While public education serves an important purpose by providing a basic education to America’s youth, it suffers from its inability to provide a full and well-balanced education to our children and grandchildren. Public education essentially goes to bat with two strikes against it before the first pitch.
I will be the first to acknowledge that a public education is probably better than no education at all, and no education is what many, if not most, American children would get if it were not for public schools. This is true, in part, because so many parents do not have the time or the resources to teach their children at home.
But parents should know that public education is flawed from the start because of weaknesses built into the entire concept — weaknesses which can only be overcome by parents dedicated to providing what public schools cannot provide. I’m not criticizing public school teachers but pointing out flaws inherent in the concept of public education which affect the outcome.
What are the flaws and what is missing?
So that you know upfront, I approach this issue with a Christian and Biblical worldview. Proverbs 1:7 states: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge”; and Proverbs 9:10 says: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”
How can the public schools teach the fear of the LORD God when the Bible is not permitted to be publicly used or taught in the schools? How can students be taught to know the LORD when the Biblical doctrines of creation, sin and redemption cannot be taught in schools? And how can public schools provide knowledge and teach wisdom when the basis for knowledge and wisdom are first removed?
Without teaching the fear and respect of the LORD God, the basis for moral principles is gone. Without God as the creator and lawgiver, who is to say lying, bullying, stealing, rape or even murder are wrong? Instead of words, thoughts and actions being judged as right or wrong by God’s law, they are only limited by policies and possible negative consequences. And, what’s considered inappropriate behavior today might be viewed as the Constitutionally-protected norm of tomorrow. It pretty much comes down to things being wrong only if there are negative consequences or if a person is caught and punished in some way.
And, if knowledge of the LORD God of the Bible and respect for the true God cannot be taught in public schools, how can students begin to understand the world in which we live, the scientific and mathematical principles built into God’s creation, or God’s purpose and plan for their lives? Without God, everything is only a result of chance existence, and life itself is meaningless. Indeed, it’s no wonder that some kids think nothing of shooting up schools and killing other students and teachers, and many take their own lives!
Though some would argue for the teaching of the Bible in public schools, the second flaw inherent in public education is that public schools cannot dictate in regard to the teaching of religious views. If the Bible were reintroduced into the public school system, what doctrinal position would a school hold? Which religious views would be taught? Would schools teach the Bible as truth or as myth? Would Jesus be presented as the Son of God or just an important religious teacher? Or would it all be up to each teacher, with one teacher saying one thing and another something entirely different?
That’s why I say public education comes to bat with two strikes against it. It can’t teach the fear and knowledge of the LORD God, making the rest of education baseless and unguided; and it is not really possible to bring back the Bible and Biblical teaching into public schools because the schools, as public and government-run institutions, are not permitted to teach one religious belief system over another.
What’s the solution? I offer three suggestions: parochial schools, home schools and supplementing public education with a strong religious education at home and in one’s church.
I am a strong supporter of parochial or church schools. Such schools can teach the Bible so that students learn to honor and respect the LORD God who created and redeemed them. And teaching the Bible provides a basis for moral teaching and for the rest of education — math, science, language, social studies, geography, etc. Parochial schools can teach the same doctrine as one’s church and thereby prepare students for life in this world and for life in God’s kingdom.
Home schools are increasingly the choice of many and can be a good choice, especially when no good parochial schools are available. If parents are dedicated to education, they can often move their children along at a faster pace and give them a better education than a system which is designed to move a mass of students through basic state-dictated curricula. It also allows parents to teach the Bible and Biblical values, in addition to providing a quality education in subjects like reading, language, math and science.
The weakness of homeschooling is that not all parents have the time or expertise to teach their children. So, homeschooling may work great for some but provide a poor education for others, depending on the time and abilities applied to education by parents.
The third option is to utilize public education but supplement that education with a strong Christian education at home and at one’s church. Christian teaching needs to include Biblical doctrine as well as answers to the many contrary “doctrines” taught in the public schools.
Sadly, many who take this latter route fail to diligently do their part to teach Biblical truth and to refute the errors of secular worldviews.