When Every Square Inch is not Literally Every Square Inch

On the day that Betsy DeVos wins Senate confirmation as Secretary of Education (when will women advance beyond the secretariat?), we need to remember that neo-Calvinism has its better and worse forms.

As the recent editorial in Calvin College’s Chimes observed, private Christian day school education does not mean public education is bad (imagine saying that in W. Michigan in 1857):

Many of us entered Calvin College directly from Christian high schools and spent our entire elementary and secondary school years in these institutions, as did Mrs. DeVos. While we appreciate the opportunity to thrive and learn that is provided by these educational systems, we recognize that the vast majority of K–12 students are educated in the public school system. Because of this, we believe that any individual who is nominated to be Secretary of Education should have a strong commitment to public education, which Mrs. DeVos does not.

So the RCA was right to worry about the CRC’s rejection of public schools?

And when it comes to all that kingdom of God rhetoric, not to mention the Lordship of Christ, take it as meaning Republicans don’t belong to the kingdom (how inclusive):

Growing up in the CRC and attending Calvin College, I heard this kind of language all the time. Calvin does indeed call its students to be “Christ’s agents of renewal in the world.” We are told to “advance God’s kingdom.” Without being inside of that tradition, it can sound, perhaps, like theocracy.

What do these phrases actually mean? Most broadly, they mean a service-oriented vision of vocation. Students are called to serve, and they can serve in many ways. For example, Calvin students are regularly called upon to work in the world for racial reconciliation. Why? Because racial reconciliation advances God’s kingdom. That’s why Calvin College faculty signed a letter to Turning Point U.S.A., asking to be added to its “professor watchlist.” The watchlist targets “radical” professors who teach about systemic racism. Serving as Christ’s agents of renewal, Calvin’s faculty spoke up, asserting together that institutional racism is real and that it must be addressed.

What else advances God’s kingdom? Social justice and care for the poor. Clean water in Flint. An improved education for all children in America. All these things advance God’s kingdom. Strong differences will arise about how to get there, but framing these goals in religious language does not mean we have to fear them. After all, those who pray together “thy kingdom come” in the Lord’s Prayer, across many different Christian faith traditions every day, can still disagree quite powerfully about what exactly that kingdom looks like and how it comes about.

Never mind that folks inside the neo-Calvinist bubble don’t worry about how their rhetoric sounds until the bubble bursts and people see inside. Makes you wonder what Afscheiding folks who didn’t join Abraham Kuyper’s church thought of Kuyper as Prime Minister.

Advertisements

86 thoughts on “When Every Square Inch is not Literally Every Square Inch

  1. “Private Christian day school education does not mean public education is bad.”

    Yes it does. Any time the government invests money in anything, that thing becomes a tool of the government. The sole purpose of “public education” is to teach children to love the things of this world rather than to set their mind on things above. The Christian school I went to has a large sign out front right by the road that with Proverbs 22:6 on it: “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” That is the purpose of education. Additionally, as C S Lewis argued, the purpose of education is to teach the student to love that which is good and hate that which is evil. Public education (i.e., government funded) has never had those goals in mind.

    “Serving as Christ’s agents of renewal, Calvin’s faculty spoke up, asserting together that institutional racism is real and that it must be addressed.”

    The fact that Calvin College has fallen for this bleeding heart argument shows how blind they are. Slavery has been abolished folks. Any “institutional racism” is in the leftist party, but they project their evil ways onto everybody else. The moral evil of institutional racism and slavery was an issue in the early 1800s and before. Today’s moral evil is abortion, and the sooner these crackpot “Christians” figure that out, the better we all will be. How they can be so stupid as to fall for the leftist talking points is simply shocking. “Racial reconciliation” is wasting the time of people that could otherwise actually work towards something that honors God. As Morgan Freeman has said, the way to get past racism is to “stop talking about it.” Wise words: https://youtu.be/I3cGfrExozQ

    I have a question for the people that regularly attend Reformed churches – what do you and your particular churches do to impact your community? If I were to visit your town for a few weeks, what would I see in the community that shows you have an active role? I ask this out of complete sincerity, since I’m wrestling with these issues in my own spiritual life and church.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Calvin’s student paper objected to DeVos?! And dates SoulForce? Serisouly, can we either install Larycia Hawkins as president already or just burn the place down and be done with it. It’s become a Her.meneutics Academy top-heavy with eager-to-please white men over-read and under-endowed with doctrinal balls.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “The sole purpose of “public education” is to teach children to love the things of this world rather than to set their mind on things above.”
    Really? What evidence do you have that this is true? In my gumint high school they were interested in promoting healthy lifestyles, job/college prep, and art appreciation, and civic duty.

    “Additionally, as C S Lewis argued, the purpose of education is to teach the student to love that which is good and hate that which is evil.”
    C.S. Lewis was wrong. Education doesn’t have one overarching purpose. HVAC repair education at the local technical college has the purpose of teaching people to build, service, and repairhvac systems. Physical education may have the purpose of teaching you to lift weights properly.

    Like

  4. And commenting ed will teach you to finish a comment before tapping submit. Anyway religious education has yet a different purpose from the others. I don’t see why they all have to occur under one roof.

    Like

  5. Bryan, adding to sdb’s point, the purpose of education is the 3Rs. The home is ordained to instill worldview and affections, not the school. You make the same fundamental mistake the progressives do in over-realizing education. Contrary to your assertion that PE has never made the affective as a goal, it’s arguable that at least part of the problem with PE is that it has lost sight of its academic purpose and dabbled too much in so-called values-based education. You might ask the typical third grade PE teacher if she really thinks “the sole purpose of ‘public education’ is to teach children to love the things of this world rather than to set their mind on things above.” Chances are she’ll roll her eyes since she actually spends more of her day on trying to get Suzy to master her times tables and wonders where your type gets this crap.

    PS why the scare quotes around “public education”?

    Like

  6. JM, so Calvin’s not patriotically correct enough? But the editorial makes a good point–what sense does it make to put an underminer of public education at its helm? Do you make an anti-vaccinator Surgeon General? Dumb.

    Like

  7. I don’t think C S Lewis was wrong. If being/eating healthy, appreciating art, etc. is a good, then you’re merely supporting Lewis’ point, sdb. Notice I said the “purpose” of public education is to teach students to love the world. That does not mean that those indoctrination centers… er… schools cannot sometimes inadvertently teach truth. I’m sure they do. However, their fundamental premise is that there is no God and we evolved. Everything they teach those kids comes out of that basic premise. Thus, when a parent sends their kid to a public school, they are abandoning Solomon’s advice to train up a child in the way he/she should go. A child should not be placed in an environment where what they are learning in school directly contradicts what they are learning at home, or worse – directly contradicts the Bible.

    There’s also the issue of whose job is it to teach. Should it really be the government’s responsibility to provide an education in HVAC repair? Do you really think that? It seems to me if their are heating and AC systems that need repair, than the market will adjust and someone will find a way to train people to fix HVAC units without big brother coming to the rescue.

    Like

  8. Zrim, you’re correct about the three Rs, but wouldn’t that fall under teaching the student to love that which is good? You’re also assuming that government schools are teaching the three Rs – they aren’t. Spend 10 minutes researching common core and you’ll realize it is leftist indoctrination aimed at teaching kids how to take a standardized test and how to recycle a pop can. You’re also assuming the average third grade public school teacher is actually aware of what they are truly doing. They’ve been raised in the system, so they don’t know any better themselves. They are just teaching the curriculum they have been given. Do you really think most public school teachers actually take the time to study educational theory or engage in these kinds of discussions? Doubt it. They should have in university, but 99.99% of universities are leftist havens of incompetence.

    Don’t believe me on that? The University of Pennsylvania just made the village idiot a professor of foreign policy and diplomacy, with the college president saying, “Joe Biden is one of the greatest statesmen of our times.” Ha! Dumber words were never spoken. That, ladies and gentleman, is higher education in America. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/02/07/professor-joe-biden-former-veep-takes-ivy-teaching-gig.html

    As for the scare quotes, I actually don’t remember why I used them… ha.

