Is public school education the right place for elementary and high school students or would private church-affiliated schools to a better job of educating students? Some see the church schools as necessary to teach education as religion sees fit offering a Bible-based lesson plan. Others say the public schools are great and offer more flexibility for teaching students to meet the challenges in the modern world.
Arguments In Favor of Public Education:
Historically the role of public education has been to educate students to help the meet the challenges of their contemporary world. A constant problem for doing this is making sure that the public schools’ curriculum is relevant to the student’s world. The idea is to teach all children so all of them when they graduate will be able to be good citizens, continue their education or start jobs according to their choices. This argument assumes that all children have individual characteristics but that is fine because the diversity of the students can be a positive factor in the learning experience of the child. This approach is defined as “student-centered learning.” It is when schools take into account the differences between children and lessons reflect their daily lives and their particular interests. This approach lends is self to different types of teaching and learning styles that can encourage both “learning and creativity” at the same time. Creating a more balanced education and confident children is the goal in public schools.
Arguments Against Public Schools:
At first the argument against public schools was a defiance of segregation rules by parents who wanted white-only schools. That was in the 1960s when many private schools were formed as a reaction to Civil Rights. That type of school has evolved into church-based schools so that a variety of Christian religions are offered, not only the most popular historically which have been Catholic Schools. The fundamentalist Christian religion, also known as Evangelical or Baptist fundamentalists, are the most vehemently against public schools. Their stand is that Bible-based education is the right way to teach children. The promoters of these schools have been national leaders such as television evangelist Jerry Falwell. The effort against public schools, though, is also a grassroots effort. They blame public schools for “declining academic standards, drug abuse, school violence, teacher unions and bureaucracy. Public schools have also been described by fundamentalist activists as immoral, breeders of criminals, teaching humanism and teaching children they are not children but are instead animals. Their argument is not only with the lessons being taught but with the whole system of public education and its design which is inclusive and open to new ideas.
My Evaluation of the Issue:
I believe that the modern world should not have Bible-based education except in churches. Religion and state need to be separated because the one is about spiritual beliefs and the other is about citizenship and making a good life. When the Bible is used the lessons become mystical, mysterious and do not encourage students to use their imagination nor to think for themselves. The idea that public education should be relevant to daily lives is really important. When class work is taught with examples from their daily lives children are better able to understand the lessons. Including both the common and the individual interests of students into their lessons helps students connect to the assignments they are being assigned making it more likely they will do the work and learn.
1. Negishi, Meiko and Anastasia Elder. “Mary E. Weems. Public Education and Imagination-Intellect: I Speak from the Wound in My Mouth.” Book Review. African American Review. 39: 3. 2005. p. 473+.
Mary E. Weems. Public Education and Imagination-Intellect: I Speak from the Wound in My Mouth by Meiko Negishi, Anastasia Elder.
2. Reese, William J. “Soldiers for Christ in the Army School Movement in America.” Educational Theory. Spring , 1985. Vol. 35, No. 2.