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 rrubbed 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 or manifest. 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.

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 and this year I accepted a position as a full time 9th grade English teacher. My eyes were opened and my heart was broken.

It isn’t so much that public education has failed. My teacher colleagues, believers and unbelievers, are some of the finest people I know. Unsung heroes, in my opinion. I never met a teacher who did not want to teach his/her students. We all want our children to learn.

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