|NUMBER 289||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||FEBRUARY 2010|
The War on Children: How Pop Culture and Public Schools Put Our Kids at Risk, Karen L. Gushta, Ph.D., Coral Ridge Ministries 2009, 222 pages, $15.
Christian parents are generally aware of the torrent of crass language, promiscuous sexuality and secular humanism coming at their kids from the media and pop culture. But most are in the dark concerning the daily indoctrination occurring in their local schools, believing instead that "my kid's school is fine."
Drawing from 17 years of teaching and teacher training experience, Karen Gushta exposes the dangers of modern American public education to children's moral, intellectual and spiritual development. Her research is wide-ranging and well-documented, taking the reader on a tour from the earliest days of colonization, to 20th century court cases and social changes, to laws and programs passed under the Bush, Clinton and Obama administrations that now dictate the form and substance of K-12 curriculum.
As Gushta explains, the earliest American schools were formed to teach children to read the Bible and to learn about the Christian faith. In the 1840s, secularist and Unitarian Horace Mann set in motion a movement that would eventually remake America's schools into the compulsory, government-funded institutions we have today, which are designed to shape students into global citizens, "agents for social change," and secularists whose highest virtue is tolerance.
The book enables parents to understand and fight against the further damage that will be done if national standards, universal pre-school, United Nations prescriptives, and mandatory youth service are enacted. These are not idle worries, but the explicit goals of politicians and administrators currently in office.
Gushta hopes parents and churches will rise up and defend their children from the multi-front attacks on their hearts and minds, and join together to take on their covenant responsibility to shield kids from a "predatory culture." Adults also need to be actively modeling Christian discipleship, acting as kingdom citizens, and teaching kids to resist the alternative worldviews inherent in media and pop culture.
"This is not the time to despair," declares Gushta. "Neither is it the time to follow the Australian motto, "She'll be right," which is just a glib and unfounded confidence that things will somehow work out okay. If ever there were a time for concerted action and continued effort . . . now is that time."