By Gary North, from Unconditional Surrender, 1994, p.181-184.
Children are a tool of dominion. They are to be sacrificed for in their youth. They are to be instructed carefully and continually in the law of God.
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up (Deut.6: 6-7).
The time spent in training children in God’s law is time well spent, for it is a capital investment. It does produce the next generation of godly, dominion-minded families. The Bible says, “train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6).
This leads us to an extremely significant conclusion: educationis the moral responsibilityof parents. They are the ones who must determine whether or not their children are being taught the truth. They are responsible before God for the rearing of their children. They are held responsible even for the content of their children’s education. This is why it is a great responsibility to bring children into the world.
The modern State has asserted its responsibility to educate children. This is the means by which the modern State has arrogated to itself the position of the established god on earth. The government schools have become the established religion of every nation on earth. Humanism, which is the worship of man and his works, rests on this crucial institutional foundation: the tax-supported, State-regulated, hypothetically neutral, deeply religious humanist school system.
There can be no neutrality, yet the government schools have almost completely stamped out Christianity and the law of God by means of the neutrality myth. The State forces Christians to finance schools that teach a rival religion, the religion of humanism. The State has also attempted to regulate Christian and independently financed schools. At every point, the State has substituted tenured bureaucrats who are virtually impossible for parents to remove from authority, while it has removed parents from the seats of power in setting curricula or any other standards.
The modern State, which is a messianic, supposedly man-saving institution, has used the tax-supported, compulsory schools as the primary means of stealing children from God, by removing them from parental control. Christians complain about taxation, but they have tithed their children to the State. They have abdicated their financial responsibilities – “Let the State finance my children’s educations”– and in our day, they have abandoned almost all other aspects of their instructional responsibilities.
They have turned the production of citizens over to tax-financed, State- directed schools. The priests of the religion of humanism have been able to enlist the support of many generations of Christian parents, who have decided that it is easier to transfer the responsibility for educating their children to bureaucrats hired by the State. Naturally, parents have to delegate responsibility to someone. Few parents have the time or skills to educate their children at home. But the fundamental principle of education is the tutor or the apprentice director.
Parents hire specialists to teach their children along lines established by parents. The private school is simply an extension of this principle, with several parents hiring a tutor, thereby sharing the costs. But the parents, not the tutors, are institutionally sovereign. Since someone must bear thecosts, education should be parent-funded. Anything else is a transfer of authority over education to an imitation family.
Children are to honour their parents (Ex. 20:12). It is the first promise which is attached to a commandment: “… that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee” (Ex.20:12b). So the parents owe their children education, food, shelter, and care, but the children owe their parents honour. This means financial support. There are mutual obligations based on personal bonds. No one in the transactionis to becomean endless giver, and no one is to become a perpetual recipient.
The modern messianic State has intervened here, too. The State promises to uphold men
from womb to tomb. The State promises to become the new father. The impersonal, bureaucratic State has substituted its rule for the father’s rule, and its children– perpetual children– are to remain obedient to it all the days of their lives.
The Bible tells us that children grow up and begin new families. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Gen.1:24). There should be no perpetual one-way obligations. Parents are to train their children to be obedient, but also independent. They are to foster maturity in their children. The State wants perpetual children, complete obedience. The State is a sad imitation of a family. It is a pseudo-family which threatens human freedom.
Ever since the days of ancient Egypt, priesthoods of various denominations have had an alliance with the state. They trained the next generation of literate bureaucrats.
The state wanted literate bureaucrats. The priesthood wanted state support. It was a convenient alliance. It still is. In our day, the priests are priests because they are certified by the state to do the training. This is called academic accreditation. The priests are agents of the state.
All of this has rested on a myth: the myth of classroom education. In less than 10 years, the Khan Academy has undermined this myth beyond repair.
According to its website, the Khan Academy now has 26 million registered students. Registered. Not just dropping in to see videos, but actually registering.
The Khan Academy went online in 2006. This means that, in just nine years, it has grown to the largest educational institution in the history of mankind. This growth is accelerating.
One man, with no formal training as a teacher, single-handedly has taken over the education of at least 26 million students.
Think about what this means for the educational establishment. They have claimed for over a century that a teacher must have specialized training in order to become an effective teacher. He must spend years in specialized classes in state-accredited universities in order to be sufficiently competent to teach a roomful of 30 students at a time. But Khan is teaching 26 million students at a time.
It is now too late to stop him. There have been too many people who have come on board to praise the operation. There have been no major critics who have gained an audience. Nobody inside the educational establishment has been able to stop this avalanche which is rolling down the side of tenure mountain.
The videos are now being used in public schools. He is going to be training a generation of high school science students. He will add other courses soon enough.
He has proven that by paying somebody nothing, that person can become the primary teacher in 100 classrooms, 10,000 classrooms, or 100,000 classrooms. If the students can speak English, he becomes the primary teacher. He has turned the entire teaching establishment into the equivalent of teachers’ aides.
What does this do to the myth of the certified teacher? What does this do to over a century of progressive education?
CLASSROOM EDUCATION AS REDEMPTIVE
My father-in-law R. J. Rushdoony wrote a classic book, The Messianic Character of American Education (1963). It is a history of two dozen of the major figures in the coming of tax-funded education. He went back to the primary sources, as nobody else ever had, to show exactly how the founders of progressive education believed that the public schools would serve as an alternative to the Christian church. They saw it as redemptive institution.
Now, one man, with no financial backing initially, has undermined the entire theology of progressive education.
He is not dumbing down the material. Anybody can get online and master the material. You can watch a video 10 times. The educational establishment has nothing to do with the project, other than employing specialists in testing. There is no ideology to this program. There is no theology of redemptive state funding. The state had nothing to do with this program. It is a one-man show.
Basically, in less than one decade, one man undermined the entire theology of the progressive education movement. Critics of progressive education have come and gone, and they have had zero effect in rolling back the system. Now one man has obliterated the entire theology.
