Education and the Church, Education and the Family, Education and the Marketplace, Education and the State, Funding, Home-Based Education

Government-funded education and Fundamentalist Evangelicalism: the dependence must stop

According to North (1982) the concept of neutrality in the market place is a myth.  The myth, extended to education, has created an opportunity for the enemies of Jesus Christ to gain control of the institutions that drive culture.  Sadly, Christian Evangelicalism and Christian Fundamentalism, because of the influence of Pietism, have been on the cutting edge of promoting marketplace neutrality.  North’s answer to the problem, and anticipation of Fundamentalism’s response to the solution is as follows:

What is the proper argument?  Simple: there is no neutrality, and since there is no neutrality, the present legal foundation of government-funded education is a fraud.  Conclusion: close every government-financed school tomorrow.  Refund the taxes to the tax-payers.  Let the taxpayers seek out their own schools for their children, at their expense (or from privately financed scholarships or other donations).  No more fraud.  No more institutions built on the myth of neutrality.  But the fundamentalists instinctively shy away from such a view.  Why?  Because they see where it necessarily leads: to a theocracy in which no public funds can be appropriated for anti-Christian activities, or to anarchy, where there are no public funds to appropriate.  It must lead to God’s civil government or no civil government.  In short, it leads either to Rushdoony or Rothbard.  Most fundamentalists have never heard of either man, but they instinctively recognize where the abandonment of the myth of neutrality could lead them (North, 1982. p. 20).

Quite rightly, non-Christians object to state-raised funds being used for purposes that promote the Christian religion.  This is perfectly consistent with the reality of there being no neutrality in the marketplace.  The religion of the marketplace is Secular Humanism (proclaimed a religion by Humanists themselves*).  This is the pressure that is applied to so-called Christian Schools that receive government funds to be established and sustained.  Humanist tax-payers object to their tax dollars being used to promote a rival religion.  The government-funded Christian schools, if they are not fully controlled by government agendas at the moment, shall be completely controlled in the future.  He who pays the piper calls the tune.  The only way for Christian education to be conducted in a Christian way, under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and in accordance with the Word of God, is for Christians to stop receiving government subsidies.  Initially this will be extremely painful.  It will mean shouldering the full responsibility for the education of their children.  Christians will also need to pay the full tithe to the Lord, and churches will need to shoulder their full social welfare responsibilities, which includes helping the righteous poor families fulfill their educational responsibilities.

It was Fundamentalist Evangelicalism that led the charge towards the secularization of Education in Australia.  According to Barcan (1980):

In September 1874 James Greenwood, a Baptist minister who was also a journalist on the Sydney Morning Herald, formed a Public School League whose objective was a ‘national, free, secular and compulsory’ system (Barcan, 1980, p. 139).

The Christian church in Australia is addicted to procuring government funds.  Think of the funds being given to the Salvation Army, Baptist Care, Catholic Care, Frontier Services, Anglicare, etc.  Government money for the Lord’s work.  Try preaching the gospel to the recipients of the welfare distributed through these organizations – challenge the recipients with the crown rights of Jesus Christ the Lord and King – and see what response comes from the funding source: “Shut up, or the funds will dry up.”  In the early days of these organisations, when the money came from the church’s tithes and offerings, listening to the gospel was often a condition for receiving the welfare distribution – in many cases it was failing to obey the gospel which got people into trouble in the first place.

Well done, those Christian families who have fully owned their responsibility to educate their own children, by bringing them home and giving them a home-based education.  Well done to those families who have paid the financial cost of educating from home.  I applaud your efforts.  And may the Triune God reward you abundantly for your faithfulness to Him.

* Dunphy, J. (1983). A Religion for a New Age. The Humanist, Jan-Feb.; Potter, C. F. (1930). Humanism a New Religion. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.

References

Barcan, A. (1980). A History of Australian Education. Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press.

Dunphy, J. (1983). A Religion for a New Age. The Humanist, Jan-Feb

North, G. (1982). The Intellectual Schizophrenia of the New Christian Right, Symposium on The Failure of the American Baptist Culture.  U.S.A.: Geneva Divinity School, Christianity and Civilization Vol. 1.  Editors Jordan, J. B. and North, G.

Potter, C. F. (1930). Humanism a New Religion. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.

Advertisements
Standard
Education and the Marketplace, Education and the State

Privately contracted education collectives: home-based education moving out into the community

In 1982, Peter Frogley of Light Educational Ministries, wrote:

(In the beginning) in … Christian, and many other cultures, parents educated their own children.  When children came to an area of learning where parents’ expertise was inadequate, the parents called in the necessary expert.  It became clear that parents were often not equipped to adequately educate their children and that personalized tuition was too expensive for many.  Resultantly, local parents banded together, hired a teacher and established a school.  They saw this as their responsibility to their children.  No one but the parents and their chosen teachers were involved. … This system of education produced some of the best levels of literacy every known.  Essentially, this was the common method of education in earlier years in the United States of America; where the local school house was the educational centre (Frogley, 1982, p. 4).

