Thoughts on Public Education and the Christian Worldview
by Melissa Cain Travis
This article is not going to be a tirade against public schooling. I have many intelligent Christian friends who have their children enrolled in public school, and I do not think less of them for it by any means. But, I feel God leading me to say a few words about one enormous failing of public education. My intent is not to try and convince parents of publicly schooled children to switch to homeschooling or private school. (For many families, public school is the only option, period.) My goal here is to help you understand the core problem with secularized education and offer advice on how to successfully counteract it.
I need to begin by first explaining why my husband and I have chosen to homeschool our sons. It’s not for the reasons commonly thought by non-homeschooling parents or by secularists.
I do not homeschool in order to isolate my children from non-Christians. Now, it is certainly true that the vast majority of people my kids come into contact with are Christians, because we are active in our church and most of our friends and family are Christians. The fact of the matter is that a shared worldview draws people into close relationships with one another. But if a non-Christian family moved in next door, for example, those children would be welcome to come hang out at my home. This is the example set by Jesus Christ himself.
I do not homeschool in order to shield my children from certain scientific theories about the origin of the universe, the origin of life, and the origin of species. Actually, I began teaching my kids about the current scientific thought on these matters at about the age of 7, and I do this by explaining the scientific theories from the secular perspective and the theistic perspective. Furthermore, I make sure they understand the diversity of views on origins WITHIN Christendom, including the strengths and weaknesses of each position. The most important thing a Christian parent can teach their children about this topic is that there is great synergy, not conflict, between science done correctly and theology done correctly.
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Okay, with all that said, what is the giant failing of public education that needs to be understood and effectively counteracted by parents of children enrolled in public school?
A secularized education communicates the falsehood that truths about the world are entirely separable from–and have meaning apart from–God and the Christian worldview. Attempts to “neutralize” education in order to accommodate a pluralistic society result in distortions that slant everything away from the truth about God, the nature of man, and objective morality. The “big questions” may not be directly addressed in the classroom, but this avoidance automatically yet subtly communicates the philosophy of relativism–that there are many “right” answers to those questions, so the school room is not the place to teach one particular view.
What does this mean for children who attend public school but are from practicing Christian families? They tend to grow up with a compartmentalized intellect. On the one hand, there’s everything they learn at school, and on the other hand, there’s everything they learn at home and at church. But this is all wrong. All truth is God’s truth, and every discipline (history, mathematics, science, literature, social studies, etc.) is related in some fashion to ultimate reality…