Our journey to the choice to homeschool was a short one. We made this decision when our oldest was an infant; we knew the public school was not an option for many reasons. As the years have gone on, I have discovered just how insidious the school system really is and it makes me ever so glad we made the choice to homeschool rather than allowing public school indoctrination filter into the minds of our children.
Public school in America may have started out with good reasons behind it, but it has been going downhill for at least the last century and a half. I do not foresee that it can ever get any better, especially when looked at biblically, knowing that things must get worse before the return of Christ.
Please note that I am not at all bashing teachers or downplaying the work they are doing. I think the majority of teachers love the kids and do it for noble reasons. However, they are involved in a system that by its very nature is problematic. I don’t blame the teachers for this, though. But it also doesn’t mean I have to entrust my children into their care.
The History of Public School Indoctrination
To fully comprehend why I assert that public school is indoctrination, you must understand the motives behind compulsory education and the form that it has progressed into since the first modern mandatory attendance law.
The 17th-century colonies placed an emphasis on literacy and basic schooling. The Reformation had sparked an increase in desire for literacy in Europe so everyone could read the Bible. As the colonial towns grew, the individual governments began requiring the employment of teachers so the resident children could learn to read, do elementary level math, and learn a trade. It started with requiring one teacher when a town reached a population of 50 families, and a schoolhouse of mixed ages for towns with over 100 families. Students were mostly boys. The laws at that time were not even really enforced and many children still learned necessary skills at home.
Fast forward about 200 years. Heavily influenced by the philosophies of Horace Mann, the first true compulsory attendance law was passed in 1852 in Massachusetts. It mandated grammar school attendance outside the home, with fines in place if parents did not send their kids. Even worse, the state had the power to remove children from the home over the matter.
The Spread of Compulsory Education
Within the next 65 years, compulsory attendance became law in every state, and classrooms became broken down by age, looking to the Prussian system as a model. The ages of compulsory attendance soon stretched into the teen years.
While Mann and the others may have had noble ambitions, the result was a one-size-fits-all experience for children everywhere, with parents no longer in control of what the kids were learning. This was the beginning of children being at the whim of whoever is currently in charge of the government. Regulations become stricter and more controlling as time goes on.
Schools must be efficient — after all, they are funded with public monies. As such, there is no time for individualized education concerns, even with kids of the same age being in a class together. It doesn’t matter what one person believes, it will not be catered to unless the school system deems it important. As intolerance to Christianity has grown in recent decades, God has all but been pushed out of school entirely, despite the ability to read His Word being the reason behind compulsory attendance to begin with. The children are at the mercy of the system, and the people running the system could decide to do pretty much anything. Parental outcry doesn’t seem to matter much in many districts nor when problems are brought before higher level government officials.
Common Core and the 21st Century
Ushering in the 21st century was No Child Left Behind, what I refer to as “Common Core Lite.” It was meant to “close the achievement gap,” but ultimately, it served the purpose of dumbing down our students, by way of promoting them to the next grade despite not mastering the material already presented. It gave the federal government more power over something that was originally meant for states or even small towns to control. (This is not something new, though, as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was passed in 1965, which gave the federal branch MUCH more power than it ever had, historically.)
States started adopting Common Core Standards in 2010 and slowly gained momentum across the US over the next couple of years. This was the clincher that made us decide once and for all that we would homeschool (our first was born in 2011).
There is another post in this series about Common Core, but no article about indoctrination in public school would be complete without a brief discussion about it. If you really consider the strategies they are teaching for Common Core math, they are actually valid — they are shortcuts that people figure out for themselves to cement the material in their heads. But not everybody needs these shortcuts, and most people do not need ALL of these tactics. They need strategies that they figure out for themselves. It is handholding on a wide scale, with the intention of making 12 years of schooling useless, rendering the demand for post-secondary education even higher so they can get the skills they used to get in their normal high school career. The end result is a bunch of confused youth who end up as drone workers, unable to think for themselves. Our society will no longer produce great thinkers.
Coupled with baby boomer parents pushing higher education on their children, we have had a surge in college attendance, with free money from the government to pay for it (at least temporarily, in the form of student loans). But if you look at the knowledge that recent liberal arts graduates are coming out with, it is only comparable to what most kids would have learned just by finishing high school 20 years ago. Our society is literally getting dumber. To put it more nicely, our society is suffering greatly from a lack of critical thinking skills. And that’s not something I am willing to risk for my own kids.
The language arts portion of Common Core has removed fiction books for the most part, and the ones they are introducing, at least on a school-by-school basis to be in line with the standards, are highly inappropriate. Sexual material seems to be a common feature in the books they choose for impressionable youth to read. But, this is what they want – to sexualize the children and promote a deviant culture that is NOT in line with God’s Word.
One must only look as far as funding to determine who is pulling the strings. Pearson, a huge education publisher, is one such player. They control the tests and the study materials, thus, the schools must teach to those tests and provide that content to their students so they can keep their jobs (and get performance-based pay). You might be surprised to find out that much of corporate America and its subsidiaries and special interests are involved in education at the highest levels. This is not due to benevolence, it is because it’s good for their bottom lines.
Between the corporate puppeteers and the ever-expanding federal role in education, you can see how we are going down this slippery slope of indoctrinating the students in every public school in the nation, plus in the private schools that have also adopted Common Core Standards!
Ramifications for the Future
We know that science and history standards are coming down the pike. History has always been written and rewritten, and then presented in schools with the bias of the author. History doesn’t change, but the facts are presented in a skewed way. The reasons behind historical events are changed to fit the agenda du jour and then put out for school children to read from a young age. Indoctrination at its finest.
At this point in time, you can rest assured that secular humanism will be injected into the mind of each child in the public system, and even more so when they are done with the new standards. Old Earth, the LGBT agenda, “social justice” issues, and making children into “snowflakes” is what they are after. They want men to be cowards, and women to have a more dominant role in society, causing division amongst families. This is backward from what God wants for us, as written in the Bible.
The end goal is to turn people away from God, and it is working. Just take a look around. It’s ramping up and will get exponentially worse. As Christians, we have to keep our minds set on God and teach our children the Word and to stand up for themselves and for their faith. It will become harder due to what is going on in the school system, but that is one of the benefits of homeschooling. Not only will they not be subjected to the brainwashing of the system, but we can adequately prepare them for life by encouraging their love for learning, teaching them how to think, and giving them the tools to defend the Gospel in our fallen world.
Can it be weary at times? Yes. But I can’t imagine how weary I’d be if I had to watch my child’s heart, mind, and soul being stolen by the public school system. In our homeschool, I check to see if any resources we want to use are Common Core aligned and I thoroughly review anything new to ensure that they are in line with our values. We try to stay away from secular materials as they often contain old earth talk and present social issues that we do not want to introduce to our kids. As I get more involved in the homeschool community, I feel encouraged to find that many homeschoolers understand and agree with me on this topic. We homeschoolers are a tribe and the support from others who have been there before me is amazing.
Andrea Townsley is a Jesus-loving mama of four. She writes on biblical homemaking, homeschooling, natural health, and raising kids in a wholesome environment.
This article is part of the I Homeschool Because . . . series. Click here to read other articles in this series, download the free eBook, You Can Do It, Too: 25 homeschool families share their stories, and enter a giveaway from Kiwi Crate valued at more than $200.