Thursday, September 08, 2005

Is Public School Biblical?

Picture this:
God gives me a beautiful baby girl and says "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:5-7 I thank Him and say I will obey. Then a few short years later a humanist group comes to me and says they'd like to offer me a great deal. They will gladly take that child off my hands for about 6 hours a day, 30 hours a week, for the next 13 years and instruct her in how to get along in a humanist world; how to fit in, be part of the crowd, and get a good little job when she's grown. They say that while they're at it they will even attempt to teach her how to read and do math. Of course, no guarantees that she will learn it well, in fact most of the children in this group will barely be literate and will fear math by the time they are done, but that will be their parents' fault.

The best part, they say, is that since I am not "qualified" or "trained" to teach my child myself, they will take the burden off of me so that I can have some "me time" away from my child. I'm not quite sure, but they say all the other parents are doing it, and besides, it's THE LAW. I ask how they will teach my child to love God during those hours and they look shocked! They say that mentioning God or anything about Him is wrong and that it would be unfair to the other children whose religions will be taught as social studies. I tell them that Jesus said "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14 and it seems that 5 days a week for 13 years of hindering them from coming to Jesus is just too much.

They say my child will be a social outcast and will hate me for making her miss out on all the fun times and friendships that can only be had in this one building closed in with 20-30 other children her same age for 13 years. Yet, I believe that I can provide her with fun and opportunities to form lasting friendships. I will follow the apostle, Paul, in knowing that "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ" Philippians 3:7-9

"No," I say, shaking my head. I may not be qualified, but I do know that Phillipians 4:13 says "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." You may think children should be educated without any mention of Jesus Christ, but I think that they cannot be truly educated without Him. "Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ." Ephesians 4:15


Edited to add: Here is a link to the book that has opened my eyes and profoundly influenced my thoughts on this subject. http://www.lewrockwell.com/yates/yates61.html This web page gives an excellent overview of the book. If you'd like to get the book and read it yourself, here is a link for that: http://www.exodusmandate.org/info_books.htm The book is called "Let My Children Go! Why Parents Must Remove Their Children From Public Schools NOW" by Ray Moore.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Seriously, you think that public school is not biblical? As a product from public school and a Christian I take offense to about everything that you have said. Not only have you told me that I am not literate (although I have a college education) you basically are saying that I'm not a good mother because I will send my kids to public school. What God calls one person to do, he does not call us all. If you feel so comfortable in your choice to home school then stop defending it all the time and making the rest of us seem so small. I've tried to be as nice as I can in telling you that you may have thoughts and opinions and ideas about how the rest of us are doing everything wrong, but maybe some of those comments should be kept to yourself. We are happy,and feel that we are doing what God wants us to do for our own families.

Jess Elliott said...

Thank you for commenting. I appreciate hearing other's viewpoints. I have to point out though, that this is MY blog. I get to say what I want, which I exactly what I did. You had to seek out my blog and intentionally seek to be offended. I also believe I layed out the biblical reason to keep Christian children out of public school. Jesus told us not to hinder the children from coming to Him. Public school does not allow children to be taught about Jesus Christ in school. That is clearly hindering them. The bible tells us to tell our children about God's laws when we get up, lay down, and walk along the road. In other words: all day long. I think your anger is more due to feelings of conviction that God may be laying upon your heart. Mandatory testing has shown that the majority of public school kids will graduate functionally illiterate. That means that they can't fully understand newspaper articles, tax forms, and other basic information necessary in adult life. Also, only the top 20 percent or so of high school graduates will ever graduate from a 4 or more year college or university. The public school is pumping out low wage common workers. But then, that is their goal. I'm sure you've heard of the "school to work" program.

The bible tells us to be prepared to defend our faith. I believe that talking about the need for Christian education, either through homeschooling or Christian schools, is part of that.

Miss Jen said...

I think you're treading on dangerous ground when you label something flat out unbiblical. The Old Testament Jews sent their kids away to synangogue for school, so we see evidence of the community playing a part in the child's educaton.

Additionally, who will witness to the darkness if we do not engage it? Hiding in a cave away from everyone never shared the love of Christ with anyone. Perhaps they should be at that school for their benefit as much as for someone else's.

And you get out of public education, like anything, what you put in to it. I am a product of it and I'm not a "low wage common worker." I am college educated from an elite private school that I paid for. So it's not inherantly a waste of time.

Sorry, I just don't see scripture coming down on either side of the issue and I don't think any one answer is more biblical.

