The Hearts of Fathers and Children Round 2: Education

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” – Prov 22:6

I’ll stay away from theology here, as I’m not a theologian. I’ll simply note that the fundamentalist belief that this verse means “raise your kids in church and they’ll be Christians” is probably not adequate. Of course Christians should raise their kids in church and of course we want them all to accept Christ – but the verse has broader appeal than that.

Yesterday we talked about the nature of the parent-child relationship and the charge God has given to parents regarding their children. We also noted that political upheavals and rebellion against God in the modern day has often been accompanied by an attempt to fracture this bond. This usually takes the form of claiming that the children belong to the state, the collective, the community; rather than acknowledging the singularity of the parent’s role as authority, care-giver, and ultimately responsible party.

Today we pick up the same theme with a discussion of education policy. Those of you who know me know that I believe in homeschooling. I don’t think it immoral to send your kids off to public school in the morning – I just think that parents ought to have the right and authority of their children’s education, including the right to homeschool if they so choose.

As with anything, there are vested interests who oppose homeschooling. The obvious reasons are, well, obvious. If everybody chose to homeschool then the NEA (National Education Association) would lose all political power and many good teachers would have a hard time finding work. OK, fine, wanting to keep your job doesn’t make you an evil warrior for darkness. (For the record, I view teachers and the NEA as largely separate entities. The former are going about the job set before them, with the mandates and requirements laid on them by the government, to give their kids a good education. The latter is a progressive political organization more interested in their power than the good of the children.)

As I’ve said before though, in any good conspiracy, most of the conspirators are unwitting dupes. You don’t have to look too far to see the potential for sinister motives. Self-described conservatives have a much higher birthrate than self-described liberals. The last numbers I saw had it at 2.56 kids-per-couple for the conservatives and 1.47 kids-per-couple for the liberals. This is enough to cause a political nightmare. You see, the political ideologies of children are highly correlated to their parents (no, it’s not 100% by any stretch). If you’re getting outproduced by almost a child-per-couple, your political ideology will be dead in a generation in a democracy. Progressives know this. The easiest way to stop it? Use the public education system to indoctrinate children with progressive ideology – sort of a “re-education camp” for children.

Is this all just a crackpot theory? maybe. But let me ask you this. Where do you stand in regards to freedom of choice for education? Do you support a parent’s right to homeschool? Do you support bringing options and freedom into the education marketplace, including charter schools and vouchers? You see, crackpot theories about a progressive takeover of public school agendas don’t have to be right for full freedom of choice and access to be the right policy position.

Oh we’ll hear the arguments. “Well, it isn’t as good of an education” – nonsense, the statistics say exactly the opposite. “Well, you won’t socialize your kids well” – also nonsense, homeschooled children have plenty of opportunities for socialization and are some of the most adept kids I’ve met when it comes to functioning in a public setting. “Well, there could be abuses” – yes, there could be. Are you everybody’s parent? Did God give you a charge to be nanny to everybody to make sure they raise their kids right?

I suspect most people reading this live in fairly nice areas with good public education systems. But there are vast swaths of our society that do not have access to a good education and desperately need choice and options to give their kids a better tomorrow. Throwing more money at their crumbling education systems has not worked. We have to give them more options. We have to give them vouchers, competition, charter schools, anything you can think of to open the marketplace. There is an entire generation that we will lose if we don’t.

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