Pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion comes to the plate two strikes down

Westside Eagle-Observer - - OPINION - By Randy Moll

While pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion serves an im­por­tant pur­pose by providing a ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion to Amer­ica’s youth, it suf­fers from its in­abil­ity to pro­vide a full and well-bal­anced ed­u­ca­tion to our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren. Pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion es­sen­tially goes to bat with two strikes against it be­fore the first pitch.

I will be the first to ac­knowl­edge that a pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion is prob­a­bly bet­ter than no ed­u­ca­tion at all, and no ed­u­ca­tion is what many, if not most, Amer­i­can chil­dren would get if it were not for pub­lic schools. This is true, in part, be­cause so many par­ents do not have the time or the re­sources to teach their chil­dren at home.

But par­ents should know that pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion is flawed from the start be­cause of weak­nesses built into the en­tire con­cept — weak­nesses which can only be over­come by par­ents ded­i­cated to providing what pub­lic schools can­not pro­vide.

I’m not crit­i­ciz­ing pub­lic school teach­ers or ad­vo­cat­ing the clo­sure of pub­lic schools. I’m sim­ply point­ing out flaws in­her­ent in the con­cept of pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion which af­fect the out­come.

What are the flaws and what is miss­ing?

So that you know up­front, I ap­proach this is­sue with a Chris­tian and Bi­b­li­cal world­view. Proverbs 1:7 states: “The fear of the LORD is the be­gin­ning of knowl­edge”; and Proverbs 9:10 says: “The fear of the LORD is the be­gin­ning of wis­dom: and the knowl­edge of the holy is un­der­stand­ing.”

How can the pub­lic schools teach the fear of the LORD God when the Bi­ble is not per­mit­ted to be pub­licly used or taught in the schools? How can stu­dents be taught to know the LORD when the Bi­b­li­cal doc­trines of cre­ation, sin and re­demp­tion can­not be taught in schools? And how can pub­lic schools pro­vide knowl­edge and teach wis­dom when the ba­sis for knowl­edge and wis­dom are first re­moved?

With­out teach­ing the fear and re­spect of the LORD God, the ba­sis for moral prin­ci­ples is gone. With­out God as the cre­ator and law­giver, who is to say ly­ing, bul­ly­ing, steal­ing, rape or even mur­der are wrong? In­stead of words, thoughts and ac­tions be­ing judged as right or wrong by God’s law, they are only limited by poli­cies and pos­si­ble neg­a­tive con­se­quences. And, what’s con­sid­ered in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­ior to­day might be viewed as the Con­sti­tu­tion­ally-pro­tected norm of to­mor­row. It pretty much comes down to things be­ing wrong only if there are neg­a­tive con­se­quences or if a per­son is caught and pun­ished in some way.

And, if knowl­edge of the LORD God of the Bi­ble and re­spect for the true God can­not be taught in pub­lic schools, how can stu­dents be­gin to un­der­stand the world in which we live, the sci­en­tific and math­e­mat­i­cal prin­ci­ples built into God’s cre­ation, or God’s pur­pose and plan for their lives? With­out God, ev­ery­thing is only a re­sult of chance ex­is­tence, and life it­self is mean­ing­less. In­deed, it’s no won­der that some kids think noth­ing of shoot­ing up schools and killing other stu­dents and teach­ers, and many take their own lives!

Though some would ar­gue for the teach­ing of the Bi­ble in pub­lic schools, the sec­ond flaw in­her­ent in pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion is that pub­lic schools can­not dic­tate in re­gard to the teach­ing of re­li­gious views. If the Bi­ble were rein­tro­duced into the pub­lic school sys­tem, what doc­tri­nal po­si­tion would a school hold? Which re­li­gious views would be taught? Would schools teach the Bi­ble as truth or as myth? Would Je­sus be pre­sented as the Son of God or just an im­por­tant re­li­gious teacher? Or would it all be up to each teacher, with one teacher say­ing one thing and an­other some­thing en­tirely dif­fer­ent?

That’s why I say pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion comes to bat with two strikes against it. It can’t teach the fear and knowl­edge of the LORD God, mak­ing the rest of ed­u­ca­tion base­less and un­guided; and it is not re­ally pos­si­ble to bring back the Bi­ble and Bi­b­li­cal teach­ing into pub­lic schools be­cause the schools, as pub­lic and gov­ern­men­trun in­sti­tu­tions, are not per­mit­ted to teach one re­li­gious be­lief sys­tem over an­other.

What’s the so­lu­tion? I of­fer three sug­ges­tions: parochial

schools, home schools and sup­ple­ment­ing pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion with a strong re­li­gious ed­u­ca­tion at home and in one’s church.

I am a strong sup­porter of parochial or church schools. Such schools can teach the Bi­ble so that stu­dents learn to honor and re­spect the LORD God who cre­ated and re­deemed them. And teach­ing the Bi­ble pro­vides a ba­sis for moral teach­ing and for the rest of ed­u­ca­tion — math, science, lan­guage, social stud­ies, ge­og­ra­phy, etc. Parochial schools can teach the same doc­trine as one’s church and thereby pre­pare stu­dents for life in this world and for life in God’s king­dom.

Home schools are in­creas­ingly the choice of many and can be a good choice, es­pe­cially when no good parochial schools are avail­able. If par­ents are ded­i­cated to ed­u­ca­tion, they can of­ten move their chil­dren along at a faster pace and give them a bet­ter ed­u­ca­tion than a sys­tem which is de­signed to move a mass of stu­dents through ba­sic state-dic­tated cur­ric­ula. It also al­lows par­ents to teach the Bi­ble and Bi­b­li­cal val­ues, in ad­di­tion to providing a qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion in sub­jects like read­ing, lan­guage, math and science.

The weak­ness of home­school­ing is that not all par­ents have the time or ex­per­tise to teach their chil­dren. So, home­school­ing may work great for some but pro­vide a poor ed­u­ca­tion for oth­ers, de­pend­ing on the time and abil­i­ties ap­plied to ed­u­ca­tion by par­ents.

The third op­tion is to uti­lize pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion but sup­ple­ment that ed­u­ca­tion with a strong Chris­tian ed­u­ca­tion at home and at one’s church. Chris­tian teach­ing needs to in­clude Bi­b­li­cal doc­trine as well as answers to the many con­trary “doc­trines” taught in the pub­lic schools.

Sadly, many who take this lat­ter route fail to dili­gently do their part to teach Bi­b­li­cal truth and to re­fute the er­rors of sec­u­lar world­views.

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