5 Reasons We Don’t Send Our Kids To Christian Schools (but you might, and should)

christian schoolRecently a friend asked why we’ve never sent our children to Christian schools. She and her husband are weighing whether or not to send their daughter to a Christian elementary school, and since I’m asked this question a lot I thought I would share my response.

Hi ________,

Thank you for asking my advice on this extremely important question.

Before we sent our oldest to Kindergarten my wife and I made the decision that we would send our daughters to K-12 public schools, and then upon high school graduation send them to private Christian colleges.

I’ll share why we made that decision, but I first want to say that when we talk with parents at CCV (we get asked this a lot since I’m a pastor and my wife is the Principal of a public elementary school in our area), we always say that we encourage parents to do what is best for their child. Each child is unique, just as the schools in which a family lives are unique, and there is no “one size fits all” approach to making this decision. We are for whatever works best for your daughter – whether it’s a Christian school or a public school.

That said, if all options seem equal, we have always been strong advocates for Christians to send their children to their local public school.

Here are five reasons why:

1. Quality of Teachers

A school, when it is boiled down, is a teacher teaching a student. And it’s not a well-kept secret that many Christian schools hire teachers who couldn’t get jobs in public schools. Of course, there are many, many exceptions, such as the incredible Christian school that my niece and nephew attended, and at which my sister still teaches. That school is a premier academic institution. But that’s the outlier. The teaching staff there could get jobs at the finest schools anywhere, but they teach in a Christian school because of a deep sense of mission. While the average teacher at a Christian school will also say they teach out of a sense mission, the fact is that they ended up there because (a) they couldn’t pass the state certification tests required to teach in a public school and/or (b) they didn’t have the interview chops to pass through the rounds and rounds of interviews to land a job.

2. Poor Funding Base

The second aspect of what makes up a school is funding. Simply put, public schools tax the area’s residents for their funding. Christian schools charge tuition and barrage the parents of the students for extra money through annual fundraisers. Christian schools always struggle for funding, and as a result have lower paid teachers (which affects their ability to attract the best talent), poorer quality buildings, as well as fewer labs, computers, excursions, clubs and sports teams. Some Christian schools make up for poor facilities by forging partnerships with local mega-churches, but most often they’re relegated to taking over substandard buildings that were sold years ago by their local public school system. The old saying, “First we build our buildings, then our buildings build us” is applicable here. Mediocre school facilities and programs precipitated by poor funding affects everything about a school. Fortunately some Christian schools find a way to escape this trap.

3. Both Have “Problem Kids” and “Negative Influences”

The third aspect of what makes up a school is your student’s peer group. A key part of the argument for sending your child to a Christian school is that you’ll help them avoid sex, drugs, alcohol, country music, and atheism by surrounding them with Christian teachers and Christian peers. That seems like a strong argument, but my experience has been that if your kids are actively involved in a strong church, and you as his or her parents are committed followers of Jesus, your child has as much a chance of avoiding these traps in a public school as a Christian one. Another poorly kept secret is that Christian schools are a niche for rehabilitating kids with behavioral problems, but they are tasked with doing so without the massive academic, psychological, and pedagogical teams of people in your local public school. That’s a recipe for unhealthy classroom dynamics in some small Christian schools.

4. Creepy Fundamentalists

One important reason not to send your child to certain Christian schools is because many are run by really creepy fundamentalist Christians who believe the world is 6,000 years old and won’t allow their kids to listen to satanic music like the Jonas Brothers. For instance, there’s a large church down the street that has a Christian school where parents have to sign a document that states they will allow their children to be spanked, because, according to their manual (which a former parent shared with me), “To spare the rod is to spoil the child (Proverbs 13:24).” Simply put, you don’t want your children educated by fundamentalist Christians who use dumbed-down curriculum riddled with false science and legalistic babbling. They produce cult-like, fear-based school cultures that do so much long-term harm to the children under their care that their existence should be illegal. Of course not all Christian schools are like this, but you have to be very careful and ask the right questions.

5. Discipleship

As I stated earlier, the path we’ve agreed upon as parents is to send our kids to public K-12 schools and then to send them to Christian colleges. That’s because we want our children’s worldviews to be shaped for evangelism, and our experience is that happens before they turn 18, not afterward. Cloistering kids into an evangelical subculture where they are taught by Christian teachers and surrounded by other Christian kids doesn’t force them to live brave, evangelistically passionate lives. Of course that can happen in a Christian school in a limited way. It’s not impossible. But I want my kids to grow up reaching their friends for Christ. If we remove all the Christian kids from the schools, who will influence those kids for Christ? And their families? For example, my middle daughter just graduated from high school. She attended public school her entire life. There are at least a dozen families that attend our church because of my daughter’s influence. She led many of her peers to Christ, many of which are now attending Christian colleges. The long-term impact of my daughter’s light in public school is having eternal consequences. It’s been our privilege as parents to watch this unfold, year after year, starting in Kindergarten. She now attends a fantastic Christian college where she is being mentored by some of the finest hearts and minds in the Christian community.