His videos have infiltrated the public schools of America. Every time a student watches one of his videos, another pillar of progressive education is knocked down. That student is being taught by someone who never went through this screening process of state licensure and certification.
In the next recession, when public school budgets come under fire again, what are the tenured bureaucrats going to say when the local school board calls for a doubling of the size of the high school classrooms, with one teacher and one low-paid teacher’s assistant doing little more than taking roll? The teachers have already abdicated. What will all the graduates of the teacher institutions do then? If they teach kindergarten through fifth grade, they may have jobs, but high school teachers can forget about careers.
The myth of the tenured teacher goes back to ancient Egypt. The priests controlled the supply of literate people. This is a major source of control by priesthoods, which were always in alliance with the state. Now there is no way to control the flow of information into the households of the masses.
PASSING THE EXAM
I have been contacted by a graduate of medical school about the possibility of creating a one-year course in the Ron Paul Curriculum on the basics of medicine. In other words, it would be an introductory course that we might call a pre-pre-med course. He is willing to do it for free, but of course we will pay him if he produces the course, and if students want to take the course. He is dedicated. He wants to get the message out. He could do it himself online if he really wanted to.
There are going to be innovators in every field who do this. The secrecy associated with ancient guilds is going to be broken.
At some point, some law school graduate who got all A’s and who passed the state bar exam is going to start putting on free courses for the general public on the intricacies of the legal system. Others will imitate him. Students are going to be able to get an education that is better than most state law schools. They will be able to pass the bar. On what basis can they be stopped? Why is it necessary to go through the classroom training, if the online training is just as good, and the students can pass the bar? How will the tenured bureaucrats secure their position under these conditions?
Then it goes to medicine. Then it goes to architecture. It goes to every field.
If a student can come out of a free online curriculum on YouTube, and he can pass whatever entry exam is required, what becomes of the justification for the modern university system, which absorbs half a trillion dollars of mostly public money every year?
The myth of classroom education is dying. Classroom teachers have always insisted that you cannot learn in the context of distance learning. There has never been any statistical evidence to show this. But the tenured bureaucrats want to spread the gospel of the necessity of classroom performance. Salman Khan has single-handedly destroyed that mythology. It’s basically gone. This has never happened in human history. In less than one decade, he destroyed the foundations of this myth.
This is going to undermine the state. This is going to undermine the whole state certification system. As long as free online videos train a person to pass a competitive exam, there is no justification for the public support of the infrastructure that enables people to pass the exam.
It will become clear soon enough that the whole policy of screening by means of a costly classroom is no longer valid from an educational standpoint. The classroom screeners are going to have to find another line of work. As long as any profession screens in terms of a final entrance exam, it will not matter how the person who passes the exam got the training to pass the exam. If the exam is valid as a screening device, then the entire classroom empire is an exercise in the reduction of supply of qualified candidates to pass the exam.
Anyone whose income is dependent upon the screening device of a graduate school program to reduce the supply of future competitors had better wake up and smell the coffee.
By Gary North (www.garynorth.com). February 08, 2020
I have a Ph.D. in American history. My field was colonial American history.
I have just learned something that I was never taught over half a century ago. As a matter of fact, in my subsequent reading in the field, I did not know the following. The American Revolution was fought to keep blacks enslaved in the South.
You see, King George the Third and that other fellow — I think his name was North — were dedicated abolitionists. What they wanted was to bankrupt the plantation system of the South, despite the fact that the South paid more taxes to the British government than any other region of the country. But that didn’t matter. No, sir: Great Britain wanted to free America’s slaves in 1776. So, Jefferson, Washington, Mason, and the other slaveowners got together with those Adams fellows, and John Hancock, and Paul Revere to launch a revolution against Great Britain.
Do you find this narrative unlikely? Well, that’s because you have not been exposed to the new curriculum that is being imposed in every state in the Union. It is promoted by The New York Times, that self-proclaimed paragon of anti-fake news. That is the news outlet whose slogan is “all the news that’s fit to print.” The new curriculum is called the 1619 Project. Think of it as anti-fake history.
What’s that? You say you don’t remember 1619? That was the year that the first blacks were brought to Virginia as slaves. It turns out that, according to the 1619 project, this event was as important as the American Revolution in colonial American history.
You find this hard to believe? That’s because you’re behind the times — or, as the case may be, the Times.
As a voter whose money funds your local schools, you are allowed to find out about this project if — and only if — you are a paid subscriber to The New York Times. The report is here.
One news outlet that you can access without paying has summarized what is going on.
Nikole Hannah-Jones, The Times’s lead writer on the project, argued in her introductory essay to it, “The United States is a nation founded on both an ideal and a lie. Our Declaration of Independence, approved on July 4, 1776, proclaims that ‘all men are created equal’ and ‘endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.’
“But the white men who drafted those words did not believe them to be true for the hundreds of thousands of black people in their midst.”
Hannah-Jones went on to contend “that the year 1619 is as important to the American story as 1776.”
Non-Dr. Jones, historian, added this: “Conveniently left out of our founding mythology is the fact that one of the primary reasons the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery.” I am not sure how conveniently this fact was left out of my training, but it surely was left out. I took a graduate seminar from Douglass Adair, who had been the editor of The William and Mary Quarterly, by far the most prestigious scholarly journal devoted to colonial American history. He never mentioned it.
The amazing thing is this: most of the states north of the Mason-Dixon line by 1783, the year the war officially ended, had voted to abolish slavery. Apparently, by fighting the war against the abolition of slavery by the British, the Yankees became convinced of the legitimacy of British abolitionism. Yet they kept on fighting and dying to win the war to defend Southern slavery.
A group of historians have written to the times to express their dissatisfaction with this narrative. “On the American Revolution, pivotal to any account of our history, the project asserts that the founders declared the colonies’ independence of Britain ‘in order to ensure slavery would continue.’ This is not true. If supportable, the allegation would be astounding — yet every statement offered by the project to validate it is false.” One of these historians is James McPherson, who won the Pulitzer Prize in history. Another is Gordon S. Wood, who is generally regarded as the dean of historians of the American Revolution and its aftermath. He also won the Pulitzer Prize. Another was Princeton University’s Sean Wilentz, who wrote the book: The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln.
