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CEE's Education Newsline

Taken from the Winter 1998 issue of Education Newsline.

A Response to a Christian Teacher's Criticism
Choosing the Best Schooling Option for Your Child

By Bob & Geri Boyd

Editor's Note: All of us who work to restore traditional moral values and academic excellence in the public schools feel the heat of criticism at one time or another. Most hurtful is the criticism that comes from our own Christian sisters and brothers. When a Christian public school teacher recently wrote a letter (see p. 3 for the text) to Bob and Geri Boyd, hosts of CEE's "Issues in Education" radio show, the Boyd's provided an excellent response, which you too can use when confronted with criticism. Also, Dr. Bob Simonds taped a response to the criticism, which you can hear on tape #396 (see card).

Greetings! Thanks for taking the time to write to us. We really appreciate your letter. In fact, we've spent much time discussing the thoughts you presented. There are many fine Christian teachers in the public school system. We thank God for them and have interviewed many on our program as an encouragement to other Christians serving the Lord in public education. In fact, our founder, Dr. Robert Simonds, has been a public school teacher for thirty-five years.

But as we read over your letter, we weren't sure you really wanted an answer from us. It seemed that you just needed to vent your frustration toward those who hold a different view than yours.

Surely you don't think the public schools are beyond criticism. We know you are not satisfied with public schools as they are. You surely know there's room for improvement.

  • Recently the following nations topped the U.S. in science scores: Singapore, Czech Republic, Japan, South Korea, Bulgaria, Netherlands, Slovenia, Austria and Hungary.
  • The following countries topped the U.S. in math scores: Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Belgium-Flemish, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Switzerland, Netherlands, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Austria, France, Hungary, Russia, Australia, Ireland, Canada, Belgium-French and Sweden.
  • American eighth graders were outperformed in math by twenty countries and outperformed in science by nine countries.
  • According to Forbes magazine, only Switzerland spends more money on education per pupil than the United States, yet the U.S. ranks last among the industrialized nations in the relative performance of its students.
  • We were shocked to hear the U.S. Department of Education study reporting that approximately half of adult Americans are essentially illiterate in reading, writing and math. At a time when we spend billions on education, half our adults can't read, or can't read very well. U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley said 47% of adult Americans, 90 million, don't have the basic literacy skills to function in society.
  • In 1965, taxpayers paid $654 per pupil in education costs. In 1993, the cost rose to $6,045 per pupil. (That's almost a ten-fold increase!!) However, SAT percentile scores have dropped 80 points in 30 years (Heritage Foundation).
  • Bill Bennett's Index of Leading Cultural Indicators reports that as "expenditures in elementary and secondary education have increased more than 200% since 1969, SAT scores have declined 73 points."
  • Thomas Sowell wrote, "Despite the fact that our students lag behind those of other countries in math, science, and other academic subjects, many hours and whole days of school time are devoted to promoting various ideological crusades, from environmentalism to politically correct conformity on sexual, racial, and other social issues."

Surely you are not satisfied with this? No one is!

You wrote, "I find your program offensive and not at all Christ-like."

Would you consider it offensive and Christ-like if we said, "If anyone causes one of these little ones who trust in Me to lose his faith, it would be better for him to have a rock tied to his neck and be thrown into the sea"? Those are the words of Jesus in Matthew 18:6.The Truth often offends.

There are many who thought His words were offensive. But He was speaking to those who cause children to lose their faith. Did you know that in many cases the very public schools you rave about are guilty of causing Christian children to lose their faith?

  1. An article in Christianity Today reported that since 1980 the evangelical churches had lost 34% of their young people due (most directly) to what they are learning in public schools.
  2. Focus on the Family President James Dobson reported that 70% of all teenagers leave the church two years after graduation from high school. And only 30% ever return.
  3. One of America's great pastors, Dr. James Kennedy said, "If you put your kids in public school expect them to come home not being Christians."
  4. The great German monk who founded Protestantism, Martin Luther, said, "I am much afraid that schools will prove to be the great gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the holy scriptures, engraving them on the hearts of youth."

With the current antagonism found toward Christianity in the public schools, a Christian parent's decision between public, private and home school is serious and difficult.

Your statement is amazing, "It is frightening to me that more and more children are being home schooled by parents who have no clue on how to be a good parent--let alone a teacher." You must have received some misinformation.

