Russell and Duenes

Almost Limitless Faith in Government Education by Christians

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The fact that so many evangelical Christians look upon the abolition of officially agnostic, secular, government education as an idea that’s “nuts”, “ridiculous,” “wacky” or the like, points up the great need for Christian education. For what we need is a generation of Christians who come to learn that replacing our government-administered system is not “nuts,” but truly wise. Indeed a non-public school history curriculum would likely cause students to grapple seriously with the claim that it is indeed our current public education system that is “nuts” and “wacked out.” John Taylor Gatto, three-time New York City public school teacher of the year, and one-time New York State public school teacher of the year thinks it is. Those, like me, who think that government ought to encourage education, but not administer it, in fact stand in an educational philosophy that has a significant historical pedigree. Public education is of recent vintage, and although no “system” of education will be without problems, I think it’s hard to argue that private alternatives to our government-sponsored system will make things worse. Just ask the poor in major cities, many of whom are willing to crawl through sewers to get their kids out of their public schools.

What’s worse, the wholesale Christian view that we simply must have government education shows how far we’ve fallen, or to be more accurate, how well the public schools and their apologists have done their work on us (even on those Christians who themselves have benefited from a Christian education). If nothing else, what we have within American Christendom today is a failure of imagination, a failure to think creatively and perseveringly about how things might be truly different, and truly better than they are right now in the educational sphere, particularly for Christian students. This failing means that, when it comes to thinking about education, we in the church find ourselves exhausted. Education is better left to the professionals. We don’t have the energy for it. Better to just go along with the system, flowing down the river until finally we head over the falls to our own destruction.

We seem to have an almost limitless faith in government’s ability to administer education, and very little faith in the power of God and His people to engage in education in a way that honors God and His purposes in this world. We seem to think that if government doesn’t do it, it simply won’t get done. Further, we seem to be convinced that the government, indeed, does it better, and that as a general policy, it is best left to government. I would argue that this thinking is a transformation that has overcome the Church only recently, this profound handing over to the government that which is central to Christian discipleship and to freedom in a constitutional republic like ours. Not only do we blunt the gospel by educating our children in a curriculum that officially excludes Christ, but we discourage the freedom that all Americans should enjoy in choosing how best to educate their children. We take from the family in order to submit to professional bureaucrats.

-D

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Written by Michael Duenes

August 26, 2013 at 4:16 am

Posted in Duenes, Education

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