Tag archives: Education

Child Advocacy Starts at Home

by Molly Carman

June 24, 2020

In a lively debate on June 15, Elizabeth Bartholet and Kerry McDonald discussed homeschooling, parental rights, and the state’s responsibility in education. Bartholet serves as a professor at Harvard University, and McDonald is a homeschooling mother who also serves as an adjunct professor and has dedicated her life to protecting the rights of homeschooling families. Milton Gaither joined the discussion as a professor from Messiah College. Neal McCluskey, the director of the Center for Educational Freedom at the CATO Institute, moderated the debate, presenting the questions sent in and directing the overall conversation.

The primary question posed in the debate was whether the state should intervene in the homes of homeschooling families to ensure that the rights of children are protected. While parents are usually the primary care givers of their children, who is ultimately responsible for a child’s education, the parents or the state? This is a fundamental question with far-reaching implications. How one answers it is ultimately determined by one’s convictions on the role of the state and family.

As was revealed in the debate, Bartholet believes that parents should not be trusted with the final responsibility for educating their children. She is suspicious of parents, and believes children need to be exposed to ideas that compete with their parent’s worldview from an early age. However, in Ephesians 6:4, Paul says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Bartholet disagrees and says that the state should bring up children in the way they should go.

In her opening statement, Bartholet argued, “Children should have rights that are equivalent to adults because children are not able to protect themselves like adults are.” Because of the cases of child abuse involving homeschooling families, she concludes that the state should have higher regulations imposed upon homeschoolers in order to prevent abuse or neglect of children. She proposed state home visits and “a balance” between state intervention and parental control when it comes to rearing children.

Bartholet is concerned about three main issues: the academic, physical, and ideological wellbeing of all children. “My problem is not with homeschooling per se,” she said, “but with the lack of regulations on homeschooling.” Bartholet says that parents cannot be trusted to take good care of their children because they are not “certified,” and therefore, there needs to be state intervention in order to ensure that all children have a chance to make it in life.

Academically, Bartholet is concerned that homeschool students cannot meet the requirements set out by standardization in the school system. She claimed homeschoolers only do “pretty well” academically. McDonald responded by asking, “Whose standard? Where two out of three of public school students can’t read? The public schools’ standards?” Homeschooling families recognize that the standard for academic excellence in the public schools is not the standard they desire for their children. Homeschooling is “another form of private education,” says McDonald, “and parents ought to be allowed to escape the situation.”

In terms of the physical wellbeing of children, McDonald responded to Bartholet’s concerns by calling attention to the fact that government schools are highly regulated and yet, “One in 10 students who attend public government schools will be sexually mistreated by a staff member by the time they graduate high school.” Nationally, McDonald explained, “That’s five million kids!” Moreover, she noted that at least half of all students grades four to 12 are bullied at least once a month. In other words, children who attend school are not necessarily more physically safe than homeschooled children.

Unfortunately, there have been cases of allegedly abusive parents removing their children from the public school system and beginning to “homeschool” them in order to avoid further inquiry. The public schools are aware of these children, and yet child services do nothing. According to the National Home Education Research Institute, “Legally homeschooled students are 40% less likely to die of child abuse or neglect than the average student nationally.”

Finally, Bartholet is concerned that homeschool students are ideologically isolated from the world and are not getting exposed to other ideas. She argued, “Children have a right to exposure to some other people and ideas about how one might live their life. So that when they become adults, they have some meaningful opportunity to choose something other than the views, the values, the culture that their own parents have chosen.” McDonald responded by noting, “You cannot mandate exposure to other positions.” Ironically, it is also noted in the debate that while Bartholet wants to regulate the exposure of homeschool students to other ideas, the public school system is not mandated to require exposure to specific religious ideologies.

So, why do I care about this debate? Because I was homeschooled throughout grade school, and just last month, I graduated from university. Looking back on my education experience, I believe my parents advocated for me by personalizing my education, encouraging a love of learning, teaching critical thinking skills, and making me feel safe at home. Homeschooling gave me an opportunity to learn more than just the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic and how to take the SAT. It provided me with opportunities to see the world and learn firsthand about other cultures and history. In other words, homeschooling prepared me for life. My parents were well-suited to advocate for me because they know and love me. The state is simply not capable of advocating for me in this way; they do not love or know me as my parents do. Child advocacy starts at home, and what better way than through homeschooling?

