mission-minded children

Screwtape Letters: Preventing Missionally-Minded Children

by Tom Kenney

“Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!
Let the nations be glad and sing for you,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!”
Psalm 67:3-5 (ESV)

One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.”
Psalm 145:4 (ESV)

Although the foundational message of scripture is redemption through the work of Christ, Global Redemption is the historical conduit that ties together the Bible’s narrative from creation to consummation. Moreover, take a thorough reading of the Old Testament and two themes will stand out:

  1. Global redemption has always been a part of God’s restorative plan.
  2. Time and time again, God’s people failed to commend the Lord’s instruction to the next generation. 

For Christian parents, these two principles are foundational imperatives for discipling children. We aim to create worshipers who worship by spreading the worship of God to the globe. As John Piper points out, the essential drive of missions is worship

              Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity.

But worship abides forever. Worship, therefore, is the fuel and goal of missions. In missions, we simply aim to bring the nations into the white-hot enjoyment of God’s glory. The goal of missions is the gladness of the peoples in the greatness of God.
1

Given this, it is our task as parents to commend this instruction to the next generation. After 42 years of pastoring a delightfully mission-minded church, I’m aware of how Satan tempts us to stifle missions interest in our children (we have four grown kids). With apologies to C.S. Lewis and huge admiration for his Screwtape Letters, I offer the following to illustrate some of the Adversary’s strategies for hindering our parental great commission.


Dear Nephew,

I hear you have access to some well-intentioned but delusional parents. Not only have they bought into the enemy’s lie, they want to rear their children to join his cause. I believe the term they use is ‘missions-minded.’ Might I suggest you plant the following ideas in the heads of these parents? Fortunately for our side, these won’t seem out of step with most of their peers, even the churched ones.

1. Don’t let your child catch wind of the fact that religion of all stripes is booming around the globe. Let him assume that the secularization he sees around him in the U.S. is the norm globally. No one is listening or responding to the gospel, so why go? Why waste his life?

2. Don’t expose her to a church that thinks missions is normative for all growing disciples. Burn a book like Parkinson’s analysis of 2 Peter 1:3-8 in The Peter Principle that makes missions-minded love for all peoples in all the world the very pinnacle of discipleship. Don’t let her get close enough to adults who find joy in living sacrificially for the gospel, it will do strange things to her mind and heart. Guide them to a church that has decided to do local missions instead of global missions. Dichotomous thinking: Once adopted, it’s a helpful mindset for our cause.

3. Don’t let him realize that the Bible is a book about missions; it is written by people on mission to a people supposed to be on mission. Its central theme is God’s mission to reclaim His kingdom. Let him settle for the Bible as a book designed to keep him happy and comfort him when things are down. Extol the Hallmark card value of the Bible. Keep the Great Commission as an isolated text to be brought out annually at a missions conference or offering. Train him to feel good about that annual demonstration of “commitment to God’s agenda.”

4. Don’t let her hear about Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, a ludicrous college-level course too many of the enemy’s fans have taken. Its ideas are dangerous to our cause. You want the words Missions and Missionary to stay in the rather mindless realm of “God, bless the missionaries” prayers. Word has it there are even kid versions of this course.

5. Don’t let him meet kids his own age who come from a different culture or land. The enemy has planted a chip in him that will, unfortunately, make him aware of how like he is to this ‘other.’ As long as the ‘other’ is ‘other,’ we have a chance to make ‘other’ mean ‘not as valuable as I am.’ This is, perhaps, our greatest advantage.

6. Model insularity. You are the most significant influence in his life. Don’t ever let him see you spend yourself for the ‘other.’ Don’t let him see you honor someone your church has sent into the world with what they call ‘good news.’ Be nice, but don’t get so close to your neighbors that you find yourself caring about them. It’s okay to invite them to a church service but don’t go further. Your child may get the impression that ‘good news’ is something every churched person experiences and actually shares.

7. Expose her to the right kind of missionary. One who obviously couldn’t get a job in the real world. One who knows his place as a bottom feeder in the minds of your peers at church, who deserves the leftovers but that’s all. Even if you catch wind of the anthropological, linguistic, and apologetic skills his work requires, don’t let your child hear it. It’s important that your child maintain a low view of the enemy’s workforce. Whatever you do, don’t allow the wrong kind of missionary into your home. That kind of honor sends all the wrong messages to your child.

