The educational decision of parents has to be one of the most controversial issues within Christian circles today. With so many choices and coinciding pros and cons, it can be daunting for parents to make a decision on how to educate their children. Notwithstanding, many parents have any number of external factors that weigh in their educational decision such as cost, location and jobs just to name a few.
Of all the educational choices available, the choice to put ones child into the public school system is perhaps the most controversial and is met with the most resistance within some Christian circles. IndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity by Colin Gunn and Joaquin Fernandez is a book that sets out the historical and religious context in which the public school system was birthed and the ensuing cultural and religious consequences it has produced, especially as it pertains to Christianity.
The basic message of the book is that the public school system is inherently anti-religious and particularly anti-Christian. At the heart of the public school system is an intentional decision to remove religion from education especially God and Jesus Christ. There is no tolerance for the mention of either whether by a teacher or student. Therefore, if Christians are to educate their children according the nurture and admonition of the Lord and in wisdom, then why would they send them to be educated by a school system that seeks to destroy those very foundations? If the goal of education is to equip students with wisdom and knowledge, then why would Christians send them to be educated by a system that rejects the very One who is the source of those things, Jesus Christ.
To get this point across Gunn and Fernandez have amassed a diverse group of individuals from parents to former public school educators to give their take on how Christians should view and respond to the public school system. Some of the stories are very personal like a Christian parent whose child was a victim of the Columbine shooting and former public school teachers who were remove from their teaching positions after mentioning God or Jesus in their classes. Other contributions are long time educators who have been in the system for decades and seen the many fundamental flaws within the system particularly as it is ironically anti-educational. Even more are some notable vocal voices within Christian Evangelicalism who have been rallying Christians to abandon the public school system in favor of other educational avenues. Some of these voices are Douglas Phillips, Erwin Lutzer, Ken Ham, Voddie Baucham Jr. and R.C. Sproul Jr.
Along with the publication of the book is an available DVD documentary which tells the story of the book using the famous yellow school bus of the public school system. The school bus is used to “pick-up” the various philosophies and educators throughout the public schools history. The end result is that by the time the book and video are done, we can see who and what a parent is putting their child in the yellow school bus with. They ask, do we want to put our kids in a bus that will take them to an educational system that will teach them a blatantly anti-Christian worldview? Is that what we want our kids exposed to for 8 hrs a day, 40 hrs a week and over 200 days a year?
IndoctriNation presents a solid case for why Christians should not send their children to public schools. I realize that some parents have no choice but to do so because both need to work and lack of money for a Christian school. This is only compounded for single parents. While good overall, the book and DVD could have been more helpful to parents in these situations with tips on what to do.
What I found to be most helpful and compelling in the book and DVD is the history of modern public education. I am doubtful that most teachers even know the history of ideas and people that have shaped the public school system. I would think that a history of education class would be required for all teachers whether in secular or Christian colleges but this is not the case. This book is a great place to start and I recommend every Christian parent to educate themselves by reading this book.
NOTE: I received this book from Master Books in exchange for a review. I was under no obligation to provide a favorable review and the thoughts and words expressed are my own.