It’s obvious to me what the common thread is that links these critics: they are living white males. They don’t understand what is really important about teaching American history. They did not discuss this with non-Dr. Jones. They were not on this panel.
They did not hear non-Dr. Jones: “When my editor asks me, like, what’s your ultimate goal for the project, my ultimate goal is that there’ll be a reparations bill passed.” They also did not hear her say, as she said when she began explaining the background of this project, this is the biggest project that The New York Times has ever done in terms of total media saturation. She said there was no resistance at all. Somehow, this does not surprise me.
So, in order to make certain that the coming generation votes for these reparations, this program is now being taught in 3,500 schools across the United States. That’s just the beginning.
I am waiting for the American Revolution in education, when parents rise up against the school boards locally, and vote all of them out of office. I am waiting for the new school boards then to cut the funding of the local schools by like, you know, 70%, which they could do with online video instruction. They could adopt the Khan Academy, which is free.
I am waiting for parents to figure out what the public schools are doing to their children. I have been waiting for this since 1962, and so far my expectations have proven fruitless.
I wonder what it would take for the schools to teach that would get a comprehensive revolt by American parents. I have not been sufficiently creative to come up with such a curriculum revision. Certainly non-Dr. Jones and her editor have not elicited such a response.
A site member provided a long testimonial about his success:
Learn, learn, learn. Practice, practice, practice. Over a long, long, long time. Are you prepared to make this sacrifice? There is no other route. Don’t forget this.
This is a reasonable formula for success.
I think these two principles, which boil down to learn and sacrifice, are best taught in an environment of personal mentoring by somebody who has been successful. Probably the best movie I ever saw on this was a teenage flick, The Karate Kid. The trainer, Mr. Miyagi, was the incarnation of self-discipline. He knew what was required for the young man to be successful. The young man had to start out doing grunt work and mastering it. It was not clear what the relationship was between the grunt work of waxing the cars and success in karate. But, later in the movie, we learn the connection.
There are movies about teachers who take a classroom of misfits and turn them into competent kids. Some of them may even be true. But it takes a remarkable teacher to do this. We all know from personal experience that there are not many of these remarkable teachers. It is a Pareto distribution curve.
I think success takes a combination of factors. One of them is basic talent. I have only two of these: the ability to write clearly and the ability to speak clearly. I was also able to persuade people. That is a matter of rhetoric. Nobody taught me how to do this. I learned it on my own initially, and then I continued to do it for over 60 years. I got good at it. But I had the basic skills, which I think were innate. Not everybody has these.
Then there is the question of opportunities. Doors get closed. Windows open. It is not clear why these windows get opened. I had a few of these. I probably had a lot more than I remember. One of the reasons why we ought to keep diaries is to remind ourselves in retrospect of the doors that closed in the windows that opened. It would make us humbler.
I think tenacity is innate. I don’t think it can be taught. Anyway, I don’t know how to teach it. Winston Churchill spoke of tenacity as being crucial. So did Thomas Edison. He called it perspiration, and he made a contrast with inspiration. He was a great believer in perspiration. And yet it is obvious that he was one of the most inspired inventors in the history of man. He brought good ideas to fruition, and he developed a series of procedures that enabled lesser men to do the same.
The combination of innate talent, a mentor who develops this talent in a young person, and a tenacity toward opportunities is unique. It cannot be programmed.
I think tenacity can be developed. Any innate skill can be developed. But it takes tenacity to develop it. It takes a willingness to stick to your knitting.
Of all of the capacities that I would look for in a young person to train, it would be ethics. The ability to distinguish right from wrong is crucial. This can be taught, and it must be taught. Then there is the secondary ability: the ability to move from theory to practice. This used to be called casuistry. It is the ability or part of applying general principles to real-world situations. It takes years of decision-making to develop this skill.
This is why I think the most important single goal that somebody can have is wisdom. The book of Proverbs is devoted to this topic. Wisdom basically is the ability to be a successful casuist. Somebody sees a situation, he understands the fundamental moral principles involved, and that he has the courage to apply the moral principles to his role in the situation. This ability is exceedingly rare. I am a providentialist. I believe that this ability, above all others, is the one that is blessed with success. Success means greater responsibility. It may mean greater money. It may mean greater power. But, above all, it means greater responsibility.
We live in an era in which people do not want responsibility. Every era is marked by this, but ours seems to be afflicted by this burden. People will not step up to the plate. They do not want to be responsible for the outcome of difficult decisions. A person who will not take responsibility is not going to wind up a leader by default. There are people who are irresponsible in terms of their judgment, yet they wind up leaders. They have this in common: they are not afraid of responsibility.
In my book, the classic person in this mold is George W. Bush. He spoke as though he were a fool. He made bad decisions. I don’t think he was stupid. I don’t think anybody gets through Yale University and the Harvard Business School who is stupid. Critics kept saying he was stupid. Not so. He just had bad judgment. He surrounded himself with people who also had bad judgment. They worked as a team.
Hillary Clinton is also such a person. Her husband had bad judgment ethically, but he always got away with it. He charmed his way out of it. He did do this in a society that winks its eye at corruption. That is what our society does. In contrast, Hillary had no charm. She also had no charisma. She was exactly what she appeared to be: an opinionated, screeching, bad-tempered woman with poor judgment, beginning with the bad judgment of marrying Bill Clinton. She never recovered from that. She never recovered from her switch from Goldwater conservatism to Saul Alinksy radicalism. She adopted Saul Alinsky, and she wound up with a man who preferred Monica Lewinsky. Somebody could write a chapter on this: “From Alinsky to Lewinsky.”
Bad ethics pollutes everything a person has of real value. It doesn’t matter what your skills are. It also doesn’t matter what your opportunities are. If you are morally corrupt, you will foul your own nest.
