Why You Should Get Your Child Out Of Public School

Note: Things are only getting worse in the public schools across the USA. When I first addressed this it was out of alarm about the amazing but largely ignored problem of sexual predators roaming the halls in public schools across the USA. This is not hyperbole. Take a look at Leave Public School, which aggregates news stories about the misdeeds of public school teachers and staff. On average there is a news story every day about the arrest or conviction of a public school teacher or staff member for sexual crimes against students. Imagine were there a news story about an accountant being charged or locked up daily. Look at the comment box of the post linked below. For about a year I followed the feed and posted a news story nearly every day about crimes against children in a public school somewhere in America. That is only one reason why it is reasonable to think and pray seriously about withdrawing your children from the public schools. Since I first started paying attention to these issues another reason has become manifest: the public schools are increasing dominated by advocates of Critical Theory. Children, who cannot defend themselves, are being taught that, by virtue of their immutable characteristics, they think certain things, do certain things, and are called upon to denounce themselves before the class. In 1964 Americans recognized such speech as  racism. Today it is part of the curriculum of many American public schools. Anyone who predicted this sort of madness even ten years ago would have been regarded as a scaremonger. Meanwhile the academic collapse of public schools continues apace. The latest outrage: a 17-year old Baltimore high school student almost graduated near the top of his class after passing three courses in four years. His grade point average is 0.13. An extreme case? Perhaps but how many ill-educated children are graduating from American high schools with inflated grade point averages? At least the Baltimore school told the truth about the student’s academic performance.

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The world has changed quite a bit since I entered Dundee Elementary in 1965–66. No-fault divorce did not yet exist. Two-parent families were the norm. Abortion had not yet been legalized. The late-modern drug culture had not yet exploded. WWII had been over for more than 20 years and the baby boom had just ended. The suburbs were burgeoning. Top 40 radio was in its heyday and Roger W. Morgan was playing the hits on the Mighty 1290 KOIL. The hippie movement was still a sub-culture. The Vietnam War was intensifying but mostly we got just a moment or two of it on the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. The civil rights movement was on the news as Dr King and others led peaceful demonstrations calling Americans to honor the promises enshrined in the constitution. Too often, however, those marches were met by fire hoses and police dogs. The Watts Riots, which were a reaction to decades of unjust treatment of minorities by the LAPD, convulsed Los Angeles in 1965 leaving scars that would last for decades. In those years, however, my school and neighborhood were all white. So, naturally, I did not see any oppression even if it was not far from my quiet (still remarkably well-preserved) neighborhood near the old money neighborhood in Omaha. Economically, things were stable. The median family income in the USA was about $6,900 (= approx. $53,000 in 2017) and most families lived on a single income. Credit cards were just coming into use. The inflation rate was higher then (about 4%). Perhaps everyone was miserable and repressed but it did not seem so but then what did I know? I turned five years old in 1966.

Public school was among the dominant realities of my life until 1979. When I began school, teachers were not only allowed to use corporal punishment, they were expected to administer it as needed. I certainly gave my teachers plenty of reason to spank me. Schools were expected to act in place of the parents (in loco parentis). Nearly all of my teachers were female and they were expected, during most of my education, to respect the authority of the parents. The emphasis in school was, until the mid-70s, on the objective. This is what parents meant in the 80s when they complained that they wanted teachers to focus on “reading, writing, and arithmetic.” They could sense that something was shifting but most Americans did not know the history of public schools and were not aware that prospective teachers were being taught in “teachers college” and in universities that education was not “rote memorization,” that it was about “enrichment” and “experience” more than grammar, logic, and rhetoric. During my entire primary and secondary education whenever anyone mentioned memorization it was inevitably accompanied with the adjective “rote” and we were given to think that was a bad thing. No teacher explained to me not only the utility of memorizing or the mechanics of it until my logic professor did so in passing, in 1981. Read more»

©R. Scott Clark. All Rights Reserved.