    Like

  9. Why didn’t all those Christian school advocates refuse tainted DeVos money?

    A Mother Jones analysis found the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation had given nearly half of its donations between 1999 and 2014 – out of a total $100 million – to Christian organizations. That includes $8.6 million to religious schools such as Holland Christian Schools, the Grand Rapids Christian High School Association and the Ada Christian School.

    Like

  10. Bryan M: Spend 10 minutes researching common core and you’ll realize it is leftist indoctrination aimed at teaching kids how to take a standardized test and how to recycle a pop can.

    Erm. So this is awkward, since I am a critic of the Common Core math component.

    I’ve spent more like 10 hours working with the CC standards and figuring out which of them, if any, we wanted to implement in our curriculum.

    CC is not “leftist indoctrination”, unless “making math more visual and conceptual, yet somehow more confusing” is a leftist principle.

    Like

  11. Bryan, talk about indoctrination, you sound like you were made at the Christian Radio Academy. You’re not reading–actually I said that part of PE’s problem is that it has drifted from its primary academic task into the affective realm. The better posture is reform, not taking the bait from the rightists who spew on about “indoctrination centers [whose] fundamental premise is that there is no God and we evolved.” Is cynicism a fruit of the Spirit?

    A child should not be placed in an environment where what they are learning in school directly contradicts what they are learning at home, or worse – directly contradicts the Bible.

    And yet Daniel is described as having learning and skill in all wisdom and literature after having been through the U of Babylon (er, Leftist Governmental Indoctrination Center) and learning at the feet of the God-hating pagans. But you know better than God, right?

    Like

  12. “Should it really be the government’s responsibility to provide an education in HVAC repair? Do you really think that? ”
    “I don’t think C S Lewis was wrong.”
    You do realize that C. S. Lewis spent his entire career at publicly funded (i.e., government) schools, right? I happen to agree with him on this front… universal literacy and the requisite compulsory education is something I see as an advance. Publicly supported vocational training is a net good that has existed much longer than the Great Society.

    Like

  13. “Don’t believe me on that? The University of Pennsylvania just made the village idiot…”
    Seems like you would have learned something about respect for our leaders from your Christian school’s lessons on Romans 14.

    Like

  14. To give Bryan’s point some due credit, public schools in the US were set up to explicitly improve the morals of their attendees (eg: https://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/first-age-reform/essays/education-reform-antebellum-america).

    So there *is* an indoctrination component to public schools, on display whenever students take citizenship classes or say the Pledge or suffer through pithy calls to morality like “Choose Civility.”

    Is this a bad thing? Arguably.

    But making rectangles to represent multiplication of 2-place numbers by 3-place numbers is probably not indoctrination.

    Like

  15. Jeff, his point has some merit historically, but his problem is that by way of Lewis he repeats the error by contending that “the purpose of education is to teach the student to love that which is good and hate that which is evil.”

    Still, where it matters most–classroom teaching–better modern teachers know this sort of hifalutin sentimentality really doesn’t reflect their purpose. They know that this is the role of the home and that their power as educators are limited to the proverbial 3Rs. They know that were they to affirm this after school special error then those who blame them for “everything wrong with kids these days” would actually have a point. But human beings, for better or worse, are made at home; they’re only taught at school.

    Like

  16. Zrim, I think you are naive if you think the public school can teach the three Rs divorced from values and culture. One of the things about public education (and a good thing) is that it educated into a common culture. It “Americanized” the immigrant. It made good citizens. It produced the generation that fought and won WW II. The problem now is we have lost the common culture and what there is of it most conservatives are not comfortable with. Thy radical anti-wv thing hath made thee mad.

    Like

  17. And you think neo-Calvinists have a problem, what about Roman Catholics?

    An interesting New York Times story recounts that when Steve Bannon went to Rome to cover the canonization of St. John Paul II for Breitbart News, he used the occasion to find common ground with Vatican traditionalists who also “saw Islam as threatening to overrun a prostrate West weakened by the erosion of traditional Christian values.” Bannon, now President Donald Trump’s chief strategist and a member of the National Security Council, has also bonded with Pope Francis’s critics in the Vatican, as reporter Jason Horowitz puts it:

    For many of the pope’s ideological opponents in and around the Vatican, who are fearful of a pontiff they consider outwardly avuncular but internally a ruthless wielder of absolute political power, this angry moment in history is an opportunity to derail what they see as a disastrous papal agenda. And in Mr. Trump, and more directly in Mr. Bannon, some self-described “Rad Trads” — or radical traditionalists — see an alternate leader who will stand up for traditional Christian values and against Muslim interlopers.

    One irony here is that these “Rad Trads” would not only undermine Pope Francis, but also the legacy that St. John Paul II left regarding Christianity’s relationship with Islam. The website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sums up that legacy well with 26 quotes chosen from the many occasions when John Paul spoke warmly of Islam and sought to bring Muslims and Christians together.

    Like

  18. Bill, mine is a point about simple distinctions, not divorces. I never said “three Rs divorced from values and culture.” Whenever human beings are a part of the project it’s complicated. And in education the affective intersects with the academic (and your point about how PE helped sustain the common culture is a good example), but that doesn’t mean the academic isn’t still primary and the affective secondary no matter how anything else has changed.

    And you clearly haven’t shaken off all the worldviewry, the sort that leads you to the cynical notion that the common culture is lost. Try harder.

    Like

  19. Jeff says, “CC is not ‘leftist indoctrination,’ unless ‘making math more visual and conceptual, yet somehow more confusing’ is a leftist principle.”

    Don’t be naive. Dumbing down the math standards is an effect, not a cause. Look at the big picture. The leftists are fundamentally transforming the way math has been taught for thousands of years – ask yourself why? It certainly isn’t to make kids better at math.

    Zrim says, “And yet Daniel is described as having learning and skill in all wisdom and literature after having been through the U of Babylon (er, Leftist Governmental Indoctrination Center) and learning at the feet of the God-hating pagans. But you know better than God, right?”

    Really, Zrim? That’s your argument? Wow. You do realize that Daniel was probably a young adult when he was taken into captivity. Thus, he was already educated in Jewish belief. Yes, he learned the ways of Babylon, as any wise person in his position would do, but he still had God as his foundation. As Alec Baldwin’s character said in Russian to Sean Connery’s character in “Hunt for Red October,” “It is wise to study the ways of one’s adversaries, don’t you think?” Plus, it isn’t a stretch to think that Daniel may have been a special case, not the norm. As usual, you arguments aren’t applicable to the conversation at hand.

    sdb says, “Seems like you would have learned something about respect for our leaders from your Christian school’s lessons on Romans 14.”

    Seems to me respect has more to do with obeying than it does agreeing with or always speaking well of them. Biden is an idiot. Fact. Some great moments from this great statesman: https://youtu.be/i2w2JpBTHVc And… the 7-11 classic: https://youtu.be/OIT3jUrNTX0

    Zrim, you keep bringing up the 3 Rs as if they are the sole purpose of education. They aren’t. They are a means of reaching that end, which is to train up a child in the way he/she should go. The Lewis quote (which I believe he actually attributed to Aristotle) is a secular understanding of that. Education is about teaching truth, and the public schools do not do that. Why on earth would I want government funding education?! It is the parents’ job to make sure their kids are educated. If they are responsible parents, they will either teach the kids themselves or come together with their community and hire teachers. Go look at old textbooks from the early 18th century (I have small collection) – grammar school children were a lot smarter back then. I have a math book from 1803, and a kid wrote his name and the year he used the book in it. I was able to find out a bit about him, and I discovered he would have been about 11 years old, and there’s math in there that I wasn’t taught until high school – and I had an excellent math teacher! Public education has brought the level of all schools down to the lowest common denominator. Thankfully private and charter schools are pushing against further dumbing down by rejecting CC.