Students don’t learn good ethics in the public schools today. It is illegal to teach good ethics in the public schools today. Immoral people who have formed immoral groups work together to control the public schools in order to reproduce themselves. The good sense and decent ethics of young people do restrict the success of the corrupters in this task, but it is getting worse and worse for young people to survive the system without losing their integrity. It usually begins with the loss of their virginity. Their enemies know this. This is why they created coeducational dorms on university campuses. They know exactly what they’re doing.
Parents can teach good ethics. Anyway, righteous parents can do this. They may not be great mentors. They probably don’t have tremendous teaching skills. They turn their children over early to other specialists who teach them specialized skills. But if the parents know right from wrong, and they teach their children to understand the difference between right and wrong, they can make a major difference in the lives of their children. If the parents don’t get this right, the children will be disasters.
I knew a man in prison when I was involved in a prison ministry. He was regarded by those around him as fearless, and not a man to be tampered with. He was a Christian, but he had been a really bad man. He told me that he had been taught his skills as a criminal by his father. His father was a thief, and he taught the son to be a thief. The son learned his lesson well. That was why he was in a maximum-security prison. From father to son, the moral corruption spread. I think of the Kims of North Korea. What better examples do we have than this trio?
Then we have oddities of history. Consider the father-son duo of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. The father was known as a philosopher. In all of history, he may have been the best example of a classical philosopher king. He wrote philosophy. He was also a war monger. He was a persecutor of the church. His son was debauched. He had hundreds of concubines, both male and female. But he left the church alone. The church was better off under the corrupt son than the philosopher king father.
There are sons who do not learn the lessons their parents taught them. Parents have complained about that from the beginning. It started with Adam and Eve. But people with bad ethics usually get overturned by the outcomes of their decision-making. If this were not true, we would live in a world almost totally evil. We don’t. Bad decisions eventually undermine the decision-makers. If we believe that this is a cause-and-effect universe, we believe that this is the case. But the modern public school system does not teach such a view of causation.
This is one of the great problems of our age. It is why I think homeschooling is the wave of the future. Parents who want their children to be educated in a moral environment are going to pull their children out of the public schools eventually. This, I believe, is the most important single institutional challenge facing the modern world. We are winning in a lot of areas, but it is slow going in persuading people to pull their kids out of the public schools. The lure of free education is just too great. It is worse than the lure of Social Security and Medicare.
Great are the works of the Lord; they are studied by all who delight in them (Ps.111:2).
We Christians must acknowledge one thing today: the Church has been letting a lot of things slip over the last hundred years or so, and it’s got us into no end of trouble.
Why has this happened? I believe it’s been because the Church has believed things that are not true. For example, Jesus explained to Pilate that “My kingdom is not of this world…” (Jn.18:36).
Does this mean that Christians are never to have a role, or play any part in the affairs of the world that we live in, that we are not to speak with confidence or authority about important issues in the life of the community or nation, and that we should just shut up and watch the world go by, to destruction? The Bible doesn’t teach us that.
Jesus was showing Pilate that the origins of His kingdom are not from this world. Jesus’ authority and kingdom came from God, and are not derived from a human, earthly source. But because God has made the world and all things in it, and He called Adam and Eve (and representatively, us) to “rule and have dominion” (Gen.1:26-28), Christian people are obliged under God to understand how we are to live and serve Him, so that we can give a good account to Him.
This means a lot of things. It means that we are firstly, to see all of life from God’s perspective. There is no subject or area of understanding that ought to be separated from the knowledge of God, or seen apart from scripture, for God has laid out in His Word His commands for life, and they are all encompassing.
Let me give you an example. The Bible teaches us that
You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbour fairly (Lev.19:15).
Government instigated graduated taxation (where high earners pay a higher rate of tax) is in violation of this scripture, because it is “partial to the poor.” If there is to be income tax, it ought to be at a flat rate. But we in the Church have systematically ignored this scripture for all of the twentieth century, and now “progressive” tax rates are with us, all over the world. The politics of envy have triumphed over godliness, and now it’s hurting.
According to the law of God in Deuteronomy 6, education is a parental responsibility. It’s not a task that God has given to government to perform. But 150 years ago, the Church said, “That’s all right. We’ll let the government look after that. We won’t have to bother.” So now, we have Public Education: the most evil, wasteful and inefficient system of education known to man.
Why did this happen? The modern Church decided that when Paul said, “…you are not under law but under grace” (Ro.6:14), we had a licence to throw all of God’s law out the window.
The results have been catastrophic, both in the Church and in the world.
Paul was not advocating the rejection of God’s law. What he was doing was showing that obeying God’s law has never been and can never be the basis of our justification. Only the substitutionary death of Jesus on our behalf could accomplish that. The law of God teaches us how to live.
So as we think about our children’s education, we’re going to have to go back to God’s law to give us our marching orders.
The education of children for God is the most important business done on earth. It is the one business for which the earth exists. To it all politics, all war, all literature, all money-making, ought to be subordinated; and every parent especially ought to feel every hour of the day, that, next to making his own calling and election sure, this is the end for which he is kept alive by God-this is his task on earth.
 Dabney (circa 1890), quoted in Bruce Shortt, “The Harsh Truth about Government Schools,” 2004, p.356.
By Gary DeMar (www.godfatherpolitics.com), 26/11/2014
Cassidy Vines recently began noticing a change in her daughter’s behavior. The kindergartener began to ‘snap’ at her mother when she tried correcting the little girl’s homework. ‘She told me that I washer mommy, not her teacher.'”
Cassidy asked her daughter, “Is somebody telling you this at school?”
“She said, ‘Yes, I’m only allowed to learn from my teacher,'” Vines remarked.
There you have it. It doesn’t matter what you and I know and can find out on our own; it’s only what government-trained, and government-paid teachers are required to teach over any knowledge parents might have.
There are many teachers who want to be good teachers but are not allowed to teach anything but what the curriculum dictates.
When one mother objected how Thanksgiving was being taught, she called the principal “to point out that Thanksgiving was when the Pilgrims thanked God. The principal responded by saying ‘that was her opinion’—the schools could only teach what was in the books!”