Christian parents have a biblical responsibility to oversee their children’s education. While homeschooling may not be the right option for everyone, all parents have a role to play and must be actively involved. Moreover, Christian parents have a special responsibility to disciple their children in the faith. A child’s spiritual formation cannot be delegated to the church, a youth group, or a Christian school. Discipleship begins and ends in the home. While the church should complement the spiritual education that takes place in the home, it can never replace the role that parents play in cultivating their child’s walk with God. In fact, in the Old Testament, Jewish parents were charged specifically with the responsibility to teach God’s law to their children. In Deuteronomy 6:7, Moses said, “You shall teach them diligently to your children, 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.” Teaching our children to walk in the fear and admonition of the Lord is an ongoing way of life that never ends. Thus, while homeschooling may not be for everyone, Christian parents must steward the time God has given them with their children well and do everything in their ability to raise children who love, follow, and obey God. 

Bartholet is right to be concerned about a child academically, physically, and ideologically. She is correct in saying that we should protect children from harmful situations, but she is misguided in suggesting that parents and the home are harmful to a child’s well-being. Christian parents have the opportunity, through homeschooling, to advocate for their children by teaching them academically from a biblical worldview, by playing with them and physically being present in their daily lives, and by helping them to foster a relationship and love for the Lord. Child advocacy starts at home, not necessarily because the state is incapable, but because of the God-given responsibility of parents to raise the next generation to love and fear Him.

Molly Carman is a policy intern at Family Research Council.

Homeschooled Students Make Good, Knowledgeable Citizens, Despite What Elites Say

by Laura Grossberndt

April 24, 2020

Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Bartholet recently stirred up controversy when she suggested that homeschooling ought to be illegal. She is concerned that homeschooling poses significant risks to children, including depriving them of a “meaningful education,” and may even make them bad citizens.

Bartholet chose a curious time to try to convince the American public that homeschooling ought to be banned. For one thing, due to the COVID-19 epidemic, all schooling is currently taking place at home. And for another, there is the news that only 15 percent of eighth-graders scored at or above proficiency level in U.S. history on the recently released National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) 2018 Report Card.

What do U.S. history scores have to do with the validity of homeschooling as an educational model? A great deal. Bartholet fears that homeschooled children will not “grow up exposed to…democratic values, ideas about nondiscrimination and tolerance of other people’s viewpoints.” I believe this fear is misplaced. An education in history is crucial to forming high regard for democratic values, nondiscrimination, and respecting other viewpoints. After all, how is one supposed to value our democratic republic and the ideals it embraces if they don’t know what a democratic republic is or what sets it apart from other forms of government? How is one to recognize the tell-tale signs of discrimination, and how is one to learn to sympathize with the realities and struggles of those different than them, without hearing the stories of people from the past?

Homeschooled students have higher-than-average scores in U.S. history (or “civics” or “social studies” as it is often called in curricula), and adults who were homeschooled vote and participate in community service and public meetings more frequently than their peers. If education in history is crucial to instilling high regard for democratic values, nondiscrimination, and respect for other viewpoints, then most homeschooled students would appear to be in reasonably good shape, despite Bartholet’s concerns, and public schools likely have room for improvement.

I’m not just speaking theoretically, but from personal experience. I was homeschooled from first through tenth grade. This educational decision, while financially costly to my family (my mother, who holds a master’s degree, stayed home instead of earning our family a second paycheck), afforded my family with expansive learning opportunities. Because we weren’t bound by a school calendar, our family was free to take field trips wherever and whenever we wanted. Nearly every family vacation had an educational aspect to it. We visited Boston and Philadelphia. We trekked Revolutionary and Civil War battlefields. We visited presidential homesteads and slave huts. We visited museums and watched documentaries. All these experiences brought history to life for me in a way no textbook ever could. Because we lived in the eastern U.S., none of these trips even required stepping onto an airplane.

You don’t have to be a homeschool family to take these kinds of trips. But time constraints certainly make them harder. And who knows if I would have enjoyed these trips half as much if my mother and teacher (for they were one and the same) hadn’t been experiencing them with me and transforming her passion for history into a lifelong passion of my own.

