The big yellow school bus represents where our nation came from and where it is going. We shuffle them in and shuffle them out like a processing plant.
No Child Left Behind Act isn’t working! We may be trying to help lower students, but our bright students are slipping into the role of “teacher” for these lower ones, therefore, lowering the bar for our bright minds.
“Stupid in America” book
14 countries rank higher in reading ability than the US:
Obama himself has claimed that 1/3 of our students are dropping out.
$10 Billion dollars in emergency government funding isn’t working!
With the illiteracy in America, 27 million kids can’t complete a job application (source: national Institute for Literacy) and 30 million can’t read a simple sentence!
Can this problem be fixed or do we abandon the public schools altogether? Even the church is divided over the issue.
Al Mohler is the leader of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and says that parents are in charge of their child’s education. We are to teach character and Biblical principles to them because they’re not going to get it by osmosis. Mr. Hohler who wrote the book Culture Shift and says, “I am convinced that the time has come for Christians to develop an EXIT STRATEGY from the public schools.”
While on the other side, Franklin Graham of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association says that he wants “to see at least one child in every class in every school in America who is trained as a witness for Jesus Christ.” “Let’s don’t surrender public schools, let’s take ‘em back.”
“This is a debate we need to settle. Should we protect our children from withdrawing them from the public school system, or should we leave them in the system to try to influence the schools for the better?” Colin Gunn
Colin (from Scotland), his wife Emily (native Texan) and their 6 children load into a big, yellow schoolbus and tour America in search of answers to their questions.
When you have a system that isn’t rooted on the fear of the Lord, then the system is failing from the get-go. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” says Proverbs 1:7.
But what about the good schools? Surely they weren’t all bad.
Interview with Luci who went to a top-ranked public school from Kindergarten to 12th grade. She looked good on paper but was dying spiritually inside. She wouldn’t dare profess her Christianity for the fear of what others would do or say and she even denounced her faith in Christ.
Luci’s parents had always been very involved in her education and upbringing. She was one of 2 students (out of 60) who were pulled out of the classroom for a talk on homosexuality, but admits that she learned everything that was discussed later on at recess. Abstinence was supposed to be taught in her school, but they were “realistic” and taught about what “everyone else does” anyway. Pregnancies in schools are on the up-rise and even more-so because we provide free, government funded daycare so that students can attend school! Planned Parenthood is now reaching out to children via condom lollipops…yes, that’s right, condom lollipops! Sex in schools has become so common that even educators themselves struggle with prying on our children.
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN OUR SCHOOLS? Sexual Sin
Everyone thinks their school is different! Even when the principal of a local school who claims to be a Christian and also a deacon of their church was caught soliciting young boys for sex at a nearby playground. Parents are in denial!
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN OUR SCHOOLS? DRUGS
According to a recent study, nearly ½ of American high school students smoke, drink alcohol or use illicit drugs. If you doubt that there are drugs in your local schools, just visit your local police station!
It’s not just the legal drugs that are a problem in schools today, it’s the drugs that are being pushed on our young boys. Everyone expects young boys to sit still for long periods of time when it’s just not possible for most. (Kelli-side-note: Dr. James Dobson even encourages moms and dads NOT to put boys specifically in school until they are past the age of SEVEN! They’re simply not ready for it. Finland, the top-rated country for education also does not start children in school until the age of 7.) “Nobody really knows what the long term effects are on young, developing boys.” Bruce Shortt, J.D., Ph.D. and author of The Harsh Truth About Public Schools. Essentially what you have is the world’s largest drug experiment in the history of the world.
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN OUR SCHOOLS? Violence
School buses are a popular place to find weapons and violence because there’s essentially no one in charge. The bus driver is too busy driving! There’s no discipline.
77% of American parents rate that their school is an A or a B school. However, 79% of American rate other schools as a C rating. They’re oblivious.
“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’ “
“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this…to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” James 1:26-27
61% of graduates who were once actively involved in church are now non-active.
We don’t lose our children…we give them away!
If we send out evangelists and they come back non-believers, we’re not following a Biblical strategy.
Mentioning the name JESUS in a public school will get you thrown out whether you’re a teacher, administrator or a child.