If you ever sat through a college history class or even a high school history class, you will most likely be taught that there was a period called the “Dark Ages,” and it was all blamed on evil and ignorant Christians.
Nothing could be further from the truth, but in many cases there is no other view being taught. Art, science, architecture, music, literature, and so much more developed during the period that too many historians describe as “dark.”
The Enlightenment did not burst on the scene fully formed. There was a long development of progress preceding the area of a so-called enlightenment…
Take a look at Rodney Stark’s book How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity.
The perception that there has always been a war between religion and science is of recent vintage. The myth finds its most formal statement in the nineteenth-century works of John William Draper’s History of the Conflict between Religion and Science (1874) and Andrew Dickson White’s History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom (1896).
White introduces his work with the claim that he is ‘letting the light of historical truth into the decaying mass of outworn thought which attaches the modern world to medieval conceptions of Christianity and which lingers among us—a most serious barrier to religion and morals, and a menace to the whole normal evolution of society.”
Tom Shachtman writes in his book Gentlemen Scientists and Revolutionaries: The Founding Fathers in the Age of Enlightenment (2014):
“It is also important to note that the Founding Fathers’ science was in no way opposite their religion. The notion that science and religion were antithetical is a nineteen-century construct” falsely popularized by Draper and White. “To split the Founders’ religious beliefs from their scientific ones creates a schism that did not exist in the Founding Fathers’ time. The Founders saw and felt no space between their faith in science and their faith in a Deity.”
And what did Cassidy Vines do? She took her child out of the government school and is teaching her at home. There are many educational opportunities available to parents these days that avoid the government education gatekeepers.
WHAT’S five times four? Geophysicist Peter Ridd was gobsmacked to see a first-year university student pull out a calculator to work out the no-brainer equation.
The James Cook University professor blames the dumbing down of a generation of Australian students on modern teaching philosophies that deride rote learning as “drill and kill”. His alarm is echoed by eminent maths, science and education professors concerned that underqualified teachers, “student-led” pedagogy and assignment-based assessment methods are rendering a generation of Australian children innumerate.
“Modern educational theory says you don’t need knowledge because it’s all online; there’s Google,’’ Ridd tells Inquirer. “But you ultimately do need a basic proficiency in spelling and numbers; you need knowledge inside your head. I’ve seen uni kids, when I’ve asked them ‘What’s 61 x 0?’, pick up a calculator.’’
Scientist Jennifer Stow, a former Harvard University researcher with a PhD from Monash University and a postdoctoral degree from Yale, shares Ridd’s dismay. As laboratory head at the University of Queensland Institute for Molecular Bioscience, and a principal research fellow with the National Health and Medical Research Council, she teaches science to undergraduates and trains PhD students.
Stow is “flabbergasted” by what she views as substandard skills in maths and English among many Australian undergraduates. Foreign PhD science students outnumber the locals in her field, she says, because local students are so far behind in maths.
“They can’t do basic maths,’’ Stow tells Inquirer.
“A lot of them haven’t learned the times tables at school, they haven’t been drilled in spelling and they come to university not being able to do division.
“There are lots of international students at university now, and kids from places like Singapore have got much better reading, writing and maths skills than the Australian kids.’’
The sliding standards are spelled out in the latest results from the OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment. The international PISA test, last conducted in 2012, reveals the numeracy levels of Australian teenagers have plunged so far in a decade that four out of 10 lack “baseline” maths skills.
Australia’s maths performance in Year 10 fell by the equivalent of six months of schooling between 2003 and 2012. Australia dropped from 11th to 19th place in the league table of 65 countries. China, Singapore, South Korea and Japan topped the class; the average 15-year-old from Shanghai is 1½ years ahead in maths than a typical Australian student. Just 15 per cent of Australian students were top performers, compared with 55 per cent in Shanghai. One-fifth of Australian students were ranked among the poorest performers in maths, in contrast to 3.8 per cent of Chinese students.
The national curriculum for maths has won broad support from maths teachers and university educators. Kevin Donnelly, one of two educational experts appointed to review the curriculum for the Abbott government, believes style and quality of teaching count as much as the content.
“If it’s not rigorous, and teaching isn’t explicit and well structured, you do get into trouble,’’ he tells Inquirer. “There needs to be rote learning, memorisation and mental arithmetic so it becomes automatic. The fashion for the past 20 years has been very much against memorisation and we need to bring that back.’’
The steady decline in mathematics performance in Australian schools has resulted, in turn, in a shortage of qualified maths teachers. Thousands of children are being taught maths by teachers who specialised in humanities subjects at university.
“At high school the person teaching physics is more likely to be a physical education teacher than someone qualified to teach science,’’ notes Ridd.
Forty per cent of Australia’s maths teachers are “out of field”. Queensland’s Auditor-General has revealed that one in eight maths B teachers in years 11 and 12, and one in three maths teachers in years 8 to 10, lacks a tertiary qualification in maths. Four times more phys-ed teachers graduated from Queensland universities than maths teachers in 2012. The audit noted a shortage of maths, science and technology teachers in high schools — but an oversupply of physical education, music, drama and dance instructors.
Stephen Norton, a senior lecturer in mathematics education at Griffith University’s school of education and professional studies, tests the numeracy of all his would-be teachers. The results are worrying: the average undergraduate teacher has the maths skills of a Year 7 student. Half would struggle with a Year 9 National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy test, which measures basic levels of literacy and numeracy for 14-year-olds.
Norton believes most university teaching courses fail to demand “reasonable levels of numeracy’’ from trainee teachers. Instead, course lecturers concentrate on teaching “learning theories, the role of technology, mathematics of indigenous cultures, learners’ attitudes towards mathematics and curriculum trends”. A typical four-year teaching degree, Norton says, dedicates just 32 hours to the teaching of maths.