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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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34 comments

  1. All true. But the problem does not stop by withdrawing one’s child from public schools. Soon, private, especially religious-based, schools will be under attack thanks to the Equality Amendment. Further, and you posted a blog about this last year, homeschooling is under attack, as well. The way it is now a child is less likely (I say “less” because certain denominations have been known to overlook sexual predators on their staffs) to encounter these kinds of people or false indoctrination than public school children. But again, what will happen when those private schools are forced to open their doors to any and every kind of deviant? I’m not feeling positive about it.

    • If private schools aren’t on the fed dole, the feds can’t do much to them. If enough people withdraw from public school, it will bring the system to its knees. Each child is worth thousands of dollars to a school district. When the kids leaves, the district loses $. If enough people vote with their feet, the system will change. They can’t teach empty classrooms. It will force legislatures to assign the $ to the student rather than to the district. Then there are the courts. Parents have not yet begun to fight.

  2. Imagine were there a news story about an accountant being charged or locked up daily

    Imagine if those same accountants watched a classroom full of kids every day. There’s a reason the Bible warns that those who teach will be judged more strictly. They’re responsible for young minds and bodies. They can do enormous harm if they aren’t held to high ethical standards. They apparently aren’t held to high intellectual standards. Most of my smart friends who taught public school quit within 5 years. Other friends who taught (who were also smart) left the state this year, partially because they saw the writing on the wall for California’s public school curriculum requiring transgender education and homosexual indoctrination.

    They can’t teach empty classrooms.

    They did this year.

    If private schools aren’t on the fed dole, the feds can’t do much to them.

    The feds do not like them. They can pass a million different laws to make attendance impossible or keeping them open impossible just like the Bourbon kings did to the Huguenot schools.

    If enough people vote with their feet, the system will change.

    I was one of these fence-sitters for a long time but I finally realized all of the CRT and gender re-assignment legislation came from the teacher’s unions themselves. I also thought that public school was better than nothing because it at least teaches reading, but the NAEP scores do not bear this out. The bottom half to two-thirds aren’t learning anything and are ballasted by the other half/third but the whole ship is headed to the bottom. Last March public school teachers told us that they weren’t teaching anything new because they didn’t want kids like mine getting ahead ostensibly because they knew kids wouldn’t learn anything over Zoom. Homeschooling has been a solution, but I think the ideal solution is the one used at the founding of this country: churches running schools, hopefully affordably. I’ve notice that the Christian schools get more expensive every year. Meanwhile, wages for the bottom 3/5ths of wage earners in this country have been stagnant for thirty years.

    One thing is for sure, public school is nonessential. Like Machen said, if they become a monopoly (they have), they’re nothing but a tool for tyranny.

    • Bryce,

      I don’t doubt that there are federal authorities who would very much like to do as you say but we still have a Constitution and I doubt that Americans have really begun to respond to this crisis. It seems to early to give in or to declare that all is lost.

      American citizens aren’t under Bourbon kings.

      We trust that we have Constitutional options, of which we have not availed ourselves (e.g., a Constitutional convention, constitutional amendment).

    • I’m not saying all is lost but we should think a couple of steps ahead. Remember that Obama’s “justice” department went after an ELCA school in 2012 and we’ve already heard rumblings from the Swamp and its associates about homeschooling and charter schools. What do we do in those cases? Perhaps we need the lesser magistrate to nullify federal laws, for example. We definitely need to lawyer-up, but litigation is outrageously costly.

      A huge chunk of parents hate the public schools after this year. It’s not just the COVID closures and teachers’ refusal to teach but also the 1619 Project, World War T, and the shaming of white kids for being white. Parents are definitely pulling their kdis out.
      I heard this through the grape vine so take it with a grain of salt but Newsom’s work-around is to extend some edict taht allows schools to count students as pupils even after they’ve disenrolled.

