Speaking to the Choir about Public Schools
If I talk about the dangers of public schools to people who already know about the danger of public schools, I would be accused of preaching to the choir. People would say “Why are you doing that? What’s the point? Your audience already believes what you’re telling them. You’re wasting your time.” But is that really true?
Let’s take another example. There is a wonderful creation science ministry in our area, Midwest Creation Fellowship. It sponsors lectures from scientists around the world who believe the Bible. They are excellent scholars who teach and give evidence that “the Genesis account of creation and the subsequent world-wide flood are in harmony with the vast majority of evidence from history and science.” But when my husband asked me to make the hour-long trip with him to attend one of their lectures, I told him, “Dave, we already know about creation science. We’ve seen dozens of videos through the years with our kids as we homeschooled them. They were great and I learned a lot. So I don’t feel like it’s worth it to make an hour long trip to hear something we already know.” But when Dave heard of a new lecture coming up on an interesting topic, he’d again ask me to go. Eventually I agreed.
So there we were, part of the choir who already believed the Biblical creation account and who could even point out quite a few scientific facts confirming this point of view. It’s true there could be a few skeptics in attendance at various lectures who would be exposed for the first time to the truth of how real science and the Bible complement each other. But the majority of the audience was, as I expected, composed of other members of the choir like us, ready to politely listen to another brilliant scientist teaching the choir a song we already knew. Boy was I wrong!
I found out that what I knew was just the tip of the tip of the iceberg. There is new evidence coming out each day, new research findings and new scientific questions and issues arising for each generation that we need help to process and understand. We need to be prepared to engage wisely with people of this generation, including our own children and grandchildren. We need to keep up or we’ll be left behind.
Now back to the public schools. There is more information coming out daily in this area too. We need to keep abreast of what is happening, not only for our own family’s sake, but also for the sake of others who won’t know unless someone tells them.
Most people already know about the LGBTQ+ agenda in the public arena and various horror stories or isolated incidents that are happening in California or some other liberal area. Yet many believers explain that their kids are in a “good” public school that is not so radical and many parents purposely move to a “good” school district, so their kids will be safe and get a “good” education. But are there really good and safe places in the public school system? What about the subtle dangers that are lurking in the daily curriculum?
Very good information about what is going on in the public schools is available in the book Get Out Now, Why You Should Pull your Child from Public School Before it’s Too Late by Mary Rice Hasson and Theresa Farnan.
This book reveals how today’s schools are being encouraged to “adopt SEL [social-emotional learning] standards to comply with the language of the Every Student Succeeds Act,” where schools are judged on how well they deal with the whole child. Academics are just a small part of the picture. Now SEL is setting goals for the students to be more self-aware, socially aware, and able to make decisions based on their own evaluation of the situation. This all sounds fine if each child has a Godly foundation of what is right and wrong, true and not true. But the only foundation the schools teach is based on societal norms without God. Morality is based on what is culturally acceptable and feelings play a big part in decision making. Schools are also giving students psychological tests and keeping records of their emotional/social attitudes and health.
In today’s schools, group projects and peer-based learning are emphasized. Many students are suffering from improper teaching, as they are encouraged, even in some “good” private schools, to ask 2 or 3 peers their question before they ask the teacher. They are getting wrong answers and they are afraid to keep asking, as the other kids might make fun of them. Teachers are being weaned away from actually teaching and instead focusing on being a facilitator of the curriculum that is dictated to them by Common Core. Common Core math was specifically designed to be done in the classroom, without parental involvement (or understanding).
Books assigned in literature classes are no longer “safe” or wholesome for Christians to read. Quoting from Get Out Now, “What do classism, racism, xenophobia, sexism, and transgenderism have in common? These are the themes dominating the ‘Social Justice Book List,’ the books recommended by the National Network of State Teachers of the Year for children in preschool through sixth grade…Beneath the surface …is a slow-boiling hostility to America—hostility to the founding, our market-based economic system, the Constitution, our Judeo-Christian moral tradition…”
An interesting point to mention is that I wrote this article about 6 months before the days of covid, racial tension and rioting, etc. Now the things mentioned in this quote are coming to pass before our eyes even faster and more intensely than previously imagined. History has been replaced by social studies, which is devolving into a new kind of civics fostering “rights talk.” Mary Ann Glendon first exposed and warned us of this unbalanced view of rights divorced from the accompanying duties and responsibilities of good citizens in her book Rights Talk, back in the 1990’s.
One of the most well-known textbooks that began this new type of history is Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. Nowadays this progressive, biased history representing a leftist/liberal interpretation is the norm, whether the school uses Howard Zinn’s book or another text. Adding to this dangerous trend is the big push for the 1619 Project to be turned into curriculum material. The teaching of American History would begin at the 1619 era when slavery began here, rather than 1776, when our founders put together the goals and ideals of freedom and liberty for all. The sins of our nation are emphasized and the founders and their fight for a more perfect union are being belittled. Serious historians called for revisions to be made in the project as they noted misleading and historically erroneous assertions. However, those working on the 1619 Project refused to acknowledge the need for any corrections.
In just our small circle of friends who are working in public schools or have their children in the school system, we see bits and pieces of what is happening. A young Christian teacher that we know teaches in a public school. She was about to get a student in her new class for the coming school year who was a girl transitioning to become a boy. The teacher had to go through tolerance and sensitivity training during the summer. When the school year started she was not even told which student it was that was making this transition from girl to boy, to make doubly sure she would not treat him/her any differently than anyone else. Another friend had been a long-time respected gym teacher in a very rural high school. When he was asked to allow a girl transitioning to become a boy into the boy’s locker room, he refused. More pressure was put on him until finally he decided to retire.
We also heard of second graders who are being taught yoga in their schools. Before I became a believer, I was involved in the new age, yoga, vegan lifestyle of the 1970’s. (You can read my testimony booklet From Pierogi to Soybeans to Matzah Balls.) Those things were not mainstream back then. I was part of a very small fringe group that believed in those things. Nowadays it is just the opposite. Yoga is mainstream and people who see yoga as dangerous are the fringe group today. Even churches have signs advertising Christian yoga classes. If you want to hear the real truth about yoga and its dangers, please read the inspiring Death of a Guru: A Remarkable True Story of one Man's Search for Truth by Ravi Maharaj.
Not only are schools teaching yoga and Buddhist style “mindfulness” exercises, explicit sex education is becoming the trend in lower and lower grades.
As you can see, a lot of these dangers are very apparent, but even more are very subtle. We need to keep reading, asking questions, doing research and whatever it takes to get the facts out to our family and friends. We used to advocate homeschooling only. But now we are very supportive of good Christian private schools as well. However, parents need to do their homework to find such a school. There is a very inspiring video made by Sister Miriam, a Catholic nun, who talks about getting your kids out of the public schools. Surprisingly, she promotes homeschooling over Christian schools. She warns parents that they need to be careful even in choosing a Catholic school, because they are not all “good.” Here is the link. The first 25 minutes are the part you will want to hear. I encourage you to listen. It’s well worth the time. She is the person who recommended the excellent book Get Out Now.
The authors of the book make the point that “public education is beyond repair…too much is at stake—your children’s intellect, their character, their souls. Don’t let convenience, fear, or wishful thinking trap your children in the public schools. It’s time to get out—now!”
As my husband Dave says, “We need a little shot in the arm occasionally to keep us motivated, so that we stay strong and spread the word.” The resources recommended in this article are good “shots” to help us have zeal for this important work of spreading the word. Even the choir needs to keep up with the current trends in order to speak effectively to this new generation.