Book of the Month
IndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity, Charles LaVerdiere, Editor, Master Books, 2012, $14.99, 343 pp.
Although organized education in America started as an endeavor of Christian entities, public schools have been secularized. Even the most basic rules for a civil society, as advocated by the Ten Commandments, have been tossed out of schools.
IndoctriNation contends that education is never neutral and that even secular humanism is a form of religion. The book declares, “The state school system has become resolutely hostile to Christianity and to this country’s founding principles.”
In essays on a variety of subjects, contributors to IndoctriNation suggest that sending children to public schools is a mistake. John Taylor Gatto asks: “Is there an idea more radical in the human race than turning your children over to total strangers whom you know nothing about, and having those strangers work on your child’s mind, out of your sight, for a period of twelve years?”
Public schools present a risk to the 90% of Christians who send their children to them. The attacks on Christian values in favor of a humanistic worldview in an environment that accepts moral relativism and situational ethics is a strain on faith. Stating that, “whoever is educating is discipling,” one essay reveals that 70-88% of children of evangelicals leave the church by the end of their freshman year of college, while 90-95% of homeschool students “remain in faith through college.”
Although mainly focused on Christianity, IndoctriNation offers many reasons to homeschool. Parents may consider schools’ poor academic performance, high dropout rates, low teacher morale, school violence, and the overuse of psychotropic drugs.
Public schools’ propensity to go along with educational fads is also addressed. The preference given “whole language” sight-reading over phonics is an example. IndoctriNation states that by the end of 4th-grade a student who learns the 44 basic sounds of phonics may know 24,000 words. Using whole language education “reform,” 4th-graders may know as few as 1,500 words. And, 75% of public schools teach whole language.
IndoctriNation questions the ability of politicians to correct public schools’ downward spiral. In 1980, the Republican platform stated the intent to eliminate the Department of Education. But during the Reagan years, funding for that bureaucracy “went from $14.8 billion a year in 1980 to $21.5 billion in 1989.”
A cleverly named section titled, “The Dog Ate My Homeschool Plans” discusses reasons (or excuses) parents use in order not to homeschool. This section describes the fundamentals of teaching children at home.