Five Myths


Public Education



by Tory and Barb Shelton



INTRO FROM BARB:  What follows is the first half of a paper that my son, Tory, and I  wrote together. This is the vehicle I used to teach him how to write an essay. We did every bit of it together, though, really, I "pulled" it out of him, a word and phrase at a time. (We informed his teacher that we had done it this way, and he was not only "just fine" with it, but also commented that it was a  good way for him to learn!  "OJT"!  "On the Job Training."  )

This was for a "Christian Ethics" class that Tory took at a private Christian school, which he had to take in order to be able to play sports at the school. (Basketball is one of his greatest loves ~ something I was obviously not able to provide as a homeschool mom.) The teacher wrote this comment on the cover of the essay, next to the "98 / A" grade: "I almost want to homeschool now. Good job."  

Because this paper was done for and within the context of a private school setting, we kept it to "public school" downfalls. However, most of the myths that are thought about public school ~ especially numbers 1, 3, and 4 ~ are also applicable to the private school setting as well, so feel free to insert the word "traditional" for "public."



People today tend to deem the public schools the ultimate authority on, and the best place to receive an education. In order to make such an assumption, one would have to believe in several myths, although sometimes (if not usually) unknowingly. In this paper I will present five of these commonly believed myths, along with evidence supporting the fact that public education is not, contrary to popular belief, the ideal form of education.



MYTH #1: "Public schools provide positive,

appropriate socialization." 


Many people assume that because their children are around other children of the same age, they are getting wholesome, proper socialization. They assume that children are best able to socialize each other, that they are the best examples for each other. But by taking a look at reality, we see that children are superficial: they form in cliques, they ridicule children with less social standing, charisma, talent or looks, and they degrade anyone who is "different." Dr. Raymond Moore, who has collected and studied much research in education, said: 

"Negative, me-first sociability is born from more peer group association and fewer meaningful parental contact and responsibility experiences in the home during the first 8 to 12 years. The early peer influence generally brings an indifference to family values which defy parents' correction. The child does not yet consistently understand the "why" of parental demands... So he does what comes naturally: He adapts to the ways of his agemates because 'everybody's doing it,' and gives parent values the back of his little hand."

Chances are that many children lose their self esteem on the playground at recess from the whole "King of the Mountain" scenario. Adults in authority oftentimes stand by and watch this whole process happen because they think it is only "natural," and helps the children learn to be strong and interact with each other, to "toughen them up" and "prepare them for real life." However, in all actuality, what's really happening is that this is grinding down on their self worth, wounding them, and weighing down on them for many years to come. "Survival of the fittest" is the motto of the children on the playground, benefiting the few stronger ones, but devaluing the weaker ones, the majority. Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, said,

"I have seen kids dismantle one another, while parents and teachers stood passively by and observed the 'socialization' process. I've seen the socialization theory in action, and it doesn't hold much water."


MYTH #2: "Public education is

religiously neutral." 


It is commonly thought that the educational material presented in public schools is non-biased and is not partial to any certain belief. In truth, the public school could not be any more biased against God or any of His morals or principles. Karl Reed, a writer on moral and education issues, said: 

"Public education has taken on the characteristics of a religion, promising answers for all ills of life and nation. ... That 'religion,' or belief system, incorporates into its dogma a faith in 'The Secular State,' which is now carved in the likeness of God. Along with holding to a belief in 'The State' has come a total lack of confidence in God and his foundation for true primary education. State-run schools have taught Americans to put faith in 'The State' instead of in God and His way."

Horace Mann, who lived in the 1800's, was called "the father of public education." Here is what he saw as being appropriate and ideal and for the future of education of America's children:

"What the church has been for medieval man, the public school must become for democratic and rational man. God will be replaced by the concept of the public good. The common (public) schools shall create a more far-seeing intelligence and a pure morality than has ever existed among communities of men."

