For those of us who attended public schools some years ago, it is often difficult to believe the shocking tales we hear about the decadence, drugs, inferior teaching, etc., that seems to reign there now. When I was going to school, the wrong influences were certainly present, but they weren't that bad.
The situation in public schools is now much different. The mood now in many schools is aggressively anti-Christian, although there are still many fine and dedicated public school teachers and administrators. We especially thank God for Christian teachers who consider their jobs a mission field and a Christian calling. But our Judeo-Christian morality and ethics are often but a faded memory and attempts to retain them are frequently met with opposition and intimidation.
I am most familiar with the situation in California, of course, and perhaps here it is the worst. Open drug sales and use, ethnic gang wars, and student/teacher violence are easily recognized problems, but how about the more subtle attempts at "values clarification," or the encouragement of experimentation in "sex education" classes, or the inclusion of homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle, or easy access to abortions through school clinics.
In Los Angeles, a recent State-encouraged pilot program actually described the step-by-step process by which students could contact their "spirit guides." Literature courses are now less dominated by humanistic classics (offensive as even they are), but, instead, by occultic and demonic readings, including ritualistic murder. My own niece and her first-grade classmates were recently taken from the school grounds and driven to an ancient Indian site of worship, where certain initiation rites, incantations, and individual prophecies were given. What has happened to our schools? What can we do about them?
In our dealings with the State Department of Education here in California, we have come to recognize a virtual stronghold on education by the humanistic "elite." Even these usually atheistic educators, however, are now welcoming New Age and occultic influences in the schools. The new "Science Framework" mandates teaching evolution as fact. Christians have avoided public policy and politics for so long that such people seem well entrenched.
There is one ray of hope: Many Christians all over America have recently been elected to local and state school boards, and many more are running for these offices. The legitimate problems facing education are monumental, and solutions need to be found within a Christian context. At the very least, the tide must be stemmed!
As Christians, we must commit ourselves to support good school board officials, to educate ourselves as to the problems and needs, and, most of all, to become involved. We are "the salt of the earth," said the Lord Jesus, and there is no other.
*Dr. John Morris is the President of ICR.