8. Find a circle of friends for him who are mildly religious, but their religion has ‘do not offend’ as its top priority. Fortunately for us, the ‘good news’ is offensive to—least until the enemy works his magic (which I’ll never understand). Find ‘nice’ kids for him to hang out with. Not too wild but not too religious. You know, ‘balanced.’ If your church hires a youth pastor who wants to turn your son into a voice for the enemy, start a gossip campaign and get him fired. The average stay of a youth pastor is 6 months, so it shouldn’t be hard.

9. In general, we recommend avoiding international travel as a family. While we have done all we can to squelch it, religion is booming around the globe. But there have been sightings of enemy fans in unexpected places we thought we had purged: Paris, Dubai, Nairobi, and Cancun. It’s an uphill struggle, but we’re on it. Meanwhile, stay home where the plausibility structure for the other side is weak. Your child will conclude no one anywhere in the world is interested in spiritual things if all he sees around him is spiritual apathy.

10. Coddle her. Don’t expose her to ideas, let alone experiences, that might make her have to trust in something or someone greater than herself. Thank badness for the ‘be safe at all cost’ phenomenon circulating today! You have many partners on your side.  The enemy’s call is a risky one. Healthy risk-taking is addictive. She may find such behavior adds energy to life. So, avoid risky situations. Even ropes courses, seemingly innocuous, can start something we find hard to reverse. Remember, her self-image and safety are the most important things in life. Don’t let her try that in which she might fail and, as the enemy puts it, learn from her mistakes. What an outdated notion!

Good luck and let me hear from you.

Tom Kenney is Pastor Emeritus of Peninsula Community Chapel, Yorktown, VA. He graduated from Virginia Tech in 1975 with a BA in Business Administration. While there, he was nurtured by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and joined their staff upon graduation, serving the Vanderbilt University campus from 1975-1978. Having benefited from the works of men like J.I. Packer and John Stott, Tom earned a Masters of Divinity at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. In 1982, the Tabernacle Church of Norfolk called him to pastor the church planting effort. Tom stepped down as Lead Pastor of Peninsula Community Chapel in May 2020, after 38 years in that position and now serves at the Global Ministry Pastor. Tom enjoys Fridays off with his wife Mabel, reading The Economist and historical fiction, visiting the Chapel’s global partners around the world and working out at the YMCA.  Tom and Mabel have four grown children.

Other Homeschool Freedom Action Center blogs about discipling our children.

  1. John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad! The Supremacy of God in Missions. 30th Anniversary Edition. (Michigan: Baker Academic, 2022), p. 3 ↩︎
Education Vouchers vs. Free Market

Education Vouchers vs. Free Market Education

Republicans and Democrats across the country are seeking to pass ESA and education voucher legislation in their states. This has sparked a nationwide debate between education vouchers vs. free market education and whether parents and schools should accept government funding for education.

ESAs & Education Vouchers Over Free Market & Individual Freedom

Join Leigh Bortins and Teryln Gregson on Episode 58 of Faithful Freedom as they discuss how the question really comes down to whether parents and schools will choose government funds over the free market and individual freedom because, as Leigh likes to say, “The king’s coin makes the king’s man.”

After detailing the failings of government schools and the dangers of ESA and school vouchers, Leigh illustrates how there are many other ways for families to educate their children that don’t enslave them to the government’s dime.

One of these ways is through Classical Conversations®, which provides parents with the tools they need to give their children a classical Christian education that teaches them to “name like Adam, ask questions like Jesus, and persuade like Paul.”

Resources to aid your understanding of the issues of ESAs and educational vouchers.

If you are looking for more resources on classical education, consider reading Leigh’s book The Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical Education or visit her website.

Leigh Bortins, free market advocate.

