INTENTIONAL FUTURE SHAPING

A Paper Presented to the
Thunder Bay Christian School Society
February 17,1995

(c) Copyright 1995 Rev. Bill Versteeg


Supporters and Friends of Christian Education:

Our God is a jealous God!

In fact, he is a terribly jealous God. We usually think of his jealousy in terms of the third commandment, he is jealous of our exclusive worship he will not tolerate the worship of  idols. As a spouse is rightly jealous of a partners affections, so God is jealous, protective of his relationship with us. So much so, that those who commit spiritual adultery will be judged to the third and fourth generation. But God's intense jealousy is depicted in even stronger ways when it comes to the well being of his children. Scriptures abound with the pictures of his passionate jealous concern for us. Listen:

"Whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye." (Zech 2:8)

This image is rich with jealousy. If there is anything that we protect with profound care, its the pupil or apple of our eye. A black fly zeroing in on the apple of the eye is quickly swatted away or even smashed by a hand a million times its weight and we think nothing of it. An intense light is quickly shadowed by a forearm our whole body is summoned to respond and protect the eye. Our reactions to protect are swift, not premeditated nor calculated. We hold exclusive rights to our eyes, we protect them with a profound, loving jealousy. God's love for his children is a zealous, jealous, passionately protective love!

Listen to another picture of God's jealous love for his children.

"Things that cause people to sin are bound to come,
but woe to that person through whom they come. It
would be better for him to be thrown into the sea
with a millstone tied around his neck than for him
to cause on of these little ones to sin."
Luke 17:1,2

God's chosen children are so valuable, so precious, so cared for that if anyone leads one of his children even astray that person would be better off thoroughly dead! Those who lead God's children astray beware! Our God is a jealous God. Jealous for us and our children!

Jealousy, in the sense in which scripture uses the term to describe God, is also a very human emotion. It presses on us intense concern, moves us to great efforts, at times, swells us with pride.

In my late teens, I spent a few years earning a degree in Electronics Engineering Technology. One course requirement was to design and build a "project." Mine was a "Self Balancing Differential Amplifier with High Common Mode Rejection." I won't explain what that was. But I will never forget my jealousy concerning the project. I spent weeks eating, drinking, sleeping, and dreaming the design of the project. Once it was designed, I built a prototype refining the project to achieve its maximum potential. When it came time to build the finished model, I insisted on doing every step, from making the printed circuit board to testing it. No one else could touch it without me guarding exactly what they were doing. When finally I had the opportunity to demonstrate its effectiveness to an instructor, he was impressed, and I beamed with pride! This was my baby! I was protectively jealous!

When it comes to us and our children, God is a very jealous God. He who formed our children in the womb is deeply concerned for their nurture, their development, how they are shaped and molded, their character, their value system, the important contributions they will make to society and culture, their Christlikeness; all this because he loves them. The shaping of our children and the shaping of their future lies at the heart of our faith.

But where does education fit into all this?

Here's my Thesis.

All Education is Intentional Future Shaping.

By this statement, I mean Education is an intentional enterprise in shaping our children their character, their knowledge and their skills. Education is also an intentional enterprise in shaping society and its future by means of our children. This evening, I will demonstrate these truths by looking at some of the History of Education; The Contemporary Public Education System; The Royal Commission on Learning, and finally, Christian Education.

Every year, when August comes around, I look at an imposing bill the financial cost of Christian Education. I always ask myself the question "Is it worth it?" Wouldn't it be much cheaper to send my children through the Public Education system? In the end, the answer is NO! Let's look at why.  My reasoning starts with history.

A:    A SMALL (but very important) SEGMENT OF EDUCATION HISTORY

The history of Education is as long as history itself. For our purposes especially if we are considering the public system of Education in Canada as an option, we want to limit our focus to its development.

