Is the Education System Failing America’s Children?

Many parents worry about indoctrination in the public educational system and seek refuge in private schools.

PRAY FIRST that God would work in and through America’s educational system to bring the next generation of students into a close relationship with Him.

Why does education matter to Christians?

Wise King Solomon wrote, “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance” (Proverbs 1:5) and “An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge (Proverbs 18:15).

For those who teach, Titus 2:7-8 says, “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good work, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity and sound speech that cannot be condemned.”

American public schools continue to struggle.

Students from K-12 through graduate level suffered significantly in academics and social skills during the COVID-19 pandemic and requisite lockdowns. Recovery has been slow and often ineffective. But even had the pandemic not occurred, students and families alike have noticed substantial changes in education, including curricula taught (or not taught), emphases on social engineering, and a lack of motivation and initiative.

Is ideology more important than knowledge?

According to a paper by Dr. Jonathan Hunt of the University of Cincinnati Department of English in Fall 2015, getting socialism to be accepted in American schools has a long and complex history. Dr. Hunt acknowledged that the teaching methods of Brazilian educator and philosopher Paulo Freire, which focused on the oppressor and oppressed, may have been instrumental in bringing communism to the classroom, but other educators took it “mainstream.”

Dr. Hunt suggested that teachers were initially not likely to use the classrooms to spread their ideologies, but rather, educators “sought to make political impacts outside the classroom… in the places we associate with the duties and pleasures of citizenship.” He suggested it was the idealism of youthful students who “were likely more responsible for radicalizing their teachers than the other way around.” And so it was in the 1960s, and many of the radicalized students went on to become educators themselves, feeling far less restraint than their predecessors.

Marxism and the pedagogy of Paulo Freire have saturated America’s schools, universities, and even society as a whole. The oppressor/oppressed influence is seen in organizations like Black Lives Matter, in critical race theory and equity teachings, in defunding the police and eliminating cash bail, in children keeping secrets from parents over gender identities, and even the “Great Reset” economic strategy of the World Economic Forum.

As Heritage says, “The cultural Marxists’ goal is not to improve the system, but to overturn the existing social order entirely.”

Words that sound friendly enough—diversity, equality, and inclusion (the DEI ideology)—have become dividing lines between school administrators and parents for the right influences on students’ minds.

Are our youth being influenced or indoctrinated?

Physically, the brain makes a lot of changes between birth and adulthood. Many public schools and universities have seized upon the malleability of young minds. They know the importance of shaping the minds, thoughts, and ideals of future citizens.

According to the Hoover Institution, students in Seattle will now be taught how “Western Math” is used as “a tool of power and oppression, and that it disenfranchises people and communities of color… that ‘Western Math’ limits economic opportunities for people of color.” By the time these students reach university age, they are taught that capitalism is a tool for power and oppression.

The concept of grading students on meaningful work, determining their level of accountability for what they are learning has also been determined in many school districts to be racist, and grading is being dissolved.

Parents have had enough, and private schools are booming.

Across the nation, parents have begun to assert their rights regarding their children’s education. Organizations and advocacy groups, such as Moms for Liberty, the Parental Rights Foundation, and No Left Turn in Education, have formed.

A year ago, parents in Loudoun County, Virginia, stood up to their local school board over issues including the school’s teaching of critical race theory. Their frustrations made international news.

Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

A firestorm ensued, with the National School Board Association comparing parents to “domestic terrorists” guilty of “hate crimes” for threatening school board members (something that has since been denied). President Joe Biden reportedly asked the feds to step in. Attorney General Merrick Garland responded, upsetting parents even more.

Public K-12 schools are losing ground as disenchanted parents seek other means to educate their children. USA Today says parents are seeking options for educating their children: charter schools, private schools, parochial schools, homeschooling, public schools that may be outside their neighborhood, and even so-called learning pods. More states are being challenged to offer vouchers that enable students to attend schools other than public ones. Oklahoma is leading the way with one of the most expansive school choice programs in the nation.

Governors in Arkansas, Iowa, Ohio, Florida, and other states are looking at programs that would give families public subsidies to pay for tuition and other education expenses in alternative education.

Not everyone is supportive of the growing sentiment of the need for choice. The CEO of Democrats for Education Reform said, “We’ve lost our advantage on education because I think that we’ve failed to fully acknowledge that choice resonates deeply with families and with voters.”

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in September, “If you erase the Department of Education or you fund private schools, what are you doing for the students that are in the local neighborhood school? I have yet to see a plan.”

Are Christian Schools Being Targeted?

Under the First Amendment, the government cannot, and should not, seek to inhibit religious freedom and expression. So, they often find other deterrents.

Through state programs like vouchers, Christian schools are often direct or indirect recipients of federal funding. In May 2022, President Biden’s administration issued a rule change that forces universities, school districts, and education institutions to implement LGBTQ policies, like allowing transgender athletes, in order to receive federal funding. Improper use of preferred pronouns could also land schools in legal trouble under the Title IX changes.

The Biden administration has also made legal challenges to school claims of religious exemptions.

The commitment to a Biblical view of sexuality and marriage has landed Seattle Pacific University in court, because the school has been accused of discrimination in its hiring practices, alleging the law that exempts religious groups applies only to employees who are “ministers.”

Only weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Education came after Grand Canyon University, the nation’s largest for-profit Christian university, fining them more than $37 million over allegations it had misled students on the cost of a doctoral program.

“Grand Canyon University categorically denies every accusation in the Department of Education’s statement and will take all measures necessary to defend itself from these false accusations,” the university said in a statement.

In Vermont, the school board banned a Christian high school from activities over the school’s refusal to play a team with a transgender athlete. The school is now suing, alleging they have been punished for their religious beliefs.

HOW THEN SHOULD WE PRAY:

— Pray that leaders and administrators in Christian schools and universities look to the Lord for strength and guidance. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might” (Ephesians 6:10).
— Pray for the Lord to bind the power of Satan and his evil deeds that are trying to capture our children’s minds and hearts. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12); “Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven” (Matthew 18:18).
— Pray for the youth of our nation, that they might have influences in their lives to point them to God, and that they heed their parent’s decisions. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:1-4).

CONSIDER THESE ITEMS FOR PRAYER:

  • Pray for parents as they make decisions regarding the educational placement for their children.
  • Pray for university and college students to seek God so that they may discern truth from error.
  • Pray for administrators, teachers, and students in Christian schools to seek out correct and Godly biblical instruction diligently.
  • Pray that God would protect the minds and hearts of the next generation from the attacks of the evil one.

Sources: Ethan Allen, Ed.gov, SPL Center, James G Martin Center, Time Magazine, USA Today, Hoover.org, Brookings.edu, The Atlantic, State Department, Politico, First Liberty

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