When the founders were writing the constitution the majority of them were familiar with the Virginia bill for establishing religious freedom. Thomas Jefferson wrote this about that law;
[When] the [Virginia] bill for establishing religious freedom ... was finally passed, ... a singular proposition proved that its protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word “Jesus Christ,” so that it should read “a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion.” The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend within the mantle of its protection the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo and infidel of every denomination.
— Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, 1821
The founding fathers could have easily put in the christian religion in the first amendment, but they didn't. In fact they specifically stated that there would be no religious test for public office. The first time ever in the history of man that a government did not have an official religion.
Now was this always strictly applied? No. When 90% or better of a country are a specific sect it is easy for them to dominate.
Here is a quote from John Adams about the founding of this country;
The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.
— John Adams, “A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America” (1787-88),
The protestant majority in this country who had control of the courts and legal system used it for almost 150 years to make sure their religious views were supported by the government. It is funny to read these views now and see the blatant anti-catholic bias in them.
The public schools were started in America by the states and in New York and others they were there for poor children who's parents could not send them to a private school. If you got rid of public schools tomorrow you would see the same thing. Many kids would never see the inside of a school.
Who is calling for closing the godless socialist schools tomorrow? Very few. Most are calling for vouchers, tax credits, and charters to build the infrastructure. Eventually, complete separation of school and state would be ideal.
But..Ok..What would happen if godless government schools closed tomorrow?
Answer: The **SAME** children who are getting and education today would get one tomorrow. Why?
Why? Because little learning happens in the government classroom. Nearly all the learning is due to the child and parents' efforts IN THE HOME! Government schools are basically sending home a curriculum for the parents and child to follow IN THE HOME!
Please ask parents of academically successful children what their home habits are. Compare the home habits, study time, and study practices of successful homeschoolers and successful institutionalized children. You will soon find that there is little to NO difference between the home habits of successful homeschoolers and institutionalized children. Both spend about the same amount of time in formal home study, both have parents that value education, both share similar extracurricular activities..etc.
Conclusion: ALL academically successful children are either afterschooled or homeschooled. There may be exceptions out there but I have never met one.
Many kids would never see the inside of a school.
There are plenty of godless government schools in this nation that are, indeed, so violent, so dysfunctional, so abusive that it LITERALLY would be better for the child to NEVER attend. Illiteracy and innumeracy can be fixed. Dead or permanently injured (physically, sexually, and emotional) most often can not be fixed.