Do What’s Best For Your Child

Now, to be honest, we live in an affluent suburban area. The school buildings are new, the tax base is strong, and everything about the school district is done with excellence. If we lived in the kind of area where a few of my friends live – places where they worry about their children’s safety and there are drug pushers on every corner –  I think we’d seriously rethink our strategy.

I hope this gives you a better understanding of what led us to make the decisions that we did. Like I said, every child is unique, and we want you to do what’s best for your children, period. A Christian school may be your best option. I just hope that I’ve shed a little light on why public school may also be a really good option as well.

Keep in touch and I’ll be praying for your decision. ☺

Brian

P.S. – If you had stayed in the area I would have pointed you to West-Mont Christian Academy. They’ve wrestled through the struggles that I’ve mentioned above and have emerged as an outstanding Christ-centered, academically challenging school that’s second to none in our area. Most important, the leadership of the school is exemplary.

Brian loves helping Christians live thoughtful, courageous lives. He's a popular blogger, author, and pastor at Christ's Church of the Valley in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

  • Kyle K.

    ASCI (Association of Christian Schools (23,000+ and counting) International)

    ACSI is a Protestant association for Christian schools.[1] Its stated mission is to strengthen Christian schools and equip Christian educators worldwide as they prepare students academically and inspire them to become devoted followers of Jesus Christ. The principles it supports include a belief that Scripture is the revealed Word of God[2]and should be taught as truth.

    CREEPY FUNDAMENALISTS. I was forced to attend these schools from PreK-12. One time, we were forced by the faculty to bring secular items from home to burn in a scheduled bonfire so that we would witness “demons rising from the flames.” Science classes were lectures about how God wouldn’t be so cruel as to use evolution…students were regularly expelled for asking too many questions. When you trash scientific knowledge and teach of some psuedo-scientifc 6,000 timeline that is absolutely incongruous with what we observe, you fail to understand universal harmony…the connection between the laws of physics and chemistry and biology and fail to truly understand the beauty that is the world we live in and it’s terribly sad to me that we would deprive children of this.

    Education is compulsory is the United States, yet by allowing our students to attend religious school we may as well allow them to satisfy this requirement by attending church!

    In the future, I hope that public school is mandatory.

  • T. B.

    WARNING: This is the worst article in the world for a Christian parent to read!!
    Thanks!

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    Thank you for sharing that.

  • Dakota

    Should Christians Send Their Children To Be Salt and Light in the Public Schools?

    by Dr. Paul A. Kienel

    As Christians, we must be concerned about every area of public life, including public schools. Christians should attempt to improve public education whenever possible. That gargantuan task, however, is a major job for mature adults — not children. The concept of using Christian children to Christianize the public schools seems to me to be an idea that is out of touch with reality. The medical doctor who became a disciple of Jesus wrote, “…a student when he is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40). Students are in school to learn. In more ways than you can imagine, Christian students, like all students, will be like their teachers. A number of years ago, the National Sunday School Association reported that seventy percent of Christian children and young people who attend public school drop out of the church between the ages of twelve and seventeen. Another study showed an even higher loss at the college level. Of Christian students living in campus dorms at secular colleges and universities, ninety percent dropped out of the church their first semester!

    Secular schools at every level need Christian salt and light. They desperately need Christian influence. There are numerous teachers and principals who are Christians in public education who demonstrate daily that the Light of the Gospel of Christ can shine in very dark corners of our society. But, I find no command in Scripture, clearly stated or implied, which implores us to use Christian children and young people, who are not as yet mature in their faith, to do spiritual battle with non-Christian agnostic teachers who very well may have several graduate degrees.

    Those who advocate using Christian children to save the public schools during the school week appear to have an entirely different perspective on Sunday. For example, one of the arguments used is that Christian students will grow spiritually stronger if they are taught in public schools by non-believing teachers. They ask, “How will Christian students learn to identify atheism if they never sit under its teaching? How will they learn to counter it if they never encounter it?” I have heard a wide range of Christian leaders, including pastors, espouse this view. I have yet to hear even one of them, however, advocate such an arrangement on Sunday in church facilities. If their argument holds true, why would it not be appropriate for a pastor or Sunday school superintendent to invite a non-Christian junior high teacher from the local public school to teach a month-long series of evolution versus creation to the junior high boys, or invite a non-Christian high school health teacher to the church for a lecture on value-free sex education, the virtues of safe sex, and a nonjudgmental review of alternative life styles, including homosexuality, lesbianism, and open marriages?

