Letter By: Betsy DeBry | Director | Bryan County September 20, 2023
Why Should Christians Remove Their Children from the Public School System?
Society, and in particular Christianity, has always held to the tenet that parents are the first and best educators of their children. In the early centuries of America, many children were taught at home. As the population became more diverse, schools were mandated by local governments, and many parents were unable to teach their children themselves due to their own lack of education or their work obligations.
For many years, education in America was excellent. John Dewey came on the scene in the 1930’s and began to transform the American education system using a progressive model which has culminated in the debacle that is today’s public education system, and unfortunately, can also be found in some private Christian schools as well. The secularization of education has been long in the making, along with the drive to make schools the de facto parents of all children. Removing children from parents as soon as possible is the goal of the progressive education movement. It is imperative that parents be removed from the equation; this began in earnest in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The next step is what is being seen now in education, where parents have now become the enemies, and it is the “duty” of the government schools to remove children from the “harm” caused by their parents.
As someone who has been paying attention to the state of education since the 1990’s, I have monitored the changes throughout the decades. The following data is all from my own experience. In the 1980’s, kindergarten was optional (this was in Pennsylvania). Children would attend kindergarten for half a day only, a few days a week. There would be a morning and an afternoon section, and parents could choose which half of the day to enroll their child. In the 1990’s, kindergarten was mandatory (this is in Georgia), and went all day. Friends I had would pick up their children at 1 pm (after this time they couldn’t be counted as absent) instead of 3 pm since it was such a long day, and they noticed the stress this put on their kindergartner.
At this same time (from 1993-1999), I was part of a mother/child play group with over 60 moms. We had a calendar of events scheduled each month (activities 2-3 times a week). Few children were in preschool. Starting in 2000, the mothers club had fewer and fewer moms joining. At this point, moms started putting their kids in private and public preschools. There was less and less interest in a mother’s group. The group eventually went defunct as the original children grew older and no new moms joined. I moved to a different town in Georgia in 2005 and started a new mother’s group, but it lasted a few years and petered out for the same reason. Around that time, Georgia made preschool free with the lottery system, and parents rushed to get their kids into it. Especially in 2008 with the downturn of the economy, more parents needed to work and couldn’t stay home with their child, and they needed the free childcare. After-school programs became essentials for working parents, and these programs were greatly expanded.
The result of this is that children are absent from their parents the vast majority of their day. Case in point, my grandson, who last year was dropped at school at 7 am, then picked up between 4-5 pm. Eat dinner, go to soccer, bed at 7:30 pm. So, his daily time with his mother is barely 4 hours, with the school it’s 9-10 hours. So, who will have the most time in the day to promote their values? The school of course.
That is a brief history of some of these changes. Let’s look at the schools themselves. Parents by and large have been very trusting of education in general. They know the people at the schools, they are their neighbors, their kids play together, and they are too busy to look very deeply into what is being taught. They assume that most people, like themselves, are generally good, and are looking after children’s best interests. In general, this is true with regards to most teachers on the front lines. However, the administration is where the rubber meets the road. The administration is the one who determines which values will be taught. Teachers are hampered by rules, regulations, and the limitations of what must be taught. Much time is spent on teaching to the state’s standardized tests. There is no room for creativity.
My grandson, who is currently in 3rd grade, has finally been able to get into a Christian school. The reasons for this move are vast and varied. The administration of our local school system is as woke as they come. They hide it, though, because they know if the word gets out it won’t go over well, so they do a good job of hiding it. Most people are busy and frankly don’t want to know, because then they might have to do something about it, and they don’t want to be bothered.
Reason 1—The people in charge of the county school system are completely on board with indoctrinating all the students with the current progressive agenda. The woman in charge of choosing curriculum wrote her PhD on critical theory. She is clearly implementing these ideas into the school curricula. The administration, mainly the superintendent, has effectively neutered the school board and had made them completely useless other than as a rubber stamp for everything he wishes to do. They have a strong system in place to hide, obfuscate, punish, and vilify anyone who tries to hold them accountable. This I know from personal experience, which I will not go into now. This reality, unfortunately, is the case in every school system, regardless of the political leanings of the populace. Our county is a very Republican County that voted 70% for Trump in the 2020 election. It doesn’t change the fact that the schools are woke and corrupt.
Reason 2—The introduction of the LGBTQ agenda is alive and well. Furries and transgender kids are allowed to do what they want with impunity, including in the lower elementary grades. Indoctrination is being mandated from the youngest levels. For example, at my grandson’s school, all the children at the beginning of the year were forced to listen to a pro-homosexual book during story time at the library, chosen purposefully by the woke librarian and approved by the principal. This incident led to a nationally known lawsuit.
