In a recent gubernatorial debate the two candidates for governor of Virginia addressed their perspective of public education. The Republican nominee, Glenn Youngkin, made the point that parents should have a role in the education of their children and their views respected. The former governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, said, “No, parents should have basically no role in terms of curricular decisions in public schools.”
Dr. Al Mohler, Jr., in his commentary titled “The Briefing” said we should “notice how candid and straightforward is the rejection of parental involvement.” Indeed, McAuliffe is telling parents send us your children and fund the public school system with your tax dollars but what and how we educate your children is none of your business.
When the founders of our nation traveled to the New World and sought to carve out of the wilderness some freedom for themselves and their families, children were often home schooled. As the demands of making a living off the land increased the need for public schools did as well. Time spent teaching children was needed to make the homestead productive.
Parents recognized the need for public schools. Local school boards sprang up governed by the doctrine of, “in loco parentis,” Latin for, in place of the parents.
The educator John Dewey sought to use the public school system to teach a “common culture” to students. But Dewey was an atheist and a humanist and thought children needed to be separated from their parents religious worldviews.
Local school systems are coming under increasing pressure from the federal Department of Education to adopt curriculums that are in many regards, in conflict, with local norms. The pressure comes in the form of strings attached to federal funding. There are those within government like Terry McAuliffe who think parents should stay out of the business of public education.
Consider the push to teach Critical Race Theory and the influence of the LGBTQ agenda. Do you think your kindergarten child should be exposed to Drag Queen Story Hour? Do you want your first-grade child taught sex education in an amoral atmosphere where sinful practices are thought acceptable?
Paul wrote, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord,” Ephesians 6:4. The Scriptures clearly teach that parents bear the burden for their children’s moral and religious education, but what the parents teach in the home should not be undermined by the public school system.
Thankfully, there are educators in the public school system who work to compliment what parents teach in the home, but we must guard against those who would steal the hearts and minds of our children. The pandemic has seen an increase in home and private schooling. We may be returning to our educational roots.
“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ,” Colossians 2:8.