After the jury’s recent verdict of the George Floyd case was made public, and former police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of Floyd’s murder, President Joe Biden said that the death of Floyd “ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see” the “systemic racism that is a stain on our nation’s soul.”
President Biden is mistaken when identifying the stain.
The real stain on the soul of our nation is the rejection of God from our educational system. Most teachers are dedicated, caring professionals committed to their students’ growth and learning. But many are trapped by an inflexible, bureaucratic system that prevents them from giving their students a quality learning environment. These teachers do the best they can despite the government-imposed curriculum they must teach—a curriculum that often violates the faith and moral values of Christian families.
Many parents are fighting back against the exclusion of God from public education in the only way they can: they educate their children at home.
Homeschool parents make enormous sacrifices to educate their children. Their reasons for homeschooling include: (1) making sure their children receive a high-quality education; (2) preventing their children from being indoctrinated by false values; and (3) providing the spiritual and moral instruction that public schools don’t offer.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis of early 2020 hugely impacted both public schools and the homeschool community. Across America, public schools closed, and schoolchildren “attended class” via the Internet. Suddenly parents could see what their schoolchildren were being taught—and some parents were shocked to discover how much time was spent on indoctrination instead of instruction.
An April 2020 RealClear Opinion Research poll of registered voters revealed a surprising finding: 40.8 percent of families reported they were more likely to abandon public schools in favor of schooling at home once the coronavirus restrictions ended. Additionally, 64 percent reported favoring school choice measures such as education vouchers. Some might think the polling sample was skewed toward Republicans (who traditionally favor homeschooling more than Democrats do), but survey participants were 45.7 percent Democrat and 42.3 percent Republican.
The shutdown of the public school system during the coronavirus pandemic gave parents time to reflect on the best options for educating their children. Many are strongly considering teaching kids at home.
When You Can’t Homeschool
While I defend Christian homeschooling, I also support and applaud teachers and families in the public school system. Whether our kids are in homeschool or public school, they face challenges and need our prayers and support.
Parents, be aware of the forces at school that seek to reshape the beliefs of your children. Stay attuned to what your children are being taught. Ask them questions about their day and what they are learning (dinnertime is an excellent time for these conversations).
If you hear anything that troubles you, don’t jump to conclusions. Gather all the facts before taking action. Be as supportive as you can of public-school teachers. They are often caught in a crossfire between what they must teach—and the ire of offended parents.
Empower your children to be bold Christian witnesses at school. Pray with them and help them memorize Scripture. Encourage them to speak openly about their faith. Every day, when you send your children to school, ask for God’s protection over them. Go into your children’s bedroom at night and pray over them as they sleep. Ask God to armor-plate your children against the attacks of Satan and this fallen world.
In “Screwtape Proposes a Toast,” a 1959 sequel toThe Screwtape Letters (1942), C. S. Lewis predicted the state of public education today. He depicts the devil Screwtape plotting to destroy young minds through a corrupted public education system:
The basic principle of the new education is to be that dunces and idlers must not be made to feel inferior to intelligent and industrious pupils. That would be “undemocratic.” These differences between the pupils … must be disguised. This can be done on various levels … At schools, the children who are too stupid or lazy to learn languages and mathematics and elementary science can be set to doing the things that children used to do in their spare time. Let them, for example, make mud-pies and call it modeling … Whatever nonsense they are engaged in must have—I believe the English already use the phrase — “parity of esteem.”
Of course this would not follow unless all education became state education. But it will.
That is Screwtape’s plan for our children. We are living in Screwtape’s world — a world in which nearly all education is state-run education, and the government school system seeks to eradicate all competition, including homeschooling. As Christians, we are at war with Screwtape and his ilk. We are fighting for the souls of a generation — and the fight goes on.
Dr. Michael Youssef was born in Egypt and lived in Lebanon and Australia before coming to the United States and fulfilling a childhood dream of becoming an American citizen. He holds degrees from Moore College in Sydney, Australia, and Fuller Theological Seminary in California, with a Ph.D. in social anthropology from Emory University. This article was excerpted from his new book,“Hope for This Present Crisis,” released on March 2, 2021.