Opinion: The “Christian Agenda” Doesn't Belong in Public Schools

Walter Rhein

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It used to be that if a student was misbehaving in a classroom, the teacher could look to the parents for assistance. Those days are long gone.

Today, every parent seems to think that his or her child is always right and the teacher is always wrong. If a child comes home with a failing grade, the parent is likely to go in and scream at the teacher.

What happened to the days when parents urged their children to study hard and do their work? When did we become such an entitled society?

Unfortunately, there is a huge political divide in our country. Some people think they need to study hard, earn an education, and make a contribution to society. Other people think they don’t have to do anything other than sit around all day and pray.

The people who teach your children at public schools are highly educated people. It doesn’t make any sense for somebody who didn’t even earn a high school diploma to think they should be able to determine the curriculum for a whole school district.

Modern American society simply doesn’t have any respect for educated people. Many teachers feel uncomfortable teaching topics as basic as evolution because they know a vocal minority of the community will object.

Teachers have so many responsibilities that they don’t have the energy left over to fend off ridiculous attacks. These are people who have dedicated their lives to help prepare children to make a valuable contribution to society.

In a perfect world, the Christian community would be an ally to our teachers. Instead, they try to siphon money away from public schools that serve disadvantaged children with voucher programs that send money to private, religious institutions.

This behavior is the opposite of helping. Why does the Christian community stand for programs like these that take funding from the kids who need it most?

Teachers are good people in a tough situation. Many of them face unreasonable attacks for doing nothing more than teaching true American history. History teachers aren’t even allowed to admit that the Civil War was fought over slavery because violent parents are likely to come in and complain.

Faced with all this hostility, most teachers choose to back away from certain topics. But it’s unfair to our whole society that children don’t receive lessons on evolution. It’s unfair to our whole society that children aren’t taught the truth about history. It’s unfair that money is taken from needy districts and sent to rich private schools.

Teachers today are facing an uphill battle. They are underfunded and underappreciated. The result is that many school districts have a difficult time finding qualified people to fill empty positions.

The job of being a teacher is tough enough without having to deal with ungrateful parents.

I don’t want my tax dollars going to a school that considers it a history lesson to have kids use crayons to color in a picture of a caveman riding a dinosaur. That’s bad for our whole country.

What happens years later when those kids grow up to be businessmen and are competing for an international contract? When they admit that they believe the Earth is only five thousand years old, they disqualify themselves.

If American Christians respected the Constitution and the word of Jesus Christ, they’d be working to make our society more loving and tolerant. If they lived by their beliefs, they’d put an end to voucher programs that took money from disadvantaged areas. If they lived by their beliefs, they’d insist that religion belonged in the church and not at schools.

But they do the opposite, and it’s hurting our society.

As always, you’re going to see examples of hatred and denials in the comment section of this and other articles. The purpose of my work is to spread love and tolerance. We need to have more respect for our teachers. We need to have more respect for our Constitution. We need to have more respect for our children.

It’s a problem in our society when good teachers get so fed up with how they’re treated that they resign. It’s a problem when our children don’t have access to a good education because uneducated people determine the curriculum.

There is a rigorous process to becoming a teacher. The only people who should be determining the curriculum are the people who have gone through that process. If you haven’t gone through that process, you’re not qualified to offer an opinion.

It’s time that our country went back to embracing the idea of respect. Too often, the Christian community seems to perceive teachers as their adversaries. There’s no place for a combative attitude. Our religious community needs to learn how to support the good people out there who are working hard to make our society a better place.

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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI
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