Horace Mann (1796 1859), often called the "Father of American public Education"1 was the American Educator and Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education who developed the foundation of the concept of public education in the U.S. and Canada. His program was to create a "common school" that all children of the community could attend "to create in the entire youth of the nation common attitudes, loyalties and values, and to do so under the direction of the state." To a predominantly Christian nation his goals were honourable and his accomplishments profound.2 He saw education as a way of solving society's problems. He argued that, given the opportunity to shape the character of children, educators could cure problems like child labour, crime, the religious enthusiasm of rural Calvinists and the potential social disorder caused by immigrant Irish Catholics.3 His desire was to homogenize culture through education by shaping not only a common character, but a common or unified national identity through the youth.Though his programs had the best interests of the state in focus, they were nevertheless religiously motivated. Horace Mann, a Unitarian by faith, was committed to a liberal gospel in which Christ was a model for humanity rather than the Redeemer of humanity. For Mann, the standard for morality was defined by a common denominator rather than holiness. He religiously promoted his disemboweled faith5 through education reform. He regarded education as the savior of society.6 Mann's program of public education was in fact sectarian and anti Christian in its desired end.7 Horace Mann took the idea that education was the enterprise of shaping a common (Unitarian) character in children to solve the problems of society and to shape society's future and he made it the foundation of the public school movement. Though these were not new ideas, Mann's contribution was to make this the foundation of the state controlled public education system in North America.

Edgerton Ryerson, one of the most influential public school promoters in Canada, took many of Mann's basic perspectives and enacted them through the Common School Acts of the mid 18th Century.8 Through Ryerson, Mann's basic perspectives form the foundation of the Canadian public school system to this day. Mann's Unitarianism neglected the basic biblical teaching that our God is a Holy God, who not only jealously loves and protects his children, he also jealously calls them to be Holy, separate, distinct and uncommon.

B.   THE CONTEMPORARY PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM

The public education system that we have today is based on the foundations Horace Mann laid. It still is intent on solving societies ills and creating society's future by shaping the hearts and intellects of our children. But our society is suffering from a moral illness that arises in the heart and there is a growing awareness that our public school system no longer is able to our problems. Crisis phone lines receive 12,000 calls a day from children.9 Even though good education happens in the public system, even though they to have great teachers, abuse in its variety of forms, the violence, the crime, the sexual immorality that victimizes children are problems beyond the public school's ability to deal with. Our public school system is in trouble and we are starting to realize it.10 Our nation now spends 7.2% of our gross domestic product on education, the most of any industrialized nation in the world, but by many very measurable standards, all our efforts are not very successful.11 Yet for all the failures of our society, because we assume that the school ought to fix our failures, the contemporary public school tries harder and harder. After all, the school on behalf of the state is responsible for shaping the states children, and by them, fix the state. In evaluating the present public school system, the Ontario Royal Commission on Learning, in its report For the Love of Learning: A Short Version analyses our present societal failures like this.

"Many of the values that are supposed to hold society
together are no longer clear or universally supported.
At the same time, the institutions that are supposed to
inculcate these values above all religious groups and
the family are often devalued and sometimes appear to
have forfeited their responsibility."12

Nikiforuk in his book School's Out: The Catastrophe in Public Education and What We Can do About It highlights how the Canadian home has abandoned its children.

"In 1810, 87% of all fathers worked at or near the home
where they would be tutors and trainers. By the turn
of the last century, the fraction had declined to 42%,
as we approach the turn of another century, the
fraction stands at 3%. Obeying the dictates of
capitalist and socialist materialism, many fathers now
spend, by one estimate, an average of 17 seconds per
day in intimate conversation with their children."13

In light of the home's extensive abandonment of the nurture of children, present culture does not suggest we ought to turn our hearts toward home, rather, as the Royal Commission on learning suggests Schools should solve the problem. They write "If families are breaking up, or if both parents work, schools must fill the void. If we no longer know what values we share, schools should develop the moral character of our kids." 14

So today's public education system, with every foul cry of the media, resolves to improve its performance in its mammoth task, with reform, with increased programs and bureaucracy, (one half of every public education dollar is spent on administration15), and with new untried ideas. For every time it fails, the "system" has to build barriers to defend itself for the next fresh rally of criticism. It is no wonder that the education system has become as Evelyn Dodds called it "a huge self serving bureaucracy" who's intent is "shaping the psychological outlook of our children" much more than it is teaching them the basics of literature, science and math.16

Public Education today continues on an old philosophy Horace Mann's philosophy that by education, we can solve not only society's present problems, but also correct her future problems by shaping the hearts and minds of the children. A the root of this philosophy is the firm conviction that your children are not so much "your" children, they are much more children of the state.17

The question we have to ask ourselves is "What is the future that the public education system is trying to shape our children toward?""