    Dr. Hart asks, “what if the Christian day and homeschoolers wrecked the public schools by opting out?”

    Ding ding ding ding ding ding ding. Christian parents who send their kids to the anti-Christian schools are failing in their duty as parents. Little Tommy isn’t supposed to be a missionary to the public school. He needs to be firmly grounded in the fundamentals of Christianity. The public schools do their very best to undermine those fundamentals. With the prevalence of home schooling these days, there really is no excuse.

    Like

  20. Bryan, you come across quite insane, unreasonable, youthful and clearly indoctrinated in the ways of educational fundamentalism. I’m sure you think yourself squarely conservative, but you might consider this more reasonable take on public education from a more seasoned conservative point of view. It doesn’t mean to have to become an advocate (heaven forbid, grasshopper), but it might at least give you some sense of how to engage the topic with less hyperventilation and folly.

    It is easy, of course, to dismiss or mock or even outright attack the public schooling ideal, or even if one accepts the ideal to criticize it in practice. Seeing as how most of my brothers and sisters and their spouses have chosen to home-school their children or send them to private schools, I’m pretty familiar with their arguments: less bureaucracy, more personal attention, fewer discipline problems, higher standards, more explicit moral or religious content, etc., etc. All of those arguments hold water (often enough, anyway). But they’ve never changed my or my wife’s minds; for all my own conflicted feelings, I remain very much a defender of the democratic principle of empowering local and state governments to fund and provide a common education for all. As a citizen, I obviously have my own views about how those schools and their curricula ought to be constructed, administered, and paid for, and sometimes those views are highly critical of what I see those in charge of the sprawling, multi-level, multi-faceted, often confusing, sometimes frustrating organization that goes by the name “Wichita Public Schools” doing. But the civic and egalitarian goods that the public schools provide make it worth it to me. Well, that, and the fact that the people who have taught our children really have by and large, provided them with something valuable, something that you might even call loving. Social skills, learning to work with and make friends with others, negotiating the diversity of expectations and interests which arise during every recess (which students still have in Wichita, thank goodness!) and every shared assignment in the classroom–these are sort of things which the disciplined, fun-loving, open-minded women (and they have overwhelmingly been women) who have taught my daughters have given them, and at the heart of those lessons is not just cognitive skill, but also ethics, citizenship, even a sort of charity. Am I saying that children educated outside of the public schools couldn’t learn those things? Not at all. I’m just saying that they have gained those things from our public schools, from Peterson Elementary in particular, and that itself is an argument in defense of the public schooling ideal.

    http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/2014/05/public-schools-local-schools-family-schools/

    Like

  21. Zrim – Hyperventilation and folly? Is that what you consider passion about a subject that as important as this? It is clear you are putting up a facade to justify your own personal decision of ignoring God’s commands regarding education. For too long, Christians in America have caved to the public school system because they care more about their own personal peace and affluence than they care about a proper education for their children. Once again, if the government puts a single cent into education, it controls all of it. Look what happened in the homeschool movement in the 60s and 70s. (A woman in Pennsylvania was arrested just this week for homeschooling her kids, btw: http://www.wkbw.com/news/was-buffalo-mom-jailed-over-homeschooling-decision.)

    American Christians have failed their children by placing them in schools that deny the veracity of Scripture. How can you possibly defend an education system whose fundamental premise is that there is no God? You’ve failed to answer that, Zrim.

    Furthermore, linking to an article about public schools in a rural, generally conservative state really doesn’t get us anywhere in this discussion. Those aren’t the schools impacting American culture – the schools in heavily populous (and liberal) states like California, Illinois, and New York are much more representative of the US school system. I’m sure you’ve heard of the failing Chicago Public Schools. That’s your public education. Teaching kids to be civic and have good social skills cannot come from a worldview that denies God. Teach kids God’s morality, and civics and social skills will follow.

    You must be a leftist, Zrim, since your arguments immediately turn to “you’re insane and unreasonable” when you have nothing left to say.

    Like

  22. @Morey

    Obedience is not sufficient. We are called to honor. Refering to a political leader as an idiot is not honorable. A few video snippets establish nothing. While I disagree with Biden on most contested political issues, he is clearly accomplished. No one climbs the political ladder he has by being stupid.

    Like

  23. ” Don’t be naive. Dumbing down the math standards is an effect, not a cause. Look at the big picture. The leftists are fundamentally transforming the way math has been taught for thousands of years – ask yourself why? It certainly isn’t to make kids better at math.”
    And how did you arrive at this insight? Have you ever looked at math written prior to the 19th century? Check out Kepler’s writings and tell me math has been taught the same way for thousands of years… never mind that some of that math is quite young. When did you learn about logarithms and exponentials? I guarantee they haven’t been taught the same way for 1000’s of years.

    ” As usual, you arguments aren’t applicable to the conversation at hand.” Maybe, maybe not. But haven’t dealt with your hero’s embrace of those government schools he spent his career in.

    “Education is about teaching truth, and the public schools do not do that.” How do you know that? Of course they do not teach everything that is true, but I doubt they don’t teach truth. My kid’s assignments strike me as teaching truth.

    ” I was able to find out a bit about him, and I discovered he would have been about 11 years old, and there’s math in there that I wasn’t taught until high school – and I had an excellent math teacher! ”
    My 11 year old is learning fractions, ratios, statistics, graphing functions, and linear algebraic expressions (6th grade). Given that Euler invented this notation in the 18th century, I would be quite surprised to see it in 18th century grammar school books. Perhaps you have something else in mind? In my government high school, I did Alg2 (exponential functions, higher order functions, and trig), then Calc 1, AP Calc, and my senior year took calc3 and diffeq at the government run community college. I would be surprised to find these topics covered in an 11yro’s math book from 1803.

    Like

  24. ” Hyperventilation and folly? Is that what you consider passion about a subject that as important as this? It is clear you are putting up a facade to justify your own personal decision of ignoring God’s commands regarding education.”
    Your strawmen and ignorance are the indicators of your folly. I don’t recall God commanding believers to eschew secular schools. Sending kids to school does not preclude catechism at home.

    ” Once again, if the government puts a single cent into education, it controls all of it.”
    Ask cs lewis about that.

    “Look what happened in the homeschool movement in the 60s and 70s.”
    What?
    ” (A woman in Pennsylvania was arrested just this week for homeschooling her kids” I realize I’m the product of govt schools, but I’m pretty sure Buffalo is in NY and the woman was arrested for obstruction. Perhaps there was a paperwork error and her behavior exacerbated issues cpd had with this single mom. You only get her side though. Not sure what that has to do with the hsm in the 60’s & 70’s.

    “Those aren’t the schools impacting American culture – the schools in heavily populous (and liberal) states like California, Illinois, and New York are much more representative of the US school system. ”
    Wait a minute. I thought the problem was government run schools. Why don’t populous conservative states like Texas, Tennessee, and Florida count?

    ” Teaching kids to be civic and have good social skills cannot come from a worldview that denies God. ”
    The civic nature and social skills on display in Japan and Sweden suggest otherwise.

    “Teach kids God’s morality, and civics and social skills will follow.”
    Your behavior here is evidence to the contrary. Perhaps you can explain why the homicide rate and abortion rate fell from 1990-2010 as we got much more irreligious, why various antisocial markers like spousal abuse, divorce, murder, and teenage pregnancy are higher in evangelical strongholds like SC, MS, and AR than in secular bastions like VT, NH, and HI, and why the homicide rate plummeted from the days of Spurgeon to the godless era now in the UK?

    Like

  25. Zrim: “And you clearly haven’t shaken off all the worldviewry, the sort that leads you to the cynical notion that the common culture is lost. Try harder.”