My rich education in U.S. history, provided by my homeschool experience, has taught me to cherish our form of government. It has taught me to grieve injustices in America’s past (slavery, Jim Crow laws, etc.) and motivates me to fight against current injustices (abortion, sexual exploitation, etc.). It has taught me to respect the human dignity and opinions of others, including those who think very differently than I do. It even taught me to entertain the possibility that I may be wrong or underinformed on a topic of debate.

Homeschooling may not be the right educational choice for every student or family situation, but it provided me with an exceedingly “meaningful education,” despite Elizabeth Bartholet’s concerns. It has been said that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” My mother did her best to raise a child who wouldn’t be condemned to such a fate. Let us all—parents, teachers, policymakers, and community members—recommit ourselves to teaching history in every educational model—home, public, and private—so that future generations can learn to treasure the good things in our history and how to avoid the errors.

Schooling at Home: Educational Resources for Parents

by Meg Kilgannon

April 3, 2020

With much of the nation under “shelter in place” or “stay at home” advisories, most school buildings have closed, some for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. There is a wide disparity among school districts in terms of how individual schools will help parents facilitate learning. American parents find themselves in an unprecedented situation: working from home (if they are so fortunate) while simultaneously serving as school teacher, administrator, and child wrangler.

Like many of you, many of us here at FRC are working from home during this crisis. Like you, we are managing family needs and school while working to protect and promote family values in our nation’s capital and across the country.

Some of our staff has always homeschooled. These families are challenged by canceled co-ops, classes, therapies, sports, and playgroups—just like traditional school families. Others on staff have children in Christian schools or public schools. And with all schools closed, these parents are navigating a variety of situations. Some schools have moved seamlessly to online studies; others are still figuring things out. But all of us are struggling with the same less-than-ideal situation and are challenged to make the best of it for ourselves, our families, and our country.

In this post, we will share some resources we have found useful, and would love to hear from you about what you are doing to manage your children’s education during this time. This is a very real way we can support each other and do our part to help keep America safe and healthy.

The U.S. Department of Education’s coronavirus page is jam packed with information for both schools and parents. Scroll down for the “At Home Activities” section which includes links to federal agencies with worksheets and virtual tours that can keep children both entertained and informed about our beautiful country’s natural resources, wildlife, space programs, geography, and the arts. There are also reminders and links about staying healthy and preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

Some of our favorite general advice has come from parents who are also leaders or educational advocates.

The videos on this website are fun, informative, and reassuring. Just a few minutes on this website will convince you that you really can do it—you really can work and school your children at home during this crisis (and maybe even anytime). The enthusiasm of these Texas moms is contagious and just what we need.

If your school district is on hold or you are taking the rest of the year off from school, these activities will keep children and teens busy while parents are working from home. As FRC is unable to vet each item on every website, we encourage you to trust your judgement in finding materials that are appropriate for your family and reflect your values.

Resources for Parents Who Find Themselves Schooling at Home, by Subject

In Virginia, for example, parents in some districts are still waiting for resources and lessons from schools. Other districts and states have moved nimbly to online learning. In case you’re waiting for school resources, want to supplement lessons provided, or just need additional help, we offer the following list of resources. FRC believes in the primacy of parental rights, and works to protect parents’ role as the primary educators of their children. We expect that parents will maintain vigilance in reviewing materials for use by children who are schooling at home.

For Math:

These websites have everything from math fact worksheets to projects and lectures that support higher level mathematics.

For Language Arts:

Take this time to read. Perhaps have a read aloud book for the whole family. Encourage each family member to keep a journal during this time. It will be a record of an important period in American and world history—the Pandemic of 2019-2020. Write letters to friends and loved ones who may feel isolated during this time.

If your school, library, or any organization recommends a reading list, carefully monitor those recommendations. As our friends at Parent and Child Loudoun can attest, there is problematic and even pornographic content lurking in children’s and young adult literature these days.

For Autistic/Sensory Integration Issue Children:

This resource from the UK is interesting and helpful for autism and sensory issues.

The University of Virginia has helps for parents of children on the autism spectrum, including webinars, zoom conferences, and scheduling ideas, just to name a few. Their most recent newsletter has helps and links.

