Ask The Principal

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Go Vote!

My younger brother, happy to send me the following, did so.

The Teacher Applicant After being interviewed by the school administration, the teaching Prospect said,

"Let me see if I've got this right: "You want me to go into that room with all those kids, correct their disruptive behavior, observe them for signs of abuse, monitor their Dress habits, censor their T-shirt messages, and instill in them a love for learning." "You want me to check their backpacks for weapons, wage war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, and raise their sense of self esteem and personal pride. "You want me to teach them patriotism and good citizenship, sportsmanship and fair play, and how to register to vote, balance a checkbook, and apply for a job." "You want me to check their heads for lice, recognize signs of Antisocial behavior , and make sure that they all pass the state exams." "You want me to provide them with an equal education regardless of their handicaps, and communicate regularly with their parents by letter, telephone, newsletter, and report card." "You want me to do all this with a piece of chalk, a blackboard, a bulletin board, a few books, a big smile, and a starting salary that qualifies me for food stamps. "You want me to do all this and then you tell me.."


Funny thing is that it isn't far from the truth. Note how many of the things the teacher is called upon to do are parental responsibilities. This has been floating around the web in those emails with the subject line starting with "fw. fw. fw" Emails that circulate ad nauseum....but that's just a pet peeve. What's real is that the anonymous author of this derives the humor/irony from the fact that the teaching that happens occurs because of a huge disconnect from parents and their children.

I dare say this is nearly as rampant in the church. I haven't shown my hand with regard to the church, but I will now. If you haven't already, read Voddie Baucham's blog here on "Education: the lost art of discipleship" and further here on "Answering questions on the YM issue".

So the short answer to Brian who commented on the previous post on the new ministry of Stephen Williams of is this: Teachers need to be able to teach truthful content regardless of the angst it causes to the PC crowd. Teachers do make a difference one way or the other, so bravo to the teachers that teach from primary sources that show the soul of history, not just the boring facts, or the twisted revisions to accommodate a relativistic/transient PC worldview, without the knowledge and passion that drove men to act, according to the sovereignty of God, to do what they did.

I don't agree that parents need to fight this battle merely to keep their kids in a public school though.

The current public educational model had it's birth in this country in the 1830s-40s. So did the American Sunday School movement. Similar in purpose, similar ends in the beginning, but the Sunday School movement was modeled after a method designed to create a different society apart from parental influence. Like the public school.

This excerpt quoting Henry Barnard from the Connecticut Common School Journal,1839, from a book by John S. Brubacher: Henry Barnard on Education, McGraw-Hill, 1931

If education was properly understood-if all the influences which go to mould and modify the physical, moral and intellectual habits of a child, were felt to be that child's education-parents and the public would not tolerate such school-houses, with all their bad influences, indoors and out of doors, such imperfect and illiberal school arrangements, in almost every particular, as are
now found in a large majority of the school districts of the State. If they had a proper estimate of the influence of teachers, for good or for evil, for time and eternity, on the character and destiny of their pupils, they would employ, if within the reach of their means, those best qualified to give strength and grace to the body, clearness, vigor and richness to the mind, and the highest and purest feelings to the moral nature of every child entrusted to their care.

(He suggests parents would pay to give the parenting priviledges to teachers...even in 1839!)

He continues:

If the ends of education were regarded, something more would be aimed at that to enable a child to read, write, and cypher, or to attain to any degree of mere knowledge. As far as the individual is concerned, it would be to secure the highest degree of health, powers of accurate observation, and clear reflection, and noble feelings: as far as the public is concerned, the prevention of vice and crime, and the keeping pure of the peace, order, and progress of society.

Parents and society must be made to regard education in this light, as their first concern:

(or else what!)the common school, as the chief instrumentality for accomplishing it; (what about the church?) and the teacher, (Go me! Oh wait! What about God-ordained parental responsibility?), as determining the character of the school. If this can be effected, the work of
improvement will be begun in earnest, and will not cease, until each district school shall witness the triumphs of education.

...We mean a proper preparation for the real business of life

I took this quote from a book by R.J. Rushdoony written in 1963 The Messianic Character of American Public Education, pp 56-57, Ross House Books, reprinted 1995. Get your copy here.

This is now a felt missionary type zeal in all levels of government education. When confronted this zeal turns to an arrogant condescending wrath with outcomes like the 9th Circuit Court's "public educators are better than you parents so butt out and don't expect us to annoy ourselves by taking your desires into consideration" . Of course the court said it in their vernacular here...

... we hold that there is no free-standing fundamental right of parents control the upbringing of their children by introducing them to matters of and relating to sex in accordance with their personal and religious values and beliefs...and that the asserted right is not compassed by any other fundamental right ... We conclude ...that the parents are possessed of no constitutional right to prevent the public schools from providing information on that subject [sex] to their students in any forum or manner they select.

This all said, we need to start first in the church. The "Exit Strategy" by the Southern Baptist Convention, that didn't make it, but will keep coming back, is a start. There has to be a strategy, and the church has to be involved, but not copying a worldly system. The church needs to support the home-school model/methodology so that Christian parents don't take their children out of school blindly.

Fortunately for parents wanting to homeschool, but attend churches that start their missionary program by sending the pre-schoolers of those under their care into the world to be "salt and light", there are a myriad of resources now that make homeschooling feasible. It often merely becomes a lifestyle choice for the parents.

The real difficulty comes when parents who want to take their children out of the public school cannot do so (single parent with financial issues, a mom with an unsupportive husband, etc). The church is, I think, unprepared to handle a large scale exodus. But, I hope I am wrong and I'd love to see the current public schools fail. Oops, they are failing, but I mean to the point that we as Christians feel a powerful conviction to raise our children in the nuture and admonition of the Lord, not in the world. Actually, upon further reflection, it is my prayer that God's mercy and grace is shed on the church that the families choose to take back responsibilities God gave them, rather deferring them to the public school system or Sunday-school teacher, or youth pastor.

I like the family-integrated church model. See what I mean here. I'm glad this is a growing movement across this country. It is a model that is the antithesis of the public school model, and is resisted by other models that have bought in to the methods of the public school (like the Sunday School/Youth pastor in-lieu of parent models).

There, not a short answer after all and I have put all my cards on the table. Strong words and unpopular in many circles, but there you have it.

Oh yes! Be sure to vote today! We don't want anyone in this country thinking they can pull off what they're doing in Germany now to the homeschooling families.

Update....Elections are over and they are what they are. God is sovereign! I have modified this post a little...the way it read before was a little arduous. I did add a little extra content too, and realized that it is a little hard to blog and hold a teething child at the same time. :-)