In my PhD dissertation (Box, 2014, pp. 126-129) I argued that there is a role for privately funded educational collectives to exist.  There is a role for dedicated teachers to trade their knowledge and skills on the open, educational market.  Such teachers will be regulated by the market.  However, such teachers do not necessarily have to have state-certified qualifications, and there is no intrinsic requirement for state-mandated curriculum.

Many such collectives exist in the United States of America, and some of the them are called Co-operatives.  In the context of this article, the key issues surrounding Co-operatives are:

1.   They are private contractual arrangements

2.   There is no compulsion, and so parents can quickly withdraw their children if the arrangement does not unfold as originally conceived

3.   They do not require dedicated real estate, and can exist for the period of time that the demographics suit local educational need; and then be dissolved when the demographics shift – rented facilities would make sense, rather than expensive, purpose-built buildings.

This is not to suggest that such collectives replace parental responsibility for their children’s education.  As Frogley pointed out, “no one but the parents and their chosen teachers were involved.”  From the perspective of God’s revelation, parents will always be the ultimate authority in regards to the education of children.  It is parents who will stand before the Great White Throne on the day of resurrection, and give an account.  The church has a role in training teachers and parents concerning their educational duties before God, and the state has a role to ensure just weights and measures are being used in the private contractual arrangements conducted in the market place.

In his article, Frogley goes on to argue that:

Governments have not only built an educational bureaucracy, but have now legislated to control all teachers and all schools.  This is surely an intolerable situation for Christians! (Frogley, 1982, p. 5).

But is it?  What percentage of Christian families continue to send their children to state-funded schools?  State funding brings with it state control at every level of the educational process – even in private schools (which used to be called ‘independent schools’, because they truly were independent of the state’s control).  This is manifest in the number of formerly Christian schools that have recently embraced the Safe Schools Coalition Australia initiative (SSCA, 2014),(in the guise of bullying prevention, but actually affirmatively promoting the LGBT agenda).  In the words of Frogley, “we have created an enormous ‘white elephant’ called state education, which … should not exist” (Frogley, 1982, p. 5).

Home-based education remains the primary platform for the education of children.  However, there is a place for private education contracts beyond the home.  These could include small classes, or even more comprehensive courses.  However, the most important point is that parents maintain the control, and the state has a very minor role in the greater scheme of things.

References

Box, L. A. (2014). A Proposal to Deschool then Unschool Australian Biblical Christian Education. Thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the School of Christian Education, The New Geneva Christian Leadership Academy. Appomattox, Virginia, U.S.A.

Frogley, P. (1982). Regulation Part V Should there be State Education? Light of Life. Vol. 3, No. 5., pp. 4-6.  Booleroo Centre, SA: Light Educational Ministries

Safe Schools Coalition Australia [SSCA]. (2014). The Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) web site. http://www.fya.org.au/inside-fya/initiatives/safe-schools-coalition-australia  Accessed: 18/10/2014 14:03

Standard
Education, Education and the Family, Education and the Marketplace, Education and the State, Home-Based Education

Home-based education, entrepreurship and the Old Age Pension

At a workshop that I attended, which was conducted to develop Financial Literacy curriculum for Australian schools, Paul Clitheroe made the following comment:

We are living in a time unprecedented in history, where it is so easy to spend far more than we earn.  This has not been the case in most of history.  This also includes spending beyond our earning years.  The Old Age Pension commenced in 1908, and was designed to be paid to those who lived up to 2 years beyond their life expectancy.  Most men did not live beyond the age of 60, at that time.  Over the past one hundred years, life expectancy has increased by 25 years.  This means that the government-promise of supporting some people for a maximum of two years after they have finished being financially productive, has now ballooned out to a promise to support most people for up to 25 years after they have stopped being tax-payers.  This situation is totally unsustainable.  Eventually the pension age will have to be pushed out to age 90 because there will not be the capacity to pay pensions in the future (Clitheroe, 9th August, 2012).

This is not fear-mongering, it is economic fact.  No amount of claiming rights will change the facts.  Growing numbers of non-working tax recipients will eventually outnumber a shrinking pool of tax payers.  At the cross-over, tax payers will have to pay 100%  of their earnings to support the non tax payers, and after that, … ?  Succeeding Governments did not save the tax money paid by workers over their working lives.  They spent the money on other projects.  There is a shrinking taxation base, because more and more Australians are either being aborted before birth, marrying later and later (and therefore having less and less children per married couple), or entering relationships that are sterile (LGBT relationships).  Receiving a pension is not a right, it never has been, and never can be.  It was always a ponzi scheme*.

Home-based education must include entrepreneurship and economic independence.  Dependence upon others to provide a job is a risky business.  Maintaining a good relationship with your children is also a critical part of home-based education.  It may literally mean life or death, when governments are looking for ways to solve the problem of a logarithmically increasing number of non-working pension recipients.

References

https://www.google.com.au/?gws_rd=ssl#q=ponzi+scheme+definition Accessed: Thu 16/10/2014 18:32

* Ponzi schemeˈpɒnzi/noun
noun: Ponzi scheme; plural noun: Ponzi schemes
  1. a form of fraud in which belief in the success of a non-existent enterprise is fostered by the payment of quick returns to the first investors from money invested by later investors.
    “a classic Ponzi scheme built on