You’re too harsh on public schools


Not all schools are bad. I work for a middle school in South Carolina teaching special education. I know that our school district promotes abstaining until marriage, and it is taught in the classroom. I would say that 75% or more of our faculty and staff are Christians. Instead of condemning public education, you need to pray that more Christians go into education. Public education, to me, is a mission field. People need to pray that Christian teachers become bold and pray that Christian teens share their faith. So before you lump all public schools in the "false teaching" category, go visit other schools.


The objection you expressed is concerning two paragraphs from the introduction to Growing Up in the Lord: A Study for Teenage Boys. The statements are:

"Instead of letting the ignorant and unrighteous define the moral standard for our children, we need to make a full frontal assault on the false teachings in our public schools. God's view of sex must be taught to our children to show there is another way of looking at the world. We need to show that the Bible's teaching is relevant to today's society and that it makes sense to use the Bible as a guide."

"It is my hope that you will find the material in this book adequate to combat the false teachings that are being spread in the sex education classes of the schools today. Instead of selecting only a few verses for each lesson, I want to expose you to the wealth of information on sex that is contained within the scriptures."

I agree that not all public schools or all public school teachers are teaching falsely. South Carolina law places it on the extreme conservative side of sex education curriculums. The state's requirement (not the local school district) is unusually strict. "South Carolina requires the instruction to "stress the importance of abstaining from sexual activity until marriage" and to "help students develop skills to...abstain from sexual activity." [State Level Policies on Sexuality, STD Education] What is unfortunate is that this is not generally true throughout the United States. I lived in Virginia and New York when I was writing this book. I read through numerous suggested sex education curriculums and I continue to review them periodically. On the whole, it is hard to find a curriculum that uses moral or ethical principles when dealing with sexuality. Only a few available for private schools even begin to address sexuality from a scriptural standpoint.

Even in your own situation, because you are teaching in a publically funded school system, you are restricted in how you can present moral decision making in a class environment. For example, you cannot state that God has said that fornication is sinful. Instead, you must approach the issue in an indirect manner by emphasizing the physical dangers of unrestricted sexual encounters. It is better than nothing, but we both know that teens have difficulty accessing risk and will frequently justify their actions with thoughts that they can escape the risks. While public school teachers have some latitude in supplementing the material presented, most teachers are given curriculum chosen by others and written by others. It is not often that you find the decision makers and the writers being conservative Christians, even in your own state.

In 1996, the rate of births to teenagers in the United States was 54.4 per 1,000. In South Carolina, it was 62.9 per 1,000. In 1998 the average age of first sexual activity in the United States was 16.8, but in South Carolina, the average age was 13.7. [Despite Recent Declines, Adolescent Pregnancy, Birth and Abortion Rates in the U.S. and South Carolina] So while you are understandably proud of your state's stance, evidence shows that the message is not reaching the hearts of the teens in South Carolina. Work needs to be done.

It is my firm belief that God's Word holds the key, but the government has consistently ruled that God's Word cannot be used to train children's belief system in public school classrooms. It is that lack of moral underpinning that is causing our societal drift into amoral behavior. We cannot expect the public school system to solve the growing problem of fornication in the United States. Even if the school system were flooded with Christian teachers, it doesn't solve the problem of judges laying down rules that prevent Christian views from the Bible to be generally taught.

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