    The same misguided logic might lead a pastor or Sunday school superintendent to invite a guest pastor or a guest Sunday school leader from a liberal church, or even a cult church, to fill the pulpit or teach a large combined Sunday school class just to expose Sunday church-goers to teachings they would not otherwise encounter. After all, how are they going to counter it if they never encounter it?

    Thankfully, this does not occur because church congregations would not tolerate it and because there is not Scriptural basis for bringing in false prophets to minister to the flock. Matthew 7:15 reads, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”

    The question I have been leading up to is this: If it is Scripturally wrong (and I believe it is) to subject children and young people to false prophets on Sunday in the church, why then is it acceptable to send the same children and young people to false-prophet, non-believer teachers in the public school Monday through Friday? If it is wrong on Sunday, it seems to me that it is wrong on Monday! We are specifically directed in Scripture to bring children “…up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). I challenge anyone to justify with Biblical authority the idea of placing Christian children under the instruction of non-Christian teachers who instruct them in concepts which are not pleasing to the Lord. The fact that the church is losing seventy to ninety percent of its children and young people, and the fact that there is no Biblical basis for non-Biblical instruction of children, should challenge many Christians across our land to rethink their long-standing commitment to secular education. The losses are simply too great. The lives of our children are too important to cling to views that are threatening the very future of the Christian community. I urge every Christian family to send their children to Christ-honoring Christian schools and to reflect on the words in Thomas Wistar’s hymn of the Christian scholar below:

    Our Father in Heaven, Creator of all,
    O, Source of all wisdom of Thee would we call:
    That only can teach us and show us our need
    And give to Thy children true knowledge indeed.

    But vain our instruction and blind must we be
    Unless with our learning be knowledge of Thee.
    Then pour forth Thy spirit and open our eyes
    And lift with the knowledge that only makes wise.

    From pride and presumption, O Lord, keep us free
    And make our hearts humble and loyal to Thee,
    That living or dying in Thee may we rest
    And prove to the scornful Thy statutes are best.1

  • Justin

    My conviction was this……I couldn’t compete sending my kid(s) to a public school that not only omits our values as Christians but now overtly rejects them. Secondly I don’t view my impressionable young child as an evangelist just yet, but a disciple in training. Think of it this way we wouldn’t send a new recruit into battle without having trained him first.
    There are bad private schools that’s when you have to do your research. More and more the overall across the board quality of public schools is in decline. Specifically in academics, our kids come out barely able to read, write, and they don’t know their history.

    I work for a public school as well. The majority of church going kids I’ve witnessed have their faith eaten up by the culture. Like it or not public schools lays a very different foundation for our children. Telling a vastly different story on origins, truth, etc. Most of our “Christian” kids are leaving the church because we never gave real answers just bible stories and accepting Jesus in your heart. Public Schools have offered “real” seeming evidential answers.

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    I’m sure I have a clue about the spanking policy, the 6,000 year old earth position, and the fact that ANY private school will have higher SAT scores because they are not forced by the state to take a wide swath of special needs/struggling/VoTech students, directly affecting overall student scores.

  • Dave L.

    Brian: Where do i start? For the sake of time, let’s just deal with one issue. I doubt that you have a clue, but can you compare the SAT scores of Spring Ford or Phoenixville to the “fundamentalist school” down the road from you? The school just down the road where the majority of their teachers have master’s degrees. The school just down the road that has a gym that rivals any gym in any public school in Pennsylvania. Do you have any clue?
    I”m sure you don’t. You would simply prefer to write controversial blogs that have empty of facts.

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    Yep.

  • Nate

    And hopefully not being to aggressive, but the other problem is a complete paranoia and sensationalizing of what is happening at public schools in America.
    I mean, ACLU controls schools? Obama? Selling your faith and soul to satan? My wife’s a public school teacher…. None of this is actually happening At public schools except in the token examples certain media outlets pretend are regular occurrences.

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    Indoctrination vs. Education. While no doubt some will say that can happen in both a public and Christian school, one must admit that the stated goal of a Christian one is indoctrination, while it is supposed to be against the purpose of the other.

  • Nate

    The major issue I see in these comments: a confusion between indoctrination and education. Or a preference for the one over the other.

    Indoctrinate your kids at home if that’s your thing, and let them get an education that prepares them to compete socially and economically both locally and globally.

    Ps. I went to a Christian school for my senior year of high school after a cross country move, and agree whole heartedly with each point made.

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    :)

  • Nate

    Haha just beautiful response. Comment responder Jedi master.

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    Eddy, no-one is wanting to hang your sideways, though a few might want you to use spellcheck :). Not sure the point you are making with your comment, but thanks for sharing what you shared.