Jess Elliott said...

Miss Jen - a synagogue school is a school based in their faith, not a government school that excludes the jewish faith. If they jews had sent their kids to Roman schools, it would have been the equivalent of today's Christians putting their kids in public school. I'm simply saying that Christians should not put their kids anywhere that keeps God out. I also believe that Jesus told adults to go out and preach the word. He did not select any small children to be one of the 12 disciples, did He?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Miss Jen's post on all points. As a mother whose oldest child has been educated in all 3 ways (homeschool; private Christian school; and now public school), I can say that it is true that you get out of it what you put into it. I will always hold to the fact that I and my husband are my children's primary educators. We work WITH the school, we do not simply hand the children over. I am quite proud of the fact that I gave my son his educational foundation. I most certainly was qualified to do so.

It is sad for me as a Christian to hear you belittle and be condescending to anyone who respectfully disagreed with what you wrote. Frankly, a course in Biblical Apologetics may be a good step for you.

Josoliviam

Sandra said...

Is it possible to see both sides of the argument? I was a public school teacher for 5 years. I saw the good, the bad and the ugly. I am now the mother of two boys and a homeschooling family to boot. Why did I decide to homeschool? For all the reasons you listed Jess. What do I see from the other side of the issue? Exactly what Miss Jen said about witnessing to the darkness. That is the ONLY regret I have about homeschooling. I pray daily and ask the Lord if this is the path he would have us continue down. We homeschool one year at a time. I believe if he wants us to make a change he'll show us.

And for the record I think you can say anything you want on your blog.

Sandra

Sandra said...

Just out of curiosity, are you saying that children should not tell others about Christ?

micki said...

Jess: you are very articulate in your thoughts. I applaud you for that. While I agree with you on some points, I don't agree with you on all...but will defend your right to say it! Say firmly what God has revealed for your family. I have pondered and prayed about homeschooling. It is my desire to homeschool. But whenever I've brought the matter to the Lord in prayer, I am told firmly that now is not the time. My children and our family must experience certain things during our time in public school. The Lord knows we need this experience to grow closer to Him. I just wish I knew *why* LOL

Jess Elliott said...

No, young children can and should tell others about Christ. However, I don't expect them to have the scriptural knowledge, life experience, and strength of conviction to defend their Christianity in a humanist controlled environment against adults (teachers/principles, etc)who they are supposed to respect and obey. My 5th grade teacher would make the whole class try to have out of body experiences. My husband's sister had to fight an atheist teacher all through high school. I do think that by high school my kids should be prepared to defend their faith, but not before.

MissJen said...

No, young children can and should tell others about Christ. However, I don't expect them to have the scriptural knowledge, life experience, and strength of conviction to defend their Christianity in a humanist controlled environment against adults

but they can share Christ with other classmates at the capacity in life. Do you know most conversions happen before the age of 18. That's before you're even willing to let your kids be around "heathens." And as far as the teacher goes, an involved parent would know if a teacher was abusing her boundaries.

if children had no place in expanding the kingdom, why did Christ pay such special attention to them and why was Jesus teaching at age 12? I understand he was endowed with certain divine abilities but I think the details are included for a reason.

If you feel called to homeschool your children, great. More power to you and I applaud you. But I don't see how you can condemn everyone who doesn't agree with you as educating their kids in an "unbiblical" fashion, elevate yourself over everyone, invite people on a public message board to come read your comments, and then cry foul when people find your comments offensive and worth disagreeing with.

Jess Elliott said...

My children are not kept away from non-Christians by any means. However, I won't force them into an anti-Christian environment for 6 or more hours a day 5 days a week for the majority of their formative years.

Even Jesus wasn't shuffled off to Roman school at the age of 5. And, I'm not "elevating myself" above others or condemning them. I'm simply stating what the bible says and how that has influenced my decision about my children's education. If you choose to disagree with my interpretation that's fine. You are even welcome to say so on my blog! But please don't tell me to keep my opinions to myself on my own blog. That's all I ask.

Sandra said...

Thank you for your clarification Jess :)

Miss Jen said...

I didn't tell you to keep your opinions to yourself. I find your comments rude and judgemental but it's certainly your right to say them. However, you invited feedback, and I'm responding.

tracie said...

HI Jess

I totally understand your feelings of being under attack about your blog. It is a very personal web page and because it is so personal we are very vulnerable to anyone that just happens by.

