Homeschooling and the SBC

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Homeschooling and the SBC

Postby William Thornton » Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:38 am

The SBC Annual meeting topic morphed into a discussion of schools and homeschooling. I started a new topic and copied the last two posts here:

Ed: Note the Shortt & Pickney resolution of 2004 SB Convention mentioned above Failed. So it seems the bulk of the messengers at that Convention where not overly impressed with Pickney and Shortt's arguments any more than I was when sandy re-posted them in this forum. And this was 12 years after the take over crowed within the SBC has declared victory.

Sandy why in the world did you include those two in your list of authorities on this subject?

________________________

Sandy: Pinckney and Shortt's resolution was presented in 2004. Southern Baptists were latecomers to the Christian school movement, and in 2004, about 3% of the churches in the convention had the day schools that would have been the recipients of students leaving the public system. Today, about 15% of SBC churches have days schools, there is an organization, the Southern Baptist Association of Christian Schools, and there is a growing trend among Southern Baptists to home educate or to place their children in a Christian school.

You can say what you want about the individuals, just see if you can challenge their assertions with facts. Well done research is still accurate, regardless of the personality or the politics of the person who does it.
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Re: Homeschooling and the SBC

Postby William Thornton » Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:47 am

For my underinformed mod/lib friends, here is a link and exerpt from a secular source on homeschooling:
Homeschool growing ever faster

Three decades ago home schooling was illegal in 30 states. It was considered a fringe phenomenon, pursued by cranks, and parents who tried it were often persecuted and sometimes jailed. Today it is legal everywhere, and is probably the fastest-growing form of education in America. According to a new book, “Home Schooling in America”, by Joseph Murphy, a professor at Vanderbilt University, in 1975 10,000-15,000 children were taught at home. Today around 2m are—about the same number as attend charter schools.

Although home schooling started on the counter-cultural left, the conservative right has done most to promote it, abandoning public schools for being too secular and providing no moral framework. Today the ranks of home-schoolers are overwhelmingly Christian, and 78% of parents attend church frequently. According to the National Household Education Survey in 2007, the main motivation for home schooling was for religious or moral instruction (36%), followed by school environment (21%) and the quality of instruction available (17%). After this comes concerns about special education, the distance of travel and even nut allergies


The day of weirdo Christian homeschooling families and church basement seg academies is long in the past. The SBC has some very strong proponents of homeschooling but, since a large number of pastor's wives are public school teachers and since most every pastor has some church members who are employed by the local school system (the largest employer in my county) whatever ire we may feel towards gummit schools, we tend to like our local school because we know the people involved.

It is time for mod/libs to get up to speed on this.

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Re: Homeschooling and the SBC

Postby Dave Roberts » Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:52 am

William, I want to pick up a quote I put in the other thread:

There are certainly situations where the public schools are failing and parents have to supplement what is offered in order for their children to get a well-rounded and adequate education. The problems I see in education are not the exaggerated influences of teachers' unions and bureaucratic efforts that drain away the chances for children to get an education. I see massive inequalities where rich school districts in a state have double the "per-pupil expenditure" that poorer systems have. I also see minorities being abandoned to the public schools while those who can afford to send their children to private schools often do so. My sense of Christian duty is not to some "one size fits all" system that poorly serves or regiments education for all children. It is certainly not to all the varied philosophies that underlie the approaches to education. It is rather my concern to fulfill the teachings of Jesus "Inasmuch as you have done it for the least of these, you did it to me." I see Christ in the underprivileged children abandoned in public education while Christians can rush to private and home-schooling experiences all the while bellyaching about being taxed to support schools their kids don't attend and complaining that they can't get money from the government for their school choices.

Efforts to make teachers accountable through state testing and "No Child Left Behind" have destroyed creativity, individually tailored learning, and the freedom to experiment and improve on education. In the name of that mandate, we have schools simply teaching the state tests and little else. The constant attacks on teaching as a profession have caused many of the best teachers to change careers or take early retirement. My area is filled with young teachers who are getting forgiveness for some of their educational loans by teaching five years in an under-resourced school system.
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Re: Homeschooling and the SBC

Postby William Thornton » Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:36 am

Dave, watching the dollars is not a good measure. Here in GA one of the worst school districts gets about double the per pupil expenditure as does one of the best. We could have dueling graphs over all this but there are many factors that contribute to a good or to a poor system - unions, bad management, the educracy, poor teachers.

