Image by Nicholas A. Tonelli, CC 4.0
Former General Attorney Bill Barr recently gave a devastating analysis of public-school education in America, coupled with a radical solution; families with school-age children would do well to heed his counsel. More on that below.
But Barr was not the first to publicly call out the failure of our education system. Earlier this year, Dennis Prager, founder of Prager University, launched a shot across the bow of state schooling when he said, “To save America from the left’s destruction, take your kids out of public school.”
Prager’s bombshell came in the context of a January 22, 2021 television interview with Carrie Sheffield.
“The left is primarily concerned with deconstructing the United States of America … . There’s a 50/50 chance that if you send your kid to elementary school, high school and college, they will come out holding you in contempt. If you’re prepared to lose your child, keep your kid in school.”
“In my opinion, the first road to saving this country from the left’s attempt to destroy it as we know it is to take your kids out of the schools of the country,” he said, adding that secular religious schools — especially homeschooling — are better options.[i]
There you have it: to save your child and save the country get your children out of public school! This may seem daunting, but which is worse, the work of finding alternatives to the disaster of state-sponsored education, or losing your kids … and the country?
The 2nd Shot Across the Bow
The second shot across the bow came from a national figure, former Attorney General William Barr, in his May 21, 2021 lecture before the Alliance Defending Freedom: “‘Militantly Secularist Government’ Caused Public School ‘Disaster.’”
Barr argued that to save our country, tax money should not automatically go to state-sponsored schools. The money should follow the student to their or their parent’s choice of schools. This is simply school choice, a rightful freedom in a nation “conceived in liberty!” State-sponsored schools are monopolistic. The title of Barr’s lecture says it all. Government schools are:
- Fundamentally atheistic, indoctrinating students rather than educating them, and
- A disaster for children, family formation and the nation.
School choice allows students and parents to decide between private, religious, charter, parochial, or home school. If parents want their children in the failing state schools they may choose that option, but parents and students should have other options.
Barr characterized ‘‘the increasingly militant and extreme secular-progressive climate of our state-run educational system” as “‘the greatest threat to religious liberty in America today.’’ He continued, ‘‘Religious liberty is not safe in the United States as long as we have the kind of public school system we have, the forced monopoly and the indoctrination of children into these radical secular progressive orthodoxies.’’
Abandoning education for indoctrination
The United States was consciously founded upon the Judeo-Christian worldview and its derivative principles. The objective of education was to pursue and apply truth through the practice of virtue in our personal lives and in the public square. Barr reminded his listeners of the worldview shift in public education away from Judeo-Christian theism, in the “latter part of the 20th century,” when “the left embarked on a relentless campaign of secularization intent on driving every vestige of religion from the public square.’’
He continued, ‘‘We’re now seeing an affirmative indoctrination with a secular belief system and worldview that is a substitute for religion and is antithetical to the beliefs and values of traditional God-centered religion.’’
This indoctrination has fueled BLM and Antifa activism and violence in cities all over the country, has led to the deconstruction of our nation’s history through the 1619 Project, and has promoted concepts like Comprehensive Sex Education, Critical Race Theory, and gender identity.
Public schools are not religiously neutral as most people assume. Barr points out that
The tenets of progressive orthodoxy have become a form of religion with all the trappings and hallmarks of a religion. It has its notion of original sin, of salvation. It has its clergy. It has its penance. It has its dogmas, its sensitivity to the whiff of any heresy, and even the burning at the stake — so far, only metaphorically.
Barr’s solution is to replace the current system of state-sponsored indoctrination with universal school choice: ‘‘Public funding of education does not require that instruction must be delivered by means of government operated schools. The alternative is to have public funds travel with each student, allowing the student and the parents to choose the school.’’
For the entire text on Barr’s speech go here.
Time for a new philosophy of education
With alarming speed, our public schools have dropped any pretense of religious neutrality. As a result, our children are adrift in a sea of relativism. Many are abandoning Christianity, and those who don’t are left with an enfeebled faith relevant only on Sunday.
Genuine educational reform will require more than a new curriculum and new funding mechanism. It will demand an entirely different philosophy of education.
Our new book, Don’t Let Schooling Stand in the Way of Education is now out. I am the general editor for a team of outside-the box educational reformers. This book will help you rediscover a compellingly biblical theology of education.
With a rich, historical backdrop, Darrow Miller immediately captivated my full attention in his latest book, Don’t Let Schooling Stand in the Way of Education. Miller and his expert contributors provide a sobering analysis of our current education dilemma and how we got here. He does not stop there, though, but instructs and inspires with clear, biblical strategies that can once again turn the world upside down. This book is a must read for Christian parents, educators, and pastors!
To purchase the book, please go here. Please tell your friends about the book, and consider writing a review on the Amazon site.
- Darrow Miller