Beside the intent to give our children basic literacies, I suggest to you three areas that lie at the heart of the outlook of public education in Canada.

1. Multiculturalism. Very clear on the Canadian educational agenda is the formation of children who fit well in the mosaic of a multicultural Canadian society. Immigration patterns have shifted away from European nations to Asia, Africa, India, South America and the Pacific Rim countries. The makeup of our nation is quickly changing. To shape our young citizens to fit well in this diverse cultural mosaic is certainly a noble aim. To accomplish this, many of today's schools include in their instruction anti racist themes, anger management and the latest approach, Zero tolerance toward violence. But these are skin deep programs. What are the schools doing to shape young characters that will fit well in a multicultural society?

2. Ethical Pluralism.  At the heart of the educational agenda is the awareness that the foundations of community are at risk  Culture and community are formed on the basis of commonality.  To the degree a group of people shares a common value system, outlook and world view, they form community. In a multi cultural mosaic, each part of the mosaic has its 
right to exist, its rights to a value system, its rights to a system of truth. So the Education system is training our children to adopt an ethical pluralism where each individual has his/her own equally valid system of ethics. The ethics of one should not be imposed on another, except, of course, those which are defined by the state. For years now, schools have been teaching "Values Clarification" techniques, in which each student learns to decide what is "right for him or herself." Thus the Ten Commandments are at best the "Ten Suggestions" each student must decide what's best for oneself and respect others who disagree. Studies have demonstrated that students who take "Values Clarification" programs more often then not make worse decisions that they can justify better!18 If the common value that our children are being shaped toward is ethical pluralism (moral relativism), children may get along, but they will never improve society.

3. Spiritual Eclecticism. The third most important direction the public education system is shaping our children is in the direction of Spiritual Eclecticism. Though there is a return of spiritual hunger in our nation, there is no longer any ideological system that can commonly be recognized as representing "The Truth." A recent survey found that 72% of all Canadians regard all religions equally valid. In a culture of the "ideological open season... Each person is shopping from widely varying truth systems (Reginald Bibby, Fragmented Gods) for ingredients from which to make his/her own customized religion/values system."19 Children are being taught a "pick and choose" approach to spirituality. By trying to shape the the character of our children to fit into a multi cultural society, educators have adopted a moral and religious relativism that nauseates thoughtful Christians and freely accepts, even teaches, New Age thought.20

Though the intent of the public education system in Canada is to solve some of society's ills and shape our children to shape the future, the net result of its efforts is to create a generation of children which, if it were not for the homes in which they were raised, are defenceless against the diseases and sins of our culture.21 The failure of the public school system lies at its foundation. Schools are attempting to solve society's problems, but schools themselves are part of the problem. Public schools try to shape the character of our children. But the responsibility for character shaping ought to be in the home where parents have not handed their children over to the government. The home make the child. By the time a child reaches school age, the foundations of character are laid. The public School tries to shape a future for society on a foundation-less morality and a generic "anything goes" religiosity, but no society has ever lasted without strongly held unambiguous ideals. The public school tries to shape our children to a common pattern, but in a multi cultural society, what is most "common" is the fact that many different cultural groups have profound and deeply held differences.

The public education system is in trouble because it has promised utopia but is failed miserably in its delivery. The Ontario government established a Royal Commission on Learning to study the problems, examine foundational questions and come up with recommendations for dealing with these problems.

C. THE ROYAL COMMISSION ON EDUCATION

One of the first admissions of the Royal Commission is this; "The expectations that we are placing on our schools seem to be without limit, and they simply can't be met."22 After hearing that admission, one hopes that the Royal Commission might suggest that there ought to be changes in expectations, that society should re evaluate its commitment to family and families ought to re evaluate their habits of raising children. But not so. Fundamentally, the Report still suggests that it is the public schools mandate to solve society's problems, shape the characters of our children in preparation for the future, and in effect, through them, shape our nation as it enters the 21st century. The main difference they just want to do it all better.

