Public Schools Aren’t the Enemy

Public Schools Aren’t the Enemy

Christianity’s relationship with public education is complicated and fragile, and it’s something I never thought much about until I became a teacher in the public school system. Raised as a Christian in a suburban county lucky enough to have remarkably good public schools, I never considered the idea of public school as being harmful to my character or moral development (although, perhaps it crossed my parents’ minds.) And, when I left my public college to start teaching in a public high school, I rarely considered that my beliefs might come in conflict with my career.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from both attending public school and teaching in it, it’s that public school is far from godless. Sure, it may not allow for teacher-led prayer or morning devotional, but these schools are not soulless places. In fact, they’re typically buildings full of deeply passionate, committed adults and kids who are always in need of love—just like any Christian school might be.

2 thoughts on “Public Schools Aren’t the Enemy

  1. Did I miss a comment that might enlighten me a bit about why you reblogged this? I would be interested in your take on this, because it doesn’t exactly fit into my expectations of your thinking. To a certain extent, I appreciate what this article is saying, however, I think it makes the substantial error in assuming homeschoolers made their educational choice out of either fear for the “big, bad world” or out of a desire to run away from everything that was not overtly Christian. I think there are other – legitimate – reasons people may choose to stay away from public schools. Such as, the style of education, the flexibility in learning and learning styles (I am thinking here of Howard Gardner), or the regimented nature of teaching to a test (now reflecting on John Taylor Gatto). I don’t think that public schools at large are evil either. However, I think this article simplifies an issue and does not address what is really going on in most people’s minds. Also, I am not sure I agree that in pulling our children out of public school, we are abandoning serving children in the greater community. In fact, I think schools ARE highly segregated (not only economically) and I feel now as homeschoolers we have a greater understanding of who our neighbor is.
    Interested to hear your thoughts.

    • My linking to this article is primarily motivated by the larger problem of public education being overly vilified in many Christian circles. The article barely touches on homeschooling and even acknowledges that there are a valid reasons for homeschooling (as you mention).

      It’s not talking about a fear of public education by homeschoolers but rather a fear and disdain held by many who call themselves Christian. As someone who spent 12 years in public education, it bothers me just how wrong many of the characterizations of public education I hear in Bible classes and pulpits.

      It’s not simplifying an issue. It’s simply taking one aspect of the issue and deconstructing that one thing: that in many Christian circles, public education is, in fact, treated like an evil organization.

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