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5 Reasons Our Kids Will Go Into Public Schools

5 Reasons Our Kids Will Go Into Public Schools

I have no doubt this will be a hot-button post for a lot of people. It seems that this has been an age-old debate among parents for several decades now. Is it better to put your kids in public school? Private school? Home school?

This post is not meant to demean homeschooling or private schooling. You will not find arguments against them, merely arguments for public schooling. I deeply respect the homeschooling and private schooling parents I know. My goal in this post is simply to explain our convictions about why public schooling is the best option for our children and give you something to think about as you weigh it against the other great options out there. This is meant only to be positive in nature.

1. We have great public schools.

I understand that this may not be true for everyone but we are blessed with some incredible public school systems in our area with nationally-ranked high schools. Holly and I actually chose to live in McKinney, TX because our schools were modeled after the school district where I grew up – a school system that pushed and prepared me well for college, gave me an amazing fine arts education, and taught me how to connect with the world around me. Quite simply, the teachers in our area will be able to educate our kids much better than we could on our own. Not to mention, with 2/3 of our property taxes going towards the school system I figure we should probably take advantage of it.

2. We want our kids to be exposed to an unchurched world.

I have a strong conviction that beyond protecting our kids, it’s our job to prepare them for a lifetime of following Christ and ministering to the world around them. I want them to hear about evolution in their science classes. In high school, I want them to overhear friends talking about their drunken parties and sexual experiences.

Why do I want this? At some point or another, they will confront these realities and teachings. Being an engaged Christian in today’s world means learning to understand and live with the friction between our faith and our culture’s messed up priorities. I would much prefer that they experience them at a time when I can speak into their lives – when I can stay up late with them and talk through these things, give them advice, and lovingly guide them as the spiritual leader in their lives. I shudder at the thought of them having their first of these encounters when we’re not there.

3. We want the unchurched world to be exposed to our kids.

We plan on teaching our kids how to compassionately serve in a lost world. We plan on teaching them how to speak the truth in love. Not only do I want them to navigate this world well, but I want them to make an impact on it. It is never too early for Caleb to see himself on mission in his school. I want his friends to see Christ’s love through him. I want his teachers to see it too. Learning to do this in school is an amazing training ground for doing it in college and in the work force.

4. We see the public school system as an open door to the community around us.

I strongly believe that the school system is the unifying institution in the community just as the post office was 60 years ago. We pay over $1500 annually into our school system. You can already see much deeper relationships among parents of school children in our neighborhood than those like us who aren’t. Holly and I see the elementary school as a forum where we can meet other parents and be a positive Christian voice in their lives.

I am already on the email list for his school. We plan on getting to know his teachers. We will be PTA parents. We will be a part of school improvement projects and volunteer for field trips. It’s a chance for us to lovingly serve those around us and we don’t want to miss out on it.

5. We are ultimately responsible for their education.

As my buddy, Ryan Trask likes to say, we sit in the first chair of our kids’ lives. I don’t care if you homeschool, put your kids in private school, or choose to go with public schools like us – you are ultimately responsible for your kids’ spiritual education. You cannot pass the buck to a teacher, to the children’s minister, or the church and expect your children to come out as mature Christian adults. Only you can lay that foundation. The Bible doesn’t leave room for anyone else to take your place. Others can supplement what you’re doing but it starts and ends with you.

With that in mind, we aren’t threatened by other influences in Caleb’s life because we plan on being proactive in his growth. We will ask questions, discuss the tension he experiences, and counsel him through it all. Public schooling definitely has its own drawbacks, just as the others do. It isn’t perfect and it isn’t for everyone but it shouldn’t be discarded as the passive parent’s fallback either.

I’d love your thoughts on this subject. Please keep the conversation civil, respectful, and informed. If you’re interested in writing on the positive reasons for your schooling choice, feel free to email me your thoughts.

“I have a strong conviction that beyond protecting our kids, it’s our job to prepare them for a lifetime of following Christ and ministering to the world around them.”

Posted in: Parenthood

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  • Shannon Blakely

    As a homeschooler for the last 11.5 years I do want to comment on this post. Let me say that I am glad that you have already decided how you will educate your children. It is a very tough decision these days. On your first point, the school district is only as good as the state educational system. With the Common Core being forced across the nation the public education system will swiftly decline. Many colleges are having issues with the students coming out of public school not knowing how to write a paragraph or do basic math. Point 2, your kids will be exposed to an unchurched world no matter where they go to school. Same for point 3, your children will be able to expose the unchurched world to Jesus no matter where he goes to school. On a side note, many children who attend private schools are not Christians. Parents sometimes enroll their kids in private school because the student is causing trouble in public. Point 4, shouldn’t church be the unifying institution in our society? Point 5, I absolutely agree.

  • Matt Morrison

    Hey Shannon – Thanks for the thoughts. Here are my friendly push-backs :)1. – I agree that the quality of the school system will be somehow tied to the quality of the state programs. However, for whatever reason, my experience in Plano schools was really positive. Many of my friends who had transferred into the district saw drops in their grades due to the sheer rigor of the system. In the end, I found college to be easier because of how well they prepared us.

    2-3. I definitely agree. We simply see the school system as our most proactive option but I know there are others.

    4. – You’re right that it should be, but unfortunately the church isnt. As long as that’s the case, we want to make sure they have a foot in both worlds. (And again, I know that public schooling isnt the only way to do that.)

    Just my follow-up thoughts. Again, thanks for the comment. I know you’re pretty passionate about the home-schooling side of things so it is appreciated.

