Take a quick trip back with me, if you will, to a post I wrote a year or so ago entitled Sending Your Children to Public Schools. I said:
People are social creatures. We default to the mainstream, because that’s where it seems safest. After all, if this isn’t the best way, there wouldn’t be so many people doing it, right? Very few people wake up every day thinking “How can I conform today?” Most of us just wake up and do the next thing: what we need to do, what’s expected of us, what seems possible. This is what everyone does, so we continue to do it. Typically, people won’t stop living the way they see everyone else living until something jars them out of complacency.
Well, here you go, Christians. Here’s something that should jar you out of your complacency.
If anyone can watch IndoctriNation and not immediately start making an escape plan to rescue his children from public schools…well, I still won’t be judging anybody. (Seriously. If you think I’m judging anybody, read this.)
I am, however, prepared to endure the inevitable accusations of being judgmental for the sake of saying what must be said. I must—we all must–warn others about the danger of public “education.” Schools are numbing the souls of children in America, and turning out watered-down, barely-believing, closet Christians, rather than brave, full-throated, intellectually equipped Christian adults. This cultural powerlessness is by design, and Christian parents seem to have no idea it’s happening.
Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.
The truth is, I’m a little ashamed of the post from which I quote. In my defense, I did make my opinion of public schools fairly clear. How can Christians not see what public education has done to the soul of this country? In my own generation, especially, its effects should be undeniable. But as I re-read it this week, I saw that my words had the sickening slipperiness of that same false tolerance that we are all taught from the first day we enter the doors of government schools: My truth for me. Your truth for you.
This documentary has convinced me that I really need to be sounding alarms, not putting people blissfully to sleep, as my too-gently worded post likely did.
There’s a lot of sweet talk amongst homeschooling families about how we need to “reach out” to mainstream families and not be “militant” about homeschooling. I am, for the most part, in agreement. There’s no need to brow-beat people about the choices they make, even if they are bad ones. However, Christians’ reasons for homeschooling are good ones, and they’re not built on some special, individual calling from God. They’re built solidly on God’s word, which tells us all how to raise our children.
I already knew nearly everything contained in this movie. We chose to raise our children ourselves because we know that public schools are a terrible place for them. I’ve been aware of the history of government education, all of the arguments against instutional schooling, and all of the Biblical wisdom concerning training our children. And yet, to keep the peace, I’ve been content to say “You go ahead and feed your kids to those wolves, and I’ll stay quiet so you can feel good about doing that. See how peaceful I am? Not militant at all. I’ll even pay taxes to help you do it!”
IndoctriNation makes a historical, anecdotal, and Biblical case against public education, and does it so powerfully that I can’t help but wake up from that peaceful live-and-let-live slumber at least long enough to shout out a warning to anyone who will listen: You have to get your kids out of there!
Salt and Light, Unsavory and Under a Bushel
As we watch his big yellow school bus full of homeschooled kids sputter around the nation—his own kids, I hasten to add, not some random children snatched from their yards or something–Colin Gunn explains the history behind compulsory education. He skillfully illustrates how it all began, what it was intended to accomplish, and finally where we have ended up as a nation because of it: broken down and beyond repair.
The movie has some famous (at least amongst homeschoolers) names, such as Samuel Blumenfeld, John Taylor Gatto, and Israel Wayne, as any documentary worth its salt would. But it was the interviewees with less recognizable names that spoke most powerfully to me. Mike Metarko, Sarah LeVerdiere, and Robert Zeigler are three teachers who found out through experience, and by the conviction of the Holy Spirit, that not only are Christian children in public schools unable to be salt and light, but that teachers and administrators place themselves under the same anti-Christian authority as they go about their daily duties.
In my own state, a Christian teacher who is truly being salt and light stands a very good chance of losing her job, while accomplishing very little. It is only salt that has lost its savor that is tolerable to government schools.
In our post-modern culture, where words like “should” and “ought” aren’t considered fit for polite company, except to speak of seatbelts and bicycle helmets, “indoctrinate” is a sinister-sounding word. It is too insistent on some final truth. Too forceful. Too sure of itself. But every child is both learning some doctrine and being taught according to it, whether it is the doctrine of the Bible, or the doctrine of humanism.
Education is indoctrination. The question isn’t if your child is being indoctrinated as he learns, but into what?