How did this happen? Colin visits the Texas teacher of the Year Awards and interviews Christian teachers who say to lead by example. This is good, but didn’t Jesus command…
“I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.” Romans 1:16
Colin travels to Pennsylvania and interviews a principal by the name of Mike Metarko, Principal of Hanover Elementary School, a national blue ribbon school in the top 10% in the state. Colin asks Metarko how he is able to be salt and light to his students. He says that it’s hard. He finds subtle ways to try and show his love for the Lord (getting involved with the Good News Club, bowing for moments of silence, etc.), but he struggles between God’s law and man’s law. He’s limited. The foundation isn’t built upon God and His truth and it’s only a matter of time before all the blocks crumble.
Colin then travels to Raleigh, North Carolina to interview a Bugg Elementary School teacher by the name of Sarah LaVerdiere. Sarah says some powerful words and she comes from a long line of public school teachers in her family. She’s heard teachers say things to students which are directly anti-Christian. Many things just happening on the playground. For example, a student calling another gay and the teacher addressing the situation saying, “You don’t know that you yourself aren’t gay. Many people find out when they’re older.” Sarah says that public schools stress that morals are “the plate” on which all other subjects are based off of. However, when you’ve taken Christ out of the morals, you’ve taken the foundation. Sarah struggles with the fact that she can’t give God the glory for anything as she teaches. A few weeks prior to the interview, Sarah had an open house for the parents to come to. She says she never felt so ashamed to be a Christian for the fact that she felt deceptive in telling the parents the plan for the school year and making them feel good about sending their children to school there.
Interview with Robert Ziegler of LaVista High School who was fired for talking about Jesus in his high school math class.
Acts 4…example that teachers should teach what is honoring to God.
"Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard." Acts 4:18-19
Not only are teachers being censored, the students are as well. Here is Brittany who is the Valedictorian of her high school unable to finish her speech due to the name of Jesus Christ.
“Maybe if we had a little more respect for our creator we would have less problems in the world today. I for one find our creator more useful than 95% of the math being taught today.”
Interview with John Taylor Gatto, Former Teacher of the Year at Booker T. Washington Junior High School in New York. Author of “Dumbing Us Down”.
For teaching 26 years, he disdains tests, grades and conventional ways of teaching. He’s rather not teach in the classroom, but the school requires him to do so 4 days a week.
“Education is not bad. Schooling is bad.” John Taylor Gatto
We spend so much time studying the great people in American History, but so many of them didn’t have “schooling”. They had an education. George Washington only had 2 years of schooling and Thomas Jefferson had zero years of schooling. Jefferson was in charge of a 2500 acre plantation and hundreds of employees by the time he was TWELVE years old. “You’re stealing these kids and confining them for 12 years and are encouraged not to cooperate with each other.”
I haven't had the time to finish my notes from the documentary (I may someday), but I'll finish with this...
My thoughts have stirred with watching this movie. Many thoughts. So many Christians are divided with "Do we pull our kids" (aka: rescue mission) OR "Do we continue to train our children to be lights for Jesus, sharing Him with the unsaved in the public school system"?
Here is what Kelli thinks...
Our job as parents is to raise our children the very BEST we can and to constantly be talking with our children about Jesus (Deuteronomy 6), sharing His love and goodness and teaching them to share His love and goodness to others so that they too may spend eternity with Christ. That's the goal right?
Some questions I have are? Can a parent have as much influence over a child if that child is in school 6-7 hours a day and spends less time with his/her parents in the evenings (amongst getting showers, finishing up homework, eating dinner, etc.)?
To make a disciple, a few things need to happen. Our children need to:
1. Submit to Jesus
2. Memorize Jesus' words (true memorization, not just memorize a verse for a week of AWANA...will they remember it for years to come and learn how to successfully APPLY it?)
3. Learns Jesus' way of ministry (time reading the Bible, taking notes and being able to recite back to you the ways Jesus ministered)
4. Imitating Jesus' life...DO YOU SEE FRUIT? Do you see your child showing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control? Do you see them striving to be like Christ? OR when your child gets home from school, are you battling sibling fights, rolling eyes, laziness of lack of chores/hard work and lack of opportunities for siblings to show this fruit to each member of the family?
5. Finding others to be Jesus' disciples. Are your children regularly sharing Jesus with others? Are you finding opportunities to invite other children in his/her class to church? Is there growth?