On the other hand, it is not a secret diary tucked under your mattress with a secure lock on it to keep all of your thoughts private. It is posted in a very public forum. Whatever is posted on it, is out there for everyone to see and read. Everyone has there own opinion and some will read your blog and completely agree and not leave any comments. or Vice Versa.

I could be under attack right this minute for anything that is on my blog right now and not even know about it. I would like to think that everyone is leaving me warm and fuzzy thoughts but in reality that is probably not the case.

Continue to post. It is your Blog aferall.

Sarah said...

It is your blog...and a right snappy blog it is. :)

As a relatively new hs parent, coming off a horrible experience inside the public school system for five years, I feel qualified to agree with your statements.

However, it should be noted that a)religion-based choices are rarely understood or even fathomable by those without religious leanings and b)we live in the light of the grace we are shown. This life is a journey and we don't all arrive at the same time.

Keep blogging! and thinking!

Sarah said...

PS...you are "qualified". No one is more qualified to care for your children and make sure that they grow into adulthood under the direction of the Father than you! No One!

Brooke said...

I don't know about unbiblical, but we are homeschooling. For many of the reasons you have listed in your post.

Helen said...

You sound kind of "nutso" to me.

We get your kind all the time in the school system. "You" can do it better etc. Shoving your "religion" at the entire school system. It is not helpful to an already mixed vegetable bowl.

Did you actually have this conversation with the "humanist" or is this the conversation you "wish" to have with them?

Why can people not just live life without acting righteous in the choices you make?

I have seen so many children come through the system after being home schooled. Some are highly educated and kudos to those parents, some are not educated at all and they never recover from the lack of learning. The parents of those children who do not have a basic education think they did a great job, way better then what the school board offers. It is really sad.

I think parents who intend to homeschool ought to plan for that before they have children and go and get a degree.

SabrinaP said...

Wow! You have every right to post what you want on your blog. I am glad that you made the decision to homeschool your children and that it is working for your family. However, as a VERY hardworking teacher these comments are rude.

" Of course, no guarantees that she will learn it well, in fact most of the children in this group will barely be literate and will fear math by the time they are done, but that will be their parents' fault."

Do you have statistics to back this statement up? You honestly think that Most will be barely literate? I have worked in very low socio-economic areas, where some of the parents are barely literate, but I can guarentee most of those students leaving our school were not only literate, but ready to go to college. I am sorry but you have the right to make the choice for you, but don't put public school down, because it is the right choice for many.

Jess Elliott said...

Helen and Sabrinap - I'm glad that you have had a relatively positive experience with public school. Perhaps yours has been the exception to the rule. There are many studies and statistics that have shown that 1. the majority of public school graduates will be "functionally illiterate", which I believe I clarified above. and 2. National test scores show that there is no difference in scores between homeschooled kids who were taught by a parent with a college degree and one taught by a parent with only a high school diploma. Both managed to raise and teach children that scored above the national public school avg.

I think it's a shame that some schools have begun suggesting to parents with no desire to homeschool that they homeschool their child simply because they are failing in public school. Those families, and those who allow their children to supposedly "homeschool" out of laziness, when in reality their child is watching t.v. and loitering about town all day, give a bad name to real homeschooling. And of course, it's always the rare bad cases that get all the publicity.

Yes, I've had many people question my decision to homeschool on the various grounds listed in my posts: socialization, lack of certification, and the ever popular "how can you stand to be around your children all day long?". Actually, I'm raising my children to be people I enjoy spending time with.

Thank you for yet another reason to homeschool. At least my children after graduating school and possibly attaining a college education won't begin a rational debate with "You sound kind of 'nutso' to me." You see, I'm teaching them common decency and respect.

Jess Elliott said...

Oh, and as for the statistics, you've got a degree so I'm sure you've mastered the art of googling a topic.

Anonymous said...

Jess Elliott said: Oh, and as for the statistics, you've got a degree so I'm sure you've mastered the art of googling a topic.

My response: This is why a lot of people have issues with your statements. As the person who is putting forth the hypothesis, the onus is on you to provide empirical data to support your theory. The fact is that you cannot. You cannot support any of the ridiculous statements made about public education because they are false. Either you are incredibly naive, or have allowed yourself to fall victim to propaganda.

The fact is that as a high-school graduate, there is no way that you could provide your children with a decent education. They may be able to read or write, but you won't be able to teach calculus. In a sense, you are sentencing your children to an inferior education.