  3. My son, who is not a believer, pulled his children from California public schools and placed them in a Roman Catholic school. His reasoning was academics, physical safety, and elimination of social justice propaganda. I’m certainly not supportive of the teachings of Rome’s false gospel, but I address that in my Bible studies with them by teaching the gospel of grace without works. Given the choices, I am pleased with his decision. Although it is considered the most expensive option in the area, for working parents it is actually not expensive. They were spending an equivalent amount in before- and after-school childcare when the kids attended a public school. The Catholic school provides that for no extra cost, even tutoring the children In their homework during that time. For the price of daycare, they are able to afford a much better and safer setting. I could tell some horror stories about what they were being taught in the local schools.

    • Mike – except that in many jurisdictions one has to pay local property taxes (that support public schools regardless of whether a child attends them) in addition to the tuition necessary to send a child to a private school. That can be a major burden to a family with a strapped income.

      • George, if enough people vote with their feet and if they vote at the ballot box, the system can be changed. Status quo is only sustainable if we continue to sustain it.

  4. Dr. Clark, I humbly agree with what you are saying, but in reality it is not what I see happening among evangelicals. During the entire four years of Trump’s presidency I had to listen to a member of our congregation show up every Sunday sounding like Eeyore, complaining about the president’s awful behavior, Tweets, etc., even though Trump was no different a philanderer than JFK, Johnson, or worse yet, Clinton, or no worse a naysayer than someone like Harry Truman, even though that president accomplished a great deal in staving off the encroachment of Leftist rhetoric.

    This same individual often boarded buses destined to the center of a major Midwestern city to walk a picket in support of Right-to-Life legislation. Yet, I’m sure he voted for the entire Democratic platform in the last election – simply because he was anti-Trump. Nevertheless, whenever someone like our Sunday school teacher points to all of the negative aspects of the Equality Amendment to come, this same individual shakes his head in disbelief that this is happening.

    What was he expecting!!? Sure, if enough people vote against this kind of barbarianism it might get reversed, but where are they going to come from? I’ve kind of lost confidence in what many people who profess to be Christian and who supposedly espouse Christian ethics are willing to do at the ballot box.

    I suppose if we all apply the Benedict Option and group together tightly to hide from the watchful eyes of the forthcoming Leftist control of our lives we can survive it, but not in the public realm of schools (or maybe even private for that matter) under the direct surveillance of Big Brother.

  5. Christian homeschoolers in Texas back in the 1980s won the right to homeschool without government interference in Leeper vs. Arlington. Since then the homeschool movement in Texas has ballooned. My wife and I are Presbyterian and are blessed with 6 children, all homeschooled from the beginning. Our children are all either college graduates with successful careers or finishing up college. We had no problems with our kids becoming enamored of cultural trends, they never left the church. Homeschooling provided for us a dynamic network of Christian families as well as a stable Christian foundation. May the Lord God be praised for His mercy.

  6. > No teacher explained to me not only the utility of memorizing or the mechanics of it until my logic professor did so in passing, in 1981.

    I know it’s not central to your argument, but would you mind expanding on what you did eventually learn concerning the utility and mechanics of memorization? Unfortunately, even my logic professor did not explain that to me.

  7. That report from Rufo was downright scary. Chanting to bloodthirsty Aztec gods precedes sacrificing to them in the old way. Also notice from Dreher’s survey of the Wiki articles on Aztec gods that Aztec society had a rigid hierarchy. Warriors could only ascend a single step up the pyramid by capturing more victims from other tribes. How did non-Aztec Meso-Americans feel about this? Weren’t Aztecs insanely racist? Say what you want about the Spaniards but they were a definite improvement over the Aztecs and their conquest and removal of Aztec religion is proof that God is no longer going to allow Satan to deceive the nations.

    It’s becoming more and more clear that sending your kids to public school is child abuse, depending on your location. It’s also clear that we’re headed towards some sort of Apocalypto ourselves, which would be merciful. Perhaps it’s time for counties to come up with ways of limiting the damage from the Sacramento Swamp.

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