10 Big Reasons Not to Send Christian Kids to Public Schools
- David d’Escoto The Old Schoolhouse
- 2009 5 May
EDITOR'S NOTE: Interested in having The Old Schoolhouse magazine delivered to your door? Sign up with promo code "5OFFCW" and receive 20% off your subscription.
I love reading Bible commentaries and sermons almost as much as I love reading the Bible. I especially enjoy gleaning insight from some of the gifted teachers and theologians of the past. It was in reading the old nineteenth-century preacher Spurgeon and his Spurgeon’s Sermon Notes that I came across this quote: “As a rule, the children of godly parents are godly. In cases where this is not the case there is a reason. I have carefully observed and have detected the absence of family prayer, gross inconsistency, harshness, indulgence or neglect of admonition. If trained in God’s way, they do not depart from them.”1 The departure from Godliness by scores of young people who have been brought up in Christian homes is cause for real alarm. What are well-meaning parents missing in the training of their children? I think the answer lies in these key words: God’s way.
Among the many problems within our culture is the downward spiral in the hearts and minds of today’s youth. What many of us may not realize is that among the biggest morality corrupters and worldview warpers are the secular-humanistic public schools. A slew of anti-God teachings within an unbiblical setting produce an enormous list of stumbling blocks, proving that public schools are manifesting the ideologies of their humanistic founders, Horace Mann and John Dewey. To hone in on a few of these, here is my “top 10” list of big reasons why Christian parents who are truly committed to training up their children God’s way should not be sending their kids to public schools.
1. Cookie cutter approach. Public schools fail to train up each child according to his or her unique giftings, learning needs, and future callings. When one teacher has to manage a classroom full of children, many simply fall through the cracks. It is no wonder that the number of tutoring programs and learning centers is growing so rapidly, and it is no wonder that the dropout rate is right around 1.2 million kids per year (7,000 every school day).2 Our children have a special purpose in God’s plan, and no government institution that shuffles millions of children through an efficiency-based system can come close to addressing this the way parents can in the home.
2. Anemic academics. The latest research reports that the U.S. spends well over a half-trillion tax dollars a year (over $9,000 per student) on education.3 One would think that there would be a decent return for this amount of spending, but as the Washington Post reported recently, children who are government schooled consistently rank near the bottom of all industrialized nations in math and science.4 As our taxes increase, literacy levels drop, and academic standards are being dumbed down to cover up school ineptitude. Being smart just ain’t what it used to be. In equipping our children for service to their King, we should be giving them the highest quality education possible.
3. Misplaced authority. By placing their children in the school system, parents basically relinquish their authority to teachers, coaches, counselors, administrators, and local and state board members. State laws virtually say, “Moms and dads, drop your kids off at the front door and let the ‘experts’ decide how and what they will learn.” Scarier still is the statistic that about half of all parents cannot even name their child’s teacher, making one wonder if they even know what their child is actually learning in school.5 We saw the public schools boldly take away parents’ fundamental rights when the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled “no fundamental right of parents to be the exclusive provider of information regarding sexual matters to their children.”6 There are similar cases going on right now in several other parts of the country, so this is really just the beginning.
4. Family fragmentation. Students spend an average of 1,100 hours a year in public school. This does not include commutes, extended care hours, after-school commitments, and the ever-increasing burden of homework and tutoring programs. Very little time is left for meaningful family interaction. Sadly enough, once those unhealthy appetites for peer relationships have developed, parents and siblings learn to get along without each other. God has designed the family for the purpose of nurturing and training our children, a model that cannot be replaced with inferior alternatives.
5. Peer dependency. A child left with other kids for a minimum of five days a week, 180 days a year, will learn to accept and do whatever is necessary in order to gain approval by his peer group. He will learn how to talk, how to dress, how to act, what music to listen to, and which TV shows and movies to watch, and he will get a steady dose of pop culture. It’s interesting that one of the main red flags raised by homeschool skeptics is socialization. The Bible has already forewarned us about what happens to “a companion of fools.” (Proverbs 13:20b)
6. Bad company. First Corinthians 15:33a warns us to not be deceived, telling us that bad company corrupts good morals. Yet parents foolishly accept the norm of grouping 25–30 children in a classroom for the majority of the day, spanning twelve or more years of their lives, and expect their children to rise above the folly. Add to this formula the natural inability in young children to be confined to a desk for hours, followed by all the angst that accompanies the raging-hormone years. It’s no wonder schools are rampant with poor attitudes, low self-esteem, hostility toward teachers, vandalism, bullying, drug use, gun threats, fear, and chaos. While it would be nice to think that the “good kids” are being salt and light, in most cases, good morals are grossly compromised.