Leigh Bortins

Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of Classical Conversations®

Educator, mother, grandmother, and daughter of the King, Leigh Bortins, is best known for creating lifelong learners through her educational support program, Classical Conversations®, which organizes classical academic communities for homeschooling families. Leigh founded Classical Conversations® (CC) in 1997 to know God and to make Him known through the power of community. CC supports classical Christian homeschoolers in all fifty states and thirty foreign countries, with well over 45,000 families enrolled in the program. After receiving a bachelor of science in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan, Leigh went on to write her Doctor of Ministry thesis on church-based global education for Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She has written several books, including The Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical Education, The Question: Teaching Your Child the Essentials of Classical Education, and The Conversation: Challenging Your Student with a Classical Education, a series which explores the classical trivium from a parent’s perspective. Leigh has also authored curriculum and guides for parents and students, including The Math Map, a complete math curriculum for classical students of all ages. She enjoys speaking at conferences, to organizations, and on radio shows and podcasts to promote free-market education, and she also enjoys encouraging parents to take ownership of their children’s education. Leigh engages thought leaders, institutions, and families to develop both minds and souls through her enthusiasm. Leigh and her husband, Rob, homeschooled their four sons in North Carolina and now enjoy watching their three grandchildren become lifelong learners alongside their parents.

Homeschool vs. Public School

Homeschool vs. Public School

At some point, you’ve probably heard the question asked (or maybe you’ve asked the question): why homeschool when your child can go to a public school funded by the government?

But perhaps we should flip that question around. Homeschooling has grown in popularity with families throughout the United States. Several studies suggest that between 5 and 6 percent of school-age children are homeschooled (that’s about three million kids), and this number increases year by year. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents found themselves homeschooling either outright or de facto—and that only increased the popularity of homeschooling!

So what is it that makes homeschooling increasingly attractive and public schools so unattractive?

Why Homeschool?

There are more reasons to homeschool than ever.

Religious Freedom

Religious freedom is one of the most repeated answers offered by parents when making the decision to homeschool their child. Public schools don’t incorporate religious studies into the classroom. Public school curricula may teach a different set of values and beliefs than what parents believe and want to instill in their child.

Homeschooling, on the other hand, affords parents the opportunity to incorporate Bible studies, prayers, and values throughout the lesson plan.

Safety and Security

Concern over a child’s safety is another reason why parents choose to homeschool. Some children are subjected to negative influences such as bullying and the presence of drugs and alcohol in public schools. These negative influences can affect a child’s academic performance in the classroom.

However, in a homeschool environment, parents are able to watch over their child and help them develop without those stressors and dangers.

Personalized Learning

In a homeschool setting, parents are able to offer more personalized learning for their child. Public school teachers have a classroom of students with different abilities and levels of learning.  The lesson plans won’t be tailored for each individual student.

Homeschool allows for the parents to assess their child’s strengths and weaknesses and help build lessons around their needs. This type of teaching provides flexibility to give the child what they need to learn and skip ahead if they grasp the subject.

Family

Homeschooling is a family effort. There is collaboration between siblings and parents to come together and share knowledge and experiences. This level of connectedness goes beyond what can be provided in public schools.

The opportunity to reinforce family values and beliefs while developing a stronger sense of self is why many families choose homeschooling over public schooling.

Want more reasons to homeschool?
Read: “The Benefits of Homeschooling: A Graduate’s Perspective

Why Not Public School?

These are a few reasons why homeschool parents often decide to homeschool their children rather than send them to public school. Here are two such reasons:

Lower Academic Outcomes

Studies have revealed that homeschool students typically score higher than public school students on standardized tests. Parents’ level of education does not change the student’s success.1

Homeschool students also typically do better in college. Homeschool students have a higher rate of graduating college than students who attended public school. One study revealed that homeschooled students graduated with an average GPA of 3.46 while their public school peers graduated with an average of 3.16. The same study also showed that homeschooled students graduated from college at a higher rate (66.7%) than their peers (57.5%).2 3

Poorer Social Environments

Contrary to the popular misconception, homeschool students are often better socialized than their public school counterparts. They are more likely to participate in political drives, sports teams, church ministries, and community work.4

Public schools, meanwhile, often present challenges for social development, such as bullying, discouragement, and negative peer influences. For example, according to one study, 5% of students between the ages of twelve and eighteen reported that they had been afraid of attack or harm at school in 2019.5

That’s 1 out of 20 students, and the average class size in the USA is 20.3.6

The evidence is abundant and the collective experience of homeschoolers shows that homeschooling works. Public schools, on the other hand, afford poorer outcomes all around.

Why send your child to public school when you can homeschool?

Written By: Classical Conversations®

looking through a magnifying glass lens at the first words of the Declaration of Independence, "We the People"

9 Resources for Learning About the U.S. Constitution

By Lauren Gideon

There has been a revival among conservatives to improve our functional U.S. Constitutional literacy. It’s only natural when things devolve into disorder and chaos to wonder, 

“What happened?” 

