Of those, some surveys show up to 90 percent send their children to public schools.
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Does that affect the faith, worldview, and future church participation of these children? This article looks at the evolution of education in America—its original intent through its reformation into the modern public school system— as well as the outcome for Christian students and the important role that Christian education plays in the future of the church. Still, many well-meaning Christian parents attend church on Sunday with their children who may attend Sunday school classes and participate in youth group and assume this will be enough.
In the book Already Gone , the authors reveal research that indicates more than 60 percent of twenty-somethings who were churched as teens are now disengaged from the church. To fully gaze the great distance public education has come, one has to pinpoint where it started in America and how the seeds of secularism were sown. Public schools were first contrived by the Puritans in Massachusetts in as it took shape under the Old Deluder Satan Act. The very purpose of the act was to ensure children would be able to read Scripture.
Making A Difference: Christian Educators in Public Schools
It is therefore ordered that every township in this jurisdiction after the Lord hath increased them to fifty households shall forthwith appoint one within their town to teach all such children as shall resort to him to write and read. And, so, public schooling in America was underway. This was the foundation from which the founding generation of our nation was educated. No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.
His intent was to provide educational tools such as the Blue Back Speller and his dictionary for children to provide a uniquely American, Christ-centered approach to teaching. The Blue Back Speller , which is rife with biblical references, became the staple for parents and educators for more than years and helped to build the most literate nation in the history of the West. Further, The New England Primer was the first textbook ever printed in America and was used to teach reading and Bible lessons in schools until the 20th century.
In fact, this too was so widespread in colonial America that many of the Founding Fathers and their children learned to read from The New England Primer.
Noah Webster authored the Blue Back Speller, which was filled with biblical references and from which many Americans in the founding era learned to read. This way of thinking was pervasive in the founding era of our nation. They reasoned from biblical principles and applied them to every area of life. Their biblical worldview informed their moral compass and permeated their thinking. Indeed, this thinking shaped our Founders, it shaped the ideas of liberty that made America unlike any other nation.
It was, perhaps, inevitable that efforts to erode that biblical foundation would come. It is significant that a man who crafted education as it is today in America signed on to A Humanist Manifesto and was part of the American Humanist Association. The manifesto itself had just 34 signers and 15 brief points.
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John Dewey, a signer of A Humanist Manifesto, is credited as the architect of modern education in America. So, to what did this educational architect sign his name? The goal of humanism is a free and universal society in which people voluntarily and intelligently cooperate for the common good. Humanists demand a shared life in a shared world. It seems this last point of A Humanist Manifesto is realizing fulfillment in public schools.
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Each statement is framed to either agree or disagree with a biblical principle. In , the test showed that 90 percent of students from Christian homes attending public schools score in a range that indicates that their views are firmly grounded in basic tenets of secularism. This chart from the Nehemiah Institute illustrates the results of its PEERS test, which reveals worldview for students from Christian homes in public schools, homeschools, traditional Christian schools, and biblical worldview schools like Dayspring.
Nearly 90 percent of students in public schools who are from Christian homes test in the category of Secularism. However, students at biblical worldview schools, such as Dayspring Christian Academy, score significantly higher with many testing in the Biblical Theism range. Dewey had a worldview that he signed on to, and he used the public education system to disseminate it.
Court case after court case has upheld the removal of God from schools. Prayer in school, the reading of the Bible in school, prayer at football games, and more have been banned from public schools. So, Christian students are in public schools. Do those seeds of secular humanism matter, if the children attend church on Sunday?
One must consider the amount of time spent sowing and watering or teaching and learning. By the time children graduate from high school, they will have spent 14, hours in school classrooms. If you spent 14, hours developing a skill, would you have mastered it? Would you be able to teach others the skill? The answer to both of these questions likely is yes.
The same is true of worldview. A child will spend 14, hours in school where he or she will develop a worldview. While the child may be exposed to the principles of the Bible through home and church, a child will spend an average of just 1, hours over his school years in church if he or she regularly attends.
Compare that with being educated in a secular setting for 14, hours over many years. Too, the Bible clearly instructs parents on the proper education of children.
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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. It should, then, give pause to Christian families to hand over the education of their children to the State. Ministering to young people Teachers have more direct access to young people than almost anyone else in their lives except for their parents.
An elementary school teacher spends an average of hours with their students each week. They care for the emotional and physical needs of the child. Most adults can point to a teacher who has impacted their life. So in such an important role, teachers with a ministering heart can be a kind voice that helps a student to grow in all aspects of their life.
Students come to their teachers for advice Students often approach teachers for help with academic problems as well as with struggles or conflicts in their life. Teachers who have earned an education degree at a Christian university are uniquely equipped to address these student concerns with compassion and the love of Christ. While Christian teachers are sometimes constrained against sharing the Gospel directly, they are free to guide young people in wise directions and to give biblical advice.
Teachers are role-models Christian teachers can show students that there is a different way to live. By being people of integrity who are living a fulfilling life, they serve as a positive example for the young people they educate. If students ask direct questions about their teachers, they are free to share their beliefs.
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And while there may be unpleasant political repercussions, it is not illegal for Christian teachers to respond directly. Decisions about management, handling conflict, responding to authority, showing compassion — you name it — comes out of who the teacher is.
Christianity as a teacher — in action in the classroom — is probably the strongest testimony to students, parents and administrators there can be. A Christian teacher has an unusually large stage and audience with which to share their life. Prayer not only changes lives, it changes classrooms! Want to learn more about how to be a Christian teacher?
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