For years, Christian parents have put their children in public schools and those children grew up to be well-education Christians. If being in a public school environment would damage your children as Christians, then you aren't doing your job as a parent.

I can only pray for your children. Hopefully they will be able to overcome the tremendous disadvantage of having an uneducated parent homeschool them. It seems that you are more concerned with yourself then your children's education.

Jess Elliott said...

Fine, you need to be lead by the hand? I will. Here is a link to studies showing that homeschooled children score academically and socially then public school students.
http://homeschoolinformation.com/homeschooling/homeschool_statistics1.htm

Here's one that even you can read if the above site is too challenging:
http://www.uhea.org/stats.html

Here's an excerpt from this site:
Home school - average reading score (white) - 87 percentile;
Public school - average reading score (white) - 61 percentile
Home school - average reading score (minority) - 87 percentile;
Public school - average reading score (minority) -49 percent
Home school - average math score (white) - 82 percentile;
Public school - average math score (white) - 60 percentile
Home school - average math score (minority) - 77 percentile;
Public school - average math score (minority) - 50 percentile

Do you see a pattern forming? Here's a link to see whether parent's education level effects their homeschooled children's education: http://www.hslda.org/docs/study/ray1997/07.asp

And here's a quote from this site: "Home educated students’ test scores remain between the 80th and 90th percentiles, whether their mothers have a college degree or did not complete high school"

You want a link to statistics on how much having an actual "teaching certificate" effects student scores? Here it is: http://www.hslda.org/docs/study/ray1997/06.asp
Here's what our U.S. government says about our current adolescent literacy nationwide: http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ovae/pi/hs/reading.html
"Despite significant public and private investments in research to identify effective strategies for teaching young readers, millions of high school youth-having made their way through the educational system without benefiting from these strategies-are currently reading at very low levels. Without the reading skills they need to access, comprehend, and apply the information obtained from text, these students are unable to fully participate and succeed in their classes and, far too often, fail or drop out of school. Moreover, many students find their difficulties resurface at the post-secondary level and in the workplace."

This is what is known as "functionally illiterate". How can they succeed if they aren't being taught to read well enough to comprehend what they are reading?

As for my children's high school education, unlike a public school teacher, I have alternatives. If I find that they are not excelling in Calculus or any other subject, I can try different books, hire a tutor, enroll them in online classes or a local community college, etc.

However, astonishingly, many public school kids have to repeat Calculus (or learn it for the first time) and other maths like Algebra once they get to college. My children will be surrounded by opportunities to enjoy math and use it in daily life and will not have to dread higher math looming over them when they get to high school. By the time they are ready for it, it will be have been a natural part of their lives for many years.

I hope this is enough info for you. I'd love to hear your comments. I'm so glad I've had the opportunity to educate you.

Helen said...

Ok "nutso" wasn't the best word. I apologize.
I would edit it to fanatic or maybe zealot is more to your liking? However I am unable to edit my posts. I also would not call "your" debate rational.

I am not writing my thesis here so I am not taking the time to argue your quotes. I don't feel that scripture quotes further one's argument anyways. My point was that you need to get a better education yourself in order to teach your children.

You are basing alot of your argument on statistics which you cannot provide.

As for your children "graduating" school I wish them all the best of luck under the education "you" have chosen for them.

Again I apologize for saying "nutso" however I doubt you will apologize for your snarky comments.

Anonymous said...

Wow - you are really going to be ineffective if a couple of questions having you striking out like a crazy person. Frankly, you don't sound mentally balanced and you definitely don't sound Christian.

You are what we refer to as "False Christians". You claim to be Christian and learn biblical phrases, but you behave in a most unChrist-like manner. You foolishly believe that Jesus will welcome you only because you claim to be saved. However, if you were truly saved, you would have a Christ-like resevoir from which to reach. Questions wouldn't bother you and you would be able to answer them in a mature manner. I repeat, I fear for your children. After your latest outburst, I fear for their safety as well.

I think that you should seek out a Christian counselor immediately. Your anger and misbehavior is not a testament to Jesus. Your main goal should be seeking to spread the word of Jesus and care for your children in a Christ-like environment. How can you do that while angrily and bitterly responding to complete strangers on a blog site? It just doesn't make sense.

I would point out all of the errors that are involved with your "statistics" but I fear what you will do with two little ones in the home.

I'll pray for you.

SabrinaP said...

"You see, I'm teaching them common decency and respect."

You mean like this?

