The education of our children is a grave responsibility for every parent. For years, Anna and I have counseled Christian parents to either homeschool their children or to have them in a quality Christian school. I tell people that one of the primary reasons our children are serving the Lord today is because we kept them out of public school and gave them a Christian education.
Our primary focus has been on protecting children from the many negative influences found in the public school system. Though there are many dedicated public school teachers who truly care about their students, the public school can be very damaging to the Christian student. Let me repeat, I do believe there are dedicated Christian schoolteachers in public schools; and I believe that the public school is a great mission field for these dedicated servants.
However, the public school can be very hurtful to Christian young people for the following reasons:
1. The Secular World View
In 1962, by Supreme Court decision, prayer was outlawed in our public schools. In 1963, the Supreme Court followed up by saying that Bible reading would be outlawed in our public schools. From that time, the quality of our education has decreased. The Bible says that the beginning of wisdom is the fear of God. With the exclusion of God, our educational system could not do anything but decline. The humanistic philosophy of our present society has great influence in our public schools and will have a harmful negative effect on our Christian students.
2. Teachers Who Are Anti-God
As I said, many good, solid, Bible-believing Christian teachers are in our public schools. However, the vast majority of teachers in public schools are not Christians. Psalm 1 says, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”
God tells us that, as adults, we should not sit in the counsel of the ungodly. If God doesn’t want us to sit there, then why would we send our children to be taught by men and women who deny the Lord Jesus Christ? It certainly isn’t the wisest thing we could do.
3. Negative Peer Pressure
By far, the most negative thing about the public school system is the negative peer pressure that Christian children receive. There is a constant pressure to conform to the new fads of this world.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind….—Romans 12:1–2
Young people are continually pressured to be conformed to this world in their dress, in their music, in their lifestyle, and in their morality. When a child spends thirty to forty hours a week in school with friends who see nothing wrong with vulgar, inappropriate music, movies, language, and lifestyle, they will be pressured to conform to that immoral behavior.
However, having said all that, I want to share with you an article that I recently read put out by the Council for American Private Education. In this article, a study is quoted that was published in issue three of volume eighty-seven of The Peabody Journal of Education. The study was done, not by a Christian organization, but by a senior fellow of the Witherspoon Institution in Princeton, New Jersey, and a professor at California State University, Long Beach. I think you will appreciate a portion of this article.
Students in religious schools enjoy a significant academic advantage over their counterparts in traditional public schools and charter schools, according to the findings from a meta-analysis of 90 studies on the effects of schools conducted by William Jeynes, senior fellow at the Witherspoon Institute in Priceton, New Jersey, and a professor at California State University, Long Beach. The study was published in issue 3 of volume 87 of the Peabody Journal of Education. “The results indicate that attending private religious schools is associated with the highest level of academic achievement among the three school types, even when sophisticated controls are used to adjust for socioeconomic status,” according to the report.“I was quite surprised that students from charter schools did no better than their counterparts in traditional public schools,” wrote Jeynes in an email message to CAPE. At the start of the study, he was expecting to see higher levels of performance from charters. “To the extent that neither traditional public schools nor charter schools are succeeding on a broad scale, it appears that the best hope for American education is religious private schools,” said Jeynes. “Not only are they considerably more economically efficient, but their students obtain better results.” He said the nation should “rethink its strategy of espousing charter schools and overlooking the benefits of faith-based education.”1
Christian education is the choice of even secular educators today. I would encourage you to consider that as you prepare to enroll your child for the next school year.
1Council for American Private Education (2013). Study Finds Advantages for Students in Faith-Based Schools. CAPE Outlook, 1.