Before I dig into some critical detail, I would like to share some more general thoughts. First, the report is very clearly a political document, trying to please as many as possible. As a result, the report contains some clearly contradictory statements designed to appease the camps around the issues of education. Yet the report has some honourable recommendations.

Though this political document suggests in spots that the expectations on the school to deal with society's problems are too much to deal with yet they will try, after all, education is still society's saviour. If the solution must be education then the cure is more education get the children at three years of age, before our disinterested and dysfunctional families can do irreparable damage.23 The report sincerely believes that by education, poverty, abuse, the brokenness of the human condition can be rectified they believe that "Schools have the capacity... to overcome the handicaps of a child's background."24 Behind this altruistic motive, though, is a deeper agenda the agenda to CONTROL the shaping of our children. Dr. James Dobson in his book Children at Risk: The Battle for the Hearts and Minds of our Kids describes what he calls "the family agenda to the left", or the agenda of liberal educators who lead from a humanistic perspective.

"Convince the public that the training and
development of children are far too important to be
left to the whims and errors of parents. Only
child development authorities and professionals,
commissioned by the government, can do the job
properly. Mothers and fathers must yield control
to those who are better equipped for the task of
raising children."25

The authors of the report "are confident that, in general, no one knows better than teachers and educators in general how learning best happens"26 and so they conclude that "no one's better equipped to be in charge of schools than educators themselves the principals, vice principals, department heads and teachers."27 Yet the authors of the report admit, that even with all this knowledge and expertise, it is almost impossible to know what really works in the realm of learning.28 The real motive behind the public school system is control. Who has the control in shaping our children and the future through our children?29 The commission squarely sides with the government in its agenda to shape our children.  At the same time, the report is trying to get parents more involved in the education of their children but they define accurately what the nature of that involvement will be. Once again this is a political document with a variety of contradictions. On page 54 of the Report they say "It should hardly be necessary to say again
teachers must realize they are responsible for their performance to their students and to their
students parents"31  But elsewhere they say "It seems obvious to us that the public school
system is responsible to the PUBLIC (bolding mine), and owes it to the PUBLIC to demonstrate how well it's doing with our children."32 "Public" in this context does not mean only parents "public" means all of society, parents included in an advisory role only through school community councils! The "Educators" are still in control. The Commission, in recognizing the mammoth nature of its mandate, intends that teachers get on with the project of teaching while the school being a kind of "full service institution" enlists the help of all of society (religions, business, artists, unions, psychologists, social services and parents) in shaping the generic moral fibre of our children. A parents role in education is to contribute advice, resources and support for the state's project of shaping our children. "School community councils" are not called "school parent councils" because those giving advice in shaping our children include all segments of society.33 Parents "enhanced" rights in the school now will include the right to be welcomed, the right to contact and support from teachers, and the right to some form of communication with the school institution.34

According to the commission "Schools must be a part of a new, coordinated SOCIETAL (bolding mine) effort to raise our children with love, care, wisdom, responsibility and a sense of justice."35 Behind the Report, there is a NDP leftist agenda which absolutizes the state as society shaper and meaning giver. The first statement of the Order of Council which mandated the Commission to do its work states

"WHEREAS the Government of Ontario, in support of
its commitment to economic renewal and social
justice, has identified the need to set new
directions in education to ensure that Ontario
youth are well prepared for the challenges of the
21st Century..."36

Political experience has taught us that the NDP meaning of justice has little compassion for the unborn, and simply too much concern for the rights of marginalized individuals. The report boldly recommends a totally new distinct school system for Aboriginal peoples, controlled by aboriginals,38 the commission is not willing to deal with what ought to be the equal right of other cultural, lingual, or religious communities to have their own supported school systems to preserve their distinct identity.39

Since Horace Mann, in past and present public school systems, and now especially in the public school system of the country, the agenda is to build a nation by building a common value system.40

Dobson sees this as the fundamental agenda for public education.

"Children are the prize to the winners of the
second civil war. Those who control what young
people are taught and what they experience what
they see, hear, think and believe will determine
the future course of the nation. Given that
influence, predominant value systems of an entire
culture can be overhauled in one generation, or
certainly in two, by those with unlimited access to
children."41

D. CHRISTIAN EDUCATION

I am hoping by this point that it is immediately apparent why, when August roles around, and I look at my financial commitment to Christian Education, it doesn't take me long to decide to support Christian Education. But knowing that I am far from perfect in the art of communicating, let me list some of my religious and philosophical reasons for being a strong supporter of Christian Education.