    If by saying I have not shaken off all the “worldviewry,” you meanI believe there are worldviews, that they are in conflict with one another, and that the worldview that is the western tradition is superior to others, and that Christianity had a major role in shaping it, then, no, I have not shaken it. I don’t see how I could it being obvious to my merely observant and rational self that is this is the case. If you think I am cynical because I have the notion that common culture is lost, you must be living in an alternative world which has shaped your view. Have you heard of diversity? Multi-culturalism? Perhaps there is an emerging common culture based on the values of (selective) diversity and multi-culturalism,. If so, it is incompatible with my worldview. I cannot try hard enough to get over this “worldviewry” because to do so is repugnant to common sense (which I acknowledge is in short supply in the present state of the culture).

    DGH: “Bill, what if the Christian day and homeschoolers wrecked the public schools by opting out? I’m just wondering.” Now I am in part a product of that hell on earth known as Pensacola Christian School (grades 2-9) which gave the aBeka (I knew Beka Horton) system to a large number of Christian schools and homeschools, so I suppose that my parents and I did not do our part to save the public schools. I regret not having been in the public system, but not for that reason.( I regret it the way a prisoner regrets being in prison rather than than the free world.)

    I am doubtful enough Christians abandoned the public schools to have made that much difference. I think several things have led to the state of the public schools, all of which are related to diversity and mulit-culturalism. 1) The loss of confidence in the western tradition and/or unwillingness to maintain it is superior to other intellectual/cultural traditions. 2) The failure of integration. I think the ideal of integration was to bring blacks and whites together in a common school system and there would be assimilation of all to a common culture. That did not happen. The rising “black consciousness” and sense of having been victims of white hegemony led to demands to accept and incorporate “black tradition” and guilty whites capitulated. That had to be justified by the stupid claim that all cultures are equal, Cultures are just different and that is good and to be celebrated. 3) The increasing ethnic/racial diversity of the country. Perhaps this has overwhelmed the ability of the system to assimilate all to a common culture. 4) The ascendancy of intellectual/ethical relativism. If nothing is true and right in a transcendent sense, then what basis is there for a common culture in the schools? The public schools in one sense follow the culture. The 60s have done their work. And, unlike the boomers who came back home and gave us the Reagan years, the faculties of the universities did not, and they have given us the teachers and administrators. They in turn have passed on their worldview, if you will, to the succeeding generations of public school students. Now I am not sure there is any home for them to come home to. Perhaps the Trump years are, instead of being a resurgence traditional conservatism (which has conserved the western tradition) are the wracking cough of the old culture.

    Like

  26. Those aren’t the schools impacting American culture – the schools in heavily populous (and liberal) states like California, Illinois, and New York are much more representative of the US school system.

    Bryan, your America and mega churchery is showing. Big matters, little is pathetic. Figures. Whatever. You’re hopeless.

    Like

  27. Bill, no I don’t mean that. I don’t actually reject the category of worldview to the extent that it simply means ways of viewing provisional life and that even Christians may have the liberty of holding differing views.

    What I mean by worldviewry is the idea that worldview is ev-er-y-thing, which seems to have a tendency to show up in the topic of education—everyone’s 2k until it comes to education, then suddenly everyone is a worldviewer stocking all sorts of temporal and eternal meaning into the simple process of teaching kids reading, writing, and arithmetic, doing in education what others do in general civic life and polity. Yes, I’ve heard of multi-culturalism. So what? You sound like the older generation that invoked SEX ED as a scare category against PE. Ever sat through a review of sex ed curriculum as a father of daughters (yes, Bryan, that’s what someone who “cares more about their own personal peace and affluence than they care about a proper education for their children” does)? I have. Awkward perhaps, but pretty tame and boring and not nearly as traumatizing and brain-washing as the mongers would have us believe. Keep trying harder.

    Like

  28. But Zrim,

    It’s pretty well known that textbook publishers rely on California and what California wants in publishing textbooks that are used in every state.

    Like

  29. Meaning that these states have power to impose the dreaded term “worldview” on people by shaping their textbooks. If textbooks print things because Harvey Milk and the LGBTQIAEIEIO movement have successfully lobbied California to include praise of all things queer in the public school classroom, that stuff gets shipped out elsewhere.

    Bigger isn’t necessarily better. But bigger has more influence at least in this realm, which raises legitimate reasons to be concerned about what kids are actually learning in the public schools.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Funny how neo-Calvinist critiques of neo-Calvinists always remain theological and never extend to the actual laws of the land or the power of the government — that’s so spirituality of the church/2k:

    Mrs. DeVos’ life’s work reveals a different strategy – not more government involvement in education, but less. New competing centers for educational growth will incentivize educational improvement, not more dollars and more government (especially federal) programs and so-called strategies. Federalism in the area of education with its restored respect for state authority is the key to change and progress.

    This trend of Federal control over education with its attendant uniformity was perceived as early as 1926 by the late Princeton Professor J. Gresham Machen who stated at that time “The department of education… is to promote uniformity in education. That uniformity in education under central control it seems to me is the worst fate into which any country can fall.”

    The overreach in education is part of an overreach of the “administrative state,” which the voters have pushed back against in our latest presidential election. The administrative state means too many regulations undermining economic growth; too many bureaucrats calling the shots from Washington, D.C.; limitations on the individual’s sense of self-worth because of collectivist P.C. thinking enunciated from the halls of government; and, in the schools, a regular dumbing down of the students and increasingly lockstep agenda of learning from coast to coast. This dumbing down has been orchestrated by the federal government under the guise of making us more competitive with other countries educationally.

    Like

  31. Robert, first, local school districts still have plenty of say over what sort of curriculum they adopt; textbook publishers are not Czars. Second, if you want to say there are problems to navigate then no argument (that’s everywhere all the time, even in Xian schools). But if you want to say that the public schools are merely tools for left wing boogeymen to brainwash the kids then I’ll have to demur. But I know, probably not sufficiently vigilant, right?

    Like

  32. Zrim

    You: “Bill, no I don’t mean that. I don’t actually reject the category of worldview to the extent that it simply means ways of viewing provisional life and that even Christians may have the liberty of holding differing views.”

    Me: What is “provisional life”? But here’s my problem. If my mean worldviews are provisional, I agree to an extent. A worldview is always subject to change, development, and correction. But some worldviews have stood the test of time. An Islamic worldview is one. A communist worldview is another. Western civilization is another, and I think that it has proved itself superior to all others. It seems to me both principially and pragmatically superior. That is, it lines up with reality (natural law) better, and it produces better results. If you want to say that within that worldview Christians have the liberty of holding different opinions about, say, politics, then I am with you. But I am not sure that Christians are at liberty to hold contradictory worldviews.

    You: “What I mean by worldviewry is the idea that worldview is ev-er-y-thing, which seems to have a tendency to show up in the topic of education—everyone’s 2k until it comes to education, then suddenly everyone is a worldviewer stocking all sorts of temporal and eternal meaning into the simple process of teaching kids reading, writing, and arithmetic, doing in education what others do in general civic life and polity. Yes, I’ve heard of multi-culturalism. So what? You sound like the older generation that invoked SEX ED as a scare category against PE.”

    Me: Why does worldview show up when we talk education? Because the school does not and cannot just teach the 3 Rs. The school is a culture. The school also teaches things that parents may find contrary to fact. You don’t have to be a 6 day creationist (though there is nothing wrong with that) to object to naturalistic evolution. A Southerner may very well protest the causes of the War and the justice of its outcome. Same thing would be true of other wars – especially Vietnam. A parent may very well object to a feminist reading of Shakespeare. Also the school has the child for more formative hours of the day than the parent. The child has to absorb the culture of the school which, as a parent, I may find repugnant. But, the point is that education has a culture and the child lives within that culture much of his day.

    And sex education? I understand a school teaching biology. But why sex education? This is not academic (3 Rs) at all. It is about society’s need according to the view of the education experts. Sex education has to be drive by values, and the values that drive it are not mine. The school has to accept all family arrangements as normal, all sex orientation as normal, all sexual practices, except maybe child sex with and adult and bestiality as acceptable. And why should a child learn the hows of sex by such activities of putting a condom on a banana. Or, how to masturbate. Sorry but on the matter of sex their is a clash of worldviews – and the public school clashes with Christian faith and practice.