Do you really think that public school teachers are the only ones who can teach children? Where is your documentation?In an article, "Test Scores for Homeschoolers Surpass Public School Students," we find: "Studies show home-educated students to be better academically (30 to 35 points higher) than public-school students, even when the home-schooling parent has only a high school diploma. The longer the children are taught at home, the better they score, according to the study." (For more information on this study, request CEE's Fall 1997 edition of Education Newsline).

But perhaps that depends more upon the type of education you are referring to. Certainly, public schools do a better job of teaching children immorality. Did you see the recent headline: "Provincetown Preschoolers to Learn ABC's of Being Gay"?! How Christ-like is teaching preschoolers about homosexuality?

You're from New York. Surely you heard about how New York parents rebelled against the "Children of the Rainbow" curriculum, whose reading list included Heather Has Two Mommies; Daddy's Roommate; Jennifer Has Two Daddies; and Gloria Goes to Gay Pride.

Surely you heard about Joseph Fernandez, chancellor of the New York City Schools, who was removed from office for trying to corrupt the public morals starting with school children. Fernandez wanted first-graders taught that homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle. Surely you don't think teaching children an immoral lifestyle is Christ-like!

Naturally, New York parents rose up and rejected the supposedly superior wisdom of the public schools when they marched on City Hall carrying signs that read: "Teach Children the 3 R's!"

This is really crazy! Why should ordinary, law abiding citizens have to protest and demand their kids be taught the basics? It's like picketing a supermarket, "Sell Food to Us Now!" That's the point of the schools--teaching basics, not sexual insanity.

You may be a born-again Christian, but are you serious in trying to defend a system that persecutes Christians? So many public schools don't even extend the freedom to BE a Christian in public schools, even though it's clearly allowed by law!

  • A ten-year-old boy in Omaha, Nebraska, was told he was breaking state and federal laws when he silently read his Bible during free time at school.
  • A student club is banned from campus because its members wanted to meet for prayer and Bible study before or after classes.
  • Audrey Pearson, a physically and mentally handicapped teenager, was told she couldn't read her Bible on the bus because of the separation of church and state. The principal said she had to be "neutral in the area of religion." Neutral? Is taking away a little girl's Bible considered neutral?
  • We could go on and on but you get the idea. Under the guise of "separation of church and state," religious people are being discriminated against.
  • Schools are installing metal detectors and hiring more security guards to do what teaching the Bible used to do.
  • Schools can't post the Ten Commandments but can post, "Pick up your condoms in Room 10."
  • You surely studied the history about those who wrote the Constitution or those who came after them?
  • James Madison, the chief framer of the Constitution, said "We have staked America's future on the
  • Each of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God." This is not a preacher, but the chief architect of our constitution saying that we are staking our future on the Ten Commandments.
  • In 1782, the U.S. Congress wrote, "The Congress of the United States approves and recommends to the people The Holy Bible . . . for the use in schools." Where's the separation there? Surely they didn't understand the document they wrote! Or could it be us who aren't understanding what they meant?
  • Noah Webster said, "Education is useless without the Bible." President Andrew Jackson said, "The Bible is the rock on which our Republic rests."

One has to wonder what has happened to our public schools. One hundred and four out of one hundred and nineteen of the first schools in America were started by Christians. What happened? Why have Christian teachers been silenced by the opposition? Why have so many sided with the atheists?

You can't read the Bible to your students. You can't pray aloud with them. Sure, you can pray silently for them, but that's no better than in communist Russia or Red China. In fact, Russian schools are more open to the teachings of Christ than we are in American schools now.

Schools were begun in America so children could learn to read the Bible. It was America's first small "one room" school houses that turned out the literate, young citizens who made this a great nation. Young people grew up believing the scriptures and in the God of the Bible.

Many people think that public schools are the traditional method of education and that Christian schools and homeschools are the new method. But really it's public schools that are new. During the first 250 years of this United States, education was not a government responsibility. Education was completely under the control of parents and churches. Homeschools and Christian schools were the only schools for early Americans until the government schools began in the mid-19th century.

Did you know William F. Buckley Jr., was homeschooled until age 15, and so were Presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt, as well as Thomas Edison,Albert Einstein, Margaret Mead, Winston Churchhill, Pearl Buck and many others--all were educated at home.

You said that you are a born-again Christian, yet you attacked us for criticizing the public schools and throughout your letter you continually criticized Christian parents and criticized the behavior of Christian children at school. Who has turned your precious heart against truth?

That baffles us. How can a born-again Christian not understand the basic differences between the Christian view and the "other view" (which we call a "humanist" view because God is left out).

