Why We Need Christian Kids in Public School

The final countdown has begun. I have been in my classroom getting it ready for a new group of fourth graders. School starts two weeks from today. And with a new year right around the corner, I’m remembering how difficult last year was. I’ve been teaching fourth grade for a decade now and I’ve noticed the decline in the work ethic and behavior of some of my students. So I’d like to pose the question: Do we need Christian kids in public schools?

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Teaching in a public school setting is a very unique job. It has allowed me to view a cross-section of today’s society, both the good and the bad. And for many Christian parents, their perceived decline in the moral makeup of today’s kids has caused them to look at private school or home schooling as a way to escape the evils their children may come in contact with in a public school setting. I know many parents feel very strongly about the public education system being bad for their children, but perhaps we should not shy away from allowing our kids to work in their unique mission field.

I believe our public schools need Christian kids in them. They need to be filled with kids who show the light of Christ. I’ve had students in past classes who exuded a confident Christian attitude and it definitely had a positive effect on their peers. We need to look at our children’s time in school as their mission field, a place where they can interact with many who are lost in a way that a parent or youth minister cannot.

Recently I attended a homecoming football game at the high school I graduated from and the school’s LGBT club had sponsored a float. While those kids had a right to do that, we need Christian kids in schools willing to speak a message about Christ, showing their peers that they are not ashamed of following God. I understand how home schooling or a Christian private school may afford us the opportunity to teach the bible in a way that cannot happen in a public school setting. But let us consider how we can allow our children to affect the world for Christ instead of isolating them from it. Jesus didn’t shy away from sinners. He came to seek and save the lost. We should do the same.

(Please read the comment section of this post for further dialogue of our responsibility as parents to our children’s education but more importantly their souls.)

-Joe

 

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2 thoughts on “Why We Need Christian Kids in Public School

  1. ephesians413

    I both agree and disagree with your comments. I don’t know how that can be, but I’ll try to explain. My own children were homeschooled for four years and then due to circumstances they began public school. They loved homeschool and eventually they also learned to love public school. They were fortunate in that they were put into a top track once they reached middle school and many of the discipline problems they encountered in elementary school disappeared. They held their own and they did shine their light as they progressed along the way. They stood up for God in little things and excelled academically. Ultimately it was good for them. I think in their case, it helped them to make decisions about what’s right and wrong and how to find friends that have values similar to your own.

    At the same time, I believe it is increasingly harder to have a Christian opinion in public schools. Also, a few of my daughters’ teachers did not appreciate where they were coming from. It’s difficult as a child to be in the position of having a teacher, whom you are supposed to respect, but who is talking about things that are opposed to your beliefs. While my daughters eventually had a good experience, I know that some teachers taught them things that I do not agree with and that my daughters did not have the wisdom to oppose. I think that the most insidious things they encountered were attitudes and little innuendos, things that are so subtle that kids may not realize what’s going on. We tried to stay on top of things, but you can’t always grill them on every little thing that happens during the day. You just have to teach them the truth and pray that it sticks.

    Maybe my daughters’ college years were the most devastating as far as professors go that teach falsities. I now find that my daughters have a more liberal stance than I do on a lot of issues. They’re on their own now, but now and then I get the chance to put my two cents in and help them to see why I take a more conservative point of view. They’re willing to listen and I think they will eventually come around. I don’t push it too much because it’s important for them to find their own way. Anyway, I think that some kids are much more impressionable than mine and would have a harder time than mine standing up for what’s right in a hostile environment.

  2. Joe Butler

    Thanks for the wonderful and heartfelt comment. I too had differing experiences during my education, attending public schools and also a private Christian school for several years. The decision of where to send one’s kids to school is a very unique decision for each family based on the school district they live in and the spiritual maturity of their children. I’m lucky to work in a public school that does not frown upon personal religious beliefs, so it would be easier for a child to express their love for God and not receive backlash. With that said, some children, being young and impressionable, should be aloud to learn in a home or private school setting lest they be subjected to temptation they are not ready to handle. On the other hand, if a child, especially a mature one of high school age, is strong in their faith, they can make an amazing impact on their peers in a public school setting and hopefully begin to turn the tide of moral decline in our nation. Ultimately, we as parents are responsible for the spiritual upbringing of our children (see Deut. 6:4-9) and we should do whatever is necessary to ensure they are not caught up by the world. I will always believe that their souls are worth far more than their education.

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