  • Eddy C Chapman

    As i give my peace again for i am standing firm giving no room against or to warm christ i expect that as my peace. A man shall teach his children and wife. He shall baptise them the olde school ways look how jesus had john baptise him jesus did not enter the water atop like hypocrites who enter the synogogs atop and atop rooftops and atop houses of men and into street corners for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. John said when i am in need of you. Evedient of neither being atop. As a man shall cleave to his wife this be the holy truth of christ jesus. “Let no man take your crown” -revelations . By far the only reason is to abide. Hang me sideways i am but a sinner extrodinary. I am easy to find and not hidden. The time is at hand.

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    And that my friend proves my overall point.

  • GinnyLee

    ? That doesn’t make a lick of sense. ‘Sounds like psychobabble to me.
    I’ll stick with my views on what Christian schools teach. It’s not rocket science.

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    Yes you are correct. I would not want any child to go to a legalistic Christian school run by Fundamentalists that deny actual Science from being taught. That I would not wish on any child. But a good, healthy Christian school or a good, healthy public school are two good options depending on the child.

  • GinnyLee

    Brian, it doesn’t sound like “not win/lose” from your stated views… “Simply put, you don’t want your children educated by fundamentalist Christians who use dumbed-down curriculum riddled with false science and legalistic babbling.”

    Do you know that the majority of public schools are being led and controlled by ACLU and it’s ilk? Affluent neighborhoods with “a strong tax base” cannot keep the devil out of the details. Too many kids and teachers are being shut up or shut out – due to the “rules”, if they take a stand for Christ. It’s a battle and it’s costly in many ways.

    The drugs are not just “on the streets”, they are in the teacher’s lounge.

    The great public schools of ‘my day’ are too
    far gone into the tunnel of the PC, political, federally dominated,
    undisciplined, and impersonal schools of today.

    I can imagine what the walls of the schools are hearing and seeing, and moaning in distress over, these days.

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    Ginny it’s not win/lose, at least with me. If that Catholic school was miraculous, then that’s wonderful. Whatever works best for your child.

  • GinnyLee

    This tells the tale…
    “Now, to be honest, we live in an
    affluent suburban area. The school buildings are new, the tax base is
    strong, and everything about the school district is done with
    excellence. If we lived in the kind of area where a few of my friends
    live – places where they worry about their children’s safety and there
    are drug pushers on every corner – I think we’d seriously rethink our
    strategy.”

    ‘Sounds like you live in a bubble. My grand kids went to a ‘nice’ public school in early elementary years, then transferred to a Catholic school [certainly not cheap], and the change was almost ‘miraculous’ [sorry]. Their attitudes about school and their grades greatly improved. The teachers and staff are awesome, and very interactive with students and parents. Nah! It’s Catholic education, by a landslide.

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    Yes that’s a joke. :)

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    Thank you for sharing your experience. One thing that struck me was you said that when I said “Creepy Fundamentalist” you (and lots of others said) that saying that was an ad hominem and a stereotype, but then in every single instance that statement was followed with “Our school did not allow dancing,” as if to say that “…we drew the line at letting 5th graders prostitute themselves to the world by standing in a gym and listening to a disc jockey play music.” And usually, as you mentioned, it was because some church (usually a major contributor or one with a controlling seat on the board) was against it. Doesn’t this underscore my point? Who other than fundamentalists would bravely fight against the evils of a school dance? And be honest: standing back and looking at it objectively, wouldn’t anyone say that’s a bit creepy?

  • From My Experience

    I grew up first being homeschooled till 3rd grade and then transferred to a Christian school until high school graduation. I am now at a community college and understanding sort of where you are coming from in point 5. It is difficult to evangelize when every person you are friends with is a Christian. Having said that, from my experience I also disagree with some of these points. The quality of my teachers differed from class to class, however over all I would say they were excellent for a few reasons. For one they cared for their students academically, socially, and most important spiritually. If you wanted to meet with a teacher to discuss issues with them they would make time with you. They also were for the most part passionate for what they taught and were very well educated. I had never heard of any of my teachers wanting to teach at a public school but didn’t pass the state exam. They wanted to be there. One of my teachers even taught at the collegiate level but became passionate for high school students and started teaching at my school. Point 2 was valid in my case. The facilities were not nice, however I learned to look past that. In my experience, number 3 is not true. Yes there were “problem kids.” However most of them were genuinely good kids. The teachers were very much positive influences and that cannot always be said for public school teachers. The creepy fundamentalist thing is an ad hominem and a stereotype. I think its important to show the evidence for both and let the kids decide on their own. Our school did not allow dancing, however that was because one Church represented disagreed with school dances so as a result the school respected their beliefs. I come back to the 5th point and while i agree there is definitely some validity to it, it is certainly not for everybody. Most public school kids at my Church could not care less about winning their schoolmates for Christ and were more influenced by their classmates than the other way around. Yes being salt and light is important, but it is very difficult when they are in 1st grade or are being influenced by kids around them. So as I conclude, I agree that it ultimately should be the parents choice, and if their kid is passionate about evangelism already then I encourage it, however I think that sending your children to a Christian School is an amazing experience where they can grow in Christ and be encouraged spiritually.

