Let me make a bold statement—Christian parents still willing to send their children to public school are either ignorant or in denial. I am willing to give most people the benefit of the doubt and assume they are in denial. What are they in denial of? The fact that American public schools train children in an atheistic worldview and indoctrinate them with a leftist agenda.
“But my school is different,” you say. Is it really?
Consider the following. Every American public school is subject to Supreme Court rulings that have banned the Bible, prayer, and the teaching of creationism. In other words, every American public school is forced to teach a secular worldview (or more accurately, an atheistic worldview). Some public schools may have more Christian teachers than others. But this does not matter, as they cannot legally teach as Christians. Their Christian worldview is not allowed in the classroom.
Even if your local school objects, it does not have much control. Each school is at the mercy of its state, which controls curriculum and the teacher certification process. Most states today dumb down the humanities, and then they restrict the pool of teachers to those who have attended leftist colleges of education.
So no, your public school is not any different from the rest.
Six Reasons to Abandon Public Schools
I would like to draw this out more by providing six reasons why you should get your kids out of public school. Whether you are ignorant of what is going on or are just in denial of the situation, these points should help move you to reconsider the government schools and look into alternative options.
- Public schools teach an atheistic worldview. In fact, they are legally bound to do so. The Supreme Court banned prayer in Engel v. Vitale (1962) and Bible reading in Abington School District v. Schempp (1963). The schools are therefore not “neutral” but rather anti-Christian. The most obvious example is that they teach that humans came about through the naturalistic means of Darwinian evolution rather than God’s creative work. You can respond that some courses like math are more objective and thus not as harmful. This is true. However, the math teacher who ignores God is still training children to think apart from God and His Word. And math is not the only subject taught in school. Children who attend public schools sit under unbelieving instruction for 30-plus hours per week. This has an impact on children.
- Public schools undermine Christian morality. All education is moral. But since they have banned God’s Word, public schools have had to look elsewhere for moral instruction. They have replaced the Ten Commandments with moral relativism—unless, of course, you are unwilling to accept something on the leftist agenda (like embracing LGBTQ). If you object, then they call you a bigot. Furthermore, they push promiscuity in their sex education courses.
- Public schools neglect Western Christian history and thought. This should be obvious. Western civilization and American history are too Christian (and too white!). So the public schools have decided to ignore all of that. No more church history, Western classics, or even logic. Even American history is whitewashed. Now they have “social studies,” whatever that means.
- Public schools slant American history, government, and economics in favor of the state. Western societies have traditionally esteemed both liberty and responsibility. But these virtues get in the way of big government and hefty politician salaries. So the bureaucrats have decided to do away with these virtues. They have decided instead to redesign school curriculum, use leftist textbooks, and train teachers in leftist universities—all to slant the humanities in favor of statism. The public schools have undoubtedly contributed to the growing popular endorsement of the welfare state and its usurpation of the role of parents (in education) and the church (in charity). It is no coincidence that the size of the state has grown along with the rise of the government school system.
- Public schools expose kids to bad influences. As if the content in the classroom is not bad enough, public schools are filled with drugs, violence, and sexual immorality. Homeschoolers are always accused of being poorly “socialized.” But critics leave out the fact that much of the “socialization” that takes place in public schools is entirely undesirable. Parents should seek to protect children and provide them with a safe and healthy upbringing.
- Worst of all, public schools accomplish all of this through force. It is bad enough that the government schools are anti-Christian. But what makes them so evil is their reliance on force through compulsory attendance laws and confiscatory taxation. Thankfully, parents in every state can opt out of the system by providing alternative education. However, no one can opt out of the taxes. We are all forced to pay for the public school system, even if we do not use it. The government thus steals our money and forces parents who opt out to pay double tuition. Poor parents are unable to opt out, and middle-class families often cave to the financial pressure and send their kids there even if they have serious concerns. The public schools therefore undermine the authority and responsibility of the family.
This last point is so important. No one would be making a big deal of a private school that taught a leftist, atheistic worldview. Why? Because attendance and funding would be entirely voluntary. No one would be required to pay for such a school except the parents who wish to send their children there.
This is the exact opposite of how the public schools work. They use compulsion to fuel the system, thus infringing upon the rights of citizens. Education belongs to the family, not the state. Education should therefore be provided in private institutions that are entirely voluntary. Government schools monopolize the market through coercion, making the schools inefficient and hurting the prospects of competition. This is why we pay so much in taxes towards public schools (often around 40% of local and state taxes). And it is why private Christian schools struggle so much to make it financially.
Such a powerful school system is an even greater danger when it is secularized, as in the case of America's public schools. The system has tons of money and the majority of students, and then it trains them in atheism. Is it any wonder that America has become so progressive since the state school system went into full force in the late-1800s?
It sounds great to try to reform the public school system. However, you cannot reform something that is corrupt at the root. The root problem must be addressed—and that problem is that the public schools are controlled by the government. The government forces people to attend and pay for their schools. This means the only solution is to abandon the government school system. What we need is a privatized system. Reform is a bad idea.
Many parents know that the public schools are not the best option. But they hope that as parents they can also influence their children, correcting things taught during the day and filling in the gaps of things left out. But is this a realistic goal? This places a difficult, if not impossible, burden on parents.
And why would any parent want to unnecessarily expose his or her children to such harmful “education”? This is particularly a good question when there are great alternative options, including homeschooling and private schooling. Children who attend public school are not only being exposed to evil but are missing out on the great Christian education they could be receiving. They could be studying logic, Western civilization, church history, Bible, and classic literature, along with math and science—from a biblical perspective.
God commands His people to train their children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). It is hard to understand how anyone who knows what is going on in the public schools can still think they aid in this task.
You can find more on this subject in my e-book, Thinking Biblically About Education: Why Parents Should Abandon Government Schools and Take Back Control of Education.