"Oh, and as for the statistics, you've got a degree so I'm sure you've mastered the art of googling a topic."


Thanks for your show of respect. You see, as a college graduate, I feel that if people say things they should have the statistics to back it up.

Jess Elliott said...

I'm surprised that you feel able to judge the validity of my salvation based on my answers to these blog comments. I personally haven't got that ability. I thought it was reserved for God Himself. You are right in seeing that I felt upset about some of the harsh comments about me and my beliefs, but the bible doesn't tell Christians to never get angry, but that when they are angry, not to sin in their anger. I feel that my response was justified, considering the circumstances.

Helen - Did you even check the sites I posted to show where my statistics and facts were coming from? Denying truth doesn't make it go away. I've spent the last 6 months researching this topic online and through the library. All of my information is based on that research. Don't you see a problem with asking me to back up my facts, then when I do, you deciding that you don't have to justify your own position? So are you saying that you can argue my facts with nothing more than your opinion, and think you are right?

Furthermore, have you even considered that just because I said a parent doesn't need to have a degree to teach their children at home, I must be uneducated? I'm an advocate of life long learning, so I have several different colleges, universities, and vocational schools. However, I only take those courses that I find interesting. You see, what I am opposed to is government control over education, not education itself. You would know that if you understood what homeschooling was about.

Jess Elliott said...

I meant to say I have "attended" several different colleges..etc. Excuse my typo.

Jess Elliott said...

My husband, after reading these posts, told me that it is clear through my tone, that I was getting overly emotional about these posts. I want to say that I apologize for getting "snarky" and not standing back and taking a more calm approach in my answers.

My main point was not that public school is wrong for all people, but simply that I believe the scriptures are saying that Christian children should be educated in a Christian environment. Also, that I am fully qualified to educate my children at home because I will do everything possible to insure they have a good education and a desire to learn. Also, that God will give me the strength and abilities I need in order to teach them.

I think I provided clear reasons both biblically and statistically for my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I almost didn't come back to this blog after posting my last comments about "False Christians" but I am very happy that I did. Your husband sounds like a very Godly man and someone from whom you will learn alot. I think that if you fully submit to your husband as head of your household, as your husband obviously does to the Lord, you can make progress in your Christian walk.

Although Christians do get angry and do become emotional, that is not an excuse to behave in an angry or abusive manner as you did. That is why I posted that I was fearful for your children. It is very difficult sometimes to raise children as Christians and parents should strive to be even more of an example because of their additional responsibilities. Children are a gift and should be taught and treated as such. If someone anonymous person can cause such a reaction, what will a learning child invoke.

Anyway, although we disagree that public school educations are producing "functionally illerate" students (as you may or may not know, in college or masters-level statistics classes they can teach you the manipulation of statistics and the importance of study of the original empirical data), I am much relieved to that your husband has guided you to a more reasonable tone.

He sounds like a wonderful man and you are very blessed to have a man who is willing to guide you in your walk.

Anonymous said...

Jess,
I appreciate your research on this topic. HOWEVER, having been around the block a time or two I can tell you that ANY data can be skewed to benefit the person releasing it.

Most of the data you refer to is coming from Homeschooling sites so it would make sense for it to support homeschooling as a choice. There are underlying facts that affect these statistics even if they are from an independent source: 1) How many children from gang infested neighborhoods or children of drug-addicted or illiterate parents ever have the chance to be homeschooled and be counted in your statistics? Public school has no choice but to offer these children the best education they can. These children will weigh down the results on the public school side simply because they have such an erratic and often abusive homelife. NO child will flourish in an environment of chaos with no parental support. 2) MANY children are growing up in inner cities where they are not worried about getting good grades - they are worried about whether they will live through the night either because they are starving or there may be random shootings that endanger their life or their own parent may abuse or neglect them to the point of death.
Homeschooling statistics will NEVER take these things into account.

I have actually considered homeschooling my children but not for the reasons you list - just because my daughter has an insatiable desire to learn and excel that may not be met in the public schools. HOWEVER, I have enrolled her in public school but have also purchased lots of homeschooling products to enhance and further her education on our time. She is a very strong Christian and has already begun to share Christ with friends she knows are growing up in homes where the only God they know is a curse word.

