Government Funded Schools and the Theft of Your Kid

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, August 9, 2017 0 comments

by David Odegard

There was a time in America when children were regarded as belonging to God and entrusted to parents by Him to be raised according to His moral law (see Psalm 127:3). Even though the wealthier parents hired tutors, most local parents banded together to educate their children. Teachers were employed by parents and conformed to their values. The curriculum typically dealt only with classic education: reading, writing, history, arithmetic, and usually some language like Greek or Latin.

There were many benefits to this system; let me point out a few. It was far less expensive than the modern system (yes, I adjusted for inflation). It achieved better academic outcomes. It was locally accountable. It was non-politicized and student-focused. Let me expand these thoughts briefly.

It was far less expensive. Local communities came together, built a little building by themselves, and collected money to hire a teacher. As more children were added to the system, more staff would be added, but costs were always low.

The modern government system is like a morbidly obese man; there is so much cholesterol clogging his bloodstream that he can barely move. Government schools are morbidly obese with grossly expensive, lumbering overhead expenses. The differences between modern public and private school costs are well documented. The higher cost is not because of the teacher’s salary, the cost of the aides, or the salary of the cooks and janitors. It is due to buildings and administration.

But mostly, the real costs of public schools are hidden, and people pay for it indirectly thinking that it is free. Nevertheless, the school budget is typically the highest expenditure in any county or state budget. Public schools cost the taxpayer more per student than the best private schools charge. But is it worth it? Are public schools more effective educators?

The old system produced better academic outcomes. Public school is tragically outdistanced by private school and homeschool performance. Again, think of our morbidly obese man trying to run a race against youngsters; it ain’t happening. Defenders of the public school system blame this performance gap on many factors, but they can’t deny its existence. Furthermore, they have been trying to close the gap for 40 years straight and, regardless of how much money is thrown at the problem, the gap continues to widen! Perhaps the foundational concept upon which the government schools are based is flawed.

Before the government takeover of education took place in America, schools had higher academic standards and more people met those standards. Literacy was higher.

Also, there were better results in mathematics. For example, Ray’s New Practical Arithmetic was published in 1877, served tens of thousands of local schools for generations, and was exponentially better than common core. Furthermore, you can get a free copy anytime you want because it is not published by some rip-off textbook producer like Houghton Mifflin, Harcourt, etc. You can read it for free here. Read the instructions and do the problems; see how far your public school education can get you!

It was locally accountable. Whoever pays the teachers controls education. Even though ALL the money comes from taxpayers, they have little say in how the money is spent because the employer is the government. This is how the con works. Governments collect the school taxes through various means. Then they decide how to allocate it and infuse their own values into that allocation. They ignore the concerns of parents and push their own educational agenda, which is increasingly concerned with social issues and politics. They make themselves the employer at the expense of the parents. Add incredibly powerful unions, giant textbook producers, and the entire political machine of government and the local taxpayer doesn’t have a chance!

The days of parents hiring a teacher are completely gone. Parents, and even school board members, have almost no input into the curriculum, values, and core policies. These are all set at the national level and conformity comes through intense pressure. The ACLU has more influence over your local school’s policy than the school board does. As a small example, look at the way the Obama administration imposed transgender acceptance onto the local school regardless of the millions of parents who were incensed at the idea of their child being exposed to showering with the opposite sex! Also, the transgender focus is in the textbooks as well. Schools have to use them because they are the mandated curriculum. Any parent or teacher can share how the values they hold dear are routinely ignored by administrations and politicians. Teachers, parents, the PTO, and the school board are all mandated policy and nobody is listening to them.

It was non-politicized and student-focused. The pre-government system had only one objective really: to teach the student basic academic skills. And they did. Parents, teachers, and students were the main persons involved in educational decisions. Sometimes school boards try to fight the government as it regards policy and curriculum, but the courts almost always side with the government, enforcing values that parents despise.

In addition to all of this, the notion that God owns the children and that they are entrusted to parents to be brought up to be good, virtuous, and moral has vanished. The state thinks they own not only the children, but also the parents. This creates a moral dilemma for Christians.

As early as the mid 1800’s, progressives like Horace Mann infiltrated the school system with the intention not of education only, but also socialization of their values. They make themselves the employer with your money; they make merchandise of your children; they mock your values to scorn!

It is not equally bad everywhere. My local school district is very good. We have good Christians teaching and in administration. There is as much local control as possible and it sits in a conservative area. Yet, even our school spends about $900,000 a month to deliver education to 800 kids. Several teachers have told me that they hate the common core curriculum, but they can’t change it because the state mandates it. Their consciences are violated when they are not allowed to tell students about the superiority of Intelligent Design over evolutionary theory even though ID is much more plausible scientifically. Teachers also complain that the bad teachers cannot be discarded because of the union protections that are in place. All these things cause the students to suffer.

Sadly, lobbyists are the focus at the state and federal level and the local school has no choice but to comply, causing enormous budgetary overruns. But is there another way that gives local control, reduces costs, and produces better educational outcomes? You bet there is! That will be the topic of the next several weeks as we explore Biblical Education in our pursuit of a comprehensive Christian social ethic.

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