There are just two main philosophies, two world views--either there is a God or there isn't. Absolute or relative values. The basic philosophy used in public schools is humanism. Christians have a standard--it's the Bible. And it's not used in public schools.

What a child learns at school establishes his basic beliefs. That's why we've lost many and are losing more Christian and non-Christian children to unbelief.

As a Christian you are to be God's salt in your school. But you have to recognize that you are working for a system that is diametrically opposed to what you believe as a Christian. We believe God created the universe. The humanistic school system teaches that the universe evolved without God.

But even if all teachers and your principal were fervent Christians, your school board may not be. And even if your school board were Christians, the New York State School Board isn't. Not to mention the National Education Association (which is a whole other letter).

How can you, dear sister in Christ, honestly defend a system of belief of that is so anti-Christian?

The great G.K. Chesterton wrote:

"Many would argue that only facts and not opinions, especially religious opinions, are taught in public schools. Yet those with the slightest reasoning abilities must know that evolution is a mere theory (and scientifically not a good one at that), and that the view of history that is taught today reflects the opinions of certain men. The fact is, all education is religious. All education is based upon some set of presuppositions about life which will be communicated . . .

Christians should work for educational freedom and the elimination of compulsory schooling in the religion of humanism, for it is the greatest threat to the future of America.

Humanistic ideas have produced crumbling families, government ineptness, increased crime, destruction of the lives of millions of unborn, and a general loss of liberty. Christian ideas have historically brought liberty. It was such ideas that formed the foundation of America."

Your statement is contradictory: "Yes, it is a tough world to raise a child but it can be done in the public school system as long as the parents practice the Word of God at home."

Certainly, parents must practice the Word of God at home, if they are to obey Proverbs 22:6: "Train up a children the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Modeling is one of the most powerful components of training! Regardless of where a parent puts their own child in school, some homeschooling is necessary to counteract the inaccurate information received at school (permissive sex education, evolution, new age self-esteem ideas, etc.) and to fill in what is often left out (the Christian heritage of our schools, phonics, creationism, etc.). The responsibility to train up a child has been given to parents--not to schools--and it should never be abdicated, even if schools are willing to raise the child (which most, rightly, aren't). God gives parents the responsibility to train their own children whether or not you may think they can or cannot do it.

Where did God ever say to Israel to send their children to the government schools? Nowhere! Education is primarily the responsibility of the parents.

When the children of God were given over to government schooling, it wasn't by the Israelite people's choice but under compulsion from the state to change their thinking from theistic to pagan. That was during the Babylonian captivity.

Certainly there are parents who do not rise to the expectation--a problem better addressed in the church and through private, voluntary parent-mentoring programs rather than through a Godless government bureaucracy.

Public schools are bureaucratic and politicized. And many times they lose their primary focus to educate children. The problem is public schools are governed from the top down. They try to please school boards, legislatures and especially the special interest groups, instead of the parents.

People work harder and smarter when they have freedom and incentive. But teachers and administrators in public education don't have very much freedom or incentive. They get paid whether or not students learn to read or write. And their hands are tied by a plethora of state and federal mandates and social programs.

To improve education, there has to be competition. Schools have to be rewarded or made to see they are failing based on how well they educate students. And that's where voucher schools come in. We have choice in restaurants, grocery stores, colleges . . . why not K-12?

You wrote that you sent your daughter through the public school system and she never was on drugs . . . and turned out great. That's wonderful, but plenty don't.

With all the drug education and sex education taught at school, drug usage is up and there are over one million teens a year who get a sexually transmitted disease. Even though our government has dumped almost a billion dollars into the prevention of teenage pregnancy, there are more girls getting pregnant, more girls getting abortions, and more teens having sex, than at any time in our history.

America is tired of government funded sex-education programs that promote more teenage sexuality and valueless education. America is tired of children being told they can't say grace over lunch, or bring a Bible from home or being told that they evolved from monkeys.

It's interesting that a large percentage of public school teachers prefer to send their own kids to private schools, not public schools where they teach. Denis Doyle, an education analyst, reported his study findings in "Where Connoisseurs Send Their Children to School." He found school teachers were 50% more likely than the general public to send their own children to private schools. Would you eat in a restaurant where employees were 50% more likely to eat elsewhere? What do they know that the rest of us don't know? Even the NEA teachers' union says 40% of teachers use private schools.

