Zoo Station

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Public School and the Culture Wars

Posted by Chance on June 3, 2006

I said in an earlier post about how a unified public school system cannot be value free. One way or another, values somehow gets into the equation concerning an education system.

Coulson from the Cato Institute said it much more eloquently:

Whenever there is a single official school system for which everyone is compelled to pay, it results in endless battles over the content of that schooling. This pattern holds true across nations and across time. Think of our own recurrent battles over school prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, the teaching of human origins, the selection and banning of textbooks and library books, dress codes, history standards, sex education, etc. Similar battles are fought over wearing Islamic headscarves in French public schools and over the National Curriculum in England.

There is an alternative: cultural détente through school choice.

Historically, societies have suffered far less conflict when families have been able to get the sort of education they deemed best for their own children without having to foist their preferences on their neighbors.

I agree. Although we will always have culture wars in America, they would not be so heated if everyone did not have to be taught the same culture.

Edit to Add: As Christians, our ultimate goal should be the glory of God. Our first response to this concerning public schools may be to fight the culture wars through the public schools to ensure values are taught that, although may not be Christian per se, but what they see as Christian-compatible. However, I think maybe freedom is the best weapon in this case. If we have a society where our kids can easily be educated in an institution that reflects the parents values, I believe that it is in the best interest of Christianity, by assisting parents in “teaching a child in the way that they should grow.” Yes, parents can also teach them non-Christian values, or values that go against Christian values, but I believe that is better than the current system, in which all kids must be taught certain things that are anti-Christian values. I believe our first priority as Christians is to educate our kids in Christian values (even pastors), everyone else’s kids are not. I’m not saying we should not try to influence other people, including children, and be a light, I am just saying that any system that makes it easier for a Christian parent to educate their children according to Christian values, is a system in which I believe.

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