    I started to say, sorry I sound like an old person, but I am not in the least, Multiculturalism undermines the western tradition. It relativizes it. It clashes with it. It attacks it. And that is not in the least acceptable to me. It has little to do with my Christian faith. It has to do with my being a conservative, and part of being a conservative is preserving western civilization. It has to do, in my view, with being a rational human being who is in touch with reality. Now I understand that someone on the left not only can live with but celebrate multiculturalism. (Excepting the old liberals who were part of the western tradition.) So, yeah, I will dig my heals in on multiculturalism. On this I will stand with Buckley across history and say, “Stop.”

    I think a lot of the way people view public education has to do with their cultural orientation. Liberals are generally happy. Conservatives find themselves somewhere between anxious and angry.

    I’ll not try harder…it takes a huge effort of the will to deny common sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Zrim, but why would you sit through embarrassing presentation on a sex-ed curriculum at the public school? You wife, with you present, if you judge it wise, could teach your daughters everything they need to know about sex, right? Why let the school do it? Why not opt out?

    Like

  34. Bill, thanks for saving me the time of responding to all those points because you are spot on! Same with you Robert on your point about textbooks – the leftists have complete control over which textbooks get used. They are all written through the lens of “there is no God and we evolved.” Even an economics or math textbook will casually throw in the occasional “millions of years ago” or “B.C.E.” or “C.E.” crap (instead of B.C. or A.D.). Worldview matters, Zrim. I don’t think you really believe in the absolute sovereignty of God.

    Zrim: “Bryan, your America and mega churchery is showing. Big matters, little is pathetic. Figures. Whatever. You’re hopeless.”

    I didn’t say little is pathetic – I said little doesn’t have the influence that big has. Like Robert said, the big states influence the little ones. This isn’t very hard to understand, or at least it shouldn’t be. Don’t give me that crap of “America and mega churchery.” I spent the summer of 2015 researching local church history in a town in England for my senior thesis, in which I argued that the local narrative differed drastically from the national narrative of church history. I argued the national narrative should be revisited and revised with greater regard for small towns, not just big cities. So cut the crap of whatever preconceived notions you have about me, because they are clearly wrong.

    You still don’t seem to have any sort of grasp for what the ultimate end of education is. Hint: it is not the 3 Rs. It is so much more than that. Even Plato understood that, and he didn’t have the benefit of the Bible to tell him so. What’s your excuse for not getting it, Zrim?

    Dr. Hart: “Bryan, I’m a product of public schooling. Is there something wrong with mmmmmeeeeeEEEEE?”

    Clearly there are some who can rise above the fray. Thank goodness for God’s grace!

    Like

  35. Hmmm, not sure where to go with this. I attended public elementary in Calif. and Texas and RC school for HS. The most corrosive culture to faith was RC school, by a wide margin, from religious training to being confronted by inappropriate sexual advances. The influence and training of my parents readily overcame all of it. It wasn’t even that problematic on that score. I’ve watched nephews and nieces work their way through public and private religious schooling both opportunities have their problems, but, again, the most deleterious to religious formation has been private religious schooling. And most of the homeschooling I’ve seen just makes you squirm. Having said all that, I am inclined to demand a refund from the local school district for wasting taxpayer money, year after year after year.

    Like

  36. Bill, provisional life is this temporal life (synonymous terms). So if believers are supposed to hold certain worldviews, why do you think differing politics are kosher? Politics is a function of worldview.

    But we clearly differ on what actually happens in local public schools. I could be wrong, but I gather you may have some but not much experience as a student or a parent and much of what you assume is scripted from an antagonistic playbook. Hard to argue with that posture. A guy like Russell Fox, whose article I linked above, sounds like a guy who’s had a similar experience as me as a student, teacher, and parent. With all the recent political hullabaloo that gave rise to plenty of cynical attacks on public education by religious conservatives, it’s good to see how some religious conservatives still know how to advocate for it with both heart and reasonability.

    Re sex ed, it was a glorified biology lesson, free of any values jazz. Big whoop. I’m not a biologist, so I’m good with letting those trained in it handle the (aheam) nuts and bolts.The wife handles the touchier things, so my presence is thankfully not desired. “Opt out”? You mean the lefist brainwashers let you do that? But I’ve said why.

    Like

  37. Bryan, I can’t be expected to know what sort of thesis papers you’ve written, much less how they explain your brilliance. I can only go by what you say here (which continues to be insane). I hope received a good grade, grasshopper.

    Like

  38. A worldview is always subject to change, development, and correction. But some worldviews have stood the test of time. An Islamic worldview is one. A communist worldview is another. Western civilization is another, and I think that it has proved itself superior to all others. It seems to me both principially and pragmatically superior. That is, it lines up with reality (natural law) better, and it produces better results.

    Two problems with the concept of worldview are the comprehensiveness of worldview and the singularity of worldview. What does it mean to say that communism is a worldview? Perhaps Sire et al. are wrong and it really doesn’t imply anything unique about gastronomy, aesthetics, mathematics, or science. Those are pretty big things for a purported worldview to leave out. Why couldn’t one adopt a Japanese approach to gastronomy, Islamic approach to mathematics, classical approach to music, romantic approach to art, socialist approach to economics, localist approach to politics, and reformed protestant understanding of soteriology and worship? Then there is the problem with singularity. What does “the” western civilization say about economics? Is 19th century Brittain, mid-20th century Sweden, or the modern day US the exemplar? Is capitalism, socialism, social democracy, or distributionism western economics (isn’t Marx a westerner?)? Is western art abstract, classical, romantic, etc… What is western political theory…what counts? If I turn to to Colonial America for the answer, must my answers about art, philosophy, science, and religion also come from this group? What is western philosophy anyway? Hume, Locke, Dewey, and Pierce? Kant? Is it Thomistic or nominalist? The Western civilization worldview is so broad as to encompass just about any perspective on anything. But as soon as we get more particularist about our views on various issues, we find that we are drawing on many different traditions that are at times at odds with one another.

    Like

  39. Re: Sex ed Of course, sex is tied to values and parents should take the lead on instructing their kids on this front, but what should society do if a significant share of parents don’t follow through on these obligations? Sex isn’t of only private interest – it has public health implications as well. The spread of STDs and teen pregnancies have very serious negative consequences for society that the public has interest in ameliorating. Whether a particular approach to sex-ed is effective at ameliorating STDs and teen pregnancy is one matter, but simply dismissing it as inappropriate classroom material strikes me as unwise.

    Like

  40. “Even an economics or math textbook will casually throw in the occasional “millions of years ago””
    Well given that the universe is about 14Gyr and the earth is roughly 4.5Gyr old, it would make sense for textbooks to mention “millions of years”.

    Like

  41. Zrim,

    Robert, first, local school districts still have plenty of say over what sort of curriculum they adopt; textbook publishers are not Czars.

    Sure. But if Podunk school system wants history books without a special section on the contributions of homosexuals and the need for us to get woke and the publishers don’t publish them, what then?

    Second, if you want to say there are problems to navigate then no argument (that’s everywhere all the time, even in Xian schools).

    Sure.

    But if you want to say that the public schools are merely tools for left wing boogeymen to brainwash the kids then I’ll have to demur. But I know, probably not sufficiently vigilant, right?

    Not mere tools. But some greater appreciation for how the public schools in many places have become part of the process for inculcating leftwing values might be nice.

    Like

  42. Robert, maybe receive the books and ignore what you don’t like? I’m just spitballing, but your question seems to suggest a sort of irresistible victimization that may play well to the already convinced of an agenda coming to eat our firstborn but not as well to those who haven’t really experienced it.

