A thought-provoking National Review op-ed by Tony Perkins and Cathy Ruse of Family Research Council (FRC) challenges Christians to take new approaches to their children’s education in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, Perkins and Ruse urge Christian parents to consider options other than traditional public schools.
The two authors make a strong argument on educational, civic, and spiritual grounds. Many of America’s public schools are failing miserably at the basic tasks of teaching reading and math to their students; according to Perkins and Ruse, two out of three American students are unable to read at their respective grade levels. Furthermore, the authors point out that public school social studies curricula are “morphing into lessons in civic action from a leftist perspective.” Frighteningly, the authors cite research showing that “Christian children who attend public schools tend to lose their Christian worldview at a far greater rate than children in other education settings… 90 percent of public-schooled Christian teens who attended church [abandoned] their Christian worldview…” The authors also point out the increasing influence of the LGBT movement upon public schools.
Perkins and Ruse contend that “there is no better time to make a change than right now, when public education is in chaos. Parent resource groups are forming to help families make an exit strategy and find the best education option for their children. Today, there are more options than ever.” Those options include Christian schools; charter schools; homeschooling; “‘hybrid homeschooling,’” wherein “children are homeschooled part of the week and learn in a more traditional school setting with other students” at other times;” and “pandemic pods,” in which parents in a particular social group or neighborhood hire a teacher to teach a small group of students. Perkins and Ruse also call upon governments to pursue school voucher programs and challenge every church to start a school of its own.
In fact, Joseph Backholm, FRC’s Senior Fellow for Biblical Worldview and Strategic Engagement, recently authored a resource entitled “Why Every Church Should Start a Christian School“. If your church is considering starting a private school, you may want to review the State Office of Religious and Independent Schools’ website. The site offers guidance on how to start a non-public school.
New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms wholeheartedly supports the ideas set forth by Perkins and Ruse. Why should parents continue sending their children to schools that fail them on so many levels? And why should parents who opt out of the public school system be required to use their own money to do so while the property taxes that they pay are used to educate someone else’s children?