Saturday, November 6, 2010

Unprofitable Home Defense, 9

Continued from "Unprofitable Home Defense, 8"

I am much afraid that the schools will prove to be wide gates to hell unless they diligently labour in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth.  I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount.  Every institution in which men are not constantly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt. (Martin Luther)

I am as sure as I am of the fact of Christ's reign that a comprehensive and centralized system of national education, separated from religion, as is now commonly proposed, will prove the most appalling enginery for the propagation of anti-Christian and atheistic unbelief, which this sin-rent world has ever seen... It is capable of exact demonstration that if every party in the State has the right of excluding from the public schools whatever he does not believe to be true, then he that believes the least must give way to him that believes absolutely nothing, no matter how small a minority the atheists or the agnostics may be. It is self-evident that on this scheme, if it is carried out in all parts of the country, the United States' system of national popular education will be the most efficient and wide instrument for the propagation of atheism which the world has ever seen. (Presbyterian theologian A. A. Hodge, Popular Lectures on Theological Themes, 1889)

Hey, I went to public school and I turned out okay. (Common excuse)

Blind spots? I don't see any blind spots. (Gravelbelly)

I have heard the excuse that I went to public school or My son/daughter is in public school, and everything is okay. No harm, no foul. Right?

Well, the correct response to that assertion is that your child is NOT okay, and neither are you.

One of the problems with the I'm-okay/my-kid's-okay attitude lies in our own blind spots -- we all have them -- and also the fact that a student's beliefs and attitudes lie beneath the surface, not always visible to parents.  I have in mind a Christian, a conservative Republican, who graduated from a public school, but also attended a Christian institution of higher learning.

One of his own offspring could have been a poster child for the my-kid-went-to-public-school-but turned-out-okay argument. Bright, talented, thoughtful and a seemingly exemplary Christian, this young person appeared to have turned out perfectly.

Then came the gearing up for the 2008 elections. My friend found out to his dismay that his exemplary public school graduate offspring was a socialist.

The unscriptural presuppositions of socialism did not come from the very conservative home, nor from the very conservative Protestant church they attended. Where do you suppose this young person became indoctrinated in the philosophy of wealth redistribution? (Does it rhyme with tublick pool?)

Consider a poll done by the Nehemiah Institute.

The Nehemiah Institute devised a poll that asks 50 key questions to test a person's worldview. They consider anyone who scores from 70 to 100 to have a substantially strong Christian worldview.

Then they started tracking teen scores for 20 years. They tested 60,000 students, and 9/10 of the tests took place in youth groups of evangelical churches.

In 1988 the average Christian public school student's score was 38.0, which falls into what they call the moderately Christian category. In 2007, they scored an abysmal 5.4, which falls solidly into the secular humanist worldview category.

I'm not a gambler, so you know I think it's a sure thing when I ask, "How much do you want to bet that the majority of those students -- and their parents -- think that they are basically okay?"

For . . . they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. (2Corinthians 10:12)

Sadly, the scores of students in the traditional (majority) Christian schools have also declined : from 49.7 in 1988 (moderately Christian) to 17.3 (secular humanist). I'll give my explanation for this later in this post.

A small minority of Christian schools put a great emphasis on training their teachers to teach all subjects from a Christian worldview. The students in schools like these actually rose from a 1988 score of 62.1 (high moderate Christian worldview) to a 2007 score of 69.4 (borderline strong Christian worldview).

Researchers at the Nehemiah Institute found that home-educated students averaged between the traditional Christian and worldview Christian schools. This raises the question of why Christian schooled and home educated students scored low.

I think the answer is twofold: curriculum and teachers. Back when the Christian day school movement began to get rolling in the late 1960's and early 1970's, curriculum was a problem. There was no comprehensive curriculum available written from an explicitly Biblical worldview.

As a consequence, many Christian schools adopted older versions of public school texts -- less humanist, but still not Christian. They may have taught reading by phonics, but they did not present Christ as Lord over every branch of knowledge. At least one Christian textbook supplier took over the rights to some of these secular texts, added a Bible verse here and there, put in some new illustrations and marketed them as a K-12 "Christian curriculum".

Add to this the fact that virtually all Christian school teachers, principals and school boards had graduated from public schools, and you have a recipe, not for a Christian education but one that merely lags behind the public school system by a few years.

I remember teaching in a traditional Christian school in the early 1980's. In order to save money, they hired young women who had recently graduated from a state university, because they could hire them cheaply (average teacher salary in that school was $6500/yr, which amounts to something over $15,000 in 2010 dollars -- not a lot for a degreed professional). Another way they saved on salaries was to hire retired public school teachers.

One elementary teacher used to question me a lot about the worldview issue. She did not see or understand how our curriculum, or how it was taught differed from what she learned in the state university.

The short answer is that there was no difference. The textbooks came from one of the big three Christian curriculum publishers, and much of it was warmed over public school text material.

I was able to teach English, history, economics and government from a more consistently Biblical perspective, not because of the curriculum materials, but because of my own intense and independent worldview studies during and after my university training.

The same problems of curriculum and teachers plagues the home education movement. Parents who graduated from the public schools approach curriculum choices from a position of blind ignorance.

Then they pass on their own Christian/humanist hybrid values, attitudes and beliefs to their offspring. I know this because I have tried to help some of these people over the years.

If I recommended that they read Back to the Blackboard by Jay Adams or Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum by R.J. Rushdoony, that was too hard for them. Besides, they didn't want theory, they wanted answers to the practical questions like, "How do I satisfy all the legal requirements," and "What will I do for science labs and advanced math?"

What they don't realize is that by ignoring theory-so-called, they are unconsciously perpetuating the worst of their own education: a worldview tainted by humanistic thinking.

We have come to the place where the enemy has not only siphoned off 70% of our youth, but also seriously infiltrated the Church, subverted the thinking, worldview and values of our adults and youth who still attend, and most of us do not even recognize it because the indoctrination has infected us, as well. As a consequence, pastors defend the public schools as just one of the valid options for Christian parents.

Christian parents who see a problem with the public schools spend large sums to put their children in pseudo-Christian schools, or make huge sacrifices to educate their children at home in a slightly less heinous form of secular humanism.

As a Christian Martialist, I hope you want not only to provide physical protection for your child, but also to guard every thought and attitude of his/her spirit against the incursions of devilish philosophy. If this is the case, no matter what kind of education you yourself received, the road ahead will not be easy.

You must study the Word for yourself, but you don't have to re-invent the wheel. There are some good books out there that will help you find your own blind spots and uncover the humanism in your own beliefs and thought processes.

You could do a lot worse than begin with the two books I mentioned above.

Continued here


The Warrior said...

Once again, you're hitting it hard, hitting it right on the head, and sticking yourself out on a radical limb all at the same time. And all that is just how I like it. :-)

Thanks for writing this series; will crosspost again.

Gravelbelly said...

Thanks. I love the term "radical limb". I may write a post on it someday.

Etymologically, it looks like an oxymoron, but epistemologically, it describes exactly where the thoughtful Christian should be.

A phrase well-coined.

The Warrior said...

Why thank you! ;-) I didn't think about the phrase of anything, I just feel that it describes where people like you and me reside, 24/7. :-D