The past three decades have witnessed a remarkable growth in private Christian education, both in Christian day schools and in homeschooling. The effort has not been in vain. Standardized test scores repeatedly show that students in private Christian education far outpace their counterparts in public schools. It is reported that all homeschool students applying at Harvard last year were accepted.1
On the other hand, public schools continue to deteriorate- academically, morally and in safety. The number of shootings and killings in public schools last year, even by little boys, have shaken our nation into disbelief. We keep asking, Why? The answers are as varied as people offering explanations. President Clinton recently announced the standard establishment answer- more teachers, more programs, more money- i.e., more of the same. What should we expect for this? More of the same.
This paper is not an attempt to fully answer ‘What has gone wrong in public/government schools?’. Many good articles and books have already addressed that. I agree with those who are saying that the problem lies in the seed, not the plant. Responsibility for education of children was misplaced over a century ago through the efforts of Mann, Dewey, et al. Christ-centered education was replaced with so-called child-centered education. When this transition began in the mid nineteenth century, there still continued a strong Judeo-Christian ethic in the classroom. Prayer and reading of scriptures were also a normal part of the school’s activities. When state-run education began, it borrowed the spiritual capital present in schools and because of that; it ‘...
;survived’ for many decades.2
Speaking of early American educators, Dr. Rushdoony said, “Absorbed almost entirely in the process of education, as a rule, it never occurs to these good men that the concepts that they took for granted of a good society were purloined from the Christian heritage that they have studiously ignored or denied.”3 Without faith in God and fear of the Lord as a focus of education, spiritual capital was not being replenished. Now it appears that the spiritual capital has been spent and that the system is coming unglued. The apostle Paul gave us a clear warning, “And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together”(Col. 1:17). Another way of saying this would be, “Things not in Him don’t hold together.” How long it can continue is uncertain, but some are saying the end of public/government education is near.
We assert the mixing of school and civil government is not only bad business, but also bad theology. Education of youth is simply not a government function, biblically speaking. Government schools should not be reformed; rather they should be dismantled, though carefully. What is truly needed is a thoughtful plan for separating school and state.
It was precisely the mixing of school and government that was the heart and soul of Dewey’s pedagogical reasoning. In 1894 Dewey accepted the position of chairman of the Depart-ment of Philosophy, Psychology and Pedagogy at the University of Chicago. It was here that Dewey established his Laboratory School. As noted by education expert Samuel L. Blumenfeld, “Here was, indeed, a master plan, involving the
entire progressive educational community, to create a new socialist curriculum for the schools of America, a plan that was indeed carried out and implemented. — he put forth his collectivist concepts of an organic society, the social individual, the downgrading of academics (emphasis mine), and the need to use psychology in education.”4
In 1897 Dewey published his “My Pedagogic Creed” in which he stated, among other beliefs, “I believe that education, therefore, is a process of living and not a preparation for future living; I believe that education is the regulation of the process of coming to share in the social consciousness; and that adjustment of individual activity on the basis of this social consciousness is the only sure method of social reconstruction I believe that every teacher is a social servant set apart for the maintenance of proper social order and the securing of the right social growth. I believe that in this way the teacher always is the prophet of the true God and the usherer in of the true kingdom of God.”5
Dewey got his wish- a messianic school system, but without the God of the Bible. What his messianic system has gotten us is a mess. As Blumenfeld stated, “More than ninety years have gone by since Dewey set American education on its progressive course. The result is an education system in shambles, a rising national tide of illiteracy and the social misery caused in its wake.”6
What I am addressing in this paper is: ‘Why are the vast majority of Christian families still supporting government-controlled education by enrolling their children in state-run, dumbed-down schools?’ The answers are many. Reasons often given by families are lack of funds for private school tuition, no Christian schools available in the area, and inability to homeschool. I am certain these are real issues for many parents and that there is much anguish in having ‘no choice.’
But one answer I hear often from Christian parents that is troubling is, “Our public school really isn’t all that bad.” Parents support this view with observations such as 1) there are many Christian teachers in our school (probably some), 2) our children are doing well (meaning they are coming home with A’s and B’s), 3) training at home and church is keeping our children on track spiritually (likely an over-rated statement) and 4) there haven’t been any shootings at our school. But do these provide sufficient evidence that the command “Train up a child in the way he should go–” is being met? The work of our Institute says “Not so.”
Test results gathered by Nehemiah Institute gives strong evidence that in public schools ‘Christian Johnny’ is not being educated in the way he should go. These results are from a Christian worldview assessment service (PEERS Testing) provided to many Christian educators who are assessing how biblical or non-biblical the students’ thinking is on culture-shaping issues.
The PEERS Test identifies primary worldview philosophies in Politics, Economics, Education, Religion, and Social Issues (PEERS). Views in each category are identified as belonging to one of four worldviews: 1) Biblical Theism, 2) Moderate-Christian, 3) Secular Humanism, or
- Educational Psychology
- Bachelor's Degree
- Graduate School
- Higher Education
- Language Learning
- Middle School
- Second Language
- Special Education
- Studying Business
- Vocational Education
- Bachelor of science
- Education System
- Physical Education
- Philosophy of Education
- Purpose of Education
- Educational Goals
- Importance Of College Education
- Academic Degree
- Organizational Behavior
- Role Model
- College Life
- Academic Dishonesty