Purpose of Education
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”- Proverbs 22:6
By Bob Shillingstad
There have been various surveys taken about the most important inventions that impacted civilization. These can be hard to rank when you consider indoor plumbing, electricity, the internal combustion engine and more. Life magazine did this survey decades ago and many others have followed but here is the surprising result, Life magazine’s #1 invention was the printing press and this was in the top three in almost every other ranking. When you think of it that had an impact on religion with reformation, political discussions, governments and of course scientific development.
In 1647 Massachusetts passed the “Old Deluder Satan Act” laying the basis for public schools in America. The religious basis of the act was explicit: the act stated its intention was to thwart “ye old deluder, Satan” in his goal “to keepe men from the knowledge of ye Scriptures.” To this end, the law required every town with 50 or more families to hire and maintain a teacher to instruct all children in reading and writing. Towns of 100 or more families were required to support a grammar school to prepare students to read the Bible. Similar acts were soon adopted in the other New England colonies.
Today, if you get the opportunity, ask your superintendent of schools or even a principal or school board member these questions: “What do you see the nature of man to be -and- what should be his purpose in life?” The person you are talking to will invariably answer, “We don’t deal with questions like that.” Instead, we are grooming children about sexuality at the earliest grade levels and asking them to assign their pronouns and gender. A discussion of our history and heritage based on our Judeo-Christian principles are somehow a violation of the Constitution acknowledged a supreme being throughout and based on biblical teaching.
How did we get here? The Supreme Court has inflicted an almost unbroken string of defeats upon the faith of our fathers. In 1948 voluntary religious instruction was outlawed in public schools. In 1962 school prayer was gone. In 1963, voluntary mail reading from the Bible was declared unconstitutional. In 1980, a Kentucky law that called for posting the Ten Commandments on classroom walls war overturned because the Commandments serve “no secular purpose.” In 1985, Alabama’s “moment of silence” at the start of the school day was declared unconstitutional. In 1980 the Supreme Court ordered a Nativity scene removed from the Allegheny County Courthouse outside Pittsburgh. In 1992 all prayers at high school graduations were prohibited. In 2000, students were forbidden to pray over the loudspeakers at high school games. Couple all these decisions with “no-fault divorce” and a breakdown of the family and we are faced with a disaster.
Dr. James Dobson said, “The predominant value system of an entire culture can be overturned in one generation, or certainly in two, by those with unlimited access to children.” Our education system is dominated by unions, teachers trained in “woke” universities, organizations of administrators and school boards who are promoting these changes. They have: 1. Weakened marriage and family life; 2. Downgraded parental authority; 3. Changed traditional attitudes toward sex, morality and life, 4. Substituted situational ethics for absolutes of right and wrong; 5. Denied the importance of spoken or written contracts and 6) Undermined national independence and sovereignty.
Thomas Sowell made the comment that, “If every parent in America knew what was really going on in the public schools, there would be a revolution.” That quote was from more than twenty years ago and now, because of the Covid lockdowns parents have seen what is really going on in the public schools and they have voted with their feet. The local district in Coeur d’Alene lost 10% of their students in the fall of 2020 and another 200 students dropped just this last year. You would think these numbers would be enough for the Idaho legislature to immediately adopt Educational Savings Accounts for each student so the “money follows the student” and parents have a choice of private, charter or government schools.
Iowa, Utah and other states are following this Arizona model of choice. Where are the “conservative” legislators in Idaho who claim to be patriots and lovers of freedom who will return power back to parents? Douglas Wilson had a great quote when he said, “For over one hundred years Americans have been running a gigantic experiment in government schools, trying to find out what a society looks like without God. Now we know.” We know free choice and competition works in the marketplace. Isn’t it time to apply that to education?