's education is often the only major choice parents make without any research or discussion of other options. They research major purchases, relocating, vocational choices, doctors, lawyers, etc... but not schools. They won't return to a restaurant with dirty tables, or gives them bad food or service, but they will keep their kid in a school that is uncommunicative, unresponsive, and sometimes located in buildings that are in serious disrepair. 

It's the underlying attitude that is the problem. I have heard parents actually excuse some of the things they've done to or allowed to happen to their kids with "My childhood was rough and I survived, and so will they." Seriously? 

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Susan makes a good point. 

Susan makes a good point.  Yet, I don't know many parents who made public school their first choice.  My kids did not enter public school until high school, with the exception of my youngest with autism.  Some parents can home school special needs kids well, but that didn't work for us.  But we still could in the future.  In my experience, Christian school (and I have been involved in many) still are not equipped to handle a variety of special needs kids.  It was not that long ago, that a Christian School principal said that autism could be beaten out of a child.  But even when they do not have that mindset, most Christian schools don't have the resources.  My son still has to have a one on one aid in school, it is unfair to think my Christian School tuition could cover that with what tuition - Christian schools do a great job with the small budget that they have.  Yet, they cannot offer those type of resources (not to mention speech therapy and occupational therapy).

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

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Why Public School

Thinking generally, here are a few reasons people seemingly absentmindedly send their kids to public school. This list is not intended to be complete, and if it doesn't include you, don't complain;-)

1. You went to public school and you didn't turn into a witch or a evolutionist or a secular humanist.

2. The private/church schools in your area are sub-standard (with teachers who don't have degrees in anything!) yet they charge several thousand dollars per child.

3. You were home schooled and didn't particularly like the experience (I personally know of a few people who feel this way).

4. The public school in your neighborhood has a Christian principal and your kid's teacher is a Christian...how bad can it be?

5. Believe it or not, A LOT OF ADULTS don't like to learn or to read ANYTHING (including their Bibles) so why would these people home school? Or, perhaps they feel like they don't know enough to home school.

Susan R's picture
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Special needs

I think the parents of special needs children are 'forced' in some ways to thoughtfully consider their child's education. The ability of the family to provide an education and treatment for their particular condition is something that confronts them quite early in their child's development. They don't have the luxury of waiting until a child is 5 or 6 to think about their formal educational needs.

Warning- personal anecdote ahead:

I know one family whose autistic child attends public school, while they homeschool their other children, because the local school best meets their child's needs. 

Another family does the opposite, keeping their LD child home to homeschool, and sending their other children to public school. This choice was made after much research of their options. They hope to one day homeschool all of them, but for now, this is what they can do with what they have. 

I agree that many private and Christian schools are substandard and cost a bomb, so just because a family chooses public school instead of a Christian school shouldn't be used as some sort of measure of their spiritual discernment. 

IMO, to encourage parents to think more deeply and purposefully about their child's education is a good thing. 

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It's not the school....it's the parents

In my years of being involved in education I've observed that most of the students who fail academically or spiritually in schools (government or Christian) usually have parents who are not actively involved in the process. The more engaged parents are in the educational process, the more likely the children are to succeed; one of the assets of home schooling.

If your child is in school, be involved! Do more than chaperone field trips. Ask more questions than, "Did you have fun today?" (That used to be, "What did you learn today?) BTW, if you do this when they're young, you won't have to call the Dean of Students at their college to make sure they're behaving themselves.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

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Susan,   Yes, we have seen it

Susan,

 

Yes, we have seen it both ways.  But on the Christian School, I don't blame them for not being able to educate special needs kids.   It is going to be rare for them to have the resources.  At the LCMS school that some of my kids have attended (one is there now), there was a family that paid out of pocket for a one on one aid on top of tuition.  They had the means to do so.  There is no way a Christian School could have a teacher and one on one aid for special needs kids for the cost of tuition.  But I have seen special needs kids home-schooled well.  It just is not an option for our son at this time.

 

Mark,

 

My wife and I never went to public school.  We both attended Christian schools all the way through college.  We were dragged kicking and screaming into the public school.  In all honesty, some of the things with public school have actually been better than I thought that they would be.  There have been some really bad things, but I expected that.  The thing that has suprised me the most is how much I have gained respect for public school teachers.  Yes, they are paid way better than Christian school teachers.  But they also have no choice but to put up with things that their Christian school teachers never do. 

I guess I was posting to let you know that there are those of us who entered into this decision way more seriously than you give us credit for.  In fact, I know I entered into it more seriously than many of my Christian friends because all they had to do was write the check to their local Fundy Christian School.  I am not belittling them, I am just letting you know, we did not have that option here where I minister.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

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roger

do you think I am opposed to sending kids to public school? No I'm not. I am presenting reasons people DON'T homeschool or Christian school.

 

I for one cannot afford the cost of Christian schools. For four kids it would be $8500/year for example.

A family member we know is "home schooling". As of this week they had not started the work because "the kid weren't that into it yet". 

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Roger, I believe that we have

Roger, I believe that we have spoken previously. My son also has Autism although he is very high functioning. When he was very young he started with speech and OT at public school and he also had an aide. It was very helpful for him and my wife and I really believe that he received more than we could give him at home. Special needs add a lot more considerations and there are never two situations the same. In our case we have now started homeschooling him but we are open to public school in the future if we think it will be better. Anyway it's obvious that you are approaching your son's education thoughtfully. I will remember you and your family in prayer tonight.

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Sometimes

Ron Bean wrote:

In my years of being involved in education I've observed that most of the students who fail academically or spiritually in schools (government or Christian) usually have parents who are not actively involved in the process. The more engaged parents are in the educational process, the more likely the children are to succeed; one of the assets of home schooling.

If your child is in school, be involved! Do more than chaperone field trips. Ask more questions than, "Did you have fun today?" (That used to be, "What did you learn today?) BTW, if you do this when they're young, you won't have to call the Dean of Students at their college to make sure they're behaving themselves.

I agree, but sometimes it IS the school at fault for being unresponsive. I've counseled many parents who felt they had not choice but to homeschool because the teachers and other school officials would not return emails or phone calls, or keep an appointment. Some schools are so busy jumping through federal hoops they simply have no time or energy to spend time with parents, or try to address the needs of individual children. I helped a mom and dad this last week who have been unable to have a productive discussion with their child's teacher or principal because they are too busy trying to implement Common Core standards. 

That's why it is important to not be too broadbrush about any educational choice; rather, we should put as much viable information out there as possible, and help parents think these things through so they can make an informed choice for their family. 

I'm personally not at all fond of traditional schooling, be it public or private. I think the institutionalized setting, lecture method, and arbitrary age-graded standards are about as useful as electric chopsticks. There are schools opening up all across the country that are catering to the particular learning needs of children, but not every parent has access to better schools. They must make do with what they have. 

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I agree

I agree, Susan. That's why parents need to be heavily involved in the educational process. If the school is unresponsive, then you need to find another option.  I've seen both government and Christian schools that make it difficult for parents to have any input. Sadly, too many parents just enroll their children in a school and only show up for Parent-Teacher meetings (maybe).

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan