I recently read the book, “Going Public, Your child can thrive in Public school” by David and Kelli Pritchard. It’s a brilliant title, don’t you think? The book has popped up a few times within my circle so I resolved to read it through. My goal in reading the book was to find a resource that would help parents with practical ideas to be intentional in their child’s education within the public school system. I was a teeny bit nervous that I would be compelled to change direction in our children’s education and when the girls saw the title of the book they were more than nervous of the implications of my reading material.
Do I recommend that you read the book?
That depends on what your looking for. If your children are going to public school, and you’re not considering private, Christian or homeschool education then you should read the book. The book is written in a tone that will encourage parents to be proactive in their child’s education, give ideas about communicating with the school, having discussions with your children and staying ahead of the curriculum. The Pritchard’s are sincere about parents taking ownership of their children(s) education regardless of where they’re being educated either public, Christian or home school. My heart soared with agreement when the authors wrote about parenting children in character, obedience, respect to authority, biblical truths, creation and sex education. As a note, they have excused their children from the sex education classes because they see sex education as the responsibility of parents and want to be the first to talk to them about sex from a biblical view point. (The book was written in 2008. Parental rights are being challenged in the courts today regarding parents excusing their child: here, and here are articles regarding my local school board) The authors also give examples of how they’re supplementing and compensating secular viewpoints, such as evolution. Excellent stuff there!
However, if you are in the process of deciding where your child will be educated than this book is not the book. I will say that they did their best at making an argument to “go public” but it lacks logic and the verses that are sprinkled throughout are taken out of context. ( I don’t know of a verse that encourages parents to have their children be educated from a secular view point….. It may be permissible to have children educated within the government system using it as a spring board for conversations, knowing where to compensate and supervise their education with in the system, but there’s no verse that will actually encourage or support that decision.) The tone of the book is pro-public school the authors communicated negatively regarding those who chose alternative education options. The following are a few of the arguments they discuss regarding having your child, “Going Public”. And this is where the book falls apart, in my opinion. If the authors had kept their script to “how to help your child thrive in public school”, the book would be a better resource. Instead, it seems that that one of the goals of this book is to convince the reader that placing your kids in the public school is a God honoring decision. Here are a few of the authors arguments as to why your children should “go public”.
Government schools have been around a long time.
Test scores need a context (i.e. some kids didn’t eat breakfast, don’t have home support, and by the way the U.S was not the only country which lagged behind Japan in math – other countries did too).
Admittedly some public school teachers have done sickening things but what about so and so which involved a Christian school teacher? They do bad stuff too.
Public schools have some good hard working people….
Like it or not, 9 out of 10 kids today go to public school.
Staying in the public system builds community which strengthens our communities [the authors states that it’s a better approach than moving your child to a better school: “those who follow the path (of leaving the public school) can unwittingly end up hurting their own property values if the local school district keeps falling down and gets a bad reputation.” – I laughed with horror when I read this. I mean, really?]
Nobody’s perfect. Jesus was obedient to imperfect parents, Mary and Joseph. Mary and Joseph showed their imperfectness when they lost Jesus in Jerusalem after the Passover and found Jesus after three day’s of searching. The authors write.
” The Son of God voluntarily placed Himself under the authority of a less-than competent mom and dad. He knew this was His appointed station in life for the time being, and He would submit to it. The application to school life is obvious. We have been assigned to live compliantly with less-than-perfect school authorities. We are not subversives or undermines; we have been called to show a Christlike attitude by humbly and willingly submitting to their authority.”
This rhetoric is confusing. It’s a legal right for parents to choose alternative education for their children. The authors seem to be implying that those parents who choose alternative public education are unwilling to be under Christs authority by choosing to not go public. Our first and final authority is God himself, not the school system which is under the direction of the government.
To close this post I recommend that you read this book if your children are in the public school. You may find inspiration to parent intentionally, take ownership of your child’s education and be encouraged. The book may become a conversation starter with other parents regarding their family rules, attitudes and conversations they are have with their children and resources they have used. I appreciate the authors convictions to help parents raise Christian children I share the same conviction and passion. However, I wish they didn’t add their apologetic regarding why you should placing your child in the public school because it lacks logic.
By the way, we’re staying the course with the girls education.