Reason 3—The school system is building a social score for all the children and hiding this from the parents. The school enthusiastically embraces the PBIS (positive behavioral intervention and support) system. Initially, this took the form of the children receiving reward tickets when they did something good. At the end of each quarter, they could turn the tickets in for small prizes. Last year, they did away with the tickets because they were too “cumbersome”. Now each child is issued an ID card on a lanyard with a barcode on it. Whenever the child does something good, the teacher scans the barcode and a computerized record is kept, whereupon the children can collect prizes based on their score. Most parents are unaware of these PBIS lanyards. The school does an excellent job of hiding them. For example, it used to be that parents could join their child for lunch. The school restricted this to one time per month for each child, and only during one certain week/month can a parent come have lunch. The lanyards are nowhere to be seen when the children come to the cafeteria for lunch. The children are forbidden from bringing them home. At any events where parents might attend, the lanyards are well out of sight.
What people do not realize is that with the old system, the record of tickets would be done after each quarter. A child’s slate would be clean, so to speak. Now, the child’s record from preschool on will be saved with their personal identifier for their entire school career. Soon the barcode will be used not just for positive behaviors, but for negative ones as well, reducing the score for every bad action, thought, opinion, or word. A social score is being established. In the case of my grandson as a second grader, his every action in school from this point on will be computerized as a score, and it will follow him. The way this could be used would be, a child could not get in a certain class (such as honors or AP) because their social score is too low. A child is restricted from going on a field trip because the score is too low. A child cannot play on a certain sports team because the score is too low. A student cannot apply to a college of choice because the social score is too low. A scholarship is out of the question because of the social score. The establishment of the social score is yet another reason to avoid public schools at all costs.
Reason 4—the academics are, frankly, dismal. My grandson was fortunate in his teacher last year, having a teacher who was older and not in favor of a progressive curriculum. This didn’t change the fact that she was restricted to the curriculum that was available. While his reading level was good (I give the credit for this to his mom), his math skills were terrible. The school system has regularly changed the math program again and again, leading to inconsistency and confusion from year to year for students and teachers. Since being in a Christian school using classic-style teaching, his math skills are becoming excellent. Additionally, students are tested “to the standards”. There is no real curriculum anymore. At least they say there isn’t, to avoid having to let parents see what is being done. For example, while all freshman students may have to read “To Kill a Mockingbird” in English, the teacher can choose from any number of assignments related to this story that are available from the state website, or that the school system makes available. There is no consistency from one class to the next as to which assignment a particular student will receive. Additionally, the use of graphic novels for all subjects has exploded. This is terribly detrimental to a student’s development in key areas, including imagination. “Huck Finn” is a graphic novel. “Pride and Prejudice” is a graphic novel. Every book you can think of has been turned into a graphic novel, and teachers allow these dumbed down versions of classic stories to be used in lieu of reading the actual book. This limits the exposure of these students to the vocabulary and ideas of the original story, since the text is dumbed down and the drawn pictures tell the students what they are supposed to be feeling, instead of letting them figure it out themselves from the language.
Reason 5—the bad and ugly atmosphere. Fights. Oppression. Forced acceptance of untruths. Exposure to sexual acts in the bathrooms. Where there is no truth, there can be no beauty. My grandson, since moving to a Christian school, has become more cheerful and interested in his faith. Children respond to the beauty that comes from God, the love and care for others, being held to a higher standard, and the truth that is reality. A public-school education is teaching unreality, telling children lies that they know cannot be true, and leading them into anxiety and confusion. It is no accident that depression and anxiety in school children is through the roof. When a person is accountable to a higher power, it gives them a feeling of safety and encourages them to try to achieve great things. This moral achievement is virtually impossible in today’s public school system. A Christian school will present a reality that is true, moral, and loving, and children will bloom in this type of atmosphere.
Reason 6—Computerized education. All students in the public school system are being “educated” with computers only. There are no worksheets, workbooks, or written anything. Assignments are exclusively computerized and online. This allows them to be dumbed down (everything is multiple choice instead of open answer, for example). Online books of any kind are available to any student, including pornographic and violent material, with no limitations. Additionally, surveys randomly are given to the students while doing these assignments on their Chromebook, asking them questions about whether there is a gun in their home, or how many times they have smoked marijuana or had sex.
