People of both political parties and many persuasions have been talking for decades about education reform. President Bush signed a huge new spending bill that is supposed to link funding to certain reforms so that no child will be left behind.
Now comes what could be the most radical and most successful education reform proposal ever made. The Southern Baptist Convention - the nation's largest Protestant denomination with about 17 million members - is meeting this week in Indianapolis, and among the resolutions it is considering is one calling upon parents to withdraw their children from public schools and either educate them at home, or enroll them in private Christian academies.
The rationale is contained in the text of the resolution authored by Houston attorney Bruce Shortt and retired Brig. Gen. T.C. Pinckney: "Whereas, the Bible commands that fathers are to bring up their children in the training and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4) . . . (and) Whereas, the government schools are by their own confession humanistic and secular in their instruction, the education offered by the government schools is officially Godless, and Whereas, the government schools are adopting curricula and policies teaching that the homosexual lifestyle is acceptable . . . and homosexual organizations are present as student 'clubs' in thousands of government schools and are spreading rapidly . . . ". Well, you get the idea.
In an essay published last week at ethicsdaily.com, Shortt wrote, "Government schools are converting our children to alien creeds and infusing them with false and destructive values." Pinckney added, "God gives the responsibility for education of children to the parents, not the government." Indeed. And it has been the decision by too many parents to allow government to shape their children's worldview and values that is responsible for spiritual and intellectual disorder that now inhabits the souls and minds of too many offspring of Christian parents.
The private and home school movements remain relatively small compared to the number of students in government schools. According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau figures (2003), there are 73.2 million children in school with 10 percent of them in private elementary or high schools. The number of children educated at home is estimated by home-school advocates and the Census Bureau at approximately 2 million, with that number growing by about 15 to 20 percent each year.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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