Gateways to Better Education, a "national organization dedicated to helping public schools teach Judeo-Christian history, thought, and values" is sponsoring the National Free to Speak Campaign, which aims to "help schools become safe places for students to express their religious beliefs."
U.S. Department of Education issued guidelines on freedom of religious
expression in public schools twice during Clinton administration (1995
and 1998) and once under the Bush administration (2003). This
is a bipartisan issue. The guidelines were sent to every school
district, but they didnít get to classroom teachers, parents, and
Is this really necessary? You will think so if you read news articles like Religion and public schools: An important civics lesson this fall, which documents common violation of free speech by (liberal) school teachers and administrators.
This IS a bipartisan issue – at least, for people of faith, confidence in free speech, and/or a non-secularist understanding of separation of church and state (separation of powers, but not ideas). Some related articles:
- The Four Historic Models for Church/State Interaction
- Separation of Church and State, but not God and State
- Uneasy Neighbors – Church and State
A new report from the U. S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics shows a dramatic rise in the number of students that are being educated at home. Dr. Albert Mohler provides some details from the report:
Homeschooling was the choice of families for 2.9 percent of all school-age children in the United States in 2007, involving 1.5 million students. By comparison, in 1999 only 850,000 children were homeschooled. By 2003, that number was up to 1.1 million. This report indicates significant jumps in homeschooling as compared to other educational options. In fact, the report reveals that the actual number of American children whose parents¬† choose homeschooling for at least part of their education exceeds 3 million. According to the report, 1.5 million children are exclusively homeschooled while another 1.5 million are¬† homeschooled for at least part of the school week.
At this point, the picture grows even more interesting. When¬† parents were asked why they chose to homeschool their children, 36 percent cited a desire to provide children specifically religious or moral instruction. After that, 21 percent of parents pointed to concerns about the environment of schools, 17 percent cited dissatisfaction with educational quality in the schools, and 14¬† percent cited “other reasons.” Among those “other reasons” was a concern for more family time together.
Higher numbers of parents with college educations and greater family incomes are now homeschooling. This trend points to the fact that homeschooling is increasingly the option of first choice for many parents. This pattern is also revealed in increasing numbers of college students, primarily young women, who indicate that they desire a college education so that they will be better equipped in years ahead to be homeschooling parents.
It’s no great surprise to me that there has been such a tremendous rise in the number of families choosing to homeschool. In the nine years we’ve been homeschooling we’ve seen exponential growth among our homeschool community.
But the most crucial points in Dr. Mohler’s essay come at the end of the post:
Homeschooling is now a major force in American education, and Christian parents have been in the vanguard of this movement.¬† For many Christian parents, homeschooling represents the¬† fulfillment of the biblical mandate for parents to teach their¬† children.¬† These parents deserve our respect, our support, our advocacy, and our prayers.¬† This movement is a sign of hope on our educational horizon, and a phenomenon that can no longer be dismissed as a fringe movement.
As president of a seminary and college, I can attest to the fact that questions about the educational aptitude of homeschooled¬† students are now settled.¬† These students can hold their own as compared to students from all other educational backgrounds.¬† One other fact speaks loudly to me concerning their education.¬† Most of the homeschooled students I meet at the college and graduate levels indicate an eager determination to homeschool their own children when that time comes.
Education cannot be reduced to statistics, but the trends revealed in this new report from the Department of Education deserve¬† close attention.¬† In our day, education represents a clash of worldviews. Increasingly toxic approaches to education (or what is called education) drive many schools and many school¬† systems.¬† In that light, the fact that so many Christian parents are taking education into their own hands is a sign of hope.¬† As this new report makes clear, we should expect homeschooling to be a growth industry in years ahead.
It’s encouraging as a homeschool parent and as a Christian to see a prominent pastor and seminary president embrace the choice that thousands of families make. Homeschooling is not easy and families who make this choice often face derision and ridicule from both friends and families. Those who make the¬† choice to educate their children at home (either full-time or part-time) should be applauded and respected for making this choice. While not everyone will agree that it is the best choice for their own family it’s important that those who don’t homeschool respect those who do and vice versa.
Exodus Mandate is a movement created by Chaplain E. Ray Moore, which calls Christian parents to "rescue Christian children from the godless, pagan public schools and
to place them in K-12 private Christian or home schools." Here's the first two of a three part interview done by Moltov Mitchell.