  • Jennifer Tolbert Byrd

    Just a couple of thoughts, as someone who has had kids in public school, homeschool, and private school, at different points in their lives (and taught public school, private school, and homeschool). The best-laid plans sometimes fail when you see how your kids are responding. I had to monitor my kids’ progress and adjust accordingly.As a long-time public school teacher, I never thought I would homeschool my kids. But a move to inner-city Memphis in the middle of the year turned homeschooling into a 4-year adventure. Currently, I am a private school teacher and parent, and my family is happy. My point is: never say never. Your child is one. You are in ministry. The chance that you will move out of your current school district at some point is high. Be flexible. Go where God leads you. Listen to your kids. There are many great options.

  • Lillianmomo

    I think that to decide in advance to disregard any of your options is a difficult decision. Most of my teaching experience (28 years) has been in public school in Texas. Some of it was teaching in a private school. My children have been in both. One was a combination, one was all private, and one was all public. You are correct that spiritual guidance should originate and be nurtured at home by parents. I think you have to consider the child and their abilities as well as reaction to environments. I will say that the private school child is now half way through his PhD, my combination child struggled with both his Christianity and academics- he got his associates degree at age 33, and the all public is struggling with college. He passed the state tests, but was pretty unprepared to do college work. I am incredibly grateful that we have 3 educators in our home to tutor him. My point is they are all viable options, but I think final decisions must be made on the child, and at the way they are responding at any given age.

  • RK

    You are exposing your kids to the unchurched at their age??? The unchurched kid will influence the “churched” kids for sure. Why is it once “churched” kids graduate they don’t return to their church? They stop serving because they are influenced by the unchurched. Scripture states that we should train our children in the way they should go. When they are older they won’t depart from it. People are exposing them and training them when they are young to be part of the world and then put a little Jesus in it. I subed and know many teachers and the “godly” ones say this to a believing child, “I believe the scientist.” Then teach fossils are millions of years old (there is a fossilized miners hat). Guess what 9% of professed Christians have a biblical world view. Why is that? It isn’t because the public schools are teaching biblical principles. There are good people and good kids, but parents aren’t bringing up their own children the school system is and it is funded by a government that implements their own agenda. I have read those text books and they are littered with liberal, falsities, and immorality. They deny God and a child in training, who is to respect their elders will not stand up against it and will take it in. I see how many GREAT KIDS in public schools are influences by the LORD when they are young and when they graduate they go into the world and become them, very few serve the ministry of our LORD and Saviour. Many marry ungodly mates that also pull them away from the ministry of the LORD and/or pull them away from even service.The open door to the community is there and the public school system isn’t the avenue. Adults need to get their big boy/girl britches on and reach their own! Evangelism is not okayed by the governmental school districts!!! My kids went to a small 2A “godly” school and was told not to speak of JESUS! Some get convicted when they are sold out to Christ and experience the school system with an sold out frame of mind then they back out of their sold out attitude, compromise, conform and then public school is okay again. I see many more hindrances, issues, and negatives the public school bring to young minds and souls than the positives with results to back it up! The reasons on this for public school are not good reasons by far! Man’s ways are not GOD’S ways! God never okayed our children being brought up by unbelievers and taught by unbelievers! That is a worldview!

    • Matt Morrison

      RK – There are a lot of very incorrect assumptions and vast generalizations in here about public schooling.

      1.) I am a product of the public school system. I received Christ at 6 years old and was baptized a year later. I heard evolution taught in the schools, knew everything about what was happening with my friends, and chose not to partake in those things. I left from there to go into Biblical Studies at a Christian university, followed by seminary. While there are certainly some friends of mine who wandered from the faith, many of them did not. Like me, they still love the Lord and follow him daily.

      The reason I didnt fall away is because my parents were very active in my life. We talked about evolution and we talked about what Scripture says. It was a daily thing in our home. They gave me room to question my faith, which made my convictions about Christ and my commitment to him stronger. Its because my parents weren’t afraid of these influences that I was able to grow from the friction that I experienced between the two worlds.

      As my academic advisor in college often said, God is bigger than our questions and doubts. He isn’t scared of them and we shouldn’t be either. Embracing that philosophy has only made my faith stronger through the years. In fact, as a youth and college minister, I deliberately put my students in those situations to have their faith rocked for that very reason.

      2.) Research conducted by organizations like Lifeway and Barna are showing that the mass exodus of millennials from the Christian faith has more to do with a failure on the part of parents and churches. Parents arent living out the Christian life at home, showing a double standard to their children. Likewise, the church is failing to equip kids for the Christian life after childhood.

      3.) It is NOT (and I can’t say this clearly enough…) NOT against the law to share Christ in the public schools. Teachers have professional restrictions just like everyone else but I actually gave a Gospel presentation in my classes about 1-2 times per semester, on average. Thats not me sharing with my friends one-on-one. That happened much more often. Thats me in front of my class. I was never reprimanded, disciplined, or suspended for it. I also prayed in school and attended Bible studies in classrooms before school. There were also many other Christians with me. In fact, even my youth ministers were even on campus from time to time.

      4.) Regardless of who teaches my children, my wife and I are the ones raising them. We are the biggest influencers in their lives. We aren’t the only ones but we are the primary ones. We will (and do) ensure that by being active in their lives and asking the right questions often.

      5.) Jesus was very clear that we are called to be in the world. He called us the salt and light. He sent his disciples out into the world too. They were completely immersed in Greek, pagan culture. Jesus makes it clear that huddling up in Christian environments and walling ourselves off from the world is not compatible with Christian living. As for whether or not to let children be influenced by nonbelievers, I don’t see any biblical support for for your claim. However, it is very clear that the parents are to be the ones raising the kids. Its not that we cant let them be around nonbelievers. We just cant abdicate the primary responsibility of raising them to others.

  • RK

    Could you give me one scripture evidence God is okay with our children being taught by the unchurched/unbeliever? You give no scriptural evidence it is all opinion.