Prov. 22:6 (“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old, he will not depart from it.”) makes it plain that parents are to train children in God’s ways when they are young so they will walk in righteousness as adults. This also teaches them to govern themselves.
In the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries’ education was conducted in the home either by parents or by tutors depending on the wealth status of the family. The wealthy and titled land owners, in many cases, provided schools for the people who farmed their land. These too were private. Children were educated up through 8th grade. At that time there were boarding schools and colleges where the wealthy would send their sons. Again these were private schools.
The parents were paying for their sons education so the teachers taught what the parents wanted taught. The American founders were educated in this manner. The first instrument of learning was the Bible. The colonists felt strongly that having a good education in the Bible was necessary to a self-governing society. This provided a very definite type of viewpoint or worldview from which they filtered their thinking on issues of the day.
They also came to believe that a good education was necessary for all in a free society. Dr. Benjamin Rush, Signer of the Declaration, founder of the Bible Society, Philosophical Society, Abolitionist Society, Father of Modern Medicine and Father of Public Schools said,
“The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments. Without religion, I believe that learning does real mischief to the morals and principles of mankind.”
Personally, I find his quote quite prophetic considering where we are today. In the early days each community had their own one room school house with a teacher that was paid by the parents. The community controlled what was taught.
The one room schoolhouse allowed freedom for children to learn at their own pace. Meaning those who were capable of working above their grade level were able to do so. Everyone was taught the same subjects at different levels. Older children assisted younger children. This was an efficient and flexible type of teaching and they all learned!
As cities grew more schools were required so the modern style of elementary and secondary education was implemented with a local school board. The school administration became more formalized and teachers were paid by the taxpayers of the district. It is important to understand that he who pays controls what is taught. So as the schools became more institutionalized they became more separated from the parents control of what was taught.
With the large number of immigrants settling in urban areas, inner cities grew within them that created their own unique problems. For many children school was a safe haven and education provided a way to rise above poverty. Each group seemed to settle in the same neighborhoods so that in many large eastern cities there were Italian neighborhoods, Irish Neighborhoods, China Towns, Black neighborhoods etc. They each had their distinct personalities but all loved America and wanted to embrace being American.
During this time period American History and Civics were taught in a consistently American fashion. In the early 1900’s progressive thinking and Marxist philosophy started to gain entrance into American intellectuals and professors as well as some movie and radio personalities. They were looking for ways to change America into the utopian society promised by Marxism.
So how does one go about changing the culture of a great nation? They knew they had to remove God from the public arena and schools. They also knew they had to separate the parents from their children (generation gap was created) in order to indoctrinate the next generations’ thinking. Individual thinking had to be transformed through a gradual change in language and definitions. The American people had no idea this was taking place because it was subtle and gradual.
Next Week I will explain further how this happened.
Dinner Table Discussion: Does the Bible mention a generation gap? If it doesn’t then how can we as a family not buy into this false premise?