There have always been dangers associated with the education of our children in schools, but over the past five to ten years there have been some significant changes in educational policy and practice which have serious implications for Christadelphian parents. There has been a shift from the mere teaching of useful knowledge and skills to the education of the “whole person”. A principal policy document of the South Australian Department for Education and Children’s Services (viz Educating for the Twenty First Century) released in 1990 as a blueprint for State schooling, reflects the broadening scope of public schooling. In its introduction, this policy states:

“The prime purpose of education is the development of the human intellect in all its dimensions – social, cultural, moral, emotional and physical….”

Schools now have a mandate to educate our children in a wide range of areas which include influencing our moral values and thinking.

One of the greatest dangers of the present education system is that its foundation is distinctly humanistic. Humanism is based on the premise that this life is all there is, and that since there is no God, there can be no absolute moral standards. Hence, our children are being encouraged (under the guise of “education”) to explore, experiment with and challenge established patterns and values in order to “find themselves” and establish their own identity, and develop their own set of values. This thinking is obviously contrary to the Truth, yet it underpins the methodology of modern education. Our children are now exposed to this in the classroom from the earliest years at school.

In 1983, an article written by John Dunphy appeared in the Humanist magazine. He wrote :

“I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as proselytisers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognises and respects what theologians call “divinity” in every human being… The classroom must and will become the arena of conflict between the rotting corpse of Christianity and the new faith of Humanism.”

Sadly, Dunphy was right! Only about ten years after these words were penned, the battle was almost over.

The efforts of social engineers to push “politically correct” views on to adults in society (and even High School age students) over the past twenty years has not met with immediate success. As a consequence, education authorities began working to start the humanist educative process from the earliest (and most impressionable) days at school. Issues which are now firmly on the agenda in primary school as well as high school include:

  • Equal Opportunity—From the Reception classes onwards the equality of the sexes is inculcated. It is not acceptable for boys to show leadership or to treat the girls with especial courtesy and respect. The deliberate action to make sure the girls are not discriminated against means that usually the girls are given the pre-eminence in school activities. Boys from the earliest ages are not encouraged to become leaders. The National Curriculum statements for upper primary say: “Students explore stereotypes related to gender, age and social and economic status and judge whether such stereotypes are valid”.
  • Democracy and Rights of the Child—Children are taught from their earliest days at school that they are to take charge of their own lives. A child in his or her first year at school may be on the Student Representative Council. Class meetings run by the children are obligatory in all State Government schools. A child of five can come home from school having run the class meeting and find it hard to be subject to his parents. Many parents have noticed a significant reduction in respect for authority in general and for parents. Rudeness and answering back are not unacceptable. Children spend time learning their rights but not their responsibilities.

In addition to the education policies, children face similar practical issues to ourselves, but without the moral understanding and experience to combat it. Some of the issues faced include:

  • other students who have access to “Adult Only” material on video, TV, or the Internet
  • other students who are steeped in sport and entertainment as a way of life
  • the prevalence of time wasting and often violent computer games
  • swearing as a common and acceptable form of Expression

There are eight major “essential” areas of the modern school curriculum to which our children are exposed while at school. One of these which is a cause of concern covers Health and Personal Development. The three key principles which underpin the National Health and Personal Development Curriculum are Diversity, Social Justice and Supportive Environments.

Diversity involves such issues as exploring different views about issues such as gender roles…. sexuality, cultural beliefs and what constitutes a healthy environment. The net result of this principle being exploited in the classroom is that children will have diverse views about gender roles, sexuality, beliefs etc. Those views will of course be different from the Biblical view. There will often be nothing that stands out as being “actually wrong”, and this may be due to two factors:

1 that we are so infused with the world’s culture as to not know the difference

2 that the principle is not taught, as such, but assumed to be true and used as the underlying basis for all teaching programmes

The subtlety of the learning begins in the media (including newspapers, radio, magazines and television) and continues through Kindergarten on to other levels of schooling. As a general rule Kindergarten teachers and recently trained teachers are the most powerfully motivated to promote these ideas as they are filled with a mission to “do their best to make a fair and just society”.

Social Justice involves such practices as... identifying, evaluating and planning strategies and taking action over forms of inequity that influence access to resources.