“Every year I test my students and they’ve got the understanding of a Year 7 or Year 8 kid,’’ he says. “Maybe 25 per cent have a good knowledge. They struggle with fractions and proportional reasoning and anything to do with algebra. I believe it is our responsibility in universities to make sure we can remediate that.’’
Norton is critical of schools’ emphasis on “inquiry-based teaching” at the expense of drills and memorisation. Performance is falling, he says, “not because our kids are dumber; it’s because they haven’t got the basics”.
“We’ve got to find a balance where we don’t stifle creativity but we give students the basics to apply in higher order ways,” he argues. “On the one hand, we want kids to discover how to do things themselves and be persistent and resilient. But what happens when you have inquiry-based pedagogy, with teachers who don’t really know the discipline and don’t emphasise the basic skills, is that children end up falling behind.”
One example of the modern “student-directed learning” style is the maths homework set for 10-year-olds at a Brisbane state school this week. “Write a reflection that highlights at least 2 areas in maths that you feel more confident about as we draw to the end of Year 5,’’ it says. “List at least two target areas that you would like to work on and explain what strategies you will use to take responsibility for your learning.”
Ridd, the James Cook University scientist who despairs at the reliance on calculators for simple sums, is highly critical of Queensland’s unique but controversial assessment methods for high school maths. While other states and territories rely on regular external testing of kids’ maths ability, Queensland high schools set a series of written assignments that can be 10,000 words long.
“We (scientists) want someone who can solve an equation and add fractions,’’ Ridd says. “The Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority wants someone who can write an essay. The problem for us is the mark that comes down from the high school is a very poor predictor of whether the students can do simple maths. The subject has been hijacked by education theorists who have no idea what’s going on.”
A Queensland parliamentary inquiry has recommended that external testing be introduced for 50 per cent of students’ marks in years 11 and 12 — in line with the southern states — with a limit of one written maths assignment each year.
The Liberal National Party government, having sat on the findings for 14 months, is now promising a “draft response” by Christmas. This week it published a vague “30-year vision” on education reform, which referred to the need to “attract, retain and reward the best and brightest teachers”. It will appoint 300 “master teachers” to 463 schools next year. Queensland is also reviewing its OP system, which ranks students on their “overall position” in relation to other students, without external exams.
It is telling that Education Queensland’s selective Academy of Science, Mathematics and Technology — reserved for the state’s brightest students — has shunned the official curriculum. Instead, its students study the International Baccalaureate Diploma, which the academy describes as a “program for rigorous learning and assessment”.
Matthew Dean, a researcher and former first-year lecturer at the University of Queensland school of mathematics and physics, believes teachers who let kids use calculators at primary school are “ruining children’s lives”.
In a submission to the national curriculum review, Dean explained that technology had a “smart end” consisting of the creators, and a “dumb end” of consumers. “Rather than making all Australian students and parents pay to be at the dumb end of technology, a good education system would give students the freedom to one day be at the smart, creative end, if they so choose,” he wrote. “The way to this freedom and ability is through mastering mathematics — the power of thought behind science and technology.”
Dean likens reciting the times table to learning musical scales on the piano: boring and repetitive but essential to mastering more advanced pieces. Having lectured first-year maths students at university for five years, he notes that many have knowledge of mathematical concepts but not the skills to solve problems. “It’s as if they’ve done a mathematical appreciation course,” he says. “They know of things but don’t have the skill to do it themselves.”
Nationally, the number of Year 12 students enrolled in advanced maths has fallen 22 per cent in a decade, choking the supply of graduates for research institutions and industry.
The Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute is warning of a looming skills shortage for industries such as banking, mining, information security, IT, biotech and communications.
Stow, whose groundbreaking medical research is tracking the movement of proteins within cells, complains that high school students are getting “dumber by the minute”. She champions a return to the times tables and spelling bees in primary school. “There is no substitute for rote learning and it is the only way to build neural networks and imprint things into your brain,” she insists.
A surgeon, Stow argues, has no time to Google in an emergency. “You can’t operate that way,” she says. “You need a certain amount of basic skills and instant recall to do the job properly. You’ve got a computer; it’s called your brain.’’
Natasha Bita is national affairs writer for The Daily Telegraph. A Walkley Award winning journalist, she is a former Education Editor, Consumer Editor and National Correspondent for The Australian. She has cov… Read more
Education Must Have Legitimate Goals
Education without the Bible is useless- (Noah Webster, 1758-1843)
All Christian education, regardless of the age of the student, should have goals. These goals must be in harmony with scripture, and be achievable. Goals should be both general and specific. The general ones should be those that should be applicable to any course, whilst the specific ones should be specifically oriented, around a course of study. Ideally, a student should have general and specific goals, that he is working to attain. The general goals are our focus here.
1. Growth in godliness: this should be the object of every Christian person, but especially the student. The Bible says that “godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment” (I Tim.6:6). Furthermore, “the real measure of godliness is how well we control our tongue” (Derek Prince).
2. Conformity to the image of Christ: the Bible says that “it is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master” (Mat.10:25a). The Christian person seeks to live out the character of Christ, through his individual personality. We can trust, that this is what God is developing in our lives too. In this, we are co-operating with the Holy Spirit (II Cor.3:18), as He develops the fruit of the Spirit in us (Gal.5:22-23).
3. “That I may know Him” (Phil.3:10): this was one of Paul’s goals, and it should be ours too. Everything for the believer, comes from knowing Jesus Christ. Jer.9:24; 22:15-16.
4. Growth in accountability (Luke 16:1-2): Any supervisor wants to be able to leave his premises, and be confident that when he returns (in hours or weeks), his staff will have been diligently applying themselves to their tasks, in his absence. This is exactly what Jesus wants of His people, too (Luke 19:11-27). If we believe we have been “bought with a price” (I Cor.6:20), this should be evident in all of work, as we show that our time belongs to the Lord, not ourselves. Punctuality is an aspect of accountability.