    But if the early church could send their kids to thoroughly pagan schools without a lot of complaining about the inculcation of paganism (paganism!), it’s a bit hard to do so over leftwing values. Which is worse “repeat after me: there are many gods” or “repeat after me: gays did some pretty good things”? Look, I’m not wild either about any special political agenda of any sort getting in the way of education, but it happens sometimes. I don’t see what’s so hard about staying in the fray and just dealing with as best one can (you know, be in the world but not of it). The alternative seems to be “it’s all too hard for us, let’s create a bubble where it’s easier.” Not too sound like a chest thumper but it all just seems so weak and butt hurt sometimes.

    Like

  43. @Robert
    Most of the major publishers have on-demand options for their main books. For the astrophysics text I use from Pearson, I can select which chapters and order I want – compared to high school civics, this is a niche text. My kid’s US History book (6th grade) has a special section focused on our state history. I suspect that this is an option that you can select when you purchase the book.

    There are no doubt lots of problems with public education, though I suspect most of those “problems” are the result of unrealistic expectations. The data indicates that the variation in educational approaches is much smaller than the variation in outcomes. I can’t put my finger on it now, but a number of years ago, there was an article in CT looking at various outcomes for kids raised in religious homes who went to Christian private school, homeschool, public school, and (I think) secular private school. Curiously enough, there wasn’t a whole lot of difference in terms of staying in the faith, getting divorced, and what you said about your values. There were a few what might have been counterintuitive findings (homeschoolers have higher average earning or SAT scores or something to that effect). I can’t put my finger right on it, and I’m going by fuzzy memory. We see that in comparing education across states. Most of the differences in math and reading achievement among states is due to racial composition (4th and 8th grade math and reading scores don’t vary for white students from state to state as much as the difference between the races) and household income is a very good predictor for SAT score even within high schools. In other words, kids who get more or less the same experience at school have large differences in outcomes because of what happened outside of school.

    Of course, the twin studies tell us that our outcomes are mostly due to what we inherit – the range in nurture has to be pretty extreme to matter.

    All that to say that the biggest problem with education is that we spend way too much energy and money on it. I suspect that we could get very similar outcomes for just a fraction of the cost.

    Like

  44. Zrim,

    Sure. I don’t have a problem with public schools in theory. I’m a graduate of the public school system. My kids are very young and right now they are being homeschooled, but we could very well send them to public schools at some point. But the problem is that in so many places, public schools have become indoctrination centers for which parents aren’t prepared and for which they haven’t prepared their kids. To be fair, that is more of the church’s problem in neglecting catechesis and so on.

    At one point, public schools were good for inculcating a common culture of sorts. Today in many areas they are breeding grounds for identity politicking.

    Like

  45. SDB,

    Interesting about on demand textbooks. I hadn’t seen that before.

    And yes on the last point on getting similar outcomes for a fraction of the cost.

    I’ve always said that the quality of an education depends more on parental involvement than anything else. There isn’t much a teacher in any school can do if the home is chaotic.

    Like

  46. sdb says, “Well given that the universe is about 14Gyr and the earth is roughly 4.5Gyr old, it would make sense for textbooks to mention “millions of years.'”

    Ah, now I get why you support public schools – you don’t actually believe that the Bible is true. I won’t get into the specifics of why there is 0 evidence for what you’ve stated, since you won’t believe it, and I’ve found those conversations to be pointless in the past. I’ll merely let God’s direct words to Job speak in my stead:

    4 “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
    5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
    6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
    7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
    8 Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb?
    9 When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it,
    10 And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors,
    11 And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?
    12 Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place;
    13 That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it?”
    – Job 38:5-13

    That goes on for a couple chapters like that. The Genesis account is pretty clear, but it is a human voice telling the story. In Job, God is speaking directly, so there’s no confusion. No evolution.

    Zrim, please explain to me how I am being insane? I’ll admit I’ve been a bit too snippy in this comment thread, and for that I apologize, but how have I been insane? My position is Biblical. Yours isn’t. I’m submitting to God’s sovereignty, while you’re making excuses for why you’ve shaken your fist in the face of God when it comes to education. And ya, I did just fine in my thesis defense. Thanks for asking.

    Like

  47. Robert, I’d imagine the sentiment that “public schools were good for inculcating a common culture of sorts, today in many areas they are breeding grounds for identity politicking” could have been said in every generation. There’s nothing particularly exceptional about our time and place. It’s changed, however, from a time and place where there was one school and everyone found a way to make it work (a subset of the larger American enterprise), to a more individualized and consumerist time and place where everyone wants their lives tailored, including their educational lives. The common life is too hard, let’s make our own little ghetto. Your side laments things aren’t what they used to be. I agree but for different reasons–the past knew how to forge a common life in the face of great differences. These days the faint of heart have given up trying.

    Like

  48. Bryan, you answered your own question: “My position is Biblical. Yours isn’t. I’m submitting to God’s sovereignty, while you’re making excuses for why you’ve shaken your fist in the face of God when it comes to education.” Are you for real?

    Like

  49. You labor mightily to persuade that there is a common life that can be forged in the public school. Maybe some places. But the possibility of forging a common life is becoming impossible, if it is not now altogether impossible. I don’t need a Christian school. I need a school committed to the western tradition, which you, to my surprise, seem to doubt exists. Conservatism as a social and political philosophy is nothing if it is not committed to the values, preservation and conveyance of the western tradition. And, if there were such as school, I would be happy as an episcopalian if that school had a daily service of morning prayer. Now back where this paragraph started, if I am right about the trend, and you are wrong, then it does not bode well for the unity of the country. Perhaps we are on the way to being western Europe. But, then I am an amillenialist. I do think societies go to hell. And I am not surprised to see things get worse.

    Like

  50. Zrim, you are the hopeless one. Try offering a Biblical defense of any of your opinions for once. Calling people insane isn’t getting us anywhere. My argument is founded on first principles – hardly an insane thing to say. You sound like these media leftists who throw out words like “racist” and “homophobe” without any actual grounding for their claims.

    I think the major point of difference here is you think education is just about teaching people how to read and write, when I believe it is about so much more than that. If I’m correct in that assessment of your belief (I’m sure you’ll let me know if I’m not), then you are naive.

    Like

  51. sdb: I read your response to a paragraph I wrote somewhere above regarding worldviews. You have some good observations and questions, but I don’t think you touch the main points. Worldviews are not infinitely malleable. There is some point that your reach the limits of a communist worldview, and whatever it is is no longer communist. The same is true of the Islamic and the western. The western tradition can and has, as I wrote, been subject to correction, change, and development. But at some point the tradition is no longer recognizable. There is the place to which multiculturalism is bringing us now.

    Like

  52. Bill, sounds like a fine school and I’d be happy enough for it. You know you can get pretty close with a Catholic school, right? But don’t let the Christian schoolers hear that.

    Like

  53. Bryan, you accuse me of not being biblical. That’s a serious assertion. Sorry to get all Reformed on you, but the onus is actually yours as the accuser to show where I am sinful. I’ll show you some charity and say that in all likelihood you’re just bloviating as an eeeevangelical on a strongly held pious opinion and out pops some clumsy utterance about my sinfulness in not sharing it. Then again, maybe you’re actually serious and mean to call sin what is adiaphora (school choice). But you won’t get much support from the local Presbies, even Bill. I wonder if you even have the categories to make sense of that distinction.

    Like

  54. Zrim, I didn’t really want this to turn into personal attacks. I think you’ve done a poor job defending public schools from a Christian perspective. Why should or would a Christian send their child to a pagan, actually worse – secularist – school when there are other superior options available? There are many excellent private Christian, Catholic, and even non-religious affiliated schools that are well grounded in the western tradition. There are also many excellent charter schools out there that offer an education that isn’t expressly Christian but is certainly influenced by Christianity. In fact, many of the charter schools connected with Hillsdale College offer an education that should be the standard for public education. Personally, I don’t think it is the government’s job to pay for education. Let people keep their property taxes and send their kids to a school of their (the parents’) choice. Publicly funded education has produced dumber students who know nothing about the western tradition. How is supporting those schools related to a Biblical position on education? It isn’t a “pious opinion” – it is an opinion grounded in the Christian faith and the tradition of its Church.

