Three Ways Public Education Fails To Produce Adults Who Can Change The World

Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged. Northwest Ordinance of 1787

The Northwest Ordinance established townships in unsettled territories west of the Appalachians that had been ceded to the new federal government by the states. The townships were 6 square miles and were divided into 36 sections of 640 acres each. A full section in each of these townships was to be dedicated to public education, the importance of which was established in the quote above. The Northwest Ordinance also forbid slavery in any of these settlements, held that there would be no establishment of religion (people could worship freely without fear of persecution), and allowed new states to be admitted, not as colonies, but on equal footing with any other previously established state. There is no expression of equality as powerful as this on a national scale anywhere in existence prior to this.

I don’t think we could begin to imagine a nation as free as we have coming about as a result of the moral relativism that is so accepted today. Banning slavery, establishing equal treatment, defeating tyranny- the impetus to achieve any of this can’t be found except in the morality of the Bible. The very reason those who declare morality to be relative and every mode of belief to be equally valid have the freedom to do so is because of those who stood strong based on biblical morality. The belief that all men are created equal comes directly from the acknowledgement that there is a Creator that has made us so. Naturalism, evolution, atheism does not promote equality- they promote the idea that some are stronger or more worthy than others. But it seems that education is more and more sanitized of any promotion of morals. So we stand in danger of having generations that cannot continue what our founders started or attain achievements that previous generations did.

Here are three ways public education is failing to produce adults who can change the world:

Education is not about moral development anymore. Every way is right in each person’s eyes. We’ve failed to acknowledge that the basis of our laws and the impetus to do great things on behalf of mankind come from biblical morality. All have benefitted from this, but few today are willing to acknowledge it. Robert Winthrop, Speaker of the House of Representatives (1847-1849) stated, “All societies of men must be governed in some way. The less they have of stringent state government, the more they must have of individual self-government… Men, in a word, must be governed by a power within them or a power without them, either by the Word of God or the strong arm of man, either by the Bible or by the bayonet.” Biblical morality is the boundary that promotes self-government and allows free institutions to succeed.

Education is all about personal achievement and not the good of society. One of the justifications of Common Core that I have heard first-hand is that the US falls far behind other nations in academic proficiency. But the US has never fallen behind in achievement in any area of societal importance and is unequalled in her contribution to the good of mankind around the world. We are steadily giving all of that up in order to compete on the same (lower) playing field as other nations who have had much less of an impact on the good of society. Furthermore, the best way to strengthen student performance is to promote principles that are good for society, most prominently strong, stable families and orderly communities, both of which have been byproducts of strong biblical morality and the influence of Christianity.

Education suppresses freedom of expression and religion. The new tolerance (tolerance for me, not for thee) screams down expression of faith under the pretense of protecting rights, and this is prominent in education. In writing about the Engel v. Vitale Supreme Court decision in 1962, which effectively banned public prayer in schools, this article writes, “After all, schools serve as a special case when it comes to the separation of church and state. While the Supreme Court allowed prayer in other public settings to stand, school prayer was banished. Since children are impressionable and teachers are authority figures, religion in educational settings was treated as an issue to be examined quite fervently.” Oppression of the Christian religion in Europe is what led our founders to not establish a state religion, and instead protect freedom of religious expression. We have now come full circle, and Christianity is being suppressed in our schools under the very principle that allows its critics to believe any way they want. Freedom of religion is a basis of American greatness that is being destroyed today.

Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift? the fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you; you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep. (Psalm 127:3-5 MSG)

Our children have to be prepared to combat the enemy as so many past generations have been. Getting an education has to be about more than test scores or learning skills so they can have a good job. It has to be about preparing citizens to live and govern well and build on the achievements of our forefathers. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

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*Quote from Robert Winthrop is from “In God We Trust” by Dr. Richard G. Lee, published by Thomas Nelson. Information on the Northwest Ordinance is from “America, The Last Best Hope Volume I” by William J. Bennett, published by Nelson Current.

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