Many Christians will have a hard time finding any positive reasons for sending their children to public school. Even some of the parents who send their kids there will tell you that they wish they could afford to send them to a Christian school or that they had the time to home school them. Many parents blame the public school system for the corruption of society, but how did it get to where it is today?
A Brief History of the Demise of the Public School System
The church has always had a challenge of being in the world but not of the world. When the pendulum makes its wide swings, we are left dealing with the drastic consequences. Right now, our Christian culture is heavily on the extreme of being ‘not of the world’. On Thursday, I pointed out the history of how Christian schools formed in the United States by abandoning the public school system. This allowed for secularists to gain positions on the board and influence the direction of the schools. Furthermore, when the schools started scheduling their board meetings on Wednesday night, instead of changing their mid-week service to remain involved in their community, churches just abandoned the public school system. We’ve removed the light from the dark places where our children are most influenced, and as a result, we have given over the education of a generation to the world.
Reasons for Sending Your Kids to Public School
Though it will be difficult to imagine, I think there area at least two major reason for remaining in the public school system. Since public schools already get a bad rap, I won’t take the time to point out the disadvantages.
Advantage 1: Christians can maintain a presence in the secular community. It won’t be easy, but being involved in the public schools opens so many doors to minister in the community. It requires that your children be strong in their faith to go into such a dark place, but it is almost essential in order to maintain common ground with society. Many people will suggest that this is not a good strategy because we shouldn’t use our children as guinea pigs. However, if a child is redeemed and parents remain involved, they should feel empowered to be in a public school. As Christians, we are meant to redeem every act of culture. By withdrawing from this bedrock of society, we can easily see the negative consequences it has had on our culture.
Advantage 2: Christian youth will develop resilience and a better Christian witness. If anything, the public school system will offer challenges that will either make or break their faith. These challenges are healthy, and as we’ve learned with many of our Christian education paradigms, you can’t substitute struggle and actual growth. The public school system will challenge your children’s faith and present opportunities to share the gospel and see the power of the Spirit to guard and protect His own, creating a genuine faith.
An Unfounded Argument
The biggest argument I hear against public schools is that it is the primary cause for youth leaving the faith, but this is completely unfounded. Each form of education has played it’s part in the dropout crisis. We can cast blame on whatever we want, but I suspect that if we look a little bit closer, we will see that the form of education really has little to do with the stability of ones faith.
Remember, that it is not a garuntee that by doing everything right, you will have spiritual success with your children, but I would wager an educated guess (based on actual research) that the reason kids succeed in any of these paradigms is because they had a special blessing from God to protect them from the pitfalls and they were mentored by someone who cared about them.
Surprisingly, though they thought they would find otherwise, Ken Ham and Britt Beemer were mesmerized that they didn’t find any anomalies between the different forms of education.
“First of all, he (Beemer) didn’t discover anything abnormal about the group as a whole. There weren’t an unusual number of homeschoolers, or secular school kids, who were leaving… the 60 percent plus of the evangelical kids who choose to leave the church look pretty much like the 40 percent who decided to stay – at least on the outside.” Already Gone p. 28-29
So, there it is. The great equalizer. It doesn’t matter which form of education you use. The answer is not hidden in a paradigm. You may not believe it when I say it, but hopefully you’ll acknowledge it from Ken Ham.