Mr. Mann, a Unitarian, couldn't be any further from the truth in his anti-Christian beliefs. He established an abhorrently erroneous standard for the future of educating the people of our country! It's like he took the truth, poured it into a blender, and pulverized it. He then added his own seasonings and fed it to our country. Unfortunately, they drank; they bought into it and accepted his philosophy as the way things should be. The results today are quite obviously not the way God intended education to be. Cathy Duffy, author of "Government Nannies", said: 

"Public schools were instituted to modify the behavior of children rather than to educate them... Most of the curriculum being used in public schools is designed to meet educational goals that differ radically from [those of Christians']. So I believe that Christian parents should not send their children to public schools if there is any other option available. I believe that when we do so, in many, but not all cases we are handing our children over to the enemy for anti-Christian indoctrination."


MYTH #3: "Traditional schools have

the best methods for providing the highest

quality in education." 


While some students do well in the public school system, many fall through the cracks, only to become another statistic, never fully achieving their potential. They get lost in the system, with the blame usually being placed on them, the students. They are labeled "underachievers" or "slackers" when, in fact, it may be the system that is hindering them from succeeding. John Taylor Gatto, New York State Teacher of the Year in 1990, said:

"...I began to wonder, reluctantly, whether it was possible that being in school itself was what was dumbing them down. Was it possible I had been hired not to enlarge children's power, but to diminish it? That seemed crazy on the face of it, but slowly I began to realize that the bells and the confinement, the crazy sequences, the age-segregation, the lack of privacy, the constant surveillance, and all the rest of the national curriculum of schooling were designed exactly as if someone had set out to prevent children from learning how to think and act, to coax them into addiction and dependant behavior."

Many people have memories of only the good times they had during their school experience. For example they remember the new crayons, lunch boxes, recess, pep rallies, sports, extra-curricular activities, etc. But on the flip side, they overlook, or have simply forgotten, the sometimes harsh realities of their daily schooling. Ron Thruelsen, a father concerned about the decline of education, said:

"By definition, public schools are supposed to provide a quality education for all children, but this obviously is impossible. Quality education will go to a small group of students whose learning and social style fits the school system. For most of the rest, it will be a dreary marathon to be endured for many years. For the children on the fringe, school is a place of intimidation, frustration, and endless failure to reach someone else's expectations."



MYTH #4: "Better education requires

higher spending." 


It is obvious every voting year that the public schools think they need more money to be able to give a better education to the children in their care. In reality, more funding is not necessarily what is needed, but instead a better spending of the money they already have. Their money could be better spent if they had more of a concept of what real education is. According to the U.S. Dept. of Education, about $250 billion was spent on public schools for the 1991-92 school year. 

This means that approximately $6000 was spent on each pupil in the public schools for that year. Diane Ravitch, a national leader in the area of education, stated: 

"Spending is up and achievement is down. Per-pupil spending has nearly doubled from approximately $3000 to just under $6000 per student. However, the SAT scores continue to decline."

It could be thought that this money is well-spent, going toward improving the facilities and conditions in which our children are educated, but here is a shocking statistic I found in a book called "The Right Choice: Homeschooling":

"Only 60 percent of this money even gets to the classroom. At least 40 percent of the money goes to the bureaucracy. According to Albert Shanker, President of the American Federation of Teachers: 'One of the major differences between American schools and all others in the world is that we spend half of our money on bureaucracy, whereas the other schools in the world don't spend more than 20 percent... You know, we have about one teacher to every twenty-five kids in the country, *but we have one supervisor for every six teachers.*'"


MYTH #5: "Education can be complete

without God and the Bible." 


It is commonly believed that it is not necessary to include God in the curriculum used to educate. But in actuality, education was originally intended for God to be the center and the driving force behind it. George Washington said: "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible." His successor, John Adams, said: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." 

Without God at the helms of education, this country has been in moral decline, and will continue to do so until people begin to wake up to the truth and do something about it. One option would be to pull out of the public school system, with the two alternatives being either to send their children to a private school, or to educate their children themselves at home. Or they can stay in the public school system and try to influence it for the good. Which path they choose would all depend on how they feel God leads them.

In Websters 1828 dictionary, the word "education" is defined as: 

"The bringing up, as of a child; instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable, and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties."

With the public schools being in the state they are now in, and with the values they now possess, are they capable of producing God-fearing people or accomplishing what education was really meant to be? It is astounding to think that the institution into which we pour millions of our tax dollars is the same institution which has banned God, and therefore has banned the very principles and morals upon which our country was founded.





I got the quilted background at:




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