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June 03, 2005

Been There, Done That

Last year, I wrote about a resolution that was sent before the Southern Baptist Convention that advocated the withdrawl of all children of SBC church members from public schools.

This year, they're doing it again.

The Arnold-Scarbrough Resolution: (a) applauds Christians working in the government schools as missionaries, (b) calls on churches to warn their members of the devastating effects of sending their children to a totally secular institution for their education, (c) calls on churches to become aggressive and pro-active in starting Christian schools and in supporting homeschooling.
I still think it's a bad idea.

Yes, we need to instruct our kids about the truth, and prepare them for an educational system that is often hostile to their beliefs. But no, Christian school is not for everyone, much less homeschooling.

I know many homeschoolers, and they have my utmost respect and admiration. The ones I am familiar with are committed to their kids' education and are willing to do whatever they can to make sure that their kids have the best education possible. I wish all parents had attitudes like that. Unfortunately, not everyone is cut out to homeschool. Not everyone can educate their kids in everything they have to have to function in society.

Christian schools are few and far between. In my area, there is one that I would even consider sending my daughter to -- and their educational standards leave much to be desired. There are great Christian schools out there; unfortunately, there aren't enough, and there aren't enough that are affordable for many people.

The key to making sure that your kids are getting the right education is to be involved. You may have to fight sometimes -- do you seriously believe that you'll only have to do that in public schools? I've got a bridge to sell you if you believe that. If you are committed enough to homeschool, your kid will get a quality education no matter where you send him -- parental involvement is the key.

From the old blog

I am all for Christian schools, and even home schooling -- for the right reasons. If the public schools in your area do a lousy job of preparing your kids for life after graduation, then it's your duty to put your kids somewhere else. But if you are concerned about the moral decay of public schools, think about trying to help solve the problem. If you shelter your kids from what is happening in public schools (and I teach in one -- I know what is happening in them), what is their reaction going to be when they have to function in the real world? Will they be able to deal with people who are ideologically opposed to them, when they have never faced that opposition before?
Back your kids. Give them a firm foundation to stand on. But don't shelter them. They're going to run into it sooner or later -- make sure they're prepared.

Yes, I know that sounds too pragmatic. I'm not a teacher anymore -- unless you count substituting. My wife taught her last class a week ago -- she's out. NOT because of "rampant secular humanism" as some would like to believe, but because of some local issues (and some problems with NCLB, in fact).

There are reasons to withdraw from public education. It's not always the best solution -- gifted kids often are unchallenged,special needs kids often don't get the help they need. The people who are teaching are often NOT the best qualified to teach: how many people with a Masters degree (which is a requirement in Ohio now, after so many years of certification) would work for less than $40,000 a year? There are quality people in education, I know -- I've worked with some awesome teachers. I've also worked with some who were ignorant, often anti-intellectual (how's THAT for an educator!). My point is that the Convention cannot, and should not, make the decision for parents. What the SBC NEEDS to do, is to institute a quality training program for ALL members of ALL churches (anyone remember Training Union? My wife does!) so that we can meet challenges head on, and not scurry back to our Christian ghettos.

Posted by Warren Kelly at June 3, 2005 09:26 PM | TrackBack
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