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Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience (1 Peter 3:15b-16a ESV)

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5/15/2004

Christians and Public Education 

I've been hearing a lot about this article lately, so I figured I'd throw my two cents out there for everyone to read. You can also go here to read a running debate I've had with someone (I am phoenix, so you know). AND there's a good discussion of the topic here.

First of all, there ARE Christians in public schools -- my wife and I both teach in a public school. In fact, my wife took a LOT of flack over her decision to not teach in a Christian school -- she views it as a mission field, and I know that this year she has had an impact on several students. Christians are fighting for the soul of American public education.

There are also always going to be Christian kids in public schools. Let's ignore the kids who just can't afford the tuition. What about the kids whose parents are not Christians? What are they going to do? These are questions that I'm not sure have been answered -- at least not anywhere I'm reading.

Should we simply abandon public education to the Enemy? That's what we're doing. We're throwing up our hands and saying "There's nothing more we can do". We are doing the same thing that the fundamentalists did in the 70s and 80s when they abandoned the Southern Baptist convention. It's taken almost 20 years for conservatives to win that fight. We don't have 20 years to reclaim public education.

I am all for Christian schools, and even home schooling -- for the right reasons. If the public schools in your area do a lousy job of preparing your kids for life after graduation, then it's your duty to put your kids somewhere else. But if you are concerned about the moral decay of public schools, think about trying to help solve the problem. If you shelter your kids from what is happening in public schools (and I teach in one -- I know what is happening in them), what is their reaction going to be when they have to function in the real world? Will they be able to deal with people who are ideologically opposed to them, when they have never faced that opposition before?

Who is going to train them? Parents. Like Jen says over at blogs4god -- if you have enough time to be able to commit to homeschooling, you have enough time to be involved in your child's public school education. Know the teachers, and make sure they know you. Find out where potential problems may lie. Work out solutions before the problems happen. Make sure your child knows WHY they believe the way they do -- not just what they believe. Make sure they understand what is being thrown at them in school, and why people believe the way they do. Let them know how to interact with people who oppose their beliefs -- so that they can have an impact on their classmates.

And remember that there are Christian teachers out there who are going to be there for your kids -- a support group, if you will. You might not even know who they are -- after all, Ezekiel didn't know there were 10,000 followers of God in the nation; he thought he was the only one.


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