You are aware, I take it, that additional educational degrees are mainly a tool for pay raises rather than better teaching or pupil performance.

On homeschooling and church schools, my view is that, absent appallingly bad outcomes, parents should have choice and not be criticized for choosing either for their own kids. The gummit may say to a family, "We will provide your kids with an education. Here's your school. Take it or leave it." but I am grateful that a family can say, "Thanks. We will leave it."

There are some militant voices on HS. Mine is not one. Let each family make their choice.
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Re: Homeschooling and the SBC

Postby Dave Roberts » Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:09 am

William, I must live in a different world from some of you. First, there are no teachers unions in VA that function in collective bargaining for teachers. State law does not allow it.

Second, I see much of the home school and private education movement in my area as an effort to leave the public schools solely to African-Americans who can be disposable in the eyes of many. For example, the local high school is now 90% African-American. It has become the dumping ground for children not expected to make it.

Third, in much of my area, experienced teachers cannot get jobs. Schools cannot afford them. Instead, new teachers are hired annually straight from college because they are cheaper. Some prove to be excellent teachers, but as soon as they get released from their student debt for teaching five years in a "under-resourced school system," many of them move to more lucrative systems where teacher pay is twice what it is in my area.

Fourth, I have no objection to either home schooling or private schooling, as long as it meets or exceeds the standards for public education. William, what I object to is when the government wants to take from my pocket and hand a voucher to a family who are making a choice not to involve themselves in public education. Catholics have long maintained their own schools without public funds. Indeed, Baptists and most Protestants have stringently objected to any public support for their schools. Why should Baptists now expect the government to hand us vouchers for private education?
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Re: Homeschooling and the SBC

Postby Sandy » Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:55 am

Dave, you are in the ballpark when it comes to the things that are troubling in the public school system.
Dave Roberts wrote:The problems I see in education are not the exaggerated influences of teachers' unions and bureaucratic efforts that drain away the chances for children to get an education. I see massive inequalities where rich school districts in a state have double the "per-pupil expenditure" that poorer systems have. I also see minorities being abandoned to the public schools while those who can afford to send their children to private schools often do so. My sense of Christian duty is not to some "one size fits all" system that poorly serves or regiments education for all children. It is certainly not to all the varied philosophies that underlie the approaches to education. It is rather my concern to fulfill the teachings of Jesus "Inasmuch as you have done it for the least of these, you did it to me." I see Christ in the underprivileged children abandoned in public education while Christians can rush to private and home-schooling experiences all the while bellyaching about being taxed to support schools their kids don't attend and complaining that they can't get money from the government for their school choices.


The first half of this paragraph is one I would agree with almost completely. In fact, in many places, teacher's unions are the only effective bulwark against political meddling with the public schools. And when you cite "No Child Left Behind," which may I point out was a program instituted by a Republican President, you are referencing a federal program that has set in place a series of actions which are making an end run around local school board control of curriculum and staffing of schools.

A school is supposed to be a place where students are taught basic skills, critical thinking, and where they "learn how to learn." In this country, education began in the church, and if you wanted to learn to read, write, and do arithmetic, the church schools were where you went. You can't learn the answer to the question "What is truth?" without learning what is the source of truth. The battle over how to answer that question was already going on pretty full steam in Europe while America was being colonized, but it was the advantage that the churches got here by being the first providers of education that gave Christianity a slight edge over the enlightenment in the founding of the nation.

The public school system is a government-supported monopoly. Those who envisioned the system, and its establishment, were not from among those who held a Christian perspective. The idea of "religious neutrality" does not work in education, because there is not a "neutral" position when it comes to the acknowledgment of a creator God who is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, and who is the source of truth. Education that acknowledges this goes in a clear direction. Education that doesn't goes in a completely different direction.

I don't see how Christian families forcing their children to attend poor performing, unsafe schools makes any difference in the quality of education the low income families receive. Education is a parent responsibility and they are accountable to God, if they believe in him, for providing it. It would be irresponsible for a parent to send their child to a school where they will not receive a quality education, and where their faith will be challenged in the classroom. Those minority and low income parents should also be able to have a choice to put their children in a school that will provide them with a quality education and a safe environment.

Here's an example. The DC Opportunity Scholarship Program, which allows students in the District of Columbia to take a voucher and attend a private, parochial or charter school of their choice, involves mostly minority students from households below the poverty level. It costs the taxpayers about $20,000 a year to provide for a student in the failing, broken down, low performing, unsafe DC public schools. The average voucher provided is slightly less than $15,000, because the schools can't receive more than their highest level of tuition. So at a savings of about $5,000 per year per student, those involved in the program have a graduation rate that is more than twice as high as those in the public system, and their test scores, including college entrance exams, also show substantial improvement. About half the students opt for a private, parochial school, and those students see achievement that is even higher than the overall average. For the most part, the private schools have done a great job of welcoming, and assimilating, the students in the program. The competition has also stirred the administration of the public school system. Poverty and minority status are no longer excuses for poor performance. These students have shown that it can be done. The public school administration knows it must provide quality to compete.

There have been some issues, of course, as there will be with any such program, but monitoring and enforcement are the key to resolving those isssues. Schools that receive funds must be accredited. Accreditation is done by private agencies so it is objective. If students across the country had access to choice in their education, you'd see the same results.
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Re: Homeschooling and the SBC

Postby Sandy » Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:00 am

Dave Roberts wrote:Fourth, I have no objection to either home schooling or private schooling, as long as it meets or exceeds the standards for public education. William, what I object to is when the government wants to take from my pocket and hand a voucher to a family who are making a choice not to involve themselves in public education. Catholics have long maintained their own schools without public funds. Indeed, Baptists and most Protestants have stringently objected to any public support for their schools. Why should Baptists now expect the government to hand us vouchers for private education?"God will never be less than He is and does not need to be more" (John Koessler)


Well, those Baptists paid the taxes which will support those vouchers. Why should they pay for a public education system that they don't want to use, and which doesn't provide the quality of education that a private, Christian school can do?

And no, the Catholics have not long maintained their schools without public funds. The Catholic schools in this country receive billions in public money, in the form of grants for special programs, transportation, and in some cases, equipment, supplies and textbooks. That's one of the reasons why the bishops were up in arms about the mandate for them to pay for employees who want insurance that provides birth control. Most Catholic schools are hooked up with Title I and receive federal funds through it, and as a Title I school, they must comply with equal opportunity in employment, can't restrict jobs to just Catholics, and can't require non-Catholic students to participate in school religious activities.
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Re: Homeschooling and the SBC

Postby Dave Roberts » Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:45 am

Sandy wrote:
Dave Roberts wrote:Fourth, I have no objection to either home schooling or private schooling, as long as it meets or exceeds the standards for public education. William, what I object to is when the government wants to take from my pocket and hand a voucher to a family who are making a choice not to involve themselves in public education. Catholics have long maintained their own schools without public funds. Indeed, Baptists and most Protestants have stringently objected to any public support for their schools. Why should Baptists now expect the government to hand us vouchers for private education?"God will never be less than He is and does not need to be more" (John Koessler)


Well, those Baptists paid the taxes which will support those vouchers. Why should they pay for a public education system that they don't want to use, and which doesn't provide the quality of education that a private, Christian school can do?


By your logic, Sandy, then only those people who have students in the public schools should be taxed to support them. Now, far more money comes from singles and empty nesters than comes from families with students in public schools. Are you saying such taxation should be optional or that one should be allowed to opt out if they receive private or home schooling.
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Re: Homeschooling and the SBC

Postby Timothy Bonney » Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:36 pm

Sandy wrote:A school is supposed to be a place where students are taught basic skills, critical thinking, and where they "learn how to learn." In this country, education began in the church, and if you wanted to learn to read, write, and do arithmetic, the church schools were where you went. You can't learn the answer to the question "What is truth?" without learning what is the source of truth.


So you can't learn to do math, read a book, diagram a sentence in English, make something in a test tube, learn to play an instrument, play on a sports team (gee what else did we do in school?) without a specific view of the Creator? Are high level theology and philosophy classes now being taught in High School that I never say???

That leads me to ask what on earth is in the curriculum of a private Christian school? I just don't see how the above statement jives with what a person needs to learn in elementary and secondary school.