“How did we get here?”

“Where did we get off course?” 

To answer these questions, one would have to learn what the course was and where the course came from before one could assess the deviation from that course. This curiosity to rediscover the “course” is a good thing. The human experience is full of good things, and like all good things, achieving or acquiring them requires of us the same weighty virtues of ownership and discipline that Classical Conversations® highlights for students in the Challenge programs. 

Thus, before proceeding to the following list, heed this disclaimer: 

If you want a “quick fix” for improving your U.S. Constitutional literacy…. this is NOT the list for you. 

The U.S. Constitution

When learning about something, one should always start with the thing itself. It’s interesting that when you finally meet someone that you have heard much about ahead of time, you can’t ever really unhear those things or unknow them. 

For better or for worse, you will (at least initially) always see that new person through the lens of what you heard about them. The same is true of ideas and documents. This is one of the reasons why classical educators are so passionate about reading source texts before we turn to functional summaries or commentaries. 

Webster’s Dictionary 1828

Inevitably, you will run into words that are outside our modern vernacular. Look them up! And look them up in a dictionary completed in close chronological proximity to the document itself. 

While you are at it, pick up a good biography of Noah Webster for a fascinating window into how unique and essential this dictionary was for the formation of American culture.

The Declaration of Independence

After reading the U.S. Constitution thoroughly, you might be disappointed. Let me explain. No one gets through reading the rules of Monopoly and says to themselves, “Wow, that was profoundly inspiring!” Rule books, by nature, are quite dry and boring. The point of the rule book is not the rule book itself, but the rules allow you to play the game! The game of Monopoly is enjoyed by many families for something other than the excitement of the rule book. 

The U.S. Constitution is merely the rule book. The Declaration of Independence articulates so beautifully the “why.” These documents are so intertwined that they ought never to be divorced. The U.S. Constitution is the manifestation, the conduit, and the protection of the truth claims spelled out in the Declaration of Independence.

The Articles of Confederation

It is important to remember that the U.S. Constitution was a “do-over.” It was not the first attempt to make manifest the principles of the Declaration of Independence. However, there was enough unfavorable public sentiment surrounding the Articles of Confederation and the perception that they had missed the mark, to tolerate what was called the Second American Revolution. 

The new form of government created was literally illegal under the Articles of Confederation. 

While this may cause internal conflict for those with warm affection for the rule of law under the U.S. Constitution, it is something worthwhile to wrestle with. It’s important to remember that things haven’t always been the way they are, nor is there any assurance that they will stay this way if the public perception and sentiment wills otherwise.

Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787

In modern America, there is debate on whether we can know what the Constitutional Convention meant by the words and phrases they used. This question is only tolerated by those ignorant of James Madison’s exhaustive notes on every conversation that transpired. 

What was included, what wasn’t included, why did they choose the words they chose; all this and much more give us the conversational context to every element debated. The fewer the debates, the more unanimously certain positions were held by the convention. 

Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers

Beyond the internal debate, a national debate transpired as well. The Federalist Papers argued for the U.S. Constitution, while the Anti-Federalists opposed ratification. More important than the sides men took are the ideas they unpacked. Often, these papers hospitably acknowledge the weakness of their positions while confessing the limitations of a free society.  

By reading these papers, we can deeply dive into the comparison, circumstance, relationship, and testimony of these ideas.

Discourses Concerning Government—Algernon Sidney

Like people, ideas have family trees and ancestors. While the ideas that shaped the U.S. Constitution are as old as time itself, curious observers have done their part to articulate what previously lived outside of the body of human discovery. 

Algernon Sidney was one of those discoverers. His thoughts ultimately cost him his very life when his own unpublished writing was used against him as a second witness to convict him of treason. Sidney’s writings, though written about 100 years before the American Revolution, were so influential that Thomas Jefferson had this to say about them in a letter to Henry Lee:

Two Treatises of Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration—John Locke 

The other modern author named by Jefferson was John Locke. His Two Treatises of Government was published around the same time that Sidney was alive. These two men pioneered ideas such as “just power being derived through the consent of the governed,” which flew in the face of the Divine Rights Theory. So, it is plain to see how the Declaration of Independence did not invent any new ideas. The Declaration merely served as an inventory of collective sentiment shaped by the ideas discovered and shared by brave men who gave their lives for the transcendental ideals enumerated in our Declaration and consequently informed and transformed our form of government, the U.S. Constitution.