Science and Nature:

Easy science projects can involve cooking and baking. What makes bread rise? What happens when you prepare a recipe but leave out an ingredient? Spring is a great time to start a small herb garden or take on a bigger project. Victory Gardens are back in style, which link American history to natural science and conservation. Take pictures of plants and trees on your walks and identify them from books or online resources. Teach children practical skills, like figuring out ordinal directions through clues from nature.

From the founders of ABCmouse is Adventure Academy, a resource suitable for 8 to 12-year-olds. While not free, it offers animated and interactive games, projects, and lessons geared toward elementary-aged students.

As with all subjects, science topics can be overly politicized or include concepts like Darwinism and “mindfulness.” Math word problems can include scenarios which subtly undermine Christian teaching on marriage, such as a same-sex couple planning a wedding, or reference to a student’s two dads or two moms. We remind you to be on guard for these types of messages in your children’s assignments.

Physical Education:

Getting fresh air and sunshine is important for everyone’s physical and mental health. Please maintain social distancing while on walks or runs. Jumping rope (sanitized ropes only please), skipping races, and scavenger hunts are all options for getting your heart rate up and burning off some energy. Here are a few links we liked:

Art Therapy:

How about coloring pages and connect-the-dots using characters from the Bible?

History:

Suitable for high school students and more advanced middle school students, WallBuilders—an organization dedicated to the accurate teaching and representation of American history—offers helpful links and resources on everything from Creationism, to Black History, to the Founding Fathers. While this site is recommended for older students, it does include links to YouTube, so parental supervision is recommended.

Virtual Tours – These websites host their own tours, making it a little safer than YouTube tours which also can come with objectionable advertising, suggested content you might not prefer, or an automatic continuation to a site you don’t approve. You can find tours of museums in Washington, D.C., Buckingham Palace, Musee D’Orsay in Paris, churches from around the world, and many more. But we remind parents to monitor children’s activities anytime they are online.

More Resources

Finally, with the disclaimer that we have not reviewed each and every item here, these links include resources for every school subject with multiple links for each. This is for parents to review themselves and decide if individual links are helpful to your family. For example, PBS has some problematic content, but that doesn’t mean everything on the website is dangerous. It’s important for parents to select materials from this list and direct children to your approved resources, not just let kids log on and click around.

Share Your Resources and Ideas With Us!

Please share your resources and ideas with us by going to the Contact FRC page and entering “Schooling at Home Resources” in the subject line, and we will post a follow-up blog with what everybody shared. We’d love to hear from you! We are all in this together, working, praying, and staying healthy. Americans will do what we must to defeat this virus and keep our families strong, safe, and free for generations to come.

Meg Kilgannon is an Education Research Associate at Family Research Council.

Keep Your Kids Home on Transgender Propaganda Day This Thursday!

by Cathy Ruse

February 25, 2020

Do you want your child to be psychologically manipulated at school on Thursday? Might be a good day for a Mommy Date at the museum!

The anti-Christian Human Rights Campaign and their pals at the powerful National Education Association are pushing public schools to recognize this Thursday as “Jazz and Friends National Day of School & Community Readings.” 

One of the books they are promoting is I Am Jazz, a transgender propaganda book designed for children. It is based on the real-life story of “Jazz,” a child who was convinced that he was born in the wrong body. As a child he was injected with hormones to block his normal sexual development, and recently he had radical surgery to complete his “transition” to another sex. Which, of course, is impossible.

Activists groups are trying to make the reading of this book an annual event. 

The day will be used to promote gender deviance and LGBT politics to vulnerable children. Not all schools are doing it. Yet. But some are.

In one Arlington, Va. school, “mystery readers” are scheduled to come and read to the children. The school has not revealed to parents who they are and what they will read. Wow.

Here’s what a group of concerned parents in Arlington are doing about it.

If you do find out your child’s school is hosting a “Jazz and Friends” event, you can also opt your child out. Here is a template for an opt-out letter to use.

Find out what’s happening in your school!

Will Your Child Be Forced to Celebrate Sex Politics 15 Times This School Year?

by Cathy Ruse

September 30, 2019

Powerful forces are pushing your child’s public school to celebrate sex politics this year—15 times!

How many of these events have made it onto your school’s calendar? Find out today.

