Is Public School to Blame?

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June 30, 2011

I was having a conversation recently about the reason so many students turn away from the church after high school, and it was suggested that it’s because they don’t get the proper biblical worldview/foundation in public school and only get an hour during the week at church.

It seems to me this is a big generalization since public school students can get a strong foundation in the home and Christian school and home school students don’t necessarily get a good foundation (or it is a skewed perspective that actually turns them away from the church).

So I started thinking about the data that has been collected on this and wondered when the information is gathered and compiled if it takes into account what kind of schooling the student had – public, private Christian or homeschool. My guess is that the data wouldn’t be significantly different if you did divide the three groups.

Also, does it make a difference if they go to a public college or a Christian college? I would hope that students who go to a Christian college are more likely to continue going to church and to have a more biblical worldview, but is that true?

Good question. Actually, studies show parents are the most influential in regard to the beliefs of young adults. So you’re right, school really has little to do with it. As a kid who went to public school and loved it, I’m actually quite offended by this very unfair, very common stereotype about public school. Truth be told, public school forced me to know what I believed and why in a way a Christian environment couldn’t have.

You’re also right that going to a Christian college can be really helpful, but it depends on the college/university, and it depends on the person. I know going to a Christ-centered university where integration of faith (worldview) and learning was important was super-helpful for me. However, if I had gone to a public university, I know I would have been involved in a local church and a campus ministry; studies also show that such involvement significantly lowers the risk of faith abandonment during the college years. Community is key.

All that to say, public school, private school, home school… it doesn’t really matter. When we grown-ups complain about the worldview issues of young adults, we really have no one but ourselves to blame because in both the home and the church, young people are watching how we walk the talk.

This blog post originally appeared at reneamac.com/2011/06/30/is-public-school-to-blame/

Renea McKenzie is a former staffer at Probe Ministries. She graduated cum laude from Dallas Baptist University with a B.S in Kinesiology and a minor in Biblical Studies. She went on to receive her M.A. in Liberal Arts and English Literature at DBU, and is currently pursing her PhD in Humanities at the University of Texas in Dallas where she specializes in The History of American Women's Novels, African American Novels, and History of the US South. In between completing her Masters and starting her PhD, Renea spent a year studying at the famous L'Abri Fellowship in Switzerland founded by Christian worldview pioneers Francis and Edith Schaeffer. She is presently a regular contributor at Thinking through Christianity, and you can contact her through her blog, Speak What We Feel, at swwfministries@gmail.com where she continues to answer your tough questions about Christian living in the nitty gritty everyday.

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Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.

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