The Bible

It cannot go without saying that the U.S. Constitution is not divinely inspired. Only one text can make that claim. So, when looking at anything else in the created order, we must consider the authority of Scripture. 

We began this conversation considering “the course” or “how things ought to be.” While the Scriptures may not explicitly say how humans ought to form a good human state, it does teach us about spheres of authority, the principle of justice, the idea of having multiple witnesses, the image-bearing nature of humanity, and other building blocks. 

While we may often wish for a cookie-cutter example that we could cut and paste, there is no quick fix for searching out the mysteries of Scripture either. Let us remember Proverbs 25:2 (ESV), “It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.” 

It is our joy and responsibility to bring everything under the dominion of Christ’s authority: to discover, to name, to identify, to compare, to understand, to inform, to discern. In this discernment of revelation through Scripture and the created order, we, too, can wisely participate in this enduring classical conversation. 

Read other articles by Lauren here.

Lauren Gideon profile smiling at the camera

Lauren Gideon is the Director of Public Relations for Classical Conversations.  She has been a home educator since her first student was born 18 years ago. She came to Classical Conversations for support when the student count in their home grew beyond what she thought she could navigate on her own. In addition to homeschooling her seven children, she co-leads community classes that unpack our nation’s founding documents and civic responsibility. However, she is happiest at home, preferably outside, with her husband of 18 years, tackling their newest adventure of building a modern homestead.

School Choice has Come to Louisiana

School Choice Has Come To Louisiana

By Jennifer Bright

Each year, more and more states are embracing school choice options through education savings accounts (ESAs) and school voucher legislation. Alabama was the first state to pass a universal school choice bill in 2024! Louisiana will not be far behind as it is being debated this week in the Louisiana Senate.

As private homeschoolers in Louisiana, why should we be concerned about ESAs or school voucher legislation? Statistically, Louisiana has always been near or at the bottom in education as compared to the other fifty states. For example, in 2023, Louisiana ranked 46th. The question that is often asked is, why wouldn’t we support these school choice options? Wouldn’t ESAs help lift Louisiana students from the bottom?

School Choice

‘School choice’ is often referred to as educational choice, educational options, parent choice, etc., in which taxpayer-funded monies are channeled through school vouchers, educational savings accounts, educational empowerment scholarships, tax credits, etc., (which sound and look enticing) for parents to choose the educational option that they believe is best for their child(ren). Louisiana’s version, the Giving All True Opportunity to Rise (LA GATOR) scholarship program, is being decided this week at the capital.

Government Monies—Government Regulation

As with all government monies, there will be regulations, rules, accountability, and control. Currently, 13% of Louisiana school districts receive their funding from the Federal Government, and the rest is divided between the state’s budget and our local sales and property taxes.

How will this new legislation affect private homeschoolers in Louisiana? From HB 745, section 4037.5. (Schools and service providers; eligibility; participation), private homeschoolers who register either as a home study program or a nonpublic school not seeking state approval are not eligible to participate or concurrently enroll in the LA GATOR scholarship program. The LA GATOR scholarship program sets up a new class of government-funded students, just like Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts. So currently, private homeschoolers will not be affected.

            “When parents take these funds, they sign a statement that they are no longer homeschooling, even if they may be educating at home. As a result, accepting ESA funds places the student in a new category as an ESA student. Because students are no longer privately funded homeschool students, but instead publicly funded ESA students, government regulation inevitably follows and impacts the education these students receive.”[1]

It may not affect private homeschoolers today, it could in the future. The current bill requires all students who participate in the LA GATOR scholarship program to comply with all program requirements (including yearly testing). But what about next year or the year after, how will the government change or modify the program requirements?

Other States’ ESA Programs and Problems

Let’s look at a couple of other states that have drunk from the well of ESAs, like  Arizona and West Virginia. Budgets have blown up! There is an administrative nightmare and a lack of accountability. Politicians and educational leaders are looking for solutions to fix the failed experiment.

Resist the Temptation

As Leigh Bortins shares in this article,

            Parents are presented with “choices” that aren’t really choices at all.” And “Receiving one-time government money with no strings attached makes the second, third, and fourth times easier with strings attached. With the shekels come the shackles.” So, “we must…resist the temptation posed by government funding.”