Isn't the Church and the home the place that religious instruction is supposed to happen? Why do we have to have our kids learn to add and subtract in the same place they learn about Jesus? You've sure lost me with the above paragraph Sandy.
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Re: Homeschooling and the SBC

Postby Sandy » Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:11 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:
Sandy wrote:A school is supposed to be a place where students are taught basic skills, critical thinking, and where they "learn how to learn." In this country, education began in the church, and if you wanted to learn to read, write, and do arithmetic, the church schools were where you went. You can't learn the answer to the question "What is truth?" without learning what is the source of truth.


So you can't learn to do math, read a book, diagram a sentence in English, make something in a test tube, learn to play an instrument, play on a sports team (gee what else did we do in school?) without a specific view of the Creator? Are high level theology and philosophy classes now being taught in High School that I never say???

That leads me to ask what on earth is in the curriculum of a private Christian school? I just don't see how the above statement jives with what a person needs to learn in elementary and secondary school.

Isn't the Church and the home the place that religious instruction is supposed to happen? Why do we have to have our kids learn to add and subtract in the same place they learn about Jesus? You've sure lost me with the above paragraph Sandy.


Where does the Bible state that Christian instruction is limited to the home and the church?

If only the public school system would limit what it does to teaching math, English, simple science, playing an instrument and playing on a sports team, and stay out of philosophy and theology, then it would be easy to separate the two things. But they don't do that. They operate on a very secular, humanist philosophy that runs counter to the teaching of the Christian faith. And what they teach undermines the values, principles and theology that parents teach their kids at home, and that the church tries to teach in the few hours a week it has with those who attend. I know you don't think so, but teaching kids that there is no divine, creator God, and that the world simply evolved from natural processes, and that humanity is the measure of its own self is anti-Christian. So is teaching that gender doesn't matter, and that homosexuality is natural and normal. So is teaching that morality is a matter of your own choosing, and that right and wrong are abstract concepts. In Christian school, we spend a lot more time on the math, English, writing, and the history, than the public schools do and the academic measurements show that. We support and undergird the values and morals parents teach at home, and we don't contradict the theology that is taught and preached at church. That's a huge difference.
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Re: Homeschooling and the SBC

Postby Dave Roberts » Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:39 pm

Sandy wrote:
We support and undergird the values and morals parents teach at home, and we don't contradict the theology that is taught and preached at church. That's a huge difference.


Sandy, if you teach theology, philosophy, and ethics and don't force dealing with the hard questions that get people beyond "Sunday School thinking," you haven't taught much of either. Do you never challenge the Prosperity Gospel, Consumerism, the Health and Wealth Gospel, and the religious self-centeredness I hear from many churches? If you don't then the model is certainly not In that of Jesus who challenged most of the sacred cows of his generation.
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Re: Homeschooling and the SBC

Postby Timothy Bonney » Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:37 pm

Sandy we have a fundamental disagreement about education in the US. I am a strong believer in the value of publicly provided education for all the citizens of the United States. I believe that the strength of our nation in the past was found in the fact that we educate everyone in our society no matter what the social and economic station. We are not doing nearly as well with this as we used to in part because support for public education and the purpose behind it has been forgotten or ignored by many.

I also agree that public schools have problems that are not just financial but also systematic needing long term work.

The idea of replacing public education for private education, for those who can afford it, it certainly an option. But that still does not remove our responsibility to provide public action for every US citizen.

It is my opinion that education of our children divided up by faith group rather than as an activity of the whole society can contribute to our national divisions and our lack of understanding of each other's views and perspectives.

When Christians only hang with other Christians, only go to school with other Christians (even other Christians of their same tribe) then what we end up with is little social enclaves of people who don't understand what others believe, how they think, or how they live because they've isolated themselves from the rest of society. In most cases, at the elementary and secondary level, I don't think it is particularly healthy.

The homeschooling I've seen is a really mixed bag. I've seen some very educated parents teaching their children and some real yahoos who couldn't get out of high school themselves. I've seen persons homeschool entirely to prevent their children from being exposed to viewpoints they don't disagree with naively believing that their kids as adults will be better prepared without that exposure.

As you can tell, I'm not fan of sectarian education and I'm a supporter of public education. And yes, as has been noticed by William, a lot of us pastors have spouses that are teachers. Many members of my church are school teachers. With all the Christians teaching in public schools around us your attack on them as "anti-Christian" doesn't just ring as untrue. It rings as completely biased and out of touch.
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Re: Homeschooling and the SBC

Postby Sandy » Tue Jun 18, 2013 5:48 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:
Sandy wrote:
We support and undergird the values and morals parents teach at home, and we don't contradict the theology that is taught and preached at church. That's a huge difference.