Reason 7—Predetermined pathways. This is prevalent in the high school and is trickling down to the elementary level. Instead of giving an all-around good education to everyone, with exposure to the arts, sciences, humanities, etc., they force students into specific pathways early on in their education. Students in an arts pathway will not be able to take an AP Biology class; it’s not in their pathway. Likewise, students on the STEM pathway will not be able to take a music class, even as an elective, because it’s not in their list of approved courses. These pathways limit students greatly and are determined by the perceived need of the administrators for people to fill a certain role in the workforce. This is not an education; it is forcing students to go a certain way in life regardless of interest or skill level. This has been used since the 2010’s in our high school.
Reason 8—Secular ideology and Social-Emotional Learning (SEL). This covers a wide variety of issues in the public schools. The fact is, God was removed from all education. Whenever something is removed, the resulting void will be filled by something. In this case, the lack of teaching about and reference to God has resulted in the implementation of a secular ideology which has now become the religion of secularism. This new religion has dogma and tenets, and woe to all who reject this ideology. The entire ideology of LGBTQ, transgender, etc are all part of this. Unlike Christianity, there is no forgiveness or redemption in this new religion, leading to canceling of people, loss of jobs, social ostracization, etc. Make no mistake; your child is being taught the new religion of secularism in the public schools, and your own child will disown you if you do not embrace every aspect of this new teaching. The fanaticism of Islam, for example, is nothing compared to the scorched earth policy of the secularists.
SEL, or social-emotional learning, is in every part of public-school education, from the counselors, to the curriculum, to the administration. While SEL sounds benevolent, it is anything but. SEL is the primary way educators implement the secularization of students and inculcate them with an anti-God ideology. SEL proponents themselves refer to its implementation as allowing teachers to teach a “moral code” of behavior to their students. As referenced above, the removal of God from the schools has left a void that is filled with secularism, and the vehicle to promote this ideology is through SEL. It is an anti-God, anti-Christian approach to morality. It teaches children to become little gods. So, it is not “do as God commands”, but rather, “do what I want” or “do what is best for my authentic self”. It’s not “love thy neighbor”, it’s “accept everyone and everything” regardless of deviancy or harm it may do. Everything becomes about “self”. Since each person is their own arbiter of morality, all options and “truths” must be accepted. Make no mistake, SEL is turning students into narcissistic, hedonistic self-gods. As Christians, we must reject this ideology implicitly. The public schools are so polluted with this ideology that they cannot be saved, and discerning Christian parents must remove their children from the profane influence of this type of ideology. Church and youth group once a week are insufficient to counter an ideology that is found in every aspect of education. As Christians, the concept of SEL must be rejected utterly as it is diametrically opposed to the tenets of Christianity. Sadly, even some Christian schools have bought into the SEL concept, so it is crucial to develop Christian schools which reject the use of SEL in curriculum, books, activities, etc.
Reason 9—School-based health clinics. While not implemented everywhere, they are coming. The explosion of school-based psychologists and counselors is just the start. These clinics are the primary means of removing children from the care of their parents and getting them into the foster care system where they can be trafficked and abused. An example of this intrusiveness happened to a friend of mine in my county school system last school year. Her 17-year-old son complained to a school counselor at the high school about his mom because she took his car away from him for breaking curfew. She came home to find DFACS at her door and a police officer. The school counselor called DFACS on this mom. It worked out okay—this time. But think of the power in the hands of this idiotic counselor. All parents, but particularly Christian ones, have a solemn duty to keep their children out of any situation which may result in the government taking control of their child, and that means getting them out of the public school. My friend, incidentally, personally went to the school and had it out with the administration for this action. Not that it made a difference to the people in charge, but at least they thought twice before doing it to this mom again. Her son has since graduated, and she is homeschooling her younger son.
Reason 10—Exposure to whack-a-doodle staff and teachers will be limited in a Christian school. I don’t worry about my grandson seeing a male shop teacher with breasts the size of an ottoman or rainbow flags plastered everywhere while they participate in “choose their pronoun” day.
Are Christian schools perfect? No. Parents must be very careful and vigilant wherever their child attends school. But at least the Christian ethos will be the primary motivating factor in the education, and your child will be able to grow and thrive without being lied to daily. More importantly, they will learn the tools to help build the kingdom of God instead of being a person who tries to destroy it. We desperately need FAITHFUL Christian schools who want to partner with parents to teach the children what they need to know, help them find their vocation in life, and give them the tools to get there, all while reinforcing their faith in Christ. Any new schools must have solid, vetted, conservative, classic-leaning boards of trustees if Christian schools are going to avoid the same errors infesting the public school system today.