That rather colorful description comes from Boston University sociologist Peter Berger, who is working to challenge those stereotypes in a new study. At this point in my life, I’m very grateful for his work seeing how I am an evangelical living in "Tobacco Road" who is blogging barefoot at this very moment.
A recent Op-Ed in the Washington Post carries the same idea – the media and academia should pay more serious attention to actual evangelicals and less time to reinforcing their stereotypes of the group. The authors point out the successful and important history of the evangelical movement in America.
I’ve said before in this space, and it needs to be said during just about every presidential campaign, that there is something much more potentially terrifying than to watch the government continue to fail in its efforts to prop up education in this country. Much worse than such a continuing failure would be to watch the government succeed.
Shaping the minds and the value system of our children is simply not the proper function of governmentóalmost certainly not at any level, but especially at the distant federal level. (Emphasis added)
Casey Luskin has a nice 13 minute interview with Rebecca W. Keller, founder of Gravitas Publications, which publish a series of science books for homeschoolers called Real Science 4 Kids. By ‘framework-agnostic’, I mean that she presents science and scientific methods withOUT committing to any specific philosophy-of-science framework like evolution, creationism, or ID. Or in her words:
I believe that the best science is rigorous and objective about the
facts, but open and tolerant of what those facts may mean both to
science and outside of science. In other words, we should be diligent
to practice science rigorously and carefully utilizing the scientific
method and critical thinking. But we should allow everyone to interpret
those facts through their own lens.
Intelligent design is an interpretative framework for evaluating
scientific data as are evolutionary theory and creationism. Each are
different lenses used to understand and interpret scientific
Now, as a world class scientist, Dr. Gonzalez is facing persecution
from an unexpected source Ė his employer, Iowa State University. His
academic track record exceeds the tenure requirements of his
department, and he exceeds other tenured ISU astronomers in key
measures of scientific research productivity. Yet professors in
Gonzalezís department voted to deny him tenure. Email files show that
these professors rejected him because of his philosophical approach to
science, not his academic qualifications.
Translation? He supports the idea of Intelligent Design, and the administration which supposedly supports academic freedom doesn’t seem to really believe in such. Gonzalez is also featured in the just released Ben Stein documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.
Actor Chuck Norris weighs in on last week’s court ruling in California with his own thoughts on homeschooling. An excerpt:
The reason government courts are cracking down on private instruction has more to do with suppressing alternative education than improving educational standards. The rationale is quite simple, though rarely, if ever, stated. If one wants to control the future ebbs and flows of a country, one must have command over future generations. This is done by seizing parental and educational power, legislating preferred educational materials, and limiting private educational options. It is so simple any socialist can understand it. As Josef Stalin once stated: “Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.”
Read the whole thing.
One of the recent K-LOVE Closer Look podcasts was really informative, discussing the growing resurgence of single-gender education - that is, classes and schools for either all boys or all girls.
Brain development and psychological development studies show that boys and girls develop in different ways and at different rates, and a lack of awareness of gender differences makes our current "mass-production" public education model inefficient, if not poorly effective.
However, a spate of schools, including a whole county in Georgia, are moving towards ALL single-gender classes.
Homeschoolers in Iowa are one of the reasons Mike Huckabee is doing so well according to a front page story in today’s Washington Post:
ELDORA, Iowa — Julie Roe, an early believer in Mike Huckabee, worked with what she had. With no buttons, no yard signs and no glossy literature from his nearly invisible Iowa campaign, she took a pair of scissors and cut out a photograph of the former Arkansas governor. She pasted it on a piece of paper, scribbled down some of his positions, made copies and launched the Huckabee for President campaign in rural Hardin County. Roe contacted friends in her home-schooling network and bought a newspaper advertisement for $38. She spread the word in the grocery store and the church foyer: "I would tell them about Mike Huckabee and they would say, ‘Who’s Mike Huckleberry?’ I’d say, ‘No, no, no, it’s Huckabee.’ "
Imagine your a college professor with a website where you post information about your research. Should your website and information be protected only if the college agrees with it? Should controversial research be banned from the professor’s webpage? If you’re Robert Marks and you are working for Baylor and in the intelligent design related field of evolutionary informatics.
