Skip to comments.Study Shows Public Schools Indoctrinate Even Christian Kids
Posted on 11/26/2004 10:54:06 AM PST by dukeman
A researcher has revealed some disturbing trends regarding the sets of beliefs Christian students in public schools have about the most important issues in life.
Dan Smithwick is the founder and president of the Nehemiah Institute, a group that provides a biblical worldview testing and training service to Christian educators. He is the developer of what is called the "PEERS test," a tool to assess the worldviews of young people, and says the majority of public school students from evangelical Christian homes consistently score in the "socialist" category on the test.
According to Smithwick, this outcome should come as no surprise, considering the fact that secular humanists are currently shaping America. He notes that socialism, a political and economic philosophy that commonly emphasizes government control and redistribution of wealth over personal responsibility and private ownership, often goes hand in hand with secularist attitudes and a generally non-biblical worldview.
Smithwick's worldview test consists of a series of statements carefully designed to identify a person's worldview in five categories: Politics, Economics, Education, Religion, and Social Issues (PEERS). Each statement is framed to either agree or disagree with a biblical principle.
When it comes to major moral and social issues, the Nehemiah Institute spokesman contends there is a dramatic difference in thinking between students in public schools and those in Christian schools. This is because, while Christian school students are generally taught curricula predicated on a biblical worldview, students educated in public schools, even when they grow up in Christian homes, tend to a very high degree to adopt the non-biblical and socialistic worldviews of the secular humanists in control of their education.
"In the last hundred years," Smithwick asserts, "and especially in the last 30 years, this is the audience that is shaping the public square in America, hands down. And they didn't really have to fight for it -- we [in the Church] gave it to them. Somewhere along the way we decided that the public square really wasn't our business. It wasn't our playground; they could have it, and they've had their way with it."
As a result, the Christian education advocate says, even Christian students are growing up to become a part of a society with an increasingly secular-humanistic and socialistic worldview. "Now we've got a mess on our hands," he says, "and it's really our fault. So we've got to change that. We've got to repent before God. We've got to go back and understand that worldview means God is interested in everything he created."
Undoing the Damage Done by Dewey
Unfortunately, Smithwick says, many Christian young people today are not being taught to think biblically in all areas of life. That is why he urges parents, pastors and Christian teachers to take advantage of the Nehemiah Institute's worldview testing, training, and resources. And this is why he has been promoting the Institute's programs this week at the Alliance for the Separation of School and State Conference in Washington, DC.
Undoing Dewey -- that's the goal of the program, according to Smithwick. He refers to the secular humanist principles of John Dewey (1859-1952), the philosopher and education reformer whose principles have shaped public education in America. Dewey promoted a philosophy of education with the premise that learning by doing (experimentalism) should form the basis of education, and any idea or concept is validated by its practicality (pragmatism). Some Christian educators consider these ideas to be precursors to "values clarification" and other questionable teaching models that advocate moral relativism, but which are commonly taught in teacher education and used in U.S. public schools.
Smithwick says his program of PEERS testing indicates that Christian students are by no means immune to the secular humanism being taught in public schools, but have in fact been dramatically influenced by it. "The way we got this was by testing youth groups in evangelical churches," he says. "The majority of the kids are in public schools. In many cases, 100 percent of them are in public schools."
The Nehemiah Institute president says many pastors like to call these young people their "best kids" since this group, at least, are involved in a church youth group. Still, he asserts that these kids have not escaped with an intact biblical worldview. "They're in public school," he says, "and they're buying into the philosophy of life that's being put before them five days a week, six or seven hours a day."
Smithwick recommends PEERS testing as an aid for Christians who want to make sure their young people develop a distinctly biblical worldview. He advises Church parents to disconnect from government schooling and, along with pastors and other Christian educators, to engage in worldview assessment and training.
Let me (once again) pass on my one word for all parents regarding public schools: FLEE
This story isn't startling in its news. I just thought mention of the PEERS test might be helpful.
" even Christian students are growing up to become a part of a society with an increasingly secular-humanistic and socialistic worldview."
As a Youth Leader for our church, this is a HUGE problem that I have to grapple with constantly.
If what they're being taught at Church, in the 3 hours a week that I have their attention, isn't being reinforced and put into practice at home, it just makes the battle all the more difficult.
Even the parents often find excuse after excuse to keep their teens preoccupied with school sports/band/chorus, etc - consistently giving the Church second and sometimes third priority. These parents are members of the church, no less.
I've found that so few really put forth an effort into giving their children a sound spiritual upbringing. I end up having to un-do, or re-do quite a bit.
I have proposed having an after-school study time at the church where kids can study and also be taught history or science from a Christian perspective, but the kids are too busy with band or sports. In the process, they are assimilating to the secular world and its mindset. It's sad
If even if you "flee", there are a thousand students who do not "flee". Those students will be the future democrats/socialist of america. The DNC wants to train them to blindly vote for democrats by stigmatizing conservatives.
Your tax dollars will still be used to train those future politicians to tax you more.
