Education - A Reflection of Society

Education in America is largely reflective of the character of society in general. Throughout the history of education in America, you could always tell the values of society by the values and principles taught in the public school. Conversely, you can always predict what is going on in public schools by what is going on in society.

In 1647, the Old Deluder Satan Act was passed which required all townships with 50 or more families to start a school primarily to teach students to read and write so that they would be able to read and understand the Scriptures. Society in general endorsed Biblical principles and anyone who says that public schools were intended and supposed to be secular is uninformed at best, and at worst a downright liar.

Some of the most prestigious universities in the US today were founded also for specifically religious purposes. Just consider Harvard and Princeton which were originally divinity schools designed to train men for the ministry. Today if you visit them and listen to a tour guide, they will tell you a lot of things about the school, but not a word about this.

It wasn’t long though before conditions in America began to change. The Puritan ideal began to be replaced with a new influence called Deism. This means that men still believed in God, but in a God that could not be personally known. God was said to have made the world, but then left it to operate according to fixed principles. The scientific age, an age of reason, of cause and effect prevailed. Men considered themselves enlightened and educated, they sought to understand and control their environment. This influence was also felt in the public school. Only what could be reasoned through, and tested, was true. Faith in an unknown and an unobservable was pushed to the background. It was considered old-fashioned and too simplistic. Truth was being redefined, and America was beginning to slide down a slippery slope of humanism.

Education during this period of time was characterized by a growing cold formalism. Yes, we still acknowledged God, but the need to know Him personally was no longer stressed in the classroom. Biblical morals still prevailed, but the need to know ourselves as transgressors, and redeemed from our transgressions, was no longer there. All the other academic disciplines took more and more precedence, and Bible became just another subject.

It became worse. What happened in the early 1960’s also had a decisive influence in education. By this time the authority of the Word of God in society had become greatly dwindled. And what is more, traditional values were no longer accepted just because they always had been. Young people began to experiment with drugs, sex, and rock music.
A whole new generation of Americans (as former President Kennedy quoted) was born. Young people and teenage life grew into a culture. Some of us have grown up in that culture and began to see some very shocking things. Things were tried just because they never had been tried before. Nothing was taboo, nothing sacred. Self-actualization was given free reign. If it feels good, do it. Where was God and His Word in this culture? Hardly more than a relic from the past. History was rewritten to exclude our moral and Biblical beginnings; God was ruled out of the classroom. Public schools more and more became a den of iniquity.

In the last twenty years - we have entered the information age. This is where technology became our god. Yes, the world had problems, but technology was going to be and is going to be our savior. But the use of technology was not for the service of God, but the service of man. This world is our home, and the more possessions and luxuries we have the happier we will be. Comfort, ease, riches, abundance - that is what success is all about. What is the corresponding focal point of public education? Technology in every classroom, as part of every curriculum. We need to make students ready to live in a technological - a godless technological world.

Today - in a certain sense we are the generation X. No god, no morals, no standards. Everything goes. This world is my home. God can have His heaven as long as we can have the earth How many young people, or even people in general, go to church anymore?

We live in a dark world. And yet in His infinite goodness, God has left us a place where our children may be instructed out of His Holy Word. Amidst all the trends of anti-God today, He has preserved for us something of 200 years ago. He has a shown us His Will, told us whe we are, what we need. He still gives us a place to raise our children in the fear of His Holy Name. How long yet will we have this privilege? Do we value this privilege? Have we become accustomed to having this blessing? Are we influenced by our times? Have we become casual about our school? Are we humbled that the Lord has not yet forsaken us? Oh, the devil and his whole dominion strive together to destroy the church, stamp out His Word, and are systematic and determined in their attempt to remove God from our country. How it behooves us then also to strive together as parents and teachers to stay close to His Word to unite in seeking for the welfare of our children. We may still have God’s Word and we still may plead, Lord bless that unto my heart and the heart of my children. How we ought to strive together for that one thing that is needful for ourselves and our children. We can get so carried away with secondary things. We have a graphic example of this in the Bible. Martha was cumbered about much serving (a legitimate task) yet she was not at that moment considering the one thing needful. Let us seek first the Kingdom of God for ourselves and our children and all these things shall be added to us. One more word- the future. What will it bring? May we have eyes to look to Him Who holds the future in His hand. The Lord has been an Ebenezer to us in the past. May we also look to Him to guide us in the future.