Public education has become the norm in American society, with statistics showing that 90 percent of all K-12 students in America attend a public school.
But while millions of students everyday are sent to government-run schools to receive an education, the fact remains: Just because it’s the dominant option doesn’t make it the right option.
With the rapid spread of the left’s radical agenda throughout the culture, public schools have seen an increase in woke ideas unapologetically sprinkled into the curriculum and environment of the education system. It is clear that public education in this nation has undergone drastic changes in the past few years, leaving parents confused and torn when considering the well-being of their children.
Recently, I sat through a conversation with the principal of a local public school. In an effort to gain an understanding of the school’s curriculum, I expressed my concern with the trajectory of educational policy given the social agenda of groups like the LGBTQ community. To my surprise, he answered that parents must understand the limits to which they can guard their children from cultural ideas.
This principal, who had previously expressed his Christian beliefs, was nonetheless convinced that children under his authority need to be exposed to various ideologies and ideas even if they are in opposition to their parents’ values. Sadly, this same attitude of complacency with regards to defending the hearts and minds of innocent children has been adopted by too many parents across the nation.
But was this truly how it was meant to be? Is this the biblical design for education?
Looking back on the founding of Western education, one finds the Protestant Reformation at the center of educational reform. Martin Luther was a reformer not only focused on correcting the theological trajectory of the Church but also on improving education and making it compulsory.
Luther presented the concept of tax-supported public schools to aid in making education accessible to the lower-class citizens. From this great wave of Christianized education efforts also came the introduction of the graded education system and kindergarten schools, as introduced by Johann Sturm and Friedrich Froebel. The later push for the freedom to pursue a public education in the U.S. extended from this global Christian effort to educate all children, regardless of their monetary limitations and learning disabilities.
Western civilization was unified under the common faith of Christianity, and it was within this cultural environment that the idea of public education was born. But thanks to the deterioration of the education system brought about by secular reformers like John Dewey, the premise of equality has been replaced with equity, freedom with enslavement, and progress with regression.
Sadly, our public education system today has banned religious teaching in schools and has fully achieved its goal to educate children apart from the scriptural values on which the system itself was founded.
Parents are thus left with two questions to consider: What does the Bible say about education, and is the public education system still effective today?
The great misconception embraced by so many Christian parents today is that children are to be missionaries to their fellow classmates and the world around them. Evangelicals have made school the mission field.
The Apostle Paul was a mission-oriented individual, zealously following Christ’s command to carry the Gospel to the ends of the earth. But Paul also had a lot to say about education, especially when it came to his protégé Timothy, whom he treated like a son. To Timothy, Paul wrote:
“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”–2 Timothy 3:12-17
Paul desired for Timothy to be first equipped with the knowledge of Scripture, so that he could minister to others on the firm foundation he had developed from a young age.
While we are all instructed to go out into the world and share the Gospel, it is immature and ineffective to attempt to do so without first being equipped with the knowledge to stand firm in the truth of God’s Word. As parents, we are to immerse our children in God’s Word and teach them right from wrong, truth from falsehoods, so that they may then be fully capable of spreading the good news of Christ to those around them.
Public education was created by Christian individuals for the purpose of raising up children in the knowledge of Scripture. The public education system can only work under the unified goal of equipping the next generation of leaders with the intellectual, cultural, and biblical knowledge that promotes societal morality.
While this common goal was once achievable, our nation today is no longer united under the same Christian values and has henceforth removed the premise unto which the system itself once thrived.
By leaving our children within the current climate of public education, we acquiesce to leaving the nurturing and admonishment of our children in the hands of governmental control. Parental responsibility demands that we defend the educational freedom of our children by stepping into our God-given privilege to teach them ourselves so they are equipped to stand boldly with the truth of the Gospel in a broken and hurting world.
While it may seem difficult, impossible even, to school your children yourself, we as Christians are often called to sacrifice for what we know is right in the end. And if we are called to it, God will give us what we need to endure and succeed.
Education is a matter that we as Christians have allowed to fall by the wayside, resulting in a lack of biblical understanding and intellectual fervor in our youth.
With the growing evil of society and the departure from the biblical design of education, it is more important than ever that parents consider the past, present, and future — and stand boldly for their right to control their child’s educational needs.
Ready to dive deeper into the intersection of faith and policy? Head over to our Theology of Politics series page where we’ve published several long-form pieces that will help Christians navigate where their faith should direct them on political issues.