Sandy, if you teach theology, philosophy, and ethics and don't force dealing with the hard questions that get people beyond "Sunday School thinking," you haven't taught much of either. Do you never challenge the Prosperity Gospel, Consumerism, the Health and Wealth Gospel, and the religious self-centeredness I hear from many churches? If you don't then the model is certainly not In that of Jesus who challenged most of the sacred cows of his generation.


We do indeed, Dave. When I reference theology preached at church, it is in general, the gospel of Jesus Christ. Of course, our students come from different backgrounds and have different nuances of doctrine, which we also discuss. We have a good grasp of what kind of philosophy and content they will face in college, and we want them to be prepared for that as well.
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Re: Homeschooling and the SBC

Postby Dave Roberts » Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:39 pm

Out of curiosity, Sandy, what is the cost for a secondary student in your system?
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Re: Homeschooling and the SBC

Postby ET » Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:35 pm

One solution working in Africa: private, for-profit schools. A book on the issue:

The Beautiful Tree: A Personal Journey Into How the World's Poorest People Are Educating Themselves, James Tooley.
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Re: Homeschooling and the SBC

Postby Sandy » Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:41 am

Dave Roberts wrote:Out of curiosity, Sandy, what is the cost for a secondary student in your system?


Tuition and fees come to $6,200. The actual cost is about $7,800. So under a "voucher" system, the state would save $4,200 per student by placing them in our school.
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Re: Homeschooling and the SBC

Postby Sandy » Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:14 am

Timothy Bonney wrote:Sandy we have a fundamental disagreement about education in the US. I am a strong believer in the value of publicly provided education for all the citizens of the United States. I believe that the strength of our nation in the past was found in the fact that we educate everyone in our society no matter what the social and economic station. We are not doing nearly as well with this as we used to in part because support for public education and the purpose behind it has been forgotten or ignored by many.


The compulsory public education system we have in this country did not really come into full existence until the end of the 19th century. Prior to that, there were publicly funded schools and church supported schools, usually free to attend since the cost was carried either from public money or from the churches. Most of the teachers were drawn from individuals in the community who were educated, mainly ministers, and even many of the "public" schools assembled classes in church buildings. The early foundational development of public schools was modeled after the system that Horace Mann put in place in Massachussetts in the mid 19th century. Mann borrowed the idea of a standardized, grade level curriculum from the Prussian system, along with the heavy secular humanist influence of the enlightenment. The transformation from a more classical model of education to a utilitarian approach, was the result of the work of John Dewey. Dewey believed that education was the vehicle by which progressive social change could be interjected into American society, and his plan was to mandate a standard teacher certification program in the colleges and universities, which would train teachers in utilitarian methodology and at the same time promote humanist philosophy.

One of the standard differences between education in a Christian school like ours and a public school is the interjection of elements of the classical model into the curriculum. In order to make sure our students are prepared for college, we do take a utilitarian approach to curriculum, course requirements and objectives in the curriculum, but we include a lot of the classical approach. The difference is that our graduates almost universally tell us that they are far better prepared in the areas of research, reading, writing skills, and speech than most of their college peers. And even though it does not promote "religion," by definition, the public school system has always operated under a philosophy that neither originated in Christian roots, nor has it been compatible with Christian faith. In some parts of the country, where Protestants were numerous and influential, the schools reflected that influence, but there are many places where that was never the case.

I don't equate compulsory, publicly funded education with the need for a publicly supported education system. I think it is important that all levels of government have assumed the responsibility for financing education, but this isn't a business. The separation of church and state issue didn't prevent the government from coming up with a college grant program, and awarding the grants to individual students, including those who attend Bible colleges to become ministers. Why can it not take the entire pool of funds it has available for education, divide it up equally among the students during the 13 years they are in the preparatory education system, and allow them to choose which school they will attend, based on its quality and what it has to offer? Accreditation is handled by private agencies, not government supported, so that could easily be the required standard for receiving the students and the money. They assure the quality of service and the curriculum, and there's no church-state conflict involved. I think that kind of a system would cause an instantaneous improvement of the school system.
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Re: Homeschooling and the SBC

Postby Timothy Bonney » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:44 am

Sandy wrote: And even though it does not promote "religion," by definition, the public school system has always operated under a philosophy that neither originated in Christian roots, nor has it been compatible with Christian faith.


