Parents and Education
Parents will be held responsible by God for their children’s education, says the Bible. This was a view shared by the majority of America’s founders.
But today there is a great defiance against this on the part of many in our educational establishment. Many leaders in the educational system seem to think they know better than the parents as to what should and should not be taught.
FoxNews.com reports (3/4/23): “A Colorado elementary school’s private emails show secret plans to defy parents’ wishes on transitioning their child’s gender.”
Recently, a Fairfax (Virginia) County parent, Neeley McCallister noted: “As parents, it is our primary duty to protect our children and preserve their innocence…Unfortunately, there is a toxic movement infiltrating our schools that is more interested in pushing a political agenda rather than teaching…our children the subjects we were taught in school: math, reading, science, history.”
McCallister made these remarks during hearings to promote a bill in the new U.S. House of Representatives, under the leadership of Speaker Kevin McCarthy. The new bill seeks to assert parental rights when it comes to what is taught in the schools.
This is right and good. Centuries ago America made great strides in becoming a “city on a hill” in part because of the great education so many citizens received. Initially it was based on the Bible and resulted in astounding levels of literacy.
As James Madison, a key architect of the Constitution, observed, “A well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people.”
The first Congress under the Constitution that gave us the First Amendment also passed a law that ensured that each state to be added to the new nation should be committed to education. If the American experiment were to work, it could only do so if the people could read and write for themselves. So on August 4, 1789, Congress passed the Northwest Ordinance.
This important document said in Article III: “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” This was in a day when “Religion” meant Christianity of one stripe or another.
Even Thomas Jefferson, who departed from Christian orthodoxy later in life, allowed the Bible and Isaac Watts’ hymnals to be used to teach reading at two schools for which he served as president of the board of trustees. Isaac Watts was a great writer of classic Christian songs, including “Joy to the World,” “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” and “Jesus Shall Reign.”
However, in the last few decades, there has arisen an anti-God tenor in the schools. Last week, Foxnews.com reported on a story out of the Phoenix area, where a school board rejected hiring teachers from a Christian college because these teachers were deemed “not safe”: “An Arizona school board member wearing cat ears during a meeting said she would oppose having a contract with a Christian university over the religious and Biblical beliefs they espouse.”
Another board member concurred with her, as he decried the university for “teaching with a Biblical lens.” The board agreed with the anti-Christian ban.
The school board says in effect, “Teachers needed. Biblical Christians need not apply.” This sort of discrimination is clearly unconstitutional. But is it what parents want?
We all have a lens, a worldview. It was a Biblical worldview, a “Biblical lens,” that made us the most free and prosperous nation. But if the Left had their way, only those with godless values should be teaching our children—with little or no significant input from the parents.
Americanwirenews.com noted a similar example of anti-Christian bias at work in the schools. A public school teacher in Washington state said we need to keep the schoolchildren safe from their “Christo-fascist parents.”
Some parents teach their children to follow the Bible—the way Washington, Lincoln, and Reagan learned their values. “Horrors,” say many in the education establishment today, trying to separate parents from their children’s education.
Thankfully, the new Congress is fighting back, as noted. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich writes, “Speaker Kevin McCarthy and House Republicans have given the American people an opportunity to dramatically strengthen the role of parents in the education of their children.”
The preamble to The Parents Bill of Rights Act declares: “Parents have a God-given right to make decisions for their children. Unfortunately, many school districts have been ignoring the wishes of parents while special interest groups try to criminalize free speech.”
The preamble adds, “This list of rights will make clear to parents what their rights are and clear to schools what their duties to parents are.”
Perhaps Rep. Elise Stefanik says it all: “Parents are the primary stakeholders in their child’s education, and they have a right to know what is going on inside their child’s classroom.” Hear, hear.