April 14, 2021

A Christian in a Public School

Studying Late

A Christian cannot avoid being in the world.  They were born into the world a sinner, they were saved from sin but still influenced by it and struggling to become more like Christ along the way.  Very seldom throughout their life will they have the opportunity to have just Christians around.  They will have to be able to stand for their faith against people that either couldn’t care about it or that are antagonistic to it.

There are two basic reasons that I believe that Christian parents send their children to public schools.

  1. It seems natural, it’s free, and it’s what they have done.
  2. They want them to learn to stand against the world and be different.

“You cheated!” I hear you say. “You loaded a lot of reasons into the first one!”  Actually, I group all of them together because the first option is based solely on “practical matters” or non-spiritual ones.  That decision is made with the priority of the child’s spiritual life lower on the list than other factors.

Those that choose the second option believe that they are actually helping their child spiritually, and therefore are choosing the education format to help them to grow into good defenders of the faith.

So, what do the parents want out of the Public School system?  They want the expected product– they want their child to know their subjects, to be good citizens of their community and they are counting on a system that thousands of kids pass through each year.

The spiritually minded parents also want their child to be exposed to the logic of the world, but to have the opportunity to stand against it– to hone their logic and other skills to the point that they will be able to stand against other temptations down the road.

How well do they get what they are looking for?

America’s public schools are continually getting poor reviews, and not beacuse of a lack of money.  Every year the governments (local, state, federal) continue to put more and more money into the system, but the grades do not seem to improve.  We’re constantly reading about testing being altered and systems being put in place to help students, but we also read about children leaving high school not being able to read and write.

Systemically, the public school faces a big problem from too much direction and too much liberal influence.  With the desire to get kids through, and with the size of classes, children get overlooked and enter society at a large disadvantage.

If the Christian parent is involved with the child’s education he can certainly learn his subjects well and come out better than average, however.  The quality of education, regardless of the location, depends a lot upon the parent’s involvement.

As for Biblical upbringing, this falls heavily on the parents because they not only have to give Bible training, but help guide the child to make godly decisions when everything they see around them is contrary.  There is the benefit that you can say that “everything around you is wrong”– a way to identify wrong and keep the child away from it, but the trade off is the things that the child will be exposed to that they might not be with one of the other schooling options.

Should you send your Christian child to a public school?  Only if you want to be really involved with the child’s classes, teachers, school board, peers, and you will take the time to make sure the child knows what is godly and what is not.  You will also need to make sure that you provide good, solid Biblical education to them because they will be hearing all sorts of things that run contrary to the Bible in the school– and if you’re not telling them differently why shouldn’t they believe their teachers?

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10 thoughts on “A Christian in a Public School

  1. Dear Friends!
    What if… there is no choice? Like here in Sweden? Well, not true, some sects have their religious schools, but that is certainly NOT an option, and there is no such thing as home schooling.
    You are very fortunate over there, do you know that ? 🙂

  2. This is so true. In fact, sadly, a friend who used to be in our homeschooling group put her children in public school (financial reasons–she needed to get a job)and 3 years later, her 8 year old just said, “Mom, I don’t really think there is such a thing as God or Satan.” It broke this mother’s heart. Also, the family dropped out of church around the same time.

    I like Spunky’s blog…in it she has a great rebuttal the argument that Christian parents should send their kids to public schools to keep the light shining. Here is, I think, the beginning of a short series in which she “argues” back and forth with a pastor who believes Christian children should be in public school: http://spunkyhomeschool.blogspot.com/2006/05/another-pastor-speaks-against.html

    Can’t wait to come back and comment more…

  3. We plan on homeschooling my kids. I’ve been in both Christian school and public school and I’m eager to try homeschooling.

    Glad you’re site’s back up, Colleen!

  4. If i have the choice, and I hope I do. I would like to home school my children. I hope to foster a good balance with social outlets and a solid education.

    My site is back up and running

  5. Ann,
    If there is no choice then there is no choice. I think I would have to pray long and hard about what God wanted me to do in that situation. I can think of three options: send your kids to school and PRAY LIKE CRAZY, keep your kids home and break the law (though I hear in Sweden they take your kids from you for this), or move out of the country. And of course, any decision that would be made for our family would be made by my husband, whom I have not consulted regarding this comment… so it is entirely possible that he would say something totally different.

    Mrs. meg Logan

  6. Meg,
    I’m not sure if I’d advise breaking the law, but I’m fine with the rest of your comment. In general I think as Christians we are to follow the rules set part by whatever authority we are under, as long as it doesn’t contradict with scripture. I’m torn whether the statements about teaching your children are strong enough to merrit breaking the law, since you can still instruct your children at home in addition to public school. It is certainly something worth praying about before making the decision. However, one thing I would ask, what is the proccess for getting a legally sanction school? Would it be possible to come together with a few people from your church and start a legal school, where parents taught different subjects and worked together? If it was possible it would be a great way to both follow the law AND have an expanded home school.

    In regards to the homeschool vs. public school argument, I choose not to make a hard fast rule. The reason Christian’s have been divided on the subject is because there are two mandates we are given. We are to protect and school our children as to how they are to serve God. However, children are also to be like arrows in our hands, launched into the world to proclaim the gospel.

    I plan on praying about each one of my children in determining where they go to school. Should I have a child strong enough in the faith to not crumble under the social pressures of public school, and able to work in a traditional school setting, I will send him there. Likewise direction for Christian, or homeschool will be determined. It would be very possible that one of my children might go to Christian school, one to public school, and another be home schooled or any combination of these for a season. I do not plan on treating my children the same. What they are allowed and not allowed to do will be determined by the call that is on their life.

  7. Meg, I’d hope you’d be in agreement. 🙂

    The problem that I have is that we place a certain expectation on a child by placing them in a public school that I’m not sure they can meet. Certainly there are big topics a child will know from the wrong things (i.e. Creation vs. Evolution), but since the public curriculum is where the religion of humanism is taught I’m not sure that I would send my child there. I wouldn’t send my child, for example, to a Jehovah Witness Bible Study or a Roman Catholic mass so that they could be a witness– and Public Schooling is closing in on being nothing more than worshiping self.

    Again, a lot depends on how much work the parents want to do– because it will be work changing the training, not only in the realms of doctrine but in the whole concept of who is the focus of one’s life, self or God.

  8. “I wouldn’t send my child, for example, to a Jehovah Witness Bible Study or a Roman Catholic mass so that they could be a witness– and Public Schooling is closing in on being nothing more than worshiping self.”

    Wow, well said MIn.

    Not many Christians come out of the public school system unscarred. The statistics in my family and that of my in-laws (both Christian homes) are pretty good testimony to that fact. I honestly think when we let God be “taken out of the schools” we can’t in all conscience put our children back in. How else can we adhere to Deuteronomy 6:7-9:

    “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

    If you don’t have the choice to homeschool, then I apologize if sharing from my heart is hurtful. I’m speaking from my deep convictions here…for our family.

  9. Thanks for the link in the above comment. I recently had another post and quite a lengthy discussion / debate on this subject on my blog. You may be interested in reading that post as well. Do take the time before reading the comments to read the link in the main post to a blog post titled Education: The Lost Key to Discipleship. It will put the comments in better context.

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