Educate Yourself

Think through these questions from Classical Conversations® Educational Freedom website, as you consider who do you want to control your homeschool—you or the government?

  • Do you want the state involved in your homeschooling on any level?
  • Is accepting any financial assistance from the state a slippery slope?
  • Where does the money come from?
  • Would it be more beneficial for homeschoolers to keep their education tax money rather than fund the Department of Education with that money?
  • In your state, are you still classified and protected as a homeschooler if you receive government funding?
  • Is making your own curriculum decisions important to you, or would you prefer the Department of Education to assume oversight in those decisions?
  • What historical examples can you think of where the government was involved in decisions like this? What were the initial intentions? Were the outcomes positive or negative, and how accurately did they reflect those initial intentions?

In Louisiana, there are currently over 45,000 children being home educated. If we were our own school district, we would be the second largest in the state! Just remember, the state government (and federal) will do whatever it can to bring us under its control, and ESAs are just one of their avenues. We need to stand firm against any governmental encroachment on our freedoms to direct our children’s education. We, as parents, know what is best for our children.

The Homeschool Freedom Action Center website is here to help you stay informed and to help families educate themselves on what true educational freedom is!

Jennifer Bright profile headshot

Jennifer Bright is the Communication Manager for Research and Quality Assurance for Classical Conversations. Jennifer’s passions are classical Christian education and discipling the next generation to live for Christ. She supports homeschool families by tutoring their students with the classical tools of learning. Jennifer and her husband began their homeschool journey almost 20 years ago in Russia while serving as missionaries, and currently, they reside in Covington, Louisiana.


[1] “Educational Savings Account.” Accessed 4/15/2024. https://classicalconversations.widen.net/s/swkgl26rw7?__hstc=87463879.1d548548b58a4ef2d8bb0d564a005567.1638826400930.1670868123213.1670943201710.270&__hssc=&__hsfp=&hsCtaTracking=d9ec90d4-0a2d-4d25-bcbb-c8c3b64bb33d%7Cbc6a2c98-eeed-4bdf-adba-2ef77c9a312a

School Choice Isn’t School Choice: My Argument

By Lauren Gideon

I recently wrapped up a year leading Challenge A with Classical Conversations® students. On the last day of community, the students took turns reading their assigned persuasive essays. While each student chose their topic, two had chosen the same topic. 

But they chose different sides!  

After the second student finished reading his essay, arguing opposite the first, do you know what happened? Absolutely nothing! The entire class sat unfazed. They didn’t rush to take sides; they didn’t vote against or ‘cancel’ the minority opinions… no name-calling, and no identity crises. These students haven’t been taught to be offended.  

Look at the Merits of an Idea

They have been taught to look at the merits of an idea as a distinct thing, regardless of the person, their character, their tribe, their emotions, their perceived urgency, and the many other distractions that keep us from discerning the idea’s own merit. We call these logical fallacies, and our students learn how to set them aside and ask, “Is this a good idea?”  

The students’ non-reaction was profound. As adults in the classroom of the world, we know participants are almost always triggered. Public discourse revolves around every angle EXCEPT actual merit. If we want to be virtuous participants in this sphere, we must ask ourselves, “In what way do I need to remove similar logs from my own eyes?” With log-less vision, we can see issues more clearly. 

Another hindrance to our clear vision is social cliques, is when everyone in our perceived tribe seems unified in their position, our objectivity becomes blurred. A prominent topic plagued with this emotional baggage is “school choice.”

School choice has nothing to do with providing more choices. Its singular operative action is to require taxpayers to fund alternatives to the state-provided option.

School Choice is Misleading

Some advocates of “school choice” begin their appeal through statistical arguments. A recent publication opened with the 2022 RealClear Opinion Research poll that argued that “72% of Americans support school choice—the ability of parents to choose the school that best fits their children’s needs.”1 

Why is this significant? First, this communicates the sentiment that “virtually everybody agrees.” This says nothing about whether the viewers should agree with this issue or not. If this premise were asserted to my Challenge A students, they would instinctively reply, “So what?” We call this a bandwagon fallacy.

Additionally, the term “school choice” itself suffers from equivocation. Presently, educational options are legal and available in all fifty states, meaning that proponents equivocate “school choice” with “taxpayer funding for free-market products.”  