1. Scripture tells us, not only that we are holy and very special in God's eyes, our children also are holy (I Corinthians 7:14). Because God is passionately concerned that his children grow in distinctive Christlikeness (Romans 8:28), Christian parents are to be passionately involved and jealously protective in the process of shaping their children (Deut 11:18 21).  The Christian faith convinces us that Education ought to be an extension of the character shaping project in process at home. That is why Christian education, like all other forms of education, is Intentional Future Shaping but the profound difference is this: here at a Christian school parents are in control! Parents form the board. Parents create the policies. Parents make sure the school aims to build on the Christian identity they have already formed in their children in the first three to five years of life. Christian Education does not seek to correct through education the effects of your "parochial narrow mindedness," rather, it affirms your Christian convictions and values and helps to prepare your children to live in a society that is a value cesspool and a religious supermarket where all the options seem such bargains compared to Christian discipleship! 42 The mandate of a Christian School is not only to teach well, but also to shape our children well. And we do that not only for the sake of our children, but also for the sake of society.

That's a second reason why I strongly support Christian education. Christian Education is an Intentional Future Shaping of Canadian Society. Scripture calls us "salt" and "light" (Matthew 5:13 16). As we mould our children by training them in solid biblical and ethical foundations, as we teach them to stand for the truth and responsibility rather than always focusing on rights, as we pass on a distinctly Christian paradigm or world view, we pass on to our culture the blessings of faith and the truths of the Word of God. In obedience to God we take control of the project of education for the well being of our country.

My third reason for supporting Christian education in many ways is simply practical. I love my children, I want the best for them. As they grow up, I know that there will be many influences that shape who they will become as people. Many of these influences may be joy filled or very painful, nationality, even attitudes and ideologies of a culture. We as parents often don't even recognize the great number of influences that are shaping the characters of our children. But Christian Education is one way that we can have some control over more of those influences. The following two diagrams, though simple (see Appendix I, II) are based on Urie Bronfenbrenner's perspective. They are intended to demonstrate how, with Christian Education, we can have far more control over the great variety of factors that shape our children.

Both diagrams will assume that the Christian home (not the state) stands as the guardian of the child. Parents are called to love, nurture, protect and train a child in the way of blessing. Parents are to give a child spiritual and ethical foundations for life, and as the child grows, they are to protect the child from influences that would in effect destroy those parts of the foundation that are vulnerable.

The first model is what happens when a child is sent to a public school. Even though the school may have great teachers and great programs, the spiritual and ethical direction of the school system will be the opposite of the Christian faith. For 15,000 hours or more of school life, the child will be exposed through education to an atmosphere that opposes your efforts as a family.  Add to that effect the media which according to some estimates influences the lives of our children more than any other force in society. Many children watch television in excess of 1000 hours per year from age 3 to age 18. That's more hours of TV than school, about 50 to 100 times more TV than church, and about 400 times more than the average father spends in meaningful conversation with his children. With very few exceptions, educators, including the Commission, believe that television is fundamentally destructive to the healthy development of your child.

Though you may have some control in protecting your children from the media, you certainly will not have control over the education they receive and the values that will surround your children through their school peer groups. Especially as a child enters teen age years, the draw of peers will become more and more powerful. Your children will dress for Peers. They will use the language of their Peers. The pressures to fit in will shape your child's decisions and actions, sometimes with very painful consequences. You can be certain that some non Christian teenage peers will model for your child a disrespect for authority and disregard for strongly held faith convictions. Even in ideal conditions, when a child is struggling to know their own identity, the battle for their heart can be enormous. When we are forced by lack of opportunity to place our children in the lion's den of public education, secular media and worldly peers, we rightly wonder how many of them will not be devoured! (I Peter 5:8)

Christian education is an opportunity to get some control over more factors that influence the shaping of our children. The Christian school compliments the spiritual and ethical direction of the family. Though children in a Christian school may have behavior problems, and they may struggle with equal or even greater intensity in their identity development, Christian peers can be a powerful positive influence in shaping your child. They together with the church in serving your family can be a powerful team in intentionally shaping your children for future service in the kingdom of God. There is still the media but families who make it their responsibility to protect their children choose very carefully the media content that enters their home.

