Christian Parents Who Send Their Kids to Government (Public) Schools Must Be Mindful of the Dangers

A child will spend 14,000 hours in school where he or she will develop a worldview. 

Do you have nostalgic memories of your school days? Did you go to a public school, a Christian  school, a private school… 

Were they fun times and do you look forward to the reunions – 10 years, 20 years, 25 years, and so on? Do you marvel at how much your classmates have changed? And do they marvel at how much you’ve changed? 

Looking back, our school days shaped so much of who we are today. So many of us learned our social and friendship values and even our limits during those growing-up years. 

As godless as some aspects of society are, more than 70 percent of Americans consider themselves to be Christians. Of those, some surveys show up to 90 percent of them send their children to public schools. Does that affect the faith, worldview, and future church participation of these children? Of course it does! 

Many well-meaning Christian parents send their children to public school believing that the curriculum is neutral. But if the education system forbids even a mention of God, then the curriculum is not neutral. It is considered secularism. Government schools do not promote a Biblical worldview - God isn’t allowed in the classroom. In Engel v. Vitale (June 1962), the Supreme Court held that the Establishment Clause prohibited reciting the Lord’s Prayer in public schools. 

Both Christian and non-Christian students alike learn from a secular curriculum. In our so-called “enlightened” society, secularism is taught from kindergarten through college. 

Many well-meaning Christian parents attend church with their school-age children. But is one-seventh of a week enough teaching to counter the five days of secular bombardment in public schools? While church is of paramount importance, the statistics don’t play out in its favor. Young people are leaving the church in droves as they enter their 20s. 

In the book Already Gone, the authors reveal research that indicates more than 60 percent of twenty-somethings who were churched as teens are now disengaged from the church. With so many Christians raising their children in public schools, is it possible that the public school in its “illusion of neutrality” has played a role in putting our children on a path that leads them away from faith and into relativism, where there are no absolutes, and which ultimately dismisses God? 

By the time children graduate from high school, they would have spent 14,000 hours in school classrooms. If you spent 14,000 hours developing a skill, would you have mastered it? Would you be able to teach others the skill? The answer to both of these questions is likely yes. The same is true of worldview. A child will spend 14,000 hours in school where he or she will develop a worldview. 

While the child may be exposed to the principles of the Bible through home and church, a child will spend an average of just 1,325 hours over his school years in church if he or she regularly attends. Compare that with being educated in a secular setting for 14,000 hours over many years. 

I am a product of Christian education, starting from elementary school and continuing through  my undergraduate degree. I learned God’s word from memory during my education history as a Church school girl. It wasn’t impressive to me back then. In fact, I thought it was “fanatical and legalistic.” I didn’t have friends outside of my denomination. I didn’t know many of the kids from my neighborhood. Now in retrospect to my upbringing, there is a gratitude that I cherish about how my mom shielded me from secular society. Thank God, my Biblical worldview wasn’t stolen from me via public education. Mom sacrificed tremendously to alter the course of my spiritual future by going against the traditions of public education. 

The Holy Spirit convinced mom way back, long ago, to secure my future even though it was financially hard on her. God made financial ways when mom had no way of paying for my tuition. Looking back in wonder and gratitude, it’s inexplicable to me as I remember some of the just-in-time donations people made to mom so I didn’t have to go public school. Was it worth to me? Yes, it sincerely was – it’s why I have such a passion for God’s word today. It’s why I still believe that if being in church is God’s will then not going to church is out of God’s will. 

Look around at most major school districts in America today. American schools have grown progressively worse. As fall approaches, I want to appeal to those of you with children in government schools.  Many of you have limited options but be mindful of the spiritual war zone they are going to, and the enemy has claimed it as his own.  As Dave Black has written: “No academic skepticism, no secularist authors, no blatant materialism can so undermine the spiritual life of the country like the completely secularized training of the child under the authority of the state.”  

Bible-based education is strongly encouraged for Christian parents. If we think we can keep our children in a secular school system and escape the dumbed-down, amoral, and immoral results of secular humanism in schools, we are sorely mistaken (” 

Consider Christian Education 

This is no easy task, parents. To better prepare your child and help them develop a mature faith before they’re launched into the great unknown, do your research and due diligence but choose a Christian education whenever possible. Godly Christian educators will come alongside you, support your family’s values, and walk with your child to develop a well-rounded, deep faith. 

No matter what type of institution of learning we choose, parents are ultimately responsible for their children’s spiritual education. A Christian school teacher can be wrong, a pastor and Sabbath school or Sunday school teacher can be wrong, and parents can be wrong on any particular viewpoint theologically. So, as we teach our children spiritual things, they need to understand that the only source of absolute truth is the Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16). Therefore, perhaps the most important lesson we can teach our children is to follow the example of the Bereans who “examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11), and to test all things they are taught—from whatever source—against the Word of God (1 Thessalonians 5:21). 

As school has begun, please join Kenneth and me in praying for all students, everywhere, especially those who come from households of faith. Pray for them, pray with them, and keep them engaged in the word, will, and ways of God. If they must have a public education, don’t let it change them. Let them be the change, in Jesus’ name!

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