Sandy the above bothers me and I think I just figured out why it bothers me. It may very well be that public school education is incompatible with your particular brand of Christianity and you are a forceful speaker for your branch of the faith, conservative evangelicalism (for want of a better term.) But you view does not represent the whole of the Christian faith. So it continues to bother me that you continue to state that public school education is incompatible with Christian faith when, at most, it is incompatible wit your type or branch of Christianity. That isn't the same thing and I find it disturbing when anyone attempts to speak for all of Christianity. If you had said it was incompatible with XYZ church or XYZ denomination I could accept that it is true or at least that you as a member of XYZ believe that.

[As an aside a while back Ed concluded that whenever I say "progressive" he assumes I mean "liberal" because progressive is often used as a euphemism for "liberal." It appears to me that a similar thing has happened with the word "evangelical." Folks that once would have proudly declared themselves "fundamentalists" now want to use the term "evangelical." But evangelical can be as problematic a word as "progressive" because its original denominational usage was more connected with churches which came originally from a german speaking origin. Thus we have "Evangelical United Brethren" who merged with the Methodist Church to form the UMC. We have the "Evangelical Lutheran Church" which also comes from mergers some of which were German speaking in origin. Up here in the north we have the "Evangelical Free Church" some of which fit into the newer understanding of "evangelical" and some of which don't seem to. ]
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Re: Homeschooling and the SBC

Postby Dave Roberts » Wed Jun 19, 2013 11:13 am

Sandy wrote:
Dave Roberts wrote:Out of curiosity, Sandy, what is the cost for a secondary student in your system?


Tuition and fees come to $6,200. The actual cost is about $7,800. So under a "voucher" system, the state would save $4,200 per student by placing them in our school.


That would not be a savings here. The school system where I am spends only just over $5,000 per student. When you consider the number of special needs students and those receiving expensive remedial programs, and when you deduct the costs of transportation, there is less than $4,000 spent per pupil. Both the city and county who support the local system reduced their contributions this year crimping special programs and eliminating several athletic programs at the only junior high in the system. $7,800 is almost double the per-pupil expenditure here.
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Re: Homeschooling and the SBC

Postby Sandy » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:22 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:
Sandy wrote: And even though it does not promote "religion," by definition, the public school system has always operated under a philosophy that neither originated in Christian roots, nor has it been compatible with Christian faith.


Sandy the above bothers me and I think I just figured out why it bothers me. It may very well be that public school education is incompatible with your particular brand of Christianity and you are a forceful speaker for your branch of the faith, conservative evangelicalism (for want of a better term.) But you view does not represent the whole of the Christian faith. So it continues to bother me that you continue to state that public school education is incompatible with Christian faith when, at most, it is incompatible wit your type or branch of Christianity. That isn't the same thing and I find it disturbing when anyone attempts to speak for all of Christianity. If you had said it was incompatible with XYZ church or XYZ denomination I could accept that it is true or at least that you as a member of XYZ believe that.

[As an aside a while back Ed concluded that whenever I say "progressive" he assumes I mean "liberal" because progressive is often used as a euphemism for "liberal." It appears to me that a similar thing has happened with the word "evangelical." Folks that once would have proudly declared themselves "fundamentalists" now want to use the term "evangelical." But evangelical can be as problematic a word as "progressive" because its original denominational usage was more connected with churches which came originally from a german speaking origin. Thus we have "Evangelical United Brethren" who merged with the Methodist Church to form the UMC. We have the "Evangelical Lutheran Church" which also comes from mergers some of which were German speaking in origin. Up here in the north we have the "Evangelical Free Church" some of which fit into the newer understanding of "evangelical" and some of which don't seem to. ]


In what branch of Christianity is secular humanism, the idea that man is the measure of all things (the Greek philosophy that, along with Gnosticism, Paul fought against) and the abandonment of any kind of ex nihilo creation by God scenario compatible? That's the basic difference in philosophy. Everything else stems from that. The public education system doesn't acknowledge the existence of an all-powerful God, and as a result, its entire philosophy of education is affected. What branch of the Christian church doesn't accept the existence of an all powerful God?
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Re: Homeschooling and the SBC

Postby Sandy » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:33 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:
Sandy wrote:
Dave Roberts wrote:Out of curiosity, Sandy, what is the cost for a secondary student in your system?