Read the testimony of MANY of the current and past leading Christian speakers and probably your own pastor and you will see that if it weren't for a friend inviting them to a revival or to Sunday School or some kind of church event where they met the living God, there's no telling where they would be now. Our children do need to be a light unto the world so I think that homeschooling SOLELY based on your interpretation of scripture and on the skewed statistics you can find on the internet are not good reasons for homeschooling. Many parents do not have the luxury of homeschooling and many don't have the personality that would suit the educational needs of their child. MOST of us don't have the income to afford private Christian school as you suggest as the only alternative.

The beginning of this topic of your BLOG does come across very judgmental and high and mighty that you have made the only right choice and everyone else is just wrong. The truth is that if all parents homeschooled, your statistics would tell an entirely different story because many of them would NEVER see a book.

There have been several cases of neglect and abuse in Oklahoma news lately that tell of "homeschooled" children who were tied up or just forced to sit on a mattress all day and watch cartoons - one child didn't even know what her last name was at 11 years old! Please don't ever assume that your choice is the right choice for everyone because it is not. Public school is the only safe haven for many children and it's the ONLY way they can get out of their horrid life and have a glimmer of a chance to have a better life as an adult.

My own children have completely different personalities and as easy as it would be for me to home school my oldest, my youngest would NEVER cooperate with homeschooling because she is strong willed and performs for others much better than she would ever choose to do at home.

It needs to be something you have prayed about, something you have investigated in YOUR town and you need to focus on educating your children about Christ and equipping them with the FULL armor of Christ so that they can be what Christ called all of us to be - a light unto the world.

Please understand that I am completely fine with you choosing to homeschool YOUR children, just know that when you write something and post it for others to read, you do have to be sensitive to the fact that intentionally or not, you may offend people just as if you said it to their face so you must be prepared to receive those objections maturely or you should pay more attention to what you write before you post it. You could simply have said that you felt God leading you to homeschool your children so as to shelter them from a part of life where you feel God is not welcomed and children who aren't so fortunate as to have Christian parents and you felt that you could offer as good or better educational opportunities for them at home.

I'll close with this ...
How did you meet Christ? WHO introduced you to Him?

Jess Elliott said...

In all respect, I think you're looking at my comments from the wrong perspective. I am not speaking about the whole nation when I talk about the importance of homeschooling and Christian schools. I am only speaking to Christians. Your comments about the condition of inner city schools just highlights the need for Christian school alternatives.

Christian parents, or any parents who are truly concerned about their child's welfare, who live in the inner cities, should have the option of taking their kids out and putting them into a school that is founded on the principles of Christianity and filled with God's love.

Since many cannot afford that, I am also speaking to Christian churches who have the responsibility of providing their people with a Christian school alternative and scholarships for those who need them.

Let me tell you that I went through all the same arguments about the need for Christian influence in schools, and tried to convince myself why it wasn't necessary for me to homeschool my children or put them in a Christian school. In the end, when I was honest with myself and with God, it came down to this. It is my responsibility to protect, instruct, and guide my children in a God honoring way.

When I would say that "I can't", whether it was about my fear of going against the norm, providing my girls with social interaction, meeting their needs, or making ends meet financially...God would answer me with "You can't, but I can." I realized, in the end, that it was an issue of trust and obedience.

Jesus uses the image of Caesar on the coin in Matthew 22:20-21 as an illustration that Caesar (the government) is entitled to receive his taxes. But whose image is stamped on our children? Genesis 1:26-27 says that God made man and woman in His own image. We belong to Him, not to the anti-Christian government. This applies equally to the education of our children, especially primary education.

It makes no sense for parents who want to protect their children and offer them a better education and a Christ centered world view to enroll their children in a dangerous school with children who have no desire to learn, but are forced into attendance, in the hope that their children will have a positive influence on the others.

I would not go hang out daily in a strip club in the hopes that I could convince the patrons and other employees to come to church with me. Why not? Because "Bad company corrupts good character." 1 Corinthians 15:32-34 There are other places that Christian children can meet non-Christian kids and tell them about Jesus. Libraries, parks, sports, camps, special classes involving their interests like art, computers, music, etc. Why do people think that children can only meet other children at school? Do you only speak to other adults at your job? And are you restricted to speaking only to other adults your exact same age?

The odds of any given 8 yr old learning about Jesus Christ at school would be greatly greatly increased if it were a Christian school. Public schools bombard kids with the idea that all religions are equally valid, which invalidates Christ's message that He is the way, the truth, and the light, and that no man comes to the Father except through Him. Public school teaches two religions: humanism and relativism.

