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Should Christian parents trust their children’s education to public schools?

Christian parents public schools
Answer


At the time America was founded, many parents in this nation took on the task of educating their children. Times have changed, and over the course of generations, an increasing number of parents have handed over the responsibility of educating their children to full-time teaching professionals. As less than 5 percent of students are homeschooled, the overwhelming majority of school-aged children attend public schools (90 percent) with the remainder attending parochial and non-parochial private schools (6 percent) (www.thinkimpact.com/homeschooling-statistics, www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/public-school, accessed 11/17/21).

According to an article in the Public School Review, cost and convenience are the public school system’s two biggest draws (www.publicschoolreview.com/blog/public-school-vs-private-school, accessed 11/17/21). Public schools are taxpayer funded; therefore, parents need not worry about costly tuition. Assuming that the child lives within the school district, transportation to and from the classroom is free. Also, public schools provide meals, often free or at reduced cost, and are equipped to aid students with learning disabilities and behavioral challenges.

However, many parents are at odds with public school systems. These parents worry that government-run public schools are a stronghold for political correctness, secular humanism, so-called wokeism, and radical, leftist indoctrination that will undermine the Judeo-Christian values they wish to pass on to their children. It would be foolish to assert all public schools are clandestine Marxist training camps. In fact, more than a third of the nation’s public school teachers identify themselves as evangelical Christians (www.christianheadlines.com/contributors/michael-foust/37-percent-of-public-school-teachers-are-evangelical-christians-poll-finds.html, accessed 11/17/21). There are many excellent public schools that focus on academics rather than political correctness and are staffed with caring, dedicated teachers who welcome, not discourage, parental involvement. However, it is the view of many that the nation’s public schools are heading in a wrong direction.

A child’s religious upbringing is the responsibility of the parents (Deuteronomy 11:19). Women and men of faith do not expect their children’s public school teachers to provide religious instruction; teachers are to focus on academics, the arts, and physical education. Public schools are to serve children of all faiths or of no faith, and classrooms are to remain free of bias concerning matters of religion, but a growing number of Christian moms and dads believe public schools are becoming openly hostile to the values, beliefs, and doctrines expressed in Scripture. These parents see public schools as encroaching upon their parental authority. Are public schools undermining Christian ethics and biblical morality? Here are some areas of concern:

• The presence of LBGTQ and other sexually explicit literature in some public school libraries
• The National School Boards Association’s labeling of parents expressing their dissent at school board meetings as “domestic terrorists”
• Public education’s overwhelming unwillingness to give creation science equal time with evolutionary theory
• The influence of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading abortion provider, in public schools—according to their own website, Planned Parenthood is also the nation’s leading sex education provider
• The “dumbing down” of curricula on the assumption that some subjects, such as advanced mathematics, are steeped in racism
• A child’s inability to refute or resist teachings that are contrary to the Christian faith

For many families, one option to a public school is a Christian school, which has a different approach to education. Tuition cost is a prime factor preventing more parents from enrolling their children in a Christian school. There is also the matter of practicality. Parents’ work schedules, a lack of transportation, and distances to and from school may pose logistical difficulties for families. Even so, there are advantages offered by private Christian schools:

• Christian schools partner with parents of faith by teaching all subjects from a Christian worldview.
• Christian teachers consider their efforts a divine calling.
• Classes are smaller in most Christian schools, making students more likely to receive individualized attention from their teachers.
• Christian schools are inherently safer. Illicit drugs are not as prevalent, and instances of bullying and gang violence are less likely to occur on Christian school campuses.
• Faith-based schools tend to outperform public schools academically. Also, many Christian schools offer programs in athletics and the arts, and the school size allows ample opportunity for involvement.
• Many faith-based schools offer scholarships that benefit lower income families.

Parents have much to weigh in the important matter of their children’s education: what’s taught in the classroom, the level and type of peer pressure, and possible challenges to their children’s faith, values, and even gender. All these things and more are considerations in the modern public school environment. The following passages may prove helpful in guiding Christian parents:

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6, NKJV).

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14, NKJV).

And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up (Deuteronomy 6:6–7, NKJV).

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7, ESV).

Students are not greater than their teacher. But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher (Luke 6:40, NLT).


Christian parents are obligated to know the who, what, why, and how their children are being instructed. Know your child’s teachers. Know the school’s administrators. Know the curricula being taught. Knowledge is power, and, where your child’s education is concerned, there is no bliss in ignorance.

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This page last updated: November 22, 2021