Tuition and fees come to $6,200. The actual cost is about $7,800. So under a "voucher" system, the state would save $4,200 per student by placing them in our school.


That would not be a savings here. The school system where I am spends only just over $5,000 per student. When you consider the number of special needs students and those receiving expensive remedial programs, and when you deduct the costs of transportation, there is less than $4,000 spent per pupil. Both the city and county who support the local system reduced their contributions this year crimping special programs and eliminating several athletic programs at the only junior high in the system. $7,800 is almost double the per-pupil expenditure here.


Wow. That's incredible. Because federal tax dollars provide an average of $4,000 per year in pupil expenditures. The national average is slightly under $10,000 a year, and in Pennsylvania, which ranks 18th out of 50 in per pupil expenditures for public education, it is $12,500. I think even Texas and Louisiana spend more than that, and their schools are the worst in the country.

We have remedial programs for special needs students in our school. We have a Reading specialist, a Language Arts specialist, a Math specialist and a speech therapist for kids with "equitable participation" which is the same as an IEP. We also have a certified learning disabilities specialist, though we charge an additional fee for that service. In Pennsylvania, the state has assumed the responsibility for making sure that all kids are transported to school, regardless of where they go, and the cost is separate from the education budget. So school districts contract with private companies to provide their bus transportation. They are obligated to provide transportation for students to non-public schools as well, and the transportation budget in the district must cover the expense. We operate our own, small bus company which contracts with the transportation divisions of the local school districts within the radius that the state provides busing to our school, and transport our own students. Since we are not for profit, we can do it for less money than the private companies, and we save the state money on that as well. The income that is generated from that goes back into purchasing busses, paying drivers, maintenance and fuel costs. It costs the state about $1,600 a year to transport one student to and from the public school, but they pay us $750, saving 60% of the cost.
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Re: Homeschooling and the SBC

Postby Timothy Bonney » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:35 pm

Sandy wrote:In what branch of Christianity is secular humanism, the idea that man is the measure of all things (the Greek philosophy that, along with Gnosticism, Paul fought against) and the abandonment of any kind of ex nihilo creation by God scenario compatible? That's the basic difference in philosophy. Everything else stems from that. The public education system doesn't acknowledge the existence of an all-powerful God, and as a result, its entire philosophy of education is affected. What branch of the Christian church doesn't accept the existence of an all powerful God?


Sandy all branches of Christian accept the existence of God, of course. That does not mean that all branches of Christianity believe that all institutions in a free nation need to teach what Christians believe. United Methodists, American Baptists, Cooperative Baptists, Presbyterians, many others believe in Separation of Church and State. It isn't the schools job or the governments job to promote a religious faith. I sent my daughter to school to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic. I sent her to Sunday School to learn about God.

The above paragraph is quite a mishmash of conflict ideologies. It is your assertian the public schools teach "secular humanism." Other Christians disagree. What secular humanism has to do with "gnosticism" I don't know, because gnostics believe(d) in God, though a different understanding of God than orthodox Christian teaching.

"I believe in God the Father almighty creator of heaven and earth" is a faith statement. Does it really come down to creationism for you? Is that the line? I wish you'd just say what beliefs you find objectionable that are taught in public schools. It is easy to use nebulous terms like "secular humanism." Why not list something officially taught in public schools that you find to be anti-Christian?

If it comes down to creationism that all you are really saying is that you would insist that public schools must teach the Christian faith to not be "anti-Christian."
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Re: Homeschooling and the SBC

Postby Dave Roberts » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:34 pm

Actually, there are many Christian understandings of what "creation ex nihilo" means. The Catholic Church, until well after Galileo, taught that the earth was created first and then the sun, moon and stars which all revolved around the earth. In "The Fundamentals" pamphlets of the early 1900's, the emphasis was on a seven-day literal creation. Langdon Gilkey who wrote the definitive theology back in the 1960's spoke of periods and allowed for a much longer history. The Jesuit paleontologist, Pierre Tielhard de Chardin spoke of quantum leaps in an evolutionary process moving in his understanding toward the Omega Point. Francis Collins (Director of the Human Genome Project) and Paul Gibberson have written in terms of evolution through Bio-Logos. There are young earth creationists who say that fossils are God's way of testing our faith by planting what seems to contradict young earth creationism. All of these have been considered orthodox Christians by one or more groups. Sandy, could a disciple of Tielhard or of Collins and Gibberson be considered orthodox enough to teach in your school? Why or why not?
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Re: Homeschooling and the SBC