For the 2019-2020 School Year:

1. Banned Books Week (September 22-28, 2019) – Includes books that have never been banned, but have been the subject of parental concern because of age-inappropriate sexual content.

2. Ally Week (September 23-27, 2019) – Pressures students to declare themselves “allies” of students or teachers who identify as LGBT.

3. Bisexual Awareness Week (September 16-23)

4. LGBTQ History Month (Month of October 2019) – Labels historical figures as LGBT, even when they never identified as such.

5. National Coming Out Day (October 11, 2019)

6. International Pronouns Day (October 16, 2019) – Ignores the fact that forced declaration of one’s own pronouns, or false pronouns for others, violates free speech and religious freedom.

7. Spirit Day (October 17, 2019) – Encourages students and teachers to wear purple, and highlights LGBT bullying (even polite dissent can be characterized as “bullying”).

8. Transgender Awareness Week (November 12-19, 2019)

9. Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20, 2019)

10. No Name-Calling Week (January 20-27, 2020)

11. Transgender Day of Visibility (March 31, 2020)

12. Day of Silence (April 24, 2020) – Known as the “high holy day” of LGBT activism.

13. International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (May 17, 2020)

14. Harvey Milk Day (May 22, 2020)

15. LGBTQ” Pride Month (June 2020)

Parents: You have the legal right to withhold and refuse consent for your child to participate in school events, assemblies, classes, or activities that violate your beliefs.

Your family’s faith and beliefs deserve respect. Demand it.

Remember, LGBTQ lobbyists are getting their “high holy days” on the school calendar even while many school districts are scrubbing Christmas Break for “Winter Break,” Easter Break for “Spring Break,” and Columbus Day for “Indigenous People’s Day.”

To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln: The philosophy of the public school in one generation will be the philosophy of the culture in the next.

Imagine what could happen if government schools just focused on providing an excellent education!

Thanks to Mission America for assembling the calendar events. Read here for more details.

4 Resources for Parents to Fight Transgender Ideology and Policy in Public Schools

by Family Research Council

September 9, 2019

As the new school year begins, parents are discovering that transgender ideology and policy has taken hold in schools across the country. Teachers are being disciplined and fired for refusing to use the preferred pronouns of transgender-identifying students, kids are being locked in to transgender identities that they would otherwise naturally grow out of, girls are having to fend for themselves after finding boys who think they are girls in their restrooms, showers, and locker rooms, and boys who think they are girls are competing in and winning girls’ sporting events.

Here are some resources to help parents advocate for their children and stand up to the transgender trend that has infiltrated our nation’s schools.

1. A Parent’s Guide to the Transgender Movement in Education

This brochure from FRC helpfully defines terms associated with the transgender movement and gives an overview of the cultural and political moment that we are in. It covers how to talk to your children about transgender issues, how to talk to your child’s teacher about your concerns, how to become a citizen activist, how to engage your church, and provides a listing of other resources.

2. Panel Discussion: Transgender Ideology in Public Schools: Parents Fight Back

This panel discussion features the perspectives of a school board member, parents of students, and legal and policy experts. This wide-ranging and thought-provoking discussion and Q&A session is a great resource for talking points on the scope of the transgender issue and strategies on how parents can effectively advocate for their children and approach school officials and teachers.

3. Parent Resource Guide: Educating and Equipping Parents on the Transgender Trend

The Minnesota Family Council (MFC) has put together a comprehensive guide for parents on how to navigate the transgender movement in schools. According to MFC, the guide “clarifies confusing terminology, describes the health consequences of the transgender trend, debunks popular myths, and offers a wealth of constructive ideas for parents who want to work with their schools to foster a genuinely inclusive climate based on truth and compassion.”

4. We Fought the Transgender Activists, and Lost. Here Are 5 Lessons for Every Parent.

This helpful article by Kristen Allen at The Daily Signal provides a great overview of the lessons she and her fellow activists learned after losing a battle with Arlington County School Board in Virginia.

California Wants to Force Teachers to Propagate the LGBT Agenda

by Nicolas Reynolds

August 2, 2019

Parents across the country are rightfully concerned about efforts in the public school system to indoctrinate their children with a leftist agenda. In California, the LGBT lobby is taking this effort a step further: attempting to indoctrinate teachers.