  • x

    How did country music make the top list with drugs, alcohol, and other bad things? Is that a joke?

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    Yup.

  • http://www.fatcardiologist.com/ Will Miles

    That people have decided not to participate in the discourse because of a label (or the complication that the label would cause for them) is really depressing.

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    That’s a good point. Many would draw a line between Catholic school and Evangelical Protestant Christian schools, but your point is still valid – some Catholic schools are very good academic institutions.

  • ruis2002

    Catholic schools are excellent. Their graduates have higher rates of college attendance than public schools. Very solid college-prep curriculum. I’m not Catholic myself (I was raised Methodist), but I’m familiar with the quality of their schools. Even Jewish parents sometimes send their kids to Catholic schools, because the schools are simply better.

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    I think I’ve received more emails and personal messages thanking me for this post, but not commenting publicly for fear for being accused of being “liberal.”

  • disqus_suWyPEbzos

    I have found that trying to explain how I feel would not be understood by a person/Christian? like you so I will refrain. Let’s just say I see things a lot different after having children in Christian school, Public School, Christian college, secular college. Now I am a grandparent and still see things different from you. I can’t even imagine how you can say some of the things you say, even though I know there are downsides to every school. I learned from experience that some people do not know how to home-school either, but that is the only choice God left for them according to His leading. I am not 100% against any of the choices, but you sound like the Liberal type of Pastor I am glad I never had to be under. I listen to the Holy Spirit, not people who try to sound like they know it all…

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    Thank you for sharing your perspective.

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    Possibly.

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    Thanks Peter.

  • Teacher

    Whoe! I am a certified teacher with a master’s degree in education and a passion for individualized education, teaching what is best for the individual child, rather than what the curriculum requires you to teach. I spent 2 years working in a public school and was in trouble a lot because I cared more about the kid than the curriculum. Then I did private school for 2 years and had a little bit more freedom, but still not complete freedom. I was able to care more about the kids at least. Then I entered the realm of homeschool – one method of education not even mentioned here and found total freedom to care more about the kid than the curriculum. I also started getting politically involved and realized public schools are government funded, government mandated, government tested… essentially a government organization. I have no desire to see any child taught the kind of things the federal government is currently demonstrating they value! So those are two of the reasons I don’t like public school – the federal government values that are taught and the one-size-fits-all approach towards education.
    Then there’s your argument that it’s largely teachers who can’t teach elsewhere – not true. Private schools have to have certified teachers too. You can have non-certified subs, but your actual classroom teachers at least for elementary-high school have to be certified teachers. Now you can have schools that aren’t really accredited and don’t have certified teachers, but those are much fewer and less popular. Some don’t even call them schools, but just homeschool co-ops. I know this because of my teaching degree and my experience in the private school realm. I’ve even considered starting my own school before so I had to learn how the laws worked.
    I also would argue the money aspect. Yes, public schools have more money. But that’s not necessarily a good thing. One of the schools that has had the most money poured into it in this whole country has the worst success rate (Kansas City). I’ve seen kids go a whole lot farther in schools where they are getting better education with way way way less money. Technology does not make for a good education. It’s about the skill and passion and determination of the teacher. If you want your students to succeed, you’ll find a way whether you have a ton of money or not. Honestly? When I look back at the 7 different classrooms I’ve taught in, more money wouldn’t have helped any of them. No, I take that back. if I had a ton of money when I was homeschooling other people’s kids I would have hired an assistant so that instead of the ratio being 6 students to 1 teacher, it would have been 6 students to 2 teachers. So if money can be used to lower the ratios, that is good. But in the private school I had multiple parents who came in and helped all the time. They could grade papers or listen to a kid read or re-explain a math concept. All those little things that help so much. Didn’t see that happening in public school! So money doesn’t help much. Just look at the statistics on homeschooling! They are spending small amounts of money, some can barely afford a standard curriculum, but their test scores are higher than public school. That right there shows money doesn’t make a difference.
    As for the fundamentalist beliefs, I can’t argue that. I WANT kids to get some of that. Not too crazy, but definitely a strong emphasis on a Biblical worldview. I want them to look at absolutely every media choice in terms of Philippians 4:8 and Ephesians 4:29! I want them to at least consider removing themselves from the secular media world. Does a kid really need to listen to secular music to share the Gospel with someone else who does? I’m thinking showing them the love of Christ will go a whole lot farther than discussing modern music and demonstrating that you know and immerse yourself in their culture. I chose for myself, no one ever told me I should, to not listen to secular music or watch pg-13 movies. I’ve never had a non-believer tell me I couldn’t share the Gospel with them because I didn’t know all about their media. Now, I have had Christians take great offense to these choices and even try to trick me into doing these things.
    Then there’s the evangelism mindset. Hmmm… how can they learn to value evangelism if they don’t learn the message they’re supposed to preach? Public school isn’t going to teach them that! It will do all it can to give them a shaky, weak foundation for their faith. It will try so hard to teach them, maybe not specific doctrine, but a general outlook towards life that is contrary to Scripture.
    Then comes my #1 biggest complaint and concern against public schools. If it were just the school hours from 8:30-3:30 or whatever your school does it would be different. But when I see kids who are in band, speech, one-act, sports, etc. and the hours they have to spend on homework after school, they are spending WAY more time focused on school than focused on anything Christ centered. I have a serious problem with how much time the school gets as opposed to the family. I can’t believe Christian families with kids in public high school even let their kids attend church – they have so little time with their kids, those 2-4 hours a week the church gets may be the only time the kids aren’t focused on public school. There has to be some family time… right? Or maybe not. Maybe the school should own the children. That is what the government wants. And after all, being the next Olympic volleyball player or basketball star or getting a band scholarship or winning the one-act competition for state should be the ultimate goal in life for our children… right?
    I recently moved to a rural area, super small towns, super small community schools where some of the teachers are Christians, where enough kids in the science class raise a stink about evolution that the teacher gives up and skips that chapter in the textbook. But what do I see here? I see families so focused on school that the kids barely have time to breathe. I see families talking about how they’re going to wear out a vehicle in only two years just driving to all the school events. I see kids thinking they HAVE to be going, going, going constantly and that if they stop for a moment, something is wrong. I see people bragging about how the small school allows their kids to do EVERYTHING instead of just one thing. When in the world did living at school become a good thing? When did we make a rule that parents have to sign over custody of their children to the public schools? I will do all I can to keep kids out of the public school because I don’t want the school to be the one to raise them. I believe that’s what God made parents for – not public schools.
    So I disapprove of public schools due to:
    – the government control
    – the one-size-fits-all approach to education
    – the lack of opportunity to build a strong foundation for a child’s faith during the formative years
    – the amount of time they steal from the families
    I feel as though my experiences having studied education, even to the level of a master’s in education, and having worked in all 3 types of schools – public, private and homeschool, have given me a bigger picture on all of this. I’ve studied it. I’ve been in the cultures. And it seems really clear to me that public school is not the ideal place for education, spiritual growth or family growth. It is the ideal place to raise good citizens who will not question their government and do whatever they are told to do, who believe the government to be right. Oh and it’s a great place to learn how to take tests! After all, filling in bubbles is an essential life skill!

