Thoughts on Public Education

“One of the great ironies among modern evangelicals is the fact that many have higher and stricter standards for their children’s baby-sitters than they do for their children’s teachers. Is a baby-sitter needed?  She should be a Christian, and a reliable one.  She should be known to the family, or highly recommended by someone who is” (p.57)

These words from Douglas Wilson are unsettling for many Christians, whether they send their children to private school of public school are ignorant of who their children’s teachers are. Many often don’t know their name, anything about their personal life, the faith convictions, their voting preferences, or anything else that would help us evaluate if this person is qualified to teach our child the greatest things in the world: What is the meaning of life?  How do I live life well?  What does God want from me?

And this is unsettling because, “Education is a completely religious endeavor.  It is impossible to impart knowledge to students without building on religious presuppositions…It is a myth that education can be nonreligious – that is, that eduction can go on in a vacuum that deliberately excludes the basic questions about life.” (p59)

America, contrary to much popular belief is a religious nation that has established a national church in the form of public education.  This church specializes in preaching the doctrines of materials, naturalism, and relativism which are a far cry from the Christian doctrines of faith, repentance and devotion to the Lord God Almighty.

It is time that Christians wake up from their slumber and quit wondering why their children are wandering away from the faith.  The answer is clear, they were never really taught the faith, in a holistic, appealing manner.  Sure they got reading, writing and arithmetic at the altar of the public school, but none of that was taught so that God would be glorified and they received some religion but it was fractured from daily life and often poured out in little drops from the youth pastor who wanted to be friends with the kids and have fun.  And the parents didn’t really form a Christian worldview into their children because the things of the world – sports, music and good test results – mattered more than having children who were taught that we learn to read so we can understand the Word of God and apply it to our life, we learn to write so that we can teach others the word of God and we learn to do figures so that we can examine the natural world and understand the magnificence of the God who created it all.  These are the Christian purposes of education and they can only be carried out well when a parent or parents are actively and intimately involved in the daily teaching of their children and the shepherding of their soul.

Quotations from Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning by Douglas Wilson



About Scott Roberts

pastor of Hope in Christ Church, Bellingham, WA
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