Offered as an attempt to create a “safer environment” for LGBTQ students, A.B. 493 would require junior high and high school teachers to receive training on how to “support” students struggling with same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria. However, this “training” of teachers to “mentor” such students looks much more like state-sponsored, politically-correct coercion. This piece of legislation strong-arms public school teachers who are Christian to violate their consciences, affirming beliefs contrary to their sincerely-held religious beliefs.

To ensure all teachers leave their religious convictions at the door, specific “training”—adhering to curriculum written by “leading experts in supporting LGBTQ pupils”—is required to be taken by every junior high and high school teacher in public schools. Additionally, this training requires “sustained input and participation” from teachers, guaranteeing that teachers are understanding and complying with the LGBTQ agenda. The training required by this bill is a blatant violation of a teacher’s right to think freely and counsel adolescents according to their genuine and true religious worldview.

Two school districts in California (Moraga School District and Unified School District) have already implemented this “training” for teachers. Those having undergone the training have explained how the sessions did far more than merely inform teachers about how to counsel pupils who identify as LGBTQ. Rather, teachers were asked invasive questions regarding their own personal upbringing, such as whether or not they were raised to “believe there are two genders,” and if their “parents ever discuss[ed] choices… of gender.” Teachers that explained that their parents taught biblical (and scientifically correct) beliefs like the binary nature of sex were shamed and told their views were backward and wrong. Trainees were given additional information about how to deal with LGBTQ-identifying students and were explicitly told that they must keep a student’s sexual orientation and identity secret from parents. 

Though no school can or will ever replace the necessary nurturing that a family gives a child, teachers are sometimes the only ones that can come close to giving students the objective wisdom and care that they are tragically not receiving at home. A.B 493 would successfully ban all junior high and high school teachers in public schools from giving any ounce of honest guidance about sexual orientation and gender identity to students who come and ask them for direction. As mandated by the bill, teachers would be required to affirm LGBT identities and refer students to activist organizations.

 A.B. 493 undermines the ability of students to receive proper care and desecrates teachers’ rights to govern themselves according to their religious convictions. Partner with FRC and lend your voice in opposition to this destructive piece of legislation that deviates from the core principles this country was founded upon. If you or someone you know lives in California, click here to take action and oppose this bill that indoctrinates public school teachers.

Nicolas Reynolds is an intern at Family Research Council.

The Future of Our Nation Depends on the State of Our Schools

by Cathy Ruse

May 30, 2019

This week the Supreme Court declined to accept a case over whether government schools may force students to follow transgender ideology in official school policies, against science and female students’ privacy rights.

They won’t be able to avoid the issue for long.

We send our children to private, Christian schools. Tuition is high; the financial burden on our family is significant.

But we have determined that government schools are just not an option.

Still, I have come to believe that the future of our nation depends on the state of our public schools.

Last week I chaired a panel on education at Family Research Council’s Watchmen on the Wall conference for pastors.

I opened the panel with the premise that today’s government schools are a serious threat to the minds and souls of Christian children in America.

Is that an overstatement? I don’t believe it is.

Fewer than 5 percent of U.S. kids are homeschooled today. Only 10 percent attend private schools.

The vast majority of American children are educated in government schools—schools that are declining academically, despite the mountains of tax dollars we heap on them.

The notion that a nation’s schools might promote the cause of the nation is a relic of the past. American public schools are often hostile to America. There is much less history taught today—less civics, but more activism. Capitalism is degraded, socialism is promoted—with our tax dollars.

Every week brings news of another school district embracing radical sex-ed for kids, in the face of parental objections—or worse: behind parents’ backs.

Worse even than graphic sex lessons is the new transgender ideology that is forced on children in public schools.

The Human Rights Campaign, Planned Parenthood, Genderspectrum.org, and GLSEN (the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network) are targeting public schools.

They’re going into schools with slick lesson plans for teachers. They demand an answer to the question: “Are you a safe space for LGBT kids? If so, put up this sticker in your classroom.” And so the walls of our public schools are littered with political propaganda that families would never allow in their own homes.

Genderspectrum.org has what looks like a war room chart—four ways to get transgender theory into a public school. They call them “entry points”: interpersonal, instructional, and so on.