  • JT

    Every point they tried to make in this article is easily refuted. The list you could make on public schools would easily be 3-4 times as long (yes my kids do go to public schools). Sad state of journalism is growing in these articles of late.

  • Peter C.

    Brian,

    I’m not sure how to respond to this article or to your responses to the comments of this article. It has some bits of truth within, but one has to wade past the misconceptions and name-calling (yes, name-calling) to get to these bits.

    First of all, I’m not sure what you’re defending here – you stand up for school systems that have for years been under the anti-Christian (and not just passively anti-Christian, but possessing vitriolic, outwardly-focused bias toward Evangelical Christians) influence, indoctrinating our children with moral relativism and a humanist worldview 5 days a week, an increasing number of hours a day, from pre-K through high school. While I agree that we need more influencers in our secular public schools, I believe Christian elementary schools are far more important in development of strong english and math skills without the subtle garbage that replaces the essential curricula these days. In other words, there’s a VALID REASON why the United States’ schools are falling well behind those in many other parts of the world: propaganda has replaced the building blocks of literacy in our schools.

    Back to the name-calling. You’re calling people who believe the earth is 8,000 years old “creepy”? Are you just trying to be hip, scoring points with postmoderns, or do you really think that ad-hominem is ok when it’s directed at your brothers and sisters in Christ? Do you realize how many credible scientists have and do believe in a young earth? People like Louis Pasteur, Isaac Newton, and Lord Kelvin are among the few you insult.. or maybe they didn’t exist, like the ‘Match Game’, because you weren’t around then?

    You really could have left those out of your thesis and still had plenty of evidentiary ground to explain why it is you think public schools are better. I do, however, sense a strong sense of predisposition and bitterness in your text. I’m sorry you feel that way. Having been a product of a Christian elementary school myself, I can attest that nothing could have prepared me better for public secondary school, college, and adult life.

    As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. – Romans 14:1

    Respectfully,
    Peter

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    It’s the choice we made. I explained our rationale in other comments.

