Thursday, August 14, 2008

Defending Public Schools

I went to public schools in big inner city for 8 years and spent 4 years at a major Catholic H.S. I am now a public school teacher. Within the last 2 years I feel like I am having to defend the fact that my kids go to public schools and often times have to defend the overall status of my job setting. A few years ago a real good friend made a comment while he was showing me his new home and where his wife was going to home school their kids, "There's no way I'm letting my kids go to a public school." His dad's career was as a teacher, coach and administrator AND he's telling this to a public school teacher. I was insulted and we talked about it.

Over the course of the last year or so I feel like I'm "on guard" again at my current church. There seems to be a heavy anti-public school bias and it has really made me extremely sensitive when blanket statements like, "what they teach at public schools" or "the unchurched who are in charge" and so on. I've been on the defensive enough to research on Google things like public school bashing, Christians and public schools and other words that might pull up articles I could read.

It seems like 3-4 years ago there was a call for all Christians to pull their kids from public schools. My wife said she found that this was in California. Let's abandon the mission field!

My feelings: The public school system is a huge mission field for me and my kids. My 7 year old has already expressed feelings about other kids and whether they go to church or not. I feel like many Christians have separated themselves from "the world"so much that they don't really know any non-Christians. Also, the system may be flawed, but I'm part of it so when you bash it, knowingly or not, I'm offended. I may be the closest thing to a Christ like example for many of these kids who come from broken homes or dysfunctional families. A high percentage of the people I have enjoyed bible study with over the past 10 years are involved in public education. The family that had the most impact on me as a Christian had both parents who worked for public schools.

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