One mom at a targeted school said: “Entry points are what a thief uses to break into your house. It feels very much the same way to me.”

And they have gained entry.

Many school districts are now teaching the innocent souls under their care that some of them are born in the wrong body.

Most people know that’s a lie. We know that every child is born in exactly the right body. But it’s children who are being propagandized this way. And it’s a very short step from rejecting God’s creation to rejecting God.

What are these schools doing to children’s souls?

A 2016 nationwide survey found that 35 percent of college freshman call themselves atheist or agnostic. Thirty-five percent.

Now, keep in mind, this is not the result of some radical college professor. These are incoming freshmen, reflecting the cumulative influence of 13 years of public education.

The environment in public schools is hostile to people of faith today. Religious viewpoints are shunned and are replaced with a dogmatic secularism.

Christian families must wake up to the fact that public schools are an actively and strongly secularizing agent in Christian children’s lives.

But the answer cannot be simply to turn our backs or walk away.

There is far too much public money on the table to leave to the ideologues in the education industry to mold the next generation in their image.

Justice demands that we help these children—we’re talking about 86 percent of American kids.

But wisdom demands it, too. These kids will be our nation’s future teachers, doctors, lawyers, politicians, and presidents.

As Abraham Lincoln said: “The philosophy of the school room in one generation, will be the philosophy of government in the next.”

And also the philosophy of the culture in the next.

We must help families who have no other choice for their kids. We must also help the many good and faithful teachers and administrators who are faithful to their calling to educate and not indoctrinate, but who feel isolated and alone against the tide.

If we care about our nation, we must care first about our nation’s schools.

Education Reform: 6 Ways to Help Students Flourish

by Zachary Rogers

February 20, 2019

The American education system is in need of reform. According to a Pew Research Center report, educational attainment is low, and American students rank in the middle on science, mathematics, and reading, placing them behind their peers in other countries. Parents concerned with the character and morals of their children are also often disappointed by the secularization that has taken hold in many schools. Americans, in particular Christians, need options.

Top down control of the education system by Washington, which has turned education into a bureaucratic endeavor, has been a failure. Repeated endeavors from the federal government since 1965 has led to falling standards, while oversight, bureaucracy, meddling, and parent dissatisfaction have all increased. The blame for this rests squarely on both the Republican and Democratic parties. This shift from the norm of locally funded and locally controlled schools has led parents to search for other options, which in turn led to the birth of the school choice movement.

There are multiple ways to provide the options parents want to meet the unique needs of their children. Here are a few:

1. Charter Schools

Charter schools are similar to public schools in that they are tuition free, are non-selective, and are operated by an independent board of governors. They are required to comply with all state laws regarding religion, discrimination, and employment. The difference between a standard public school and a charter public school is flexibility. They are allowed to have a mission, develop a curriculum related to the mission, and select teachers able to achieve the mission. Charter schools partner with parents to meet the needs of their children.

2. Education Savings Accounts

Education savings accounts are another method of providing parents with choice. Rather than send the per-pupil funding the state would have sent to the neighborhood school, the state deposits that amount into a savings account on behalf of a student whose parents select this option. With this money, parents are able to craft a slew of simultaneous learning options for their children. For example, a child may take an online class while enrolled in a charter school and receive private tutoring for the violin. In 2019, there are many options for receiving an education. Education Savings Accounts allow parents to find a quality one.

3. Vouchers

K-12 vouchers are scholarships that allow families to send their children to private schools. They are often used to provide assistance for children with disabilities, low income students, or students who are trapped in a failing school.

4. A Return to Local School Board Control

Education-related decision making should be returned to the state and local levels. Historically, it was the state and local school board that handled education matters. This preserved liberty by respecting the principle of federalism and promoted the involvement and control of those most concerned with the welfare of students—parents, local officials, and members of the school board. This system was progressively abandoned. Beginning in the 1960’s and up to the present day, the compliance issues and costs associated with federal programs such as Common Core and the Every Student Succeeds Act have become burdensome. State and local districts are better positioned to understand and respond to the issues faced by parents and students than federal bureaucrats.