  • saavy_one

    My question to the poster is why send your child to a Christian college? Why not send them to a public university (which might be cheaper) so they can continue to be examples that lead students to Christ? In essence, you are saying it’s okay to go to a Christian college but not a Christian school for your formative years. I think that whatever your choice is you must be wise in knowing what to do with your child. I have been to both places and there are pluses and minuses with both arenas. As an educator, I think that today’s public schools are lacking a serious concentration on the spiritual side of the children. You can’t teach the whole child while neglecting this factor (it’s like trying to solve the problem without resolving the root cause of the problem). At a Christian school, you have to make sure the school is truly Christian, and not just a place using Jesus as a selling point.

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    It was posted.

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    Mark thank you for sharing your opinion and experience.

  • Mark Buzard

    I was hoping it was, Doubt my reply will get posted

  • Mark Buzard

    My
    nieces are in a Christian school and we have quality teachers who could
    easily get better jobs in a public school, and we have a great
    school…. I don’t appreciate this article and the tone of it it…. I myself think people are foolish for putting their kids in
    a public school nowadays…. some aren’t as bad as others, but they
    sure are going to be exposed to things I wouldn’t want my kids exposed
    to if I had any.

    You make it sound like Christian schools are inferior, and there may be some bad ones, but I know of a lot of good ones…… my one niece was struggling back in first grade and my sister and brother-in-law were trying to decide whether to hold her back or not. They had her tested at the public school, and the woman who did the testing said if my niece was going into second grade in the public school, she could handle it, but Christians schools tend to be more advanced and she should probably be held back in our school – so she was.

    One of our teachers also teaches a couple of classes at a college. We have more than one teacher who has their Master’s Degree.

    I think you’re nuts, and as someone said, they hoped it was satire – but sadly it isn’t. Your kids will most likely be taught evolution, liberal ideas, pro-gay stuff, pro-free sex, revised history devoid of any mention of the Christian foundation this country was founded on…. I read enough and pay attention too know what they are teaching kids in public schools, and I think you’re nuts for putting your kids in there…. you’re gambling with their souls, and hopefully they turn out OK. By the time they get to college, it may be too late

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    You had me when you sId funding does not guarantee a good education. Then lost me with the Obama slam…

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    When it’s used as a proof text to beat kids in a Christian school.

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    Sold the faith to Satan?

  • Betty Taylor

    Funding does not guarantee a good education. Theft by taxation is what Obama loves. It’s the same with government schools. We don’t use the public school near us, but it’s our biggest tax every year! Then we bought our own curriculum to homeschool. Our biggest problem was narrowing down from the enormous curriculum out there for homeschooling and Christian schools.

    All wisdom is hidden in Jesus Christ. If schools do not even allow children to be taught from the Bible, who is being disobedient?

  • Betty Taylor

    “To spare the rod is to spoil the child (Proverbs 13:24).” Simply put, you don’t want your children educated by fundamentalist Christians who use dumbed-down curriculum riddled with false science and legalistic babbling.

    Since when is Proverbs “legalistic babbling”?

  • Sam Boes

    Both my sons attended both public and Christian schools, and virtually NONE of what you give as “reasons” were true. Christian teachers in their schools HAD and MAINTAINED state teaching credentials, LEFT the public schools because of the severe troubles in those schools, and came to teach in private schools because they were dedicated to teaching the truth. I am, and my sons are NOT “fundamentalist” nut cases: I am a licensed professional engineer and my wife is a animal sciences major both from very highly rated and fully accredited universities, and for you to condemn those of us who do not belief in the pseudoscience of evolution and an insanely-ancient earth and all the rest (instead of the Inspired Word of God) as a bunch of “creepy” fanatics and hicks is astonishing. What DO you believe in? Certainly not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and of the Christ. This is an amazing example of the poor reasoning of someone who has sold the faith once and for all delivered to the saints – and his soul – to Satan.

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    In some circumstances it can be a good thing. In many others it’s less than ideal. Good topic for a blog post.

  • Bridgette

    What is your take on home schooling?

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    Obviously not you :)

  • red nig

    It’s satire. Who could take it seriously?

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    Sounds like you had a great experience. That’s for sharing that. (And yes this could be categorized under First World Probs – my friends in India don’t even have a choice!).

  • http://mylifethemusical.blogspot.com/ kristicw

    My experience is quite the contrary. The small Christian school in which I received an excellent education (& Shawn knows well) has produced what appears to be a higher than normal rate of missionaries, church planters, and other evangelical leaders (I do not have stats to back my observations). I believe it is because the teachers and parents sacrifice for the ministry that students are instilled with a deep sense of mission – whether in formal roles or in the ways in which they live out their daily lives.

    [One a side note, I also noticed at my twenty year reunion that my class of 45 had less than 10% divorce rate and 0% deaths. Correlation?]