5. Diligence (II Thess.3:8, 10; II Tim.2:15): The Puritan Benjamin Wadsworth, advised parents that in relation to their children, “if you’re careful to bring them up diligently in proper business, you take a good method for their comfortable subsistence in the World (and for their being serviceable to their Generation) you do better for them, than if you should bring them up idly, and yet leave them great Estates.”
6. Competency and professionalism in all things: It is no disgrace to not know how to do something, but something that is an aspect of a professional’s work needs to be mastered. “The man who knows how will always be at the mercy of the man who knows why.”
7. Growth in Christian service: the individual should hope that he is doing a better job for his supervisor, his other staff-members, and his customers that he was last year. Why? Because he is growing, in terms of his attitude and experience. He should be able to function more independently, and at the same time appreciate what others are able to do, in making his organisation more effective for the customer. This point is a summation of the previous six.
8. The dominion of Jesus Christ in the earth (Ps.110:1-3): this should be the ultimate goal of all education. This is what He has placed us in the world for; not merely to have pleasant children, a nice house, riches or a good retirement. The education of every person, whether it be the mechanic, the professor, or the housewife, is to be with this in mind.
Christians are to become the predominant people in the world, in terms of their influence; this is how everyone is to be educated, so that this can take place, and the gospel can be proclaimed both by word and deed. Jesus said, “Do not be afraid little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). A godly education is a huge component of the Great Commission (Mat.28:18-20).
Christians in the context of education, regardless of what level, are obligated to consider carefully the challenge posed by Elijah to the people on Mount Carmel: “How long will you hesitate between two opinions?” (I Kings 18:21). The Lordship of Jesus Christ applies to every area of life, including the intellectual area. Our negligence in the area of the intellectual education has cost us greatly now for generations, and we have lost a lot of ground.
Thus our stewardship in this regard is vital, if we are to give a good account, that we did in fact “love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your might” (Deut.6:5).
How are you and the children God has given you, being educated?
The kingdom of God must replace the kingdom of Satan in history, which is the kingdom of self-proclaimed autonomous man. Part of this replacement process is the reconstruction of all modern academic disciplines in terms of the Bible. Any attempt to do this is resisted strongly by two groups: non-Christian scholars and Christian scholars. The first group does not want to surrender power. The second group does not want to abandon the fruits of the intellectual, emotional, and economic investment it made by accepting the methodology and most of the conclusions of humanistic higher education…Christian scholars, in their professional work, have preferred to bow to the god of the academy rather than bow to the law of God. This has been going on from the day that philosophical defenders of the Christian faith first invoked Greek philosophy as the basis of their defence. In short, it is an ancient tradition. It is time to call a halt to it. 
The Bible does not give the State a role in the task of education; education is an entirely private concern, predominately for families to engage in, in the case of children (see Deut.6; Prov.22:6; Eph.6:4) or individuals for tertiary study, or businesses to consider in the case of their staff. Luther’s advice to parents, “I advise no one to place his child where the scriptures do not reign paramount …every institution in which men are not unceasingly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt,” was valid instruction.
Paul’s language to the Corinthians is significant, in relation to education. He claimed that “the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (II Cor.10:4-5). We can thus conclude that godly education in part, will be aggressive and destructive towards all ideas or world-views that are not in harmony with the sovereignty of God, and the dominion of Jesus Christ in the world.
This approach is nothing new. God had told Jeremiah that “I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant” (Jer.1:10). John the Baptist later warned the proud Pharisees and Sadducees, that they were not to place any confidence in the fact that genealogically, Abraham was their father: he warned them that “the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Mat.3:10).
All godly educational institutions must take this position, out of faithfulness to God. Jesus said that “he who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters” (Mat.12:30). Godly education is an aspect of God’s war against humanism’s foolish ideas and wrong thinking, which lead to sinful behaviour, beginning in the Garden. Paul also spoke of his concern for the Corinthians, that “as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ” (II Cor.11:3).
Some of the manifestations of humanism (such as Gnosticism and Pelagianism) have been with us for thousands of years. Others (such as Darwinism, feminism, Pietism and environmentalism) are a more recent phenomena. Whatever the age, Christian educators must be familiar with what they are contending with, “…so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes” (II Cor.2:11). Historically, the church has had a propensity to absorb ideas from its surrounding culture, which have been destructive and evil. The “wild gourds” of the world, thrown into the church’s pot of stew, have later resulted in someone crying out, “O man of God, there is death in the pot” (II Kings 4:38-40).
For education to be Christian, it must think in terms of absolutes, because God is absolute, and deals in absolute (but not arbitrary) terms with man. “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Ex.20:3), is an assertion of God’s ultimate and absolute sovereignty, for God alone is the absolute commander of man’s being.  Only a fully self-conscious, self-existent, sovereign and creating God can save man, because only He can fully control, govern and determine all things. 
All Christian education should not begin with the teacher, or even the student, but with God. Jesus commanded us to “come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me…” (Mat.11:28-29). Man has never been consigned to a lonely, onerous pursuit of self-knowledge. On the contrary, we live in the presence of the Creator of all things, who has provided His Word to us, so that human knowledge can be utterly dependent upon the original self-knowledge and consequent revelation of God to man.  God’s revelation is the ground of true knowledge.
Because Christian education commences with God, we accept that scriptural belief is a foundational matter. Jesus comforted Martha, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (Jn.11:40) We agree with Anselm of Canterbury that we believe, in order that we may understand. Kepler, Boyle, the Wright brothers and many others made their discoveries and initiated significant human progress out of an attitude of submission to an all-wise Creator and Redeemer, Who after creating all things, described all that He had made, as “very good” (Gen.1:31).
Christian education gives man meaning. The Bible teaches that man is not some undefined, evolutionary accident, drifting at random in a meaningless universe. On the contrary, man under God derives his meaning from his Creator (Gen.1:26-28), and is placed in a meaningful world of people and things, to serve God and enjoy Him forever. Man was endowed with the ability and duty to find both the meaning of life and his own purpose on earth within the will of God.
The command to “rule and have dominion” has not been negated by the Fall. Rather, it has been re-emphasised through the coming of the second man, Jesus Christ, and confirmed in His Great Commission.
