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June 07, 2005

Public Education and the SBC, part 2

A quote, taken from a study by the SBC in 2002.

88 percent of Southern Baptist children leave the church and never return after graduating from public school.
Assumably, the culprit is public education. Those darn schools are convincing the kids to leave the church.

I will readily admit that in some cases, this has happened. Especially in studying evolution -- there have been many church kids who have had their faith crushed under the weight of Darwinian thought. Whose fault is that??

Ours. What do youth groups typically do? Wednesday night is a "rap session," a time to talk about thing that concern teenagers. We need to do that -- but that shouldn't be all that is done.

Of course, that isn't all that is done. There are the bowling outings, mini golf, concerts, pizza parties, lockins, etc. And we need that. BUT that shouldn't be all that's done.

Education. Show the kids how to defend themselves. A biology teacher's worst nightmare is a Christian kid who knows the weeknesses of Darwinism. Do you really think that high school biology teachers have extensive post-graduate training in evolutionary biology? Nope -- those who DO have that training aren't making $30,000 a year sitting in a classroom. They're making a LOT more, PLUS getting government grants, PLUS writing books and hitting the lecture circuit. I've been in education long enough to know that the old saying "Those who can't do, teach" is unfortunately very true. There are rare exceptions to this -- and those often do not last very long. It is OUR job as a church and as parents to train our kids so that they know what they believe, and can defend it.

Elementary education is a touchy subject in this respect. How do you prepare the youngest kids to deal with what they are going to face in public schools? This is where parental involvement is essential. On this level, the best thing you can do is to be involved. Let the teachers know that you're there, and you're paying attention. Don't let things you disagree with slide -- this is your kid we're talking about. If the teachers won't listen, THEN I would say look at alternatives.

Remember -- I'm not saying that public education is the best option for everyone. I AM saying that the SBC needs to do a better job at preparing kids to face opposition, whether in the schools or in the real world. And I worry that we're leaving behind people whose kids can't go to Christian schools, or can't be honeschooled. What do we do about special ed kids? What do we do about kids whose parents can't afford alternatives? Leave them behind?

In the study I quoted at the beginning of this post, they don't mention how many of these kids went to Christian schools. Too often, Christian education is just as bad (if not worse) than public education. That's fodder for another post, though -- suffice to say that I know just as many kids who went to Christian schools and rejected their faith later as I do kids who went to public schools. Who do we blame THAT on?

Posted by Warren Kelly at June 7, 2005 01:01 PM | TrackBack
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