A recent study challenges the conventional wisdom that going off to college results in students leaving their faith. Researchers at The University of Texas found that those who never went to college had the highest rates of decline in church attendance (76.2 percent), diminished importance placed on religion (23.7 percent), and disaffiliation from religion (20.3 percent), while those who obtain a bachelor’s degree had the smallest drop in all three categories.
Specifically, 19% of Evangelical Protestant young adults report a decline of importance of religion, while 62% admit a decline in church attendance. It appears that students still see the value of their faith after college life, but American individualism has led them to under appreciate the importance of practicing their faith with others.
Abtolutelee.com has a provactive article entitled How To Turn Your Daughter Into A Whore In Two Easy Steps
Step 1. Enroll your daughter in public school.
Step 2. Kick back and watch.
- Infanticide in Germany: Al Mohler discusses the rise in infanticide in Germany, with this astute observation: "The logic of infanticide is just the logic of abortion pushed beyond the moment of birth. The fact that Germans have responded with outrage over this spate of
infanticides is comforting in one sense, but it also reveals the
hypocrisy of the age. How can infanticide be wrong and abortion be a
- Purity Balls: Despite the unfortunate title of these things, many evangelicals are not only asking their children to take chastity pledges, and giving them chastity rings, but having a ballroom dealio for their daughters (reminds me of debutante balls or quinceaŮeras). These purity balls are almost like a wedding, but the daughter pledges to wait for marriage, and the father pledges to be faithful to his wife AND stay away from porno. While liberals may laugh such a thing to scorn, recent studies have shown that daughters who are loved by their fathers delay sexual involvement and puberty itself.
- Sex-Ed and moral reasoning: EO has a nice piece on the moral reasoning we should be teaching children, not just our own pet approach to sexuality. "The foundation of any sex education program must be to teach students
how to apply critical moral reasoning in order that they may make
informed decisions. Anything less is merely well-intentioned propaganda
and doesn’t deserve the noble honorific of education."
Many people who are unfamiliar with homeschooling picture it as a bunch of religious fanatics socially isolating their kids from culture and diversity in order to brainwash their kids. However, the facts bear witness to the fact that the opposite is true. Here are some facts culled from the excellent Homeschooling entry at wikipedia.
In general, people who are against home schooling are ignorant of it’s history in America, it’s proven benefits, it’s proven superiority over public schooling, and that the classic criticisms leveled against it, primarily those of social and religious extremism, omissions of critical subjects (like evolution), and poor socialization, have been shown by many studies to be nearly entirely false. In fact, as it turns out, homeschoolers are better educated, more emotionally stable and mature, more socially adjusted, and more academically balanced than students who emerge from our faithless, Darwinist, underperforming public schools.
Scriptorium has two excellent posts on homeschooling, What is a Classical, Traditional, Christian Education? and Toward Virtue: Ten Lessons We Have Learned Home Schooling. I’ve provided the content of the second article as a list.
- Satan and Rock and Roll
- CrossTV has posted a free version of their hour-long evangelistic
documentary linking rock and roll with artists who have sold their soul
to Satan for fame, or have admitted that they feel possessed when
playing. Common old timers are documented here, like Robert Johnson,
Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, and the Grateful Dead, but also
covers more modern groups like Oasis, Godsmack, as well as many modern
rap artists such as Ez-E, Snoop Dog, Method Man, Master P, DMX. It’s
also interesting how they view Bill Haley’s "Rock around the clock" the
"trojan horse of rock," which slipped rock by parents because of
Haley’s "innocent, uncle-like look." I must admit, having seen the
similar Hell’s Bells
videos by Eric Holmberg, I am a little skeptical of such scare-tactic
approaches, but on a purely intellectual level, these types of
evangelistic documentaries are fascinating for both their alarmism, their exposition of artist interviews and lyrics, and their tie-in with sexualizing our children through sexualized music by popular artists.
I wanted to mention a couple of books that I’ve come across, books that address the responsibility of Christian parents to educate their children rather than leaving it up to the ailing public school system. In the preface of Excused Absence: Should Christian Kids Leave Public Schools?, Douglas Wilson and Marvin Olasky (one of my favorite Christian world view writers) make the case that we should not be institutionalizing our kids in the public school system.