School: A Church Solution

by Tammy Drennan

Even if you don’t subscribe to any religion, I think you’ll find this worth thinking about. We can usually draw lessons from a variety of viewpoints. Thanks for reading.

Note: For the sake of brevity, I use the terms religious, people of faith and Christian interchangeably and rather loosely in this article.

People of faith are by far the largest group most likely to be concerned about the effect public schools have on their children. They’re the largest group most likely to complain. And they’re the largest group most likely to remove their children from state schools. Sadly, that’s not saying much.

The vast majority of children who come from religious homes go to public schools, where their faith is marginalized at best and derided at worst. Religious leaders are concerned, sort of. Repairing the damage done to Christian children reared in state schools that, by their institutional and secular nature, disregard most of what contributes to an emotionally, socially, spiritually and intellectually healthy life is a big industry (or ministry, depending on your outlook).

Churches pour zeal and massive amounts of money into missions, special programs, technology, buildings, decoration, all the while expecting – even demanding – that the state rear their children to be the sort of people who will remain faithful and spiritually healthy members. When it doesn’t happen, when the exact opposite happens, Christians whine, demand, and send out alarmist literature. But they don’t take their children back.

More than one person has asked the obvious question: Why would you turn over the most precious thing in your life, the most important thing to your religion, the very lifeblood of the kingdom of God, to the State to be taught how to think, what’s important, and how to live?

From an outsider’s perspective, religion couldn’t be too serious a thing if it doesn’t even take to heart the cultivation of its children until the weeds are so thick they threaten to choke the life out of them. And even then, instead of transplanting, they just spray weed killer on them.

Churches and religious groups everywhere could literally change the face of education in this country, if they were willing. Imagine, if you will, churches pulling together over the economic spectrum to empower parents to rear their own children, helping one another, as the Bible and other religious texts exhort. Imagine not huge institutions, but endless, imaginative options for schooling where children would be loved and nurtured and educated to intellectual and moral excellence. Imagine the strong, confident adults these children would grow into. Imagine the possibilities.

It is within the power of the church today to rescue its children from the disaster of state schooling. It will take a reordering of priorities, uncompromising commitment, thinking outside the box about what education should look like (why should it look like the government?), and reaching out to help where help is needed.

The church could set the standard for a new model of education – independent, vital, family-oriented, diverse, and excellent.

The door of opportunity still sits ajar, but it won’t remain open forever. The trend of increasing authoritarianism and government control of children grows. Freedom has gone so long unexercised that it is weak and vulnerable. Already, the state is taking advantage of the weakness. We must begin to exercise our liberty muscles now, before they atrophy altogether.

The future is one of hope and possibility, but only if we choose it.

Related Articles:

The Last Great Christian Surrender

Church/School Issue Revisited

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6 Responses to School: A Church Solution

  1. wintertime says:

    Do you really expect that a minister will bite the hand that puts money in the collection plate? I don’t think so!

    Christian government school teachers, their families, and all the members of the vast education-industrial complex fill the pews of churches.

    I am now living in a county where the government school is the single largest employer. That’s a LOT of money going to feed the families of this county. But,,,It is **more** than just the employees of the government school. There are the business that provide services to the schools who also benefits. Hey! Even my **dentist** depends upon government school dental insurance for his patients.

    All of these people go to the polls and vote for the government schools every time. And,,,ministers in my county will NEVER open private schools. Not in my county.

    I am hopeless!

  2. tdbwd says:

    Dear wintertime,

    I don’t know what country you live in, but you make some very good points that also apply to the US. Many congregations and even more organizations are dependent on the approval and support of thousands of people employed (in one way or another) by the state school system.

    We can only continue to encourage the leaders of these groups to consider the cost of catering to money rather than conscience. If one will do the right thing, others will surely follow. It may not be a stampede, but it will certainly make a difference.

    Thank you for writing.

    Tammy Drennan

  3. Frances C says:

    I think that the problem is that most church leaders and parents are ignorant of the peril of the government school. Another problem is the fact that most congregations are not willing to speak out against something that a majority (or even significant minority) are participating in. And churches are concerned about not looking “out of touch”.

  4. tdbwd says:

    Dear Frances,

    I fully agree with your assessment. One of the great mysteries in life is how something that is such a huge part of society — public schools — can be shrouded in so much secrecy. I’ve been helping about 400 parents a year — for ten years — start homeschooling. Most are pulling children out of public schools. The stories I hear would make any sane person’s hair stand on end. What’s going on in public schools is a true nightmare and the vast majority of parents are either oblivious or shutting their eyes tight on purpose.

    Further, leaders are keeping their mouths shut to avoid offending contributing parishioners and having to draw funds away from more fun things and turn them toward the education of children

    But if the church cannot be turned toward the truth and toward the welfare of its children, I think there is not much hope. And so I believe we must pound away until the right people are listening.

    Thanks very much for your comments. Hope to hear from you again.

    Tammy Drennan

  5. Why would you turn over the most precious thing in your life, the most important thing to your religion, the very lifeblood of the kingdom of God, to the State to be taught how to think, what’s important, and how to live?

    Exactly! it’s a contradiction to what a true christian believe, I wish to have support from my religion to homeschool, anyway I am doing my best to keep my kids out of ps.

    • tdbwd says:

      Carmen,

      Thanks so much for sharing in this conversation. More power to you as you educate your children. It can be tough at times, but it’s worth all the sacrifice.

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