    Like

  55. Ah, now I get why you support public schools – you don’t actually believe that the Bible is true.

    I subscribe to the Westminster standards which includes belief in the infallibility of God’s word inscripturated in the Bible.

    I won’t get into the specifics of why there is 0 evidence for what you’ve stated, since you won’t believe it, and I’ve found those conversations to be pointless in the past.

    No possibility that you could possibly be wrong? I’ve published over 150 scientific works the overwhelming majority of which address the formation of stars, planetary systems, and our Solar System in particular. I’ve personally made measurements (and have some of the data on the laptop I’m typing this on) that bears directly on the age of forming stars. We have measurements of CAIs to six significant figures. We not only know the age of primitive meteorites, but we know the ordering of their assembly. I’ve spent nearly 20 years measuring the kinds of things for which you claim there is 0 evidence for. But I’m sure the afternoon you spent at the Creation Museum, the weekend seminar with Ken Hamm, and the Abeka books have told you all you need to know about the age of the Solar System.

    I’ll merely let God’s direct words to Job speak in my stead:
    4 “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
    5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
    6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
    7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
    8 Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb?
    9 When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it,
    10 And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors,
    11 And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?
    12 Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place;
    13 That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it?”
    – Job 38:5-13

    That goes on for a couple chapters like that. The Genesis account is pretty clear, but it is a human voice telling the story. In Job, God is speaking directly, so there’s no confusion. No evolution.

    Job is one of my favorite books in all of scripture largely because of these chapters at the end. Nothing in this poetry precludes a creation that is billions of years old or one that has evolved (as your hero C.S. Lewis concurred – of course he was corrupted by the fact that he spent his entire career at government schools).

    Like

  56. sdb: “I subscribe to the Westminster standards which includes belief in the infallibility of God’s word inscripturated in the Bible.”

    Good.

    “No possibility that you could possibly be wrong?”

    Nope. I’m a stubborn prick like that.

    “But I’m sure the afternoon you spent at the Creation Museum, the weekend seminar with Ken Hamm, and the Abeka books have told you all you need to know about the age of the Solar System.”

    I’ve never even been there, never been to one, and I recall not reading those textbooks al that deeply. They deal (as far as I can remember – this was a while ago) more with how the world works, since that is something that can be empirically observed. There is no empirical historical evidence for the ages you are talking about because creation cannot be observed, just like evolution cannot be observed. Could it be that you’re approaching your scientific work with preconceived notions, such as “the universe is billions of years old”? If you’re looking for evidence of that, you’re going to say that anything you find is proof. Like God said to Job, were you there? Nobody was, which is why God told Moses what happened. He created ex nihilo. To deny yet still claim to be a Christian is liberal theology.

    “Nothing in this poetry precludes a creation that is billions of years old or one that has evolved”

    But the Genesis account does.

    “as your hero C.S. Lewis concurred”

    I only referenced Lewis in terms of his views on education, as laid out in “The Abolition of Man,” which is widely considered to be one of the best books ever written on the philosophy of education.

    Like

  57. I’ve never even been there, never been to one, and I recall not reading those textbooks al that deeply. They deal (as far as I can remember – this was a while ago) more with how the world works, since that is something that can be empirically observed. There is no empirical historical evidence for the ages you are talking about because creation cannot be observed, just like evolution cannot be observed.

    To quote Pauli, this is not even false. “Empirical historical evidence” is not a meaningful category. Measurement of the CMB is observation of the Big Bang (a concept introduced by a Christian, and the modern observational study of which was driven by an evangelical Christian in the latter half of the 20th century).

    Could it be that you’re approaching your scientific work with preconceived notions, such as “the universe is billions of years old”? If you’re looking for evidence of that, you’re going to say that anything you find is proof.

    No. I was a YEC in high school, and I shed that as I was confronted with the evidence at the evangelical Christian college I attended. My scientific work (and the scrutiny to which it has been subjected) is data driven, and my preconceived notions are often challenged and debunked. Debunking the age of the universe would require debunking trigonometry and Newton’s first law for non-relativistic flows (for example). If you are interested in a scientifically sound evangelical approach to these issues, you might consider checking out the ASA: http://www.asa3.org/ASA/resources/

    “Like God said to Job, were you there? Nobody was, which is why God told Moses what happened. He created ex nihilo. To deny yet still claim to be a Christian is liberal theology.”

    Big Bang cosmology does not entail a rejection of creation ex nihilo.

    “Nothing in this poetry precludes a creation that is billions of years old or one that has evolved”
    But the Genesis account does.

    The Irons-Kline article available from the ASA page is definitely worth reading carefully and reflecting on.

    “as your hero C.S. Lewis concurred”
    I only referenced Lewis in terms of his views on education, as laid out in “The Abolition of Man,” which is widely considered to be one of the best books ever written on the philosophy of education.

    I’m not sure how widely that is considered. Curious that you put so much stock in an educational philosophy developed by a liberal (evolutionist) advocate of government run schools.

    Like

  58. @bill I agree that we can stretch a label to the point it ceases to make sense….no free market communists (I don’t care what China thinks it is doing). I also agree that the west has given rise to the best approach to politics, economics, science, philosophy, and religion (though I see these as less generically western than Anglosphere). But this isn’t a w-w. The attempt to squeeze all of life into a logically coherent philosophy is ideology by a different name….something conservatives are wise to be leery of.

    Like

  59. Once you cross the threshold to Christianize basic education, how can you not feel obligated to Christianize every ordinary aspect of life? Should I be seeing a Certified Christian Accountant to do my taxes rather than my current reliable CPA? Should I not be working for a secular company with pagan executives?
    What if all reformed churches and reformed parents were diligent in training and catechizing their youth, why would we close them off from the world by sending them to Christian schools when we could send them into the public sphere equipped to bring a defense to the gospel?

    Like

  60. Bryan, that’s because I’m not advocating PE from a Christian perspective, that’s the point. It’s a matter indifferent. You don’t understand the basic premise here. There is no biblical case for PE and by the same token neither is there one against it. But you persist in talking about employing PE the way Baptists talk about drinking beer: “Abstinence is grounded in the Christian faith and the tradition of its Church.” Whatever. And you both prattle on about all the alleged adverse effects of your respectively chosen pietistic taboos. Beer fogs the sanctified mind, PE stains the spiritual brain.

    You mention Catholic schools. The RCC understands this liberty better than you:

    2229 As those first responsible for the education of their children, parents have the right to choose a school for them which corresponds to their own convictions. This right is fundamental. As far as possible parents have the duty of choosing schools that will best help them in their task as Christian educators. Public authorities have the duty of guaranteeing this parental right and of ensuring the concrete conditions for its exercise.

    Like

  61. Scofflaw: At the risk of repeating myself, I wrote this earlier in the discussion: “Why does worldview show up when we talk education? Because the school does not and cannot just teach the 3 Rs. The school is a culture. The school also teaches things that parents may find contrary to fact. You don’t have to be a 6 day creationist (though there is nothing wrong with that) to object to naturalistic evolution. A Southerner may very well protest the causes of the War and the justice of its outcome. Same thing would be true of other wars – especially Vietnam. A parent may very well object to a feminist reading of Shakespeare. Also the school has the child for more formative hours of the day than the parent. The child has to absorb the culture of the school which, as a parent, I may find repugnant. But, the point is that education has a culture and the child lives within that culture much of his day.”

    Like

  62. A Southerner may very well protest the causes of the War and the justice of its outcome. Same thing would be true of other wars – especially Vietnam.

    So, Bill, what happens when the western civ school teaches something Yankee-ish? Are you out the door looking for another school, or do you figure tat’s the price of admission living and moving with others?

    Also the school has the child for more formative hours of the day than the parent. The child has to absorb the culture of the school which, as a parent, I may find repugnant. But, the point is that education has a culture and the child lives within that culture much of his day.”

