The Chalcedon Foundation
Should Christian parents send their kids to public schools? That question is generating much controversy in Christian circles these days. In one camp are those who say Christian children need to be in the public schools to provide the ‘salt and light’ that schools so badly need. In the other are those who say it’s far more likely Christian children will be the ones influenced by their teachers and classmates rather than the other way around. Bruce Shortt, a Houston attorney who co-authored the 2004 Southern Baptist Convention resolution urging Christian parents to remove their children from public schools, falls squarely in the second camp. In The Harsh Truth About Public Schools, a scathing critique of what he and other critics term “government schools,” Shortt argues that public education is having a devastating effect on the faith of Christian children.
Among the evidence Shortt uses to support that argument is a Nehemiah Institute report indicating Christian children in public schools are many times more likely than those in Christian schools to believe in moral relativism. Other evidence includes a 2002 Barna Research report that found only “9% of born-again teenagers believe that absolute truth exists.” Shortt also cites sources that show “a substantial majority of children from Christian homes stop attending church within two years after graduating from public school.” Shortt attributes these trends in large part to “the social and moral values propagated through government schools.”
In The Harsh Truth About Public Schools, Shortt explains why he believes public schools undermine the faith and values Christian parents want their children to have. From values clarification to multiculturalism to the normalization of homosexuality, Shortt provides example after example of the anti-Christian influences public school children are exposed to every day. And to those parents who still think it’s possible to reform public education, Shortt says forget it. For reasons outlined in the book, “government schools are unreformable,” he claims, and “they cannot and should not be expected to provide the Christian education that the Bible enjoins Christian parents to provide to their children.”
For those readers who keep up with what’s happening in education, many of Shortt’s well-documented examples will be familiar. For others, they will be shocking eye-openers. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, though, if you have school-age children or grandchildren, I encourage you to read The Harsh Truth About Public Schools. Even if you disagree with Shortt’s conclusions, you will be better informed as to what’s happening in many public schools throughout the country and better able to evaluate your own local school system. – Linda Whitlock, Christian Book Previews.com
Bruce Shortt's book, The Harsh Truth about Public Schools, combines a sound Biblical basis, rigorous research, straightforward, easily read language, and eminently sound reasoning. Whether one is a parent or parent-to-be, pastor, church staff member, or educator, this book has much to offer. It is based, first of all, upon a clear understanding of God's educational mandate to parents. Its second foundation is a thoroughly documented description of the inescapably anti-Christian thrust of any governmental school system and the inevitable results: moral relativism (no fixed standards), academic dumbing down, far-left programs, near absence of discipline, and the persistent but pitiable rationalizations offered by government education professionals.