Public Education: How the Mighty Have Fallen

“Your glory, O Israel, lies slain on your heights.
How the mighty have fallen!
“Tell it not in Gath,
proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon,
lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad,
lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice.
“O mountains of Gilboa,
may you have neither dew nor rain,
nor fields that yield offerings of grain .
For there the shield of the mighty was defiled,
the shield of Saul—no longer rubbed with oil.
                                                                2 Samuel 1: 19-21
     From the landing at Plymouth Rock to today, communities tried to educate its members in a public forum.  Public education began in earnest in the 20th century.  Its dreams were worthy and laudable.  They have not come to pass.
     Today, the failures of that system are manifestly legin.  Almost no one will deny that public education is in deep trouble.  Yet, the failure of such a history-rich, august institution as public education gives me no pleasure.  In fact, it breaks my heart.  “Tell it not in Gath!  Proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon!”
     My family is a loyal home school family.  My wife Karen and I home schooled all of our four children.  We are strong believers in home schooling and would have everyone home school if that were possible.
     But it is not possible. Not everyone can home school.  If we have our millions public education has it ten million.  And my heart cries out for the children and their parents. And you should cry too!
“O mountains of Gilboa,
may you have neither dew nor rain,
nor fields that yield offerings of grain .
For there the shield of the mighty was defiled,
the shield of Saul—no longer rubbed with oil.
     In the early years of our marriage, I taught in a public school.  In fact, I am still permanently certified in most states.  Later, I left public school teaching and became a pastor.  Recently, I spent three weeks substitute teaching for a social studies teacher.  My eyes were opened and my heart was broken.
     I met 16 year old Melissa.  Once a week she meets with about 12 students for a Bible study.  I observed that she and her friends are openly persecuted by most students and by some faculty. I met Frank, a faithful follower of Jesus Christ who also is a public school teacher. Melissa and Frank deserve our prayers.
     Home schoolers, public schools are not full of Godless, immoral brigands.  By and large, public schools are humane, sincere, if ineffectual, institutions trying to accomplish the same goals we home schoolers are trying to accomplish. But they are failing, we know that.  And, truly, public school teachers know that too.
     “Public education” is an oxymoron.  Education is the most intimate and valuable of experiences and occurs best in the crucible of a family.  Ineffectiveness has forced public education to embrace mediocrity with reckless abandon.
     But that is not our business.  Judgement is not our vocation.  We need only to cry out to God for public education!  47.7 million Public School students. 2.5 million graduates this year alone.  Saints, there were 47.7 million of them and 4.9 million of us.  We need to cry out for our public school friends and family members!  They are not the enemy.  Let not the enemy rejoice “in the streets of Ashkelon (a pagan goddess), lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad,  lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice.”  Home schoolers cry out and intercede in prayer for the public schools of this country!

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