    But parents are ordained to have primary place in shaping human beings (for better or worse), everything else is secondary. Every 8 hours a teacher has Johnny is worth 10 minutes with mom and dad. Isn’t a modern notion that somehow a certain amount of time spent with someone outpaces the ordination of parents to make people? You keep claiming conservative, but this idea that the natural ordination of the home to make people may be usurped by classroom teachers and the general culture seems way more modern than conservative.

    Like

  63. @ Bryan:

    If the intent is truly to discuss ideas, then I have a couple of suggestions.

    (1) Don’t be an “instant expert” on every topic.

    You have strong opinions about math curriculum? Great. What’s your relevant expertise?

    When you tell someone who’s been writing math curriculum for 25 years to
    “not be naive”, your stock drops.

    Have opinions! Just don’t insult other people for having different opinions, especially if you’re speaking out of field.

    Same applies to age of earth. Bible-believing Presbyterians come in young- and old-earth flavors, and to waltz in with an assertion to the contrary is just ignorant.

    (2) Don’t confuse “picking the right battles” for “capitulating to culture.”

    Folk around here tend to see the spiritual battle being waged within the church on matters of gospel and doctrine. Teach the flock, and culture will take care of itself.

    Like

  64. You: So, Bill, what happens when the western civ school teaches something Yankee-ish? Are you out the door looking for another school, or do you figure tat’s the price of admission living and moving with others?

    Me: No, I am not out the door every time there is something damn yankee-ish. That was one in a series of examples I gave of where the school is not just teaching “objective facts.” History, English literature (or world literature), sex ed, are examples of two subjects taught in the school which involve an interpretive grid. The school does much more than teach how to read, how to write, and how to do arithmetic. The idea of school may involve one or more of the following: 1. Produce good citizens. 2. Produce productive citizens, 3. Produce educated citizens If you want to prepare people for jobs, that in itself is neutral. You just learn to weld or work in an office or whatever. If you are poducing good citizens you have to ask, “What is that?” Views of government, the role of citizens, liberty, economics and such will go into that. The curriculum that does that must involve interpretation and values. And it is likely that things will be taught for “what is” when they are really “what your authors think.” If you are going to produce educated persons, then you really can get in the deep weeds, because you are going to teach people how to think, how to reason. The school is, as I said, a culture There are many areas of common culture that do not involve interpretive grids or values. Things such as sports are no big deal. But other things are a very big deal. And, no, a person who has a philosophy, whether or not it involves a religious element, cannot accept just anything or everything as the price of admission to a common life. There are limits.

    Me: Also the school has the child for more formative hours of the day than the parent. The child has to absorb the culture of the school which, as a parent, I may find repugnant. But, the point is that education has a culture and the child lives within that culture much of his day.”

    You: But parents are ordained to have primary place in shaping human beings (for better or worse), everything else is secondary. Every 8 hours a teacher has Johnny is worth 10 minutes with mom and dad. Isn’t a modern notion that somehow a certain amount of time spent with someone outpaces the ordination of parents to make people? You keep claiming conservative, but this idea that the natural ordination of the home to make people may be usurped by classroom teachers and the general culture seems way more modern than conservative.

    Me: You seem to assume that because God has ordained that parents have the primary place in shaping their children works automatically. Now I will agree that the parents have an advantage – the child regards no one else as mom and dad. But you cannot think about the formation of children apart from matters such as amount of time, the experience of peers and what they think and do, the affection and respect a child can develop for a teacher. God ordains parents as primary, but means are important. There is no ex opere operato about the way the parent child relationship works.

    Well, yes I am a conservative. And conservatives believe the man and the world are fallen. Main must always contend with both is falleness and the world’s. The conservative is not surprised by the presence or power of evil.. He does not have a naive optimism about common culture.

    Like

  65. @ SDB: In re: heritability — does that study strike you as well-constructed? I only skimmed it, but the conclusion seems awfully counterintuitive.

    Like

  66. Bill, agreed on parents and means. It’s not an ex opere operato sort of point, but a sola scriptura sort of one.

    But I wouldn’t expect one who prioritizes the ordination of the home to put so much stock into the secondary means as you seem to do with schooling. Does schooling matter in human formation? Sure. Can it really compete with the power of parents? Nah.

    Like

  67. You have your kids in worship? Sunday school? Why? Means.

    I don’t get the distinction you are making regard sola scrptura in relation to ex opere operato.

    You have a very optimistic view of the power of parents vs. the school. My experience over 45 years leads me to question that.

    Like

  68. Bill, in sola scriptura, the Bible is the primary and infallible means to convey God’s truth (in people making, parents are the primary ordained means), while the confessions are important but fallible secondary means that assist the Bible (schools and other institutions and phenomenon to assist the home). Sola familia. Not solo, as in the Bible/family only to the exclusion of the confessions/school (or if you like ex opere operato, your analogy, where the sacraments do way more than their ordination allows). But your view of the power of secondary means like schools to people-make seems like what the RCC does with the magisterium, i.e. elevates it to an inappropriate level.

    Like

  69. I don’t see how the Bible as the primary and infallible means to convey God’s truth has anything to to do with the effects of the culture of the school. It is the cultural immersion that concerns me. And, I think the schools are a means of people formation not the means of grace. And I think you raise parents to the place of the magisterium, though, as is so often the case with the magisterium you are relatively indifferent to the effects of culture on people and church. Like the RCs you make a lot of concessions and accommodation to the culture. Finally, the church is strangely absent from your view of the formation of children. The church, not you has the means of grace for both you and your children. Parents cannot do spiritual formation of their children apart from the church. You have the Bible which you can read and you have prayers you can offer. But you cannot preach or administer the sacraments, and your children require both. The family is simply not THAT supreme or sola.

    Like

  70. @Jeff It does, though there are important caveats that are easy to gloss over. The twin and adoption studies on which he draws are about as good as we will ever get, but when looking at these adoption studies, there is a selection effect – to qualify for adoption, you have to be relatively mainstream and the homes are all middle-class, western homes. But generally, people aren’t arguing over the effect of dropping off of the grid to join a commune versus staying part of mainstream society – they are arguing about whether it is better for mom to stay home or work, send jr to a private school, public school, or home school, what enrichment activities to invest in, etc… Selfish reasons to have more kids and the Nurture assumption are both excellent summaries of the twin and adoption studies from what I can tell as an outsider.

    Like

  71. Bill, it’s just an analogy. I’m not saying the Bible actually has anything to to do with the effects of the culture or that schools are actually some sort of means of grace. I don’t think it landed so leave it aside.

    …the church is strangely absent from your view of the formation of children.

    That’s because we’re in the realm of creation here. People-making is a common and provisional endeavor, not a spiritual and eternal one. The cornerstone of society is the family, not the church. That the church has something to do with larger human society is a worldview premise.

    The church, not you has the means of grace for both you and your children. Parents cannot do spiritual formation of their children apart from the church.

    Correct. But now in the spiritual realm. You’re confusing the categories. I fear this is where you’ll play the rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrradical card again.

    Like

  72. Zrim,

    If the early church could send their kids to thoroughly pagan schools without a lot of complaining about the inculcation of paganism (paganism!), it’s a bit hard to do so over leftwing values.

    True enough. But the early and medieval Christians also developed a whole lot of bad theology based on Plato, so your analogy breaks down some.

    Like

  73. @ Robert:

    Very true. Here’s the thing: we agree heartily on Plato’s bad influence on medieval theology.

    And yet classical Christian schools are all in on the Trivium as a model — straight out of Plato.

    Crazy that the worldview crowd doesn’t draw a line there, no?

    Like

  74. Robert, Jeff beat me to it. But in addition, the CRC, as a counter example, which takes its Christian schooling very seriously has not emerged as a reliably confessional denomination. If worldview education is supposed to assist in helping preserve the faith then how to explain a stalwart Christian schooling denom losing its place in NAPARC? It would appear that worldviewry didn’t come through as advertised.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s