If teachers don't think the schools they teach in are good enough for their kids, why should other people, who don't have the money, be forced to sent their kids to them?

There's something wrong when a teacher can't legally pray with his or her students but can hand them a condom. It's the same people who deny our children their right to pray at school who insist that schools must expose our young children to explicit sex education, including condoms, homosexuality and abortion.

It's interesting that for almost two hundred years no one doubted that the Constitution allowed prayer at school. Then came along the NEA paired up with the ACLU.Education is a futile thing if we try to teach children without teaching them about God. We would have educated rebels! Who should we blame--parents? Or are our schools responsible?

You wrote, "I can honestly say that many or most of the so-called Christian parents lack tremendous parenting skills . . ." Tremendous? If all parents do is trust the humanistic education given in the public schools, they indeed aren't good parents and don't prize the Lord or their children very much. Cut them a little slack.

If I were to ask a group of 100 parents, "Who is in charge of your child's education?", I would expect the majority of them to answer something like "Mrs. Johnson" or "Madison School." Few of them would answer "I am." The most important change in education in the last fifty years has not occurred in schools. It has occurred in the minds of parents, who no longer take primary responsibility for their child's education. That's a big error by parents. Parents have let schools take charge of their children. They have slipped into thinking that the schools are in charge of their children's education, when they ought to be taking charge themselves.
However, a new "revolution" is under way. The secular education establishment is now being threatened by a grassroots rejection of their social programs. Christian parents are rising up by the millions and refusing to quietly allow their children to be secularized before their very eyes.

We are involved in a cultural war. It's a war of ideas. To give unqualified support to a system that teaches ideas in direct opposition to the Word of God is not loyalty to Christ. We must reclaim our public schools to Truth, if we are to secure our future--90% of Christian children still attend public schools. Even if we remove our own children, which is often the most prudent course of action for their spiritual protection, we must, as parents and concerned Americans, continue to be the salt and light in the public schools. Truly, it is only the Spirit of God within His people that holds shut the floodgates of evil threatening to engulf all those precious children. Surely, the leak is strong and damaging--but the flood is too devastating to comprehend.

Our allegiance to Christ must come first. At "Issues in Education," we don't draw a paycheck from anyone. We have no greater allegiance but to serve our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. Can you honestly say that? Are you a Christian first and an employee of the state second? Our prayer is that Christian teachers and parents can band together, as they have in NACE/CEE, to work together on these most important problems, both from within and outside the public school system. Let us not be divided--our children and our country are at stake.

The Letter

(This actual letter, written October 4, 1997, contains many of the arguments that we all encounter among our own colleagues, neighbors, fellow church-goers and even friends. She also has some insight, from a teacher's perspective, which we can all take to heart.)

I am a born-again Christian and a public school teacher. I listen to your radio station in Rochester, NY, every single minute of the day that I am able to.

I feel that the station is a wonderful gift from God but I find your program Issues in Education a very poor example of Christianity. It continually "puts down public school teachers" and statements are made like "Homeschool children are the most socialized in America" without any proof of such a statement. Much laughter goes on ridiculing teachers. I find that to be unchristianlike.

I agree that things have gone down in education, but the blame falls primarily on the way these children are being raised at home. I have been a teacher for 31 years and 99% of the troubled children can be traced back to ineffective and poor parenting--in both Christian and non-Christian homes. It is frightening to me that more and more children are being homeschooled by parents who have no clue on how to be a good parent--let alone a good teacher.

I have had a big effect on many children who I have prayed for over the years. I have given love, attention and taught them how to be kind, hard working, giving and loving to others.

Your station makes statements all the time that are not documented. I can honestly say that many or most of the "so called Christian parents" lack tremendous parenting skills causing their children to have greater difficulty relating to their peers and displaying poor behavior in school. I have worked with over 600 children and the majority of those raised in "Christian" homes tend to go wild in school because they are kept under such tight control at home.

I am a Christian parent and my daughter went through the public school system. She never was on drugs and she is kind, loving, sensitive, and full of integrity with a genuine love for the Lord. Why? Because I spent hours not only teaching her the Christian Word but setting an example.

I find that many Christian adults blame the T.V. and school system for their children's problems when they should be blaming themselves. Yes, it is a tough world to raise a child but it can be done in the public school system as long as the parents practice the Word of God at home.

I find your program offensive and not at all Christian like. I will pray for you and hope that the "bashing of people in education" stops and Jesus brings you wisdom to broadcast issues that are truly from God."

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