    I send my children to that school now, as well. I am glad you highlighted that you are in a suburban setting. It is a very different experience for those of us who live in poorer, urban settings. We tried the public school for each of our children, but after a few years came to the conclusion that it was not a good fit. Much of that has to do with class size. The private school caps its classes at 20, where the very poorly funded public school is cramming pre-K through 8th grade in one large, run-down building with classes of 30+. Teachers and administrators at our school know my children well and can work closely with their educational, emotional, relational, and spiritual needs for more than a decade during their formational years. The consistency is key.

    It is true that we don’t have a great computer lab. We don’t have football or baseball. We are limited in AP classes. One of the great things about being in a small school, though, is that everyone can be a big fish in the proverbial pond. Our student body President is also a lead in the drama, a manager of the basketball team, in National Honor Society, and the list goes on. Kids at small schools get to try on many varied roles on teams and in leadership which would likely not be available, except to an elite handful, at a large, public school.

    I’m sorry for the long response! I have had to bite my tongue for years as many friends give these same “Do what is best for your child…but the more Christian thing would be to have them in the public school” comments. It feels pretty disrespectful. Parenting is hard enough, without feeling like other parents, especially other followers of Jesus, are, even subtly insulting the important choices being made for one’s children. I do recognize that you bent over backwards to say “they aren’t all like this”, Brian, so thank you for that.

    I just realized this whole conversation needs to be filed under “First World Problems”! :)

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    Food for thought. Thanks Will.

  • http://www.fatcardiologist.com/ Will Miles

    Thanks Brian. I’m naturally cynical, so the idea of a Christian college strikes me much the same way I perceived your reaction in another post to Christian rock or The Bible miniseries. No doubt there are fantastic colleges, high schools, and K-12 institutions that are associated with the Christian faith. But to blindly send someone to one just because of that association seems against the very spirit of being educated. Thus the question “Should I send my kid to a Christian school” misses the point. We would never recommend a restaurant based solely on its relationship to Christianity, but on whether the food tastes good. Interesting that it’s not always the same way with schools.

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    Nope.

  • Paul Mangeri

    I need to know if this article is satire before I respond.

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    Will I agree 100% that growth is HUGELY important to maturation as a human being and as a Christian. My experience resonates with yours. On the Christian college option, I would say two things. First, our approach has been to steer our daughters to outstanding academic institutions, that also happen to be solidly evangelical Christian in their approach. Those institutions by and large are broadly represented not just by minorities, etc., but also in terms of the diversity of the professors. Second, I think that during pre-adulthood (birth-18 yrs) that time is pretty much a time of being SHAPED both by the parents, church, and school. I want my kids to face head on every experience (within reason), ideology and situation that they’ll face in life while we can shape them as sounding boards and cultural interpreters. Dinnertime and car rides are huge for this dialogue. Upon entering adulthood I consider the first few years as a time of being GUIDED. With their belief system, worldview, and passion in tact, now they are ready to be guided into areas of lifelong passion, creativity and impact. I believe that during that time that the guidance they receive needs to come from people who can offer a different perspective than what we’ve given them, as well as different experiences and challenges, but come from the same passion of living out the Christian faith in a way that is positive and helpful for the world.

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    Good point Shawn. That’s certainly been my experience.

  • http://www.fatcardiologist.com/ Will Miles

    An interesting topic Brian. One thing I would add to this is growth. One of the true hallmarks of a good education is being able to reformulate your opinions when the objective data indicates that your commonly held beliefs are wrong. How are you to grow as a Christian if those beliefs are never challenged? How can you change others opinions if you haven’t spent time developing the ability to objectively defend your beliefs? I’ve spent the better part of my life questioning Christians, and it wasn’t until I came across well meaning, decent Christians who could explain their beliefs–and more importantly–behave in line with their beliefs, that I finally started to get it.

    I had some wonderful teachers and some terrible teachers in public schools growing up. But I may have learned just as much from the terrible ones as I did from the good ones because I was forced to deal with adversity. I want my kids to deal with that adversity. I want them to fail and learn from it. I want them to understand that being a Christian doesn’t mean surrounding yourself with other people who only think like you any more than being white means you should only have white friends.

    I am curious why you support Christian colleges as your reasons 3, 4, and 5 would still seem to apply? I went to traditional, football-factory schools for my education (Florida 41, Ohio St. 14, oh yeah!) and found the exposure to minorities, homosexuals, Muslims, racists, agnostics, and atheists to be the cause of some of the most useful conversations in my life. That’s not a put down for Christian colleges, as I have no first-hand knowledge of them and can’t really speak to their quality individually or as a whole. Thanks for writing, and I appreciate the perspective. You always challenge me to think regardless of whether I agree with you or not.

  • Shawn Anderson

    Good thoughts, Brian! My wife and I intentionally send our children to public school based overwhelmingly on #5. If children grow up in a Christian bubble they will never know how to make disciples, nor will they possibly feel compelled to. We are called to be salt and light to the world and teach our children to do the same. Thanks!