After a long day of school, homework, extra curriculur activites, time with friends, and dinner, kids don't have much time left to work on extra materials provided by their parents for enrichment or to combat the anti-Christian message they've been hearing all day long.

On the other hand, it's amazing to me how parents who truly wish to homeschool or pay for a Christian school, find ways to do it. It takes sacrifice and creative solutions, but it can be done. Max Victor Belz said "I don't want my children fed or clothed by the state, but I would prefer that to their being educated by the state." That sums up alot of parents' views on the subject. They find family or friends to help, or they go in with another homeschooling parent to share the cost and the work, but they find a way.

Finally, author Douglas Wilson wrote, "For over one hundred years, Americans have been running a gigantic experiment in government schools, trying to find out what a society looks like without God. Now we know."

Jess

kelley said...

I am a Christian who is currently debating this issue for myself. I have a one-year-old, and am struggling to decide how best to educate her. I worry about the social impact of homeschooling more than anything else. What are your thoughts on homeschool "groups"?

Anonymous said...

Where do you propose that the inner city churches get funding to provide Christian school for the neighborhood at large who already can't afford to send their children to private schools. Where do you think churches get their money? From the people who go there. If it's in the slums, do you think they are going to have a big payroll to build and equip an entire school and provide free admission for everyone?

The problem I have with your approach to this whole topic is that you assume that because you feel God led you to the conclusion you are supposed to home school, you ASSUME that he meant that for ALL Christians. We have had MULTIPLE evangelists at our church who have shared their testomies and nearly ALL of them were saved as a result of being in PUBLIC school with a Christian who was brave enough to share Christ with them or simply invite them to church. Would you assume that these unchurched children in public school have no right to be exposed to Christian children? Do you assume that God doesn't want there to be ANY Christian influence on these children in the school day? Sometimes we have to go where it's not comfortable and sometimes we have do things we don't want to do but Christ calls us to do them anyway. For some of us, it's sending our kids to public school. For others it's working in a homeless shelter or other places where they are exposed to the worst of life and yet bring God's light to it. You speak with a very closed mind. You still didn't answer my question: How did YOU meet Christ? WHO introduced you to Him?

Jess Elliott said...

Christian churches should not view themselves as being in an isolated bubble. First they should reach out and join resources with Christian churches all across the U.S. (and the world) for help in financing the work of educating Christian children. Second, if they have a building to meet in, it's very possible that they aren't using that building during the week days. It could be better put to use as classrooms. Third, it does not need to cost as much to educate children as our public schools seem to think. Many countries are better educating their children with larger class sizes, less years of mandatory schooling, and much less money per student.

You talk about how many people were led to Christ through meeting a Christian child at school. Obviously, since that is where we make children spend the majority of their day, that is where they will have more opportunity to meet Christian children. But if mandatory public school was not required, if alternatives were allowed, those same kids would have plenty of opportunity to meet Christian kids outside of government school either in a Christian school or during the course of their day.

They may have MORE opportunity if they are spending time participating in community life for longer periods of the day and less time told to sit down, listen, and be quiet in school. The Christian kids they meet may be more likely to speak up and share their faith if they are not in fear of breaking any laws by speaking about Jesus Christ and have been encouraged in their faith all during the school day. Those children will be emboldened instead of hesitant. They will not fear ridicule or reprimand.

The bible, God's Word, calls us to do many things for Christ, but throwing our young impressionable children to the wolves was never one of them. Timothy Dwight, President of Yale from 1795-1817 said, "To commit our children to the care of irreligious people is to commit lambs to the superintendency of wolves."

As far as reaching out through community service goes, since my children are able to finish their school work in just a couple of hours a day (since we don't have to waste time on lining up, taking attendance, dealing with other kids' discipline problems, etc.) we have more free time and energy than a family with children in public school has for volunteer work.

My girls pick out needed items and send them in care packages to their cousin in Mexico whose parents are missionaries there. We have also, since before they were born, been in the Big Brother/Big Sister program. We have helped a little boy who, when he's not in shelters, lives in the poorest areas of Tulsa. Through being a part of his life for the last 10 years, we and our girls have had the opportunity to help and show God's love to a boy in a profound way.

Watching his experiences in various public schools, the poorest public ones in the city to one of the supposedly best charter schools, we have seen that no matter the amount of money, no matter the teacher's effort, without God's love and laws the public school's cannot succeed in molding moral, well educated kids.