Postby Sandy » Wed Jun 19, 2013 5:30 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:I believe in God the Father almighty creator of heaven and earth" is a faith statement. Does it really come down to creationism for you? Is that the line? I wish you'd just say what beliefs you find objectionable that are taught in public schools. It is easy to use nebulous terms like "secular humanism." Why not list something officially taught in public schools that you find to be anti-Christian?


Believing that God is the creator is a contradictory idea to "man is the measure of all things." So if the philosophical foundation of your education system holds that humanity evolved, and developed its own dominion over creation within its own intellect, you cannot believe in an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God. You've essentially separated faith from intellect, and created two separate domains. I believe the Bible is pretty clear in teaching that you cannot separate the two.

Secular humanism is not a nebulous term. It is the philosophy that teaches humanity exists on its own and creates on its own. If it acknowledges the existence of any kind of "god," it is a self-created being defined by human intellect and reason. I think that's anti-Christian.

So is moral relativism, which is the conclusion of humanist thinking, along with situational ethics. Public education is not neutral on homosexuality, either. It forces students to accept what it considers the correct position, and it demonstrates hostility and bias against Christian beliefs that differ. Those views should not be jammed down the throats of students in a captive audience setting, but they most definitely are. Perhaps even you would be disappointed with the distortions and omissions related to the church's historical influences that are taught in classrooms. The Reformation is a key, pivotal event in the history of Western Civilization, but I've seen world history textbooks that barely give it a paragraph of mention. I would think that would bother you.

Christian parents, especially the multiple millions who do accept a conservative, Evangelical perspective of the faith, should not have to be forced to send their children to that kind of an education, and they should not be forced to pay for it.
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Re: Homeschooling and the SBC

Postby Timothy Bonney » Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:09 pm

OK, Sandy thank you for being a little more specific.

I see three items then that you are objecting too.

1. Creationism is not taught in public schools and that is therefore anti-Christian.

You reasoning seems to be that evolution is taught in public schools. You continue that if you believe in evolution that you cannot believe in an all knowing, all powerful, all present God. I don't know how you get to this conclusion because it is a wide leap of logic. I believe in theistic evolution myself and see no problem with believing in scientific evolutionary process and the existence of a creator God.

You seem to think that all Christians would just assume that it is a good idea or necessary to teach creationism in the public schools. But my Church, the UMC, is on record opposing the teaching of "Intelligent Design" in public schools as an infringement on religious rights by choosing to teach a specifically religious viewpoint in public institutions. I could quote the resolution to you if you'd like. But the point is that this is not the view of all Christians by any means.

2. Secular Humanism

As you describe secular humanism I do not believe that is being taught in public schools or that public schools have the goal of teaching secular humanism. In fact I know way too many Christian school teachers, Christian administrators, Christian School Board members, and Christian PTA leaders who are deeply involved in the local public schools to believe any such there.

Here in Sioux City several United Methodist Churches, including my own, work closely with local elementary schools in aid to the poor through food assistance and providing school supplies and clothing. Members of my own church help as class room mentors. Secular humanism isn't being taught in any school I've had a connection with or that my wife has taught in.

3. Christians have to hate gay people and public schools don't teach that effectively any more.

Yes, I know, you won't like the way I've titled the above. But what you are telling me is that we need private Christian schools so that Christian kids can still be taught that gay people are evil, bad, sinful, and hell bound. You'll get no sympathy from me here. It isn't "moral relativism." There is no non-religious reason to treat gay people in any other way than as equal citizens in an equal society. It takes a religion to single them out and make them into lepers.

So to sum it up you seem to be arguing that, we need private Christian schools to allow wealthy white Evangelical Christian folk to get their kids out of integrated public schools so that they can make sure their kids believe in creationism and that gay people are horrible sinners. Boy, great selling points.

Is it at all possible Sandy that you could sell the values of a Christian school without public school bashing? Or is it necessary to the survival to Christian schools to make sure the public school system is painted as evil? You'd not have a vested interest in that would you? :roll:
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