School Choice forces Critics to take an “Anti-Choice” Position

Should taxpayers be forced to fund the free market? Moreover, how do legislatures ensure that this money is spent on the type of quality education that is in the public’s best interest (or the government’s interest)? What accountability will ensure the money is spent the way these well-intended policies prescribe? Historically, how well has state government performed this task within their current educational jurisdiction? To what degree could this idea affect the cost and quality of educational options? Does the free market stay ‘free‘ once it is taxpayer-funded? Fundamentally, do we want to expand state-sponsored regulated education or expand actual free-market educational choice?

This IS about a Choice

As the emotions rise among voices on both sides of this issue, remember that the collective conversation does obligate participants to regard sides or emotional manipulation. This issue, like all issues, ought to be about ideas and not the people who hold them. This IS about a choiceLet’s lay aside these culturally acquired discernment liabilities and use those beautiful, classical tools from Challenge A

Check out these blogs and this website for additional information on school choice and educational freedom.

Lauren Gideon profile smiling at the camera

Lauren Gideon is the Director of Public Relations for Classical Conversations.  She has been a home educator since her first student was born 18 years ago. She came to Classical Conversations for support when the student count in their home grew beyond what she thought she could navigate on her own. In addition to homeschooling her seven children, she co-leads community classes that unpack our nation’s founding documents and civic responsibility. However, she is happiest at home, preferably outside, with her husband of 18 years, tackling their newest adventure of building a modern homestead.

  1. “New Poll: Overwhelming Support for School Choice.” American Federation for Children. Accessed on 3/19/2024. https://www.federationforchildren.org/new-poll-72-support-for-school-choice/ ↩︎
A woman talking on the phone with a concerned expression, with text that says "Critical race theory? Revisionist history? Explicit sex education? Gender confusion? Not on my watch! Now streaming!

Truth & Lies in American Education – A Documentary

By Jennifer Bright

Truth & Lies in American Education – A Documentary exposes an alarming agenda in American education.

As a young mother of two, April Few was challenged by her mother-in-law to examine and explore what was happening in her local public school.

Alarming Discoveries Made in American Education

Through a series of interviews with American educational experts, April makes some alarming discoveries regarding agendas kept hidden from the eyes of students and parents like her.

Here are some of the questions she asks:

  • Are American public schools forming a wedge between parents and children?
  • Are children being trained to become political activists for the political left?
  • What is the true aim of so-called comprehensive sexuality education?
  • How much transgender influence is there in government schools?
  • How is Critical Race Theory indoctrinating American children?
  • Is there a federal education scheme to control the nation’s workforce?

This documentary produced by U.S. Parents Involved in Education (USPIE) aims to educate parents of school-aged children about the indoctrination in our American government schools.

Trailer of Truth & Lies in American Education – A Documentary exposes the hidden agenda of American public schools

Share this with friends and neighbors who need to hear this message of what is truly going on in the government schools!

Look at what our government schools are really teaching.

Jennifer Bright is the Communication Manager for Research and Quality Assurance for Classical Conversations. Jennifer’s passions are classical Christian education and discipling the next generation to live for Christ. She supports homeschool families by tutoring their students with the classical tools of learning. Jennifer and her husband began their homeschool journey almost 20 years ago in Russia while serving as missionaries, and currently, they reside in Covington, Louisiana.

A dad reads a book to his two boys sitting on a couch

Does School Choice Mean Education Freedom?

By attorney and reporter Kevin Novak

The following was published in the Western Journal on August 27, 2022, and is a credible source for thinking through the issues surrounding “school choice and education freedom. The views expressed in this opinion article are those of the author and are not necessarily shared or endorsed by the website owners.

In our current day, school choice is a popular topic for parents and voters to consider, especially with rising inflation, our current environment post-Covid, and the legislative-sessional season. We are all presented with various cases regarding government funding for education. But with the prospect of financial aid comes multiple elements that aren’t being said.

Kevin Novak poses legitimate questions regarding school choice in the following article, including lowered taxes, privatized education, and educational freedom.

“Consider these inquiries. If a legislature has the present ability to pass ‘school choice’ legislation, why does it not instead pass legislation that lowers taxes? In conjunction, if a legislature has the present ability to pass school choice legislation, and it being the case that many children have escaped the civil government school system, why does it not instead decrease spending on civil government education? And how would passing more school choice laws produce more financial freedom for people or more thought freedom for children?”

Read the full article here.

Also, read other articles about school choice and educational freedom here.