Finally, how I met the Lord. I got invited to a birthday party by an ex-boyfriend (that I'd 'dated' when I was 12, another joy of public school). There I met some kids who did not attend my school. They invited me to their church. About 3 years later after one of those kids, who'd taken me to prom as a favor, and never once "tried anything" the whole night, brought me home from prom I had an encounter with God. He showed me that the way that my family, my teachers, and my public school "boyfriend" had treated me, was not how I 'deserved' to be treated. He filled me with love and acceptance, gave me back my sense of worth, and claimed me for His own from that moment forward. He radically changed my life for the better.

Jess Elliott said...

P.S. - I married one of those kids!

Anonymous said...

You go back and forth a lot don't you. I have read your blog several times and each time I find myself disappointed, I think that is the right word, the way you talk about people who have been educated by the government. The fact of the matter is, that whether or not a child benefits from the education it is given, 1)has to do with the child and their learning capabilities,and 2)the willingness of the parent to participate. When you say "throwing your children to the wolves", the moment we leave the safety of our mother's womb we are thrown to the wolves, and I'm sorry to say this, but you can't protect your children from everything, you will have to let them go sooner or later. I was also not aware that it was the government's responsibility to teach our children about God. I'm positve, infact, that God commands us to teach our children. If public school is not for your children that is fine, but if you are going to continue to post your blog in public forums where the whole can read it, then my polite suggestion to you is to change the tone and the way you come acrossed. I am what you have called a "public school man" to me that sounds degrading, whether you meant it to be or not. My child will attend public schools, not because I am not capable of educating her myself, or because I can't afford private schools, but because I feel the people of this nation have done enough of taking God out of public schools. For me to further do it by removing the possibility of a lost child finding Jesus from talking to my child is absurd to me. I will agree that a kid does spend the majority of their day in a public school, and since there is not a whole lot of alternatives for children to talk, why take away one more. No, I would prefer to give my child the tools that she needs to speak about Christ, to not be ashamed or scared no matter the rules. I would rather her love those lost ones, and be shining example in a lost world, because when all else,in our arsenal for sharing the good news fails, living by example is what we have left. I admire you, for your passion, I just feel, and obviously so do many others, that you come off the wrong way. My parents didn't lead me to Christ, my "public school friends" invited me to church when I was very young, had it not been for them I might not be saved today. One other thing you might want to be aware of, even though the rule says no God in school, it hasn't stopped the kids from being creative, without christians in public schools there would be no FCA, or Youth alive programs, so as long as there is a christian in a public school, God will be there too.

Jess Elliott said...

___________________________________
I am what you have called a "public school man" to me that sounds degrading, whether you meant it to be or not.
___________________________________

This seemed like an odd statement for me to make, so I ran a search on my entire blog and that phrase isn't anywhere to be found. Were you maybe paraphrasing something?

I think that you have a very different world view from mine. I don't believe that children are "thrown to the wolves" the moment they leave their mother's womb. Also, I believe that it is very much a parent's responsibility to protect their child as long as they are a child.

The key is that you protect them and prepare them BEFORE expecting them to be able to withstand the pressure and influence of an anti-Christian school system where they are conflicted with the need to trust and obey the very authorities who are telling them that their Christianity is intollerant and therefore wrong.

If you feel that your child cannot possibly have a positive influence on non-Christian children or share their faith without the opportunity that public school provides, I would suggest waiting until they are highschool age to enroll them. That way they have had the necessary time for education, preparation, and life experience to be able to fully and confidently share the gospel of Christ. I notice that the programs you listed, are not elementary school programs.

I think it's inexplicable that so many people think a child isn't even ready to seriously, with full understanding, make the decision to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior until they are 7 years old or more. Yet they put their child in full day anti-Christian government school at the age of 5 or 6.

I don't believe, for most children, that "whether or not a child benefits from the education it is given, 1)has to do with the child and their learning capabilities". This is a somewhat recent (last few decades) trend to remove the responsibility to truly educate children from the schools and place the blame on the child. All children can learn. All children can benefit from education.

These days, if a child isn't learning to read or do math, they are labeled "learning disabled" or told they have some other "disorder". However, many children with those labels have been able to learn those skills with the proper time, materials, and attention.

If public schools were no longer government owned and operated, if they had to show results and actually strive to teach ALL their students, or risk losing their students to better performing schools, I think that you would see an amazing change.

Right now government schools are practicing socialism. We need to separate school and state like it was in the time of our founding fathers. Then schools could share our nation wide practice of competition and our children would reap the benefits.