Public Schools Can’t Serve the Public

To be useful to the public, Christians must reject “public” education.

That’s the argument made recently by Stephen Richard Turley in the pages of The Imaginative Conservative.

As I’ve noted elsewhere, one of the fundamental questions of Christian-school advocates is whether or not to stay in public education.  Dr. Turley makes the case that real Christians must abandon so-called public education.  In doing so, Turley writes, Christians do not turn away from the public sphere, but rather embrace it.

Today’s public education, Turley argues, is by definition anti-public.  Today’s so-called public schools hope to squeeze religious life into the private margins.  By doing so, so-called public schools warp the public sphere, allowing only secular notions to flourish, Turley writes.

The only answer for Christians, Turley believes, is to remain dedicated to true public witness by embracing private schools.

Confused?  Read Turley’s entire essay.

As he concludes,

If Christians are to remain faithful to the biblical gospel, we must once again affirm the public witness of the church, particularly in the field of education. For such an affirmation not only awakens the soul to the True, the Good, and the Beautiful, but in embodying the Truth, it exposes the state-financed educational system which denies Truth as what it is: a lie. We cannot teach our students that Truth is relative and expect our politicians to be honest; we can’t claim that the Good has been replaced by situational ethics and expect Wall Street executives to ground their business decisions in anything other than profit, greed, and expediency; and we cannot relegate Beauty to personal preference and then feign shock when we encounter a urinal as part of an art exhibit.

Christians will never expose this lie as long as they support and fund it. Classical Christian education offers nothing less than a parallel public, a revelation of Truth that in its social splendor awakens wonder and awe in teacher and student alike, as together they fellowship in Him who is the divine renewal of all things.