"Children First, Schools Next"

Christian parents should not face social stigma for removing kids from public schools
2002This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.

Uncle Sam and Focus on the Family's James Dobson have found something on which to agree: It's okay not to send your kids to a failing public school. Rod Paige, President Bush's secretary of education, said in July that 8,600 of the 92,000 public schools nationwide have failed to meet state academic standards for the last two years. As a result, students at those schools will have the option to attend a higher-performing school within their district, under provisions in the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Recent reports reveal the extent of poor performance. About 70 percent of low-income fourth-graders are reading below a basic level. And in a 2001 geography test, one of three fourth-graders could not name their state and locate it on a national map. Problems other than failed instruction also lurk in public education. In a July broadcast, Dobson said a tidal wave of postmodern philosophy is overwhelming students and teachers. The leading edge of this wave is advocacy of homosexuality. Noting one extreme example, Dobson quoted a Nation article in which Bob Chase, head of the National Education Association, said that acceptance (not just tolerance) of homosexuality should be the goal for educators.

Certainly not every school district takes its marching orders from the NEA. But under the banner of tolerance, more school districts are allowing gay advocates into the classroom. A loose coalition of educators, politicians, textbook publishers, and researchers is devaluing traditional sexuality morality through their public support of homosexual relationships.

In reaction, American Christians, observant Jews, Muslims, and others are joining Dobson in endorsing an exodus from public schools. The size of this walkout is hard to measure. ...

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