When August comes around, I ask myself, and we all need to ask ourselves, "How jealous am I for my children?" How concerned am I, for God's sake, that they grow into Christian young people who know the difference between the truth and the lie, who have a foundation from which to live and make decisions to choose life? Am I so jealous that I am willing as a parent to pour my time, my effort, my money, my pride into their future, and so into the future of our country through them?

Then who will I trust to work with me on that project?

_______________________

Endnotes
 

1. William W. Brickman, Article in Encyclopedia Americana: Volume 18, p. 256.

2 Charles Leslie Glenn Jr., The Myth of the Common School, p. 4

3 Horace Mann "saw the rural Calvinists and the immigrant Catholics as a profound threat to the emerging nation's society." Glenn, p. 8 "Mann thus saw the function of the common school as prevention not only of the breakdown of morality but also of the excesses of religious enthusiasm." Glenn p. 163

4 "The common school was to be a society shaping institution forming the attitudes, loyalties and beliefs of the next generation and thus molding citizens to a common pattern." Glenn, p. 236. He regarded the common school as a powerful instrument for social unity. Glenn, p. 87

5 The common school is concerned with the muting of strongly held passions, the sentimentalizing of deeply felt convictions. "Its truth had to do more with the process of social accommodation that with the drama of a living religion." Glenn, p. 62. Horace Mann et al "believed that they were more religious than their orthodox opponents, in the sense that they saw all of reality permeated with a diffuse spirituality and sought through education, to develop the hearts of their students more than their minds." Glenn p. 60.

6 "In the strength of his conviction that the mission of the school was to make children better than their parents, and thus better than their parents could make them, Mann came as close as his Unitarian beliefs and his emphatic rejection of Calvinism would permit him to an assertion of something like "original sin." The human situation for him, was as hopeless as a Calvinist would have painted it: the significant difference was that, for Mann, the agent of redemption was the common school." Glenn, p. 83.

7 There were some who saw through Mann's agenda. They saw hat "what was present was in fact a false religion, worse than no mention of religion at all, since it took no account of sin as
a corruption of human nature cutting man off from God and from his own happiness, or of God's plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. By retaining only those aspects of Christianity with
which Unitarians agreed, the proposed religious teaching was in fact identical with Unitarian teaching. Thus it 9was9 sectarian in the fullest sense." p. 132 Glenn

8 The Canadian Encyclopedia, Volume 2. Article by Chad Gaffield. (Edmonton: Hurtig Publications) p. 671For a more thorough study of the role of Edgerton Ryerson, see The School Promoters: Education and Social Class in Mid Nineteenth Century Upper Canada by Alison Prentice. (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1988).

9 From an interview with Mrs. Janet Bax, Early Child Education Instructor at Confederation College in Thunder Bay. I very much appreciate Janet's support and willingness to provide
me with quick and crucial information in the writing of this paper.

10 "The crisis in confidence in public schools so evident today draws much of its irrational quality from the exaggerated hopes that we have cherished over the past century and a half. We have expected that our schools would banish crime and social divisions, that they would make our children better than we have been. Horace Mann and others promised us that, and we believed them. It is no wonder that suggestions that the common school be diversified, that the "public education monopoly" be broken up, that our society's secular church be disestablished arouse the deepest anxiety and confusion today." Glenn, p. 85.

11 Andrew Nikiforuk, in his book School's Out: The Catastrophe in Public Education and What We Can Do About It demonstrates the variety of ways that the public school system is failing to fulfill our basic expectations. (This statistic from page 54). Though in my judgment, some of his argumentation is one sided, he certainly highlights some of the major weaknesses of Education in Canada.

12 For the Love of Learning. Report of the Royal Commission on Learning: A Short Version. (Toronto: Publications Ontario, 1994), p. 8.