7. Propagating promiscuity. The Heritage Group reports, “Every day, 8,000 teenagers in the United States become infected by a sexually transmitted disease.”7 Armed with condoms and explicit classroom demonstrations brought to you by Planned Parenthood, it’s no surprise that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the HPV vaccine for 11- and 12-year-old girls. A recent study shows that the Church is not immune either; our children in youth groups are experimenting with sex just as much as those outside the church.8 Sadly, today’s youth, along with their many parents, have forgotten the old adage: “If you play with fire you are going to get burned.” (See Proverbs 6:27.)
8. Bye-bye Bible. The public schools of today have succeeded in removing the Bible and are becoming more and more openly hostile toward Christianity while maintaining a politically correct stance toward other world religions and cults. Just recently, a boy who dressed up as Jesus for Halloween was sent home by the principal because his costume was deemed “too offensive.” The poor handful of kids who do attempt to make a difference for the Kingdom are often ridiculed and told to be happy that they can, at the very least, go outside and hold hands around a flag pole once a year to pray.
9. Perishing generation. Public schools are one of the leading reasons the next generation is falling away from a solid Biblical worldview and a faith-based life. Studies show that because of the intensive secular-humanistic indoctrination occurring in the public schools, it is approximated that over 80% of children from Christian homes are walking away from the Church by the time they reach college age.9 Most Christians in the United States, including many pastors and prominent leaders, are asleep at the wheel on this cold, hard reality. Thankfully, some have already woken up. One notable pastor, Scott Brown, wrote, “If current trends in the belief systems and practices of the younger generation continue, in ten years, church attendance will be half the size it is today.”10
10. Scripturally unsound. My final point may be the most controversial, but the fact is that public education is causing millions of children to stumble in their walk with our Lord.11 Can we not logically conclude that it is unbiblical for us to send our children there? Bold words, some may say—I would say they’re rather Biblical. Please open up your Bible and read Matthew 18:1–6, 1 Corinthians 8 (focusing on verses 11–13), and finally Romans 14:13–23 (focusing on verses 13 and 21). Do you see it? The Bible is making the following facts clear to us:
1. Believers are no longer under the law.
2. Believers do have freedom in Christ.
3. A believer’s freedom (liberty) in Christ must never ever be used as a license to sin and/or cause another weaker believer to stumble/sin.
Notice how the Bible speaks of the “weak.” Don’t our developing children fall in the category of “the weak”? Are they not still very much in their growing stages—growing not only physically and emotionally, but in their faith, knowledge, and understanding of our Lord God? Since it is obvious that such a high percentage of kids are abandoning the faith in their later years, why would we want to keep them in a place that is clearly causing serious harm to their minds, bodies, and souls?
Please keep in mind that today, approximately 85% of Christian parents send their children to public schools for their “education.” Parents, we need to turn our hearts toward our children now and lovingly labor to see Christ formed in them. Yes, it is hard work, but doing the right thing usually requires more effort, including moving out of our comfort zones. The Church in centuries past rightly understood the importance of training up the next generation. The great seventeenth-century theologian and pastor, Jonathan Edwards, wrote the following commentary on Galatians 4:19: “Here is an example to parents, showing how they ought to labor and cry to God for the spiritual good of their children. You see how Christ labored and strove and cried to God for the salvation of His spiritual children; and will not you earnestly seek and cry to God for your natural children?”12
If you truly care about your children’s spiritual good, then please remove them from your local public school. Christ-centered, parent-directed, home-based education works. Soli Deo Gloria!
1. Charles H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Sermon Notes (Peabody, MA, Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. 1997), 139.
5. Brian D. Ray, Ph.D., 2004–2005, Worldwide Guide to Homeschooling (Nashville, TN, Broadman & Holman, 2004), 107.
12. Jonathan Edwards, Sermons of Jonathan Edwards (Peabody, MA, Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. 2005), 314.
Published on May 11, 2009
David d’Escoto is a teaching elder and the co-author of The Little Book of Big Reasons to Homeschool (published by Broadman & Holman). He also co-hosted the radio program Homeschooling for Life. He and his bride, Kim, have homeschooled their five children for more than ten years. Please visit their website at www.dexios.info.
Copyright 2008. Originally appeared in The ld Schoolhouse Magazine, Winter 2008/09.
Used with permission. Visit them at www.TheHomeschoolMagazine.com.
For all your homeschool curriculum needs visit the Schoolhouse Store.