In my dissertation I argue strongly that education is part of the God-defined jurisdiction of the family, the church and the marketplace, but the state has no God-given or God-defined mandate to be involved in education (except maybe military academies, because defense is part of the state’s jurisdiction).
In Australia, because the early colonists were mostly state-dependent prisoners, there were insufficient tithe-paying members of the church to generate the funds for the church to get on with the business that God had called her to be engaged in (which included the business of training fathers to teach their children). Public funds were distributed to the church from the beginning (particularly for education), so that there has arisen a mindset of dependence upon the state in the church — Anglicare, Baptistcare, Salvation Army, Frontier Services, etc., all receive government funding to enable their organizations to go about the business that God has called the church to be involved in. Try preaching the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ as part of these state-funded services, and you will see how little these church organizations really are ministries of the church. They are state functionaries in practice, church ministries in name only.
When Christians have no concern about government involvement in welfare, infact, when many Christians are on the cutting edge of advocacy for increased government involvement in the church’s affairs, there is no pang of conscience about government involvement in education. How many Christian schools receive government funding? It has come to the point that Christians in every state and territory, in Australia, (except for South Australia), are not permitted to set up their own education facilities without them being registered by a government agency. The costs of setting up static, purpose-built schools is beyond the financial reach of most Christian parents, so state-funding is called upon to subsidize. He who pays the piper calls the tune.
The Safe Schools* initiative being rolled out in Victoria, and being planned to be rolled out to all schools across Australia that receive government funding, is a demonstration of how much political correctness is attached to accountability for the use of public funds in education.
The Homeschool Regulations in New South Wales are an illustration of how boldly intrusive governments in Australia have become, demanding that home-based education look like schools, in the home**. This is one reason why we need to help home-based educators make a shift from using the term home school, when they are unschooling. Home schools can be registered. An unschooling life style (i.e. living as if schools do not exist) is outside the state definition.
We have a long way to go in helping the church in Australia to take on the mind of Christ in the realm of education. But we must begin the journey, and we must commence the task of trialling different things until we get something that works. If we always do what we have always done, we will always get what we have always got.