 Social Justice based programmes assume that their guiding principles are right. Children learn that it is their responsibility to champion the cause of minorities who appear to be unequally treated. The examples given in schools and in the media are those currently “downtrodden” (homosexuals, non-smokers, aboriginals, women, HIV-Positive and AIDS sufferers etc). The end result of this way of thinking is that the world’s priorities are correct. Fleshly thinking prevails whilst God’s plan and purpose are unknown and unwanted.

The content of courses based on these principles will always have harmful effects as they are deliberately destabilising to the Truth. The “multiple truths” of those principles deny that there is a Supreme Deity who is the originator of righteousness and truth. Much of the content may well be “good” and “useful” at face value. Examples of this sort of content would be topics on cleanliness, health services, food and nutrition, safety or consumers.

There is a wide range of content which is likely to be not only unbecoming and explicit, but also morally wrong and factually flawed. Sex Education topics (eg Growth and Development) are graphic, open and explicit. They generally have amoral values as part of their basic content and state that only a person’s feelings ought to be the determining factor when “deciding” to engage in sexual practices. HIV/AIDS programmes generally assume sexual activity is occurring (or will soon) and also contain fatally misleading information—the agenda being to “protect the rights of certain groups who may be discriminated against”. The motive of teachers is usually “good”: to prevent the spread of AIDS and to stop unwanted pregnancies etc. The assumption is that the activity necessary for these problems will occur in all children/teenagers.

The Impact on Children and Families

 A number of difficulties arise as a result of years of such thinking. As already noted this is not just the effect of a Health Curriculum. It represents the generally accepted or “politically correct” view of life in the community and media.

Parents may think that there is nothing wrong. Children will not know any different. Since it is the overwhelming view of the majority we may have doubts as to what is right. Is it wrong to take such a hard line with our children about their behaviour? Shouldn’t we be tolerant of other people’s cultures and beliefs? Since we are all part of God’s creation isn’t it possible that someone else may be right too? What does it matter if that ecclesia allows a particular doctrine or practice to occur; after all, it is not our position to “judge”?

These are some of the symptoms of being deceived by those ideas of diversity and social justice.

 When there is something with which we are uncomfortable at our child’s school we may not feel like saying anything about it. Often the reason for this is that we are not clear as to what exactly is wrong with the issue, so we let it pass.

When our children are supporters of causes like The Environment;Save the Children Fund;Antismoking lobby;Anti-logging protests we may be pleased that they can see right from wrong. It would be wise to find out whether there is more to it than that. Are you arguing with your child about who is right? Do you feel some misgivings about your child’s interest in these things? Do you feel as if you ought to be a bit more compassionate to the downtrodden and wronged?

Even the most explicit of sex-exposure programmes may seem to be acceptable as they are never intended by the teachers to undermine family values nor to encourage children to do the wrong thing. However, the climate of such programmes is based on the rights of the individual to decide. The responsibility for a child’s actions no longer rests with parental or Scriptural authority. A child of ten to thirteen years is conditioned to believe that he/she is the ultimate authority.

These are some of the subtle effects of the Health and Physical Education Curriculum.

Biblical Principles

 Our children, whom we desire to bring up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord”, may from their earliest years at school be developing ungodly attitudes absorbed from children and teachers. The dangers presented by the school system are well documented and recognised. The full effect of these influences are often not seen until children reach teenage years. We need to spend time with our children, counteracting the false influences of school.

Yahweh puts the privilege of educating children in His ways squarely in the hands of the parents. Consider the following passages:

  • “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Prov 22:6)
  • “For I know him, that he will command his children after him, and they shall keep the way of Yahweh, to do judgment and justice” (Gen 18:19)
  • “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 6:7)

In Eden, God gave man choice, but it was within His guidelines. The choice was to obey Him or not to obey Him. The serpent introduced by subtlety a clouding of this simple issue. The philosophy or reasoning of the serpent undermined the confidence of Adam and Eve in the truth of God’s Word. The introduction of another perfectly reasonable suggestion, backed up by a sound argument, caused doubt to be sown and sin to be conceived.

The First Epistle of John demonstrates what our attitude needs to be:

  • “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (1:5)
  • “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world” (2:15)
  • “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God” (4:1)

Heritage College—A Healthier Alternative

 We have been greatly blessed by our Father in Heaven in being permitted to establish a Christadelphian School. The advantages of establishing our own curriculum free of humanism and feminism are enormous. We are able to educate our children in a God-fearing environment and prepare them for a vocation suited to their temperament and skills. Parents having children attending State schools may like to consider Heritage College as a healthier alternative for their children.