Acts 1:8 says this...
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
God commands us to share Him!
I can understand the pleas from both sides of Christians. Some wanting us to rescue our kids from the public school sector and some wanting to remain. But how ready is a Kindergartner ready to be a disciple and make disciples? They're in the process of still being trained themselves.
I Timothy 4:12 says this...
"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity."
Many would argue that a child is definitely capable of sharing Jesus. I absolutely agree. They can plant a seed. BUT, are they truly able to set an example "in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity" yet?
I know that this post is all about the public school system and I haven't touched on the private school system. I'm still pondering on that one. I struggle. My husband and I both were brought up in fine, amazing Christian schools (I also taught middle school in an amazing Christian school) where teachers who loved us, poured life into us and taught us great things. The Bible and Jesus were not names to silence. They were taught. BUT, I still struggle with even that. As I taught in school, I saw the teachers in the lounge that bashed parents, that degraded grading papers, that complained and whined and that lowered the bar through curriculum and objectives to meet all the students' needs. I saw advanced students struggle with boredom. I don't mean "advanced" as in could sit still and read a grade or two above level. I'm talking REAL "advanced" as in they were teaching themselves Greek and Hebrew on the side after they finished their English work. I saw the real strugglers who could not sit still for a lesson to save their lives. They were kinesthetic learners! They needed to be standing, tapping their pencils, moving in some way. These children in a typical classroom would be labeled "ADHD" or "ADD" and after a long, drawn-out parent/teacher conference, thoughts would go to what medication should we put "Jr." on to make the boy sit still? Ug.
There were days when my students would walk into my classroom, all desks were pushed to the sides of the classroom and we'd have class with no desks, running around as we labeled parts of speech. I even (shh, don't tell) had a student injure his finger while in English class. They loved it. They thrived on it. They learned.
One of the things I most enjoyed was having one group of students two years in a row. I can't tell you how amazing it was to know what objectives my students had met the year prior as I was their teacher. There were no questions. I knew them. I knew what they had learned, what their struggles were as an individual learner and where I needed to take them. But this is uncommon. Every year, it's a gamble as to what teacher a student will receive and you start right at the beginning, finally figuring out where they really are academically around February or so (typically, I had between 100-130 students each year).
This all to say that even though some of our Christian schools do a great job, we still struggle to meet ALL of our students' needs. I think there are some amazing parents out there who if they just got creative and sacrificed a little, would come to see that there is some amazing fruit in their children and they would see more of it if they spent more time with them throughout the day, talking about Jesus, educating them and having fun while learning hands-on.
Do I think everyone should homeschool? It's a tough question. My answer to this is no. I think some devoted, intelligent, God-fearing parents do miss out on making the best disciples possible (as well as miss out on the fun learning you can have while teaching your children), but there are also some parents out there who may be struggling with a certain sin (and we ALL have sins we struggle with...I have many myself!!) to where the home isn't the best learning environment.
The exception here is when I think of some AMAZING teachers that I have come across in life. They are few and far between, but they genuinely care about their students. They use visual, audible and kinesthetic approaches to learning with all of their students. They love the Lord and use Him to teach their subjects. They are great role models. I have had some great colleagues as well as family who have been teachers. Amazing teachers. BUT, as I said, it's a gamble each year as to what teacher a child will receive AND do we really believe that a stranger is the very best educator for our children. Aren't parents the best teachers as they know their children better than anyone else on earth, can be the most consistent as they move from year to year and the most important of all, they are teaching their children about the Lord throughout the day?
**PLEASE know that this post has nothing to do with a single person reading it. I know there are many who know me personally. There are many readers who have never met me. There are many readers who support all different kinds of education. This blog is an outlet for me as a mother, wife and educator. It's an outlet for thinking, researching and learning. I post what I research and learn. Sometimes, I change my opinions as I grow. Sometimes I feel the Holy Spirit's lead in posting about certain things. This is one of them. Education. It's my passion. It's my spiritual gift. Again, I'm not singling any ONE person/family out here. Just doin' some research. :) **
Part 2 will be posted later this week as I finish up my thoughts on where we've come from in education referencing David Barton, John Taylor Gatto and others as well as the research I've been doing on Finland's education system and why they are ranked #1 in the nation for education. I hope you stay tuned!