It’s a sunny spring day and I don’t want to get ranty. And I generally avoid political topics on this blog, since it’s my conviction that politics are best fought over around the family dinner table, where you can really let loose with the screaming and the food-throwing. But sometimes, I want to speak up.
Public education is a great endeavor. Building schools, and teaching all our children to read and write, is the very least a wealthy nation can do. I consider it a basic social responsibility. Public education is a good thing.
Not everybody in America believes this.
Ray Moore, a retired Army Reserves chaplain and president of Frontline Ministries, sketched out his plan for dismantling public education in the U.S. on Wednesday’s edition of The Janet Mefferd Show.
He has encouraged Christian families to withdraw their children from public schools and educate them at home or enroll them in religious schools, and he believes the tipping point would occur at about 25 percent to 35 percent of the total K-12 population.
“Tipping point” means the point at which funding for public education would collapse, and the school doors would be shut and locked.
He said non-religious schools, which he has called “the Pharaoh’s schools,” posed an existential threat to Christians.
Moore has previously claimed that 40 percent of public school students turn away from the church by the end of elementary school and 80 percent by the end of high school.
“We’ve got to go back to the original biblical model, which is Christian education and home education, and go back to the original American model.
“The scriptures teach this model, this is a biblical model, we don’t see anything in the Bible about state education,” Moore says.
We don’t. I cannot cite a single chapter or verse on how to structure school bond issues. There’s no commandment for cities to teach arithmetic to seven-year-olds. St. Paul wrote no letters authorizing land grant universities to teach animal husbandry. But for a politician to assert — in The United States of America — that public education is therefore illegitimate? That is absurd.
The fact that my opinion can be considered controversial deeply worries me.
For a while now, a number states have worked to finance private — mostly fundamentalist Christian — schools with taxpayer money. It’s a sideways method of funneling public funds to sectarian schools. At least Mr. Moore is open about his goals, and the goals of this political faction. He does not merely want Christians to shun public schools, or to move funds meant for public education to private religious academies. He wants to destroy public education altogether.
Folks, this should shock you. The fact that I thought twice about discussing this issue, because I worried that some readers would object to me saying, it’s our responsibility as a society to educate all our children, makes me slightly sick.
And, everybody: This is why it’s imperative that we vote.