Keep plugging. The Kingdom needs you! :-)
As a parent of teens, what I am upset with in the church is how watered down the youth programs are! They're little more than entertainment and talks about not having sex before marriage. As good as the second item is, it has to be put on a foundation of solid Biblical knowledge and doctrine. I agree that parents have abdicated that responsibility, but I'll have to share that with the youth ministries - at least in our area.
bump for later read
Liberals who live to corrupt children try to sell the idea that sitting across from an "out and proud" homosexual will have no negative effect on children, but any mention of God, especially in the form of a prayer, will have a great negative effect. It's appalling. (And it's appalling that I am even having to compare these two things.) They think the mere mention of the possiblity of intelligent design is offensive and coercive, yet they can present any idea contrary to Christian beliefs they want and we are just supposed to realize that it's a diverse world out there so shut up and take it. A Christmas tree might coerce a child into positive thoughts -- gasp! -- about Christianity, but a homosexual teacher can discuss his alternative lifestyle with kindergarteners and that's just fine.
This is such a load of crap. I don't see how one is supposed to interpret the Bible as a document that exposes individual liberty and the accumulation of wealth through ownership of private property. The bible sets rules for ownership of slaves but not a monetary relationship between master and servant. I don't see Christ as the great promoter of capitalism. The New Testament has the surrendering of wealth as a virtue. The Bible is littered with examples of those seeking wealth an morally bad. I hold before you the sign of Ayn Rand. This is the woman who evokes hissing and rage from both socialists and religionists. That's because she strikes right at the heart of their altruism hustle.
Secular humanism is not socialism. It is the advancement of the idea that we can hold moral values of decent social behavior without relying on commandments from an unreachable being. That is not to say that social values supposedly having a Divine origin are bad. Condemning murder is a good thing no matter how you arrive at this value. The idea that no king has a Divine right to do whatever he wishes to his subjects because that is the sole province of God is a good idea. It can be used to put the gangster dictators in check. This was the single greatest accomplishment of Moses when he carved commandments into stone and ascribed these as of Divine origin. It locked up authority for basic social rules to an unreachable, tamper-proof source.. A man-made construct, albeit.
I remember my Catholic friends twenty years ago bemoaning the clergy admonishing the parish that it was their obligation to surrender ten percent of their yearly earnings to the Church. Ten years later the Catholic Church is nearly wrecked from homosexuals using the allure of altruism to mentally drug the minds of millions while they were raping young boys in secrete. This is the collectivist mentality that Rand warns about.
The historical secular humanist is the individual striking out against the yoke of the Church. Galileo is a notable example. He routinely used his great mind, the mind of an individual, to explore the sciences with ideas contrary to the Churchs view of science. More than once he ran afoul of the church and suffered the consequences of this collectivist mob.
Any Rand is the thumb in the eye of the socialists and the religionists because as she puts it well, they both use the altruism as their fundamental premise to get control over individuals and their property.
Had it not been for the Copernican revolution the scientific revolution could not have occurred. The second Copernican revolution will have a far greater impact on civilization.
After 2,000 years of indoctrination people today have been as quick to resist the new Copernican revolution as people resisted the First Copernican revolution 250 years ago.
Reality will prevail now as it did then.
I hope you find safe outlets for your anger.
This is something many of us already knew.
Some of that focus is more related to a triage approach to teaching children. I agree that the foundations must be taught. Some of those in youth programs are just trying to get the most urgent messages out to prevent immediate problems.
I recently began reading Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity, by Nancy Pearcey. The first page of the "Forward" defines "worldview" as "the window by which we view the world, and decide, often subconsiously, what is real and important, or unreal and unimportant."
Besides the definition, the book also covers religion in the public/private sphere, Darwinism, science and worldview, how our worldview influences our efforts at evangelism, etc. I recommend to you, and to all parents.
I should also have mentioned that the book contains numerous references and pages devoted to John Dewey and his influence on shaping the worldview through the educational process.
I've heard of that book. Sounds interesting. I'll have to pick up a copy.
And I'm glad you did as the work of the Nehemiah Inst. is defintely worth mentioning.
I'm glad I'm not the only one with these issues. I took over the leadership position about a year ago - (we had moved away, then came back) - it was in such a terrible state. There were 14 teens in the group, but it was nothing short of a social hour. The pastor is in his 70's, and he and his wife were trying their best to lead the kids, but honestly, how well can a teenager faced with today's issues relate to a 70 year old?
I related to them a lot easier, being under 30, but they were still in the "social hour" mentality. They were used to meeting once a month, and doing only "fun" things. I turned it around and started put a REASON behind it. Started talking to them, trying to find out where they were from a spiritual standpoint. Started having lessons, but relating them in terms they could understand better.
4 of them have since left, grumbling that "it's not fun anymore", and that they "didn't come here to learn". Their parents complied, and aren't encouraging them to come to group meetings anymore. It's sad. Really sad.
I'm doing what I can, as the Lord sees fit, but if it's not backed up at home, where often the parents themselves rarely come to church, it makes the road a lot harder.
Thank you for letting me "vent". lol
Since rand can't muster more than half a percent of the vote, she is a speck of dust at the most.
Can you enlist parent's help in your program? A lot of youth pastors don't want parents help at all - which is discouraging to moms and dads - like we're not on the same team. I know youth pastor's have a much more difficult job than when I was in my teens...Hang in there...be faithful to the work the Lord has called you to and then leave the results with Him.
God be with you.