13 Nikiforuk, p. 10

14 Report p.8

15 Nikiforuk, p. 54.

16 Quoted from a Telephone conversation with Evelyn Dodds. January, 1995

18 Nikiforuk, p. 46 48

19 Wesley Peach, Reclaiming a Nation: The Challenge of Re evangelizing Canada by the Year 2000 (Richmond, B.C: Church Leadership Library, 1990), p. 169

20 Nikiforuk writes "Having rejected religious faith as backward and parochial, the progressives embraced a messy moral relativism. If it feels good, the reasoning went, do it, because change, no matter what the context, is learning... In his critique of the progressive mind, The True and Only Heaven, Lasch concluded that the progressives loudly rate tolerance as the supreme political virtue while quietly championing narcissism as the model of psychic health." p. 25.

21 Nikiforuk writes: "The result, as Frye observed a decade ago, is neither democratic, nor socially desirable. "The young student needs to be protected from society, protected by literature against the flood of imaginative trash that pours in to him from the mass media, protected by science against a fascination of gadgets and gimmicks, protected by social science against snobbery and complacency, the crisis of his education come when he is ready to attach himself to the standards represented by his education, detach himself from his society, and live in the latter as a responsible and critical citizen. If he fails to do this, he will remain a prisoner of his society, unable to break its chain of cliche' and prejudice, unable to see through its illusions and advertising and slanted news, unable to distinguish its temporary conventions from the laws of God and men, a spiritual totalitarian." p. 49

22 Report p. 4

23 The Report argues that starting education at an earlier age will decrease the impact of disastrous parenting. "They (the children) are raised in diverse family settings and nurtured by parents who, in most cases, are both bread winners. They come from families where education is important and from families with little interest in education, from families where language and its use is part of the air children breathe to families struggling to break the shackles of illiteracy. Its our strong conviction that it's neither just nor reasonable to leave these crucial early educational influences to chance. Yet another major phenomenon pushed us towards embracing early childhood education programs. If present trends continue, our children will in all to many cases bring to school with them the trauma of dysfunctional families wounded by poverty, unemployment and often addiction." "But if they have the will, they (the schools) have the capacity to minimize the consequences of poverty on learning and to decrease the other emotional baggage that burdens so many of today's children." Report p. 12

24 Report P. 54.The Commission recognizes that teachers can't bear the whole load, rather "the primary responsibilities of teachers are the academic and intellectual growth of their students, schools themselves must be able to deal constructively with the many difficult non academic needs and problems that our kids seem to be facing more and more. Report, p. 5

25 Dr. James Dobson and Gary L. Bauer, Children at Risk: the Battle for the hearts and Minds of Our Kids, (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1990), p. 59.

26 Report, p. 2

27 Report, p. 48

28 "How difficult it is to know what will work and what won't, and what an imposition it all is on the teacher who must begin introducing the latest board or Ministry brainchild, too often with inadequate preparation or resources, when the previous one hadn't even been fully absorbed, let alone evaluated." Report, p. 4  In the area of reforming education, which the Commission attempts to do, they admit "Frankly, its almost impossible to know what's worked and what hasn't." Report p. 6

29 Glenn, p. 238

30 Report, p. 46

31 Report p. 54

32 Report p. 35

33 Report p. 11.

34 Report p. 5

35 Report p. 49

36 Report p. vii

37 Report p. 5

38 "Aboriginal communities made clear to us the great store they place in education. They believe that unless they themselves govern the education of their children, they won't
have control over the preservation of their languages and cultures." Report, p. 42

39 "But the question we faced was whether every student has the right to attend a publicly funded school catering to his or her particular faith."

40 "After all, if the sole concern of the state were to assure that its citizens possessed a variety of communication and computation skills, it would have no quarrel with the church's pursuing on entirely different agenda. But when the state is concerned to win the hearts of its citizens and sees divisions of beliefs and values as profoundly threatening, there can be nothing but war between the state and any religious community that will not surrender the hearts of its children willingly." Glenn, p. 30

41 Dobson, p. 35

42 One of the most common arguments for the public school system has to do with the avoidance of conflicts over beliefs (strongly held convictions) and values (Glenn, p. 238), yet as Abraham Kuyper pointed out many years ago in the Netherlands, tolerance through the removal of doctrinal differences neither creates character nor builds a peaceful society. Rather, education ought to build respect for the convictions of others based on the solidity of one's own convictions. (Glenn. p. 247)

 


(NIV) Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

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