5. Tax Credits

A tax credit scholarship program allows people to get a tax credit for donating to a scholarship program. They allow state taxpayers to receive a full or partial tax credit against their tax obligations. These state-based tax credit scholarship programs are an important part of sustaining private school choice. They enable scholarship programs, funded by individuals or corporations, to provide scholarships to the needy or deserving, allowing parents to find the private schools their children need.

6. Homeschooling

Homeschooling is quite simply the practice of educating your children at home. Parents do this for different reasons—dissatisfaction with public or private school academics, dangerous school environments, or the desire to impart religious instruction. Homeschooled students may be taught by parents, guardians, or tutors. Homeschooling has been a traditional method of education since our country’s founding, and it has seen a surge in popularity since the 1980s. Since then, the number of homeschoolers has increased and with it a proliferation of resources and networks.

Conservatives and Christians who value the responsibility to care for their children, a responsibility that carries over to the duty of educating them, should support school choice. They should do so for multiple reasons. First, every child has unique interests and needs—school choice allows parents to meet them. Second, it protects liberty by returning control to state and local officials. Third, parents who are concerned about the morals being taught to, the lack of safety for, or the type of education methods used on their children can find the right school to satisfy those concerns. Fourth, it allows parents to take advantage of technology and the plethora of resources available to them that might not be available in their child’s current school. Finally, it brings market pressures to bear upon bad schools.

For these reasons school choice should be high on the agenda of state legislators, conservatives, and Christians.

Zachary Rogers is a Government Affairs intern at Family Research Council.

The Cost of Sending Your Kids to Public School Just Might Be Their Souls

by Cathy Ruse

February 11, 2019

Recent decades have seen “Mommy Wars” about daycare and breastfeeding. Are we on the cusp of a new fight over whether to send your kids to public school?

If so, I say bring it on. It’s long overdue.

Should we pull our kids out of public school? Millions of parents with children in public schools can’t believe they’re asking this question. But they are.

Family Research Council hosted an expert panel on this question last week. Grab a cup of coffee and an hour and watch it here.

The panel features Mary Hasson, a lawyer and writer with the Ethics and Public Policy Center discussing her new book, Get Out Now: Why You Should Pull Your Child from Public School Before It’s Too Late.

The first consideration for people of faith is, well, faith. Does attending government schools impact a child’s faith as an adult? Hasson cited bracing research that suggests it does. In one study on Catholic children, only 5 percent continued to practice their faith as adults after going through public school as kids, compared to 40 percent who kept their faith after attending Catholic schools. Evangelical children experience a similar loss of their Christian faith.

Not only are American public schools hostile to religious faith, there are hostile to America. Hasson discussed how there is much less history taught today—less civics, but more activism. Capitalism is degraded, socialism is promoted—with your tax dollars.

But the game-changer, said Hasson, is the “fractured concept” of the human person that public schools now teach. Sex confusion and transsexualism are dogma. And this anti-science propaganda is producing disturbing results: some schools see up to 20 percent of their students identifying as LGBTQ, said Hasson.

Even when schools allow parents to excuse their children from classes about their changeable genders, “you can’t opt a child out of the school culture.” Schools have embraced the idea that, since any child can be “trans,” every child must be treated as potentially “trans.” This approach is “baked into the culture” of government schools today.

Activist and public school parent Meg Kilgannon provided another perspective on the question. There’s too much public money on the table to just leave it to liberals to use as they wish to ruin our nation’s children. While conservatives bicker endlessly about charter schools vs. vouchers, Leftists are happily spending our tax money molding the nation’s young minds in their image.

Kilgannon knows the fight in Fairfax County fight well. She is a parent activist par excellence who has stayed in the system but fought to protect her kids every step of the way.

If conservative and Christian families leave, what about the children left behind? These children, said Kilgannon, will be our nation’s future teachers, doctors, lawyers, politicians, presidents, etc. The future of our nation is inextricably tied to the state of our public schools today.

Both panelists agreed that there are good and faithful teachers and administrators who are faithful to their calling to educate and not indoctrinate. But they find themselves in a tenuous position if they question the radical sex ed or identity politics that their professional associations peddle.

Both agreed, too, that parents’ first duty is to their children.

Hasson’s final point has stayed with me more than any other. Every education choice bears a cost, she said. The cost of private schools can be a mountain of tuition dollars, the cost of homeschooling includes time and lost income. But the cost of public schools just might be your children’s souls.

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