From the standpoint of Christians and Jews alike, the most serious deficiency of the U. S. public school system has been its lack of emphasis on spiritual and moral truths.
Roman Catholics, plus an increasing number of Lutherans, Episcopalians, Baptists, Methodists, and others have sought to correct the deficiency by sponsoring competing parochial school systems.
But in recent months a bold, new plan has been winning serious consideration from some leading churchmen as well as public school officials. It is the “shared time” concept for educating children at the elementary and secondary levels. Very few influential leaders have endorsed the plan, but most have been quietly exploring it in detail and, on the other hand, very few have rejected it flatly.
Stated simply, the shared time plan would provide that children divide their time between public schools and church instruction. The unofficial leader of the shared time movement is Dr. Harry L. Stearns, superintendent of schools in Englewood, New Jersey.
Some evangelical leaders have joined in the discussion over shared time. Among the first to make a public statement was Dr. Frank E. Gaebelein, headmaster of The Stony Brook School, who said that the Stearns plan “has some great strengths and some crucial weaknesses.”
“Perhaps the strongest point in favor of Mr. Stearns’ proposal is the fact that it tends to restore control of the child’s time to the parents to whom God has entrusted the child,” he declared.
In his statement, which appeared in Religious Education, Gaebelein added that “this is an important correction of the erroneous position to which the present situation almost inevitably leads—namely, that the state ...1
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