The Christian person finds his role as a created vice-regent of God in the earth, described further in passages such as Psalm 8. The Psalmist’s rhetorical questions to God, such as “What is man, that you take thought of him, and the son of man, that you care for him?” open up the whole subject of our function, so that the theocentric person has meaning, relevance and dignity. A scriptural understanding of God’s purpose for us, enables us to “rule and have dominion” (Gen.1:26-28), to “reign in life” (Ro.5:17), be “ambassadors for Christ” (II Cor. 5:20), and to “occupy till I come” (Luke 19:13 KJV). People are recognised in scripture as full-orbed cultural creatures, called by the Creator to go forth and develop the earth.
Gary North, “Inheritance and Dominion,” 1999, Introduction.
“Pietism emphasises the heart, the attitudes of man, and underrates the importance of man’s actions. Its roots are in the pagan, Greek and Stoic deprecation of matter as against spirit.” Rousas Rushdoony, “The Institutes of Biblical Law,” 1973, p.635. “Pietism led to a surrender of knowledge to the unbeliever and a withdrawal of the Christian to a purely inner world of experience… the result was a surrender of the world and of education to humanism.” Rousas Rushdoony, “The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum,” 1985, p.12.
 Rousas Rushdoony, “Salvation and Godly Rule,” 1986, p.161.
 ibid., p.2.
 Cornelius Van Til, quoted in Rushdoony, ibid., p.177.
 Gary North, (Ed.) “Foundations of Christian Scholarship,” 1976, p.64.
 B. Walsh, and J. Middleton, “The Transforming Vision: Shaping a Christian Worldview.”
Because this is a battle for the minds of men, it involves every aspect of life. There is no neutrality. Each man has to pick sides. Jesus warned: “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad” (Matt.12:30). Christians often are confused about this. They have been sold a bill of goods by the enemies of God, namely, that there are zones of neutrality scattered throughout the creation, and that some sort of common natural law rules these neutral zones. This is a myth. Either God’s law rules everything, and promises to bring all things under His righteous judgment, or else God’s claim of being God is a lie.
David Hocking has written an excellent set of principles which serve us well in terms of forming a basis for a Christian philosophy of education. These are applicable for the homeschooling family, the Christian school, the Christian university, or any other institution naming the Name of Christ.
1. The Christian philosophy of education is based on the authority, authenticity, and reliability of the Bible as the complete and final revelation of God concerning all matters of faith, truth and practice.
2. The Christian philosophy of education is based on the centrality and authority of Jesus Christ in all that is believed, said, or done.
3. The Christian philosophy of education is based on clearly defined goals and objectives that are found in the Bible:
a) The glory of God.
b) The salvation of non-believers.
c) The maturity of believers in doctrine and practice.
d) The training of believers for Christian service and ministry.
4. The Christian philosophy of education is based on the conviction that knowledge of the Bible and of Jesus Christ is essential to the development and growth of the individual in matters physical, mental, social, and spiritual.
5. The Christian philosophy of education is based on a personal commitment to Jesus Christ on the part of all who are involved in the educational process.
a) The “blind” cannot lead the “blind.”
b) Nothing can control the natural desires of the uncommitted teacher.
c) Without Christ, the instructor is impotent (there is a weakness) in his ability to teach due to the absence of the Holy Spirit in his life.
d) Commitment to Christ is fundamental to having commitment toward proper goals.
6. The Christian philosophy of education is based on the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
a) The inspiration of the Bible.
b) The illumination of the individual.
c) The involvement of spiritual gifts.
d) The inability of those involved to understand the “deep things” of God apart from the Holy Spirit.
7. The Christian philosophy of education is based on a proper relationship between the family, the church, and the educational process.
8. The Christian philosophy of education is based on the establishment of proper priorities in an individual’s life.
a) Commitment to Christ Himself.
b) Commitment to the family.
c) Commitment to other believers.
d) Commitment to non-believers.
e) Commitment to a job.
9. The Christian philosophy of education is based on the sovereignty of God in all the affairs of men and throughout all history.
10. The Christian philosophy of education is based on the creation of man in the image of God apart from any so-called evolutionary process.
11. The Christian philosophy of education is based on the moral principles of the Bible.
a) Distinctions between right and wrong are stated in the Scriptures (I Jn.3:4).
b) Man possesses a sin nature which forms the root of all sinful actions and thoughts (James 1:13-15).
c) The environment is not to be blamed for man’s sin (Mk.7:14-23).
d) Man is not morally good (Ro.3:10-12).
e) The ethical precepts which govern human actions not specifically covered by Biblical teaching firmly rest upon the law of love and the principle of Christian liberty (Ro.14).
12. The Christian philosophy of education is based on Christian teachers who understand these basic principles of Christian education, who are personally committed to them, and who demonstrate effectiveness in their ability to communicate them.
The Great Commission is certainly a command to evangelise: but its implications are significant indeed; they require over time that social, cultural and legal changes must take place in every nation. This is the normal Biblical procedure (Acts 8:5-8; 19:17-19, 23-27). The Christian educator has a profound challenge, to identify with God’s purpose in Christ. The goals of education will include indoctrination in the truth, training of students and completeness in Christ. Education is a vital part of occupancy. Believers are required to be full-orbed cultural creatures, going forth to develop the earth, and the purpose of education is thus to enlarge the scope and extent of man’s power under God.
Christian education is not a flight from reality, avoiding the truth about man and the world we live in. Rather, it is a requirement to face the truth, from the one individual in history who could legitimately claim to be “the Truth” (Jn.14:6). Sartre, the existentialist was wrong: man is not “a useless passion,” without meaning, but a creation of God with dignity, responsibility and power.
True education relates firstly to God and His kingdom, to the knowledge and implementation of God’s truth in a time-space world. It has as its function, the task of introducing people to Christ’s liberating, refreshing teaching in all its perspectives, which will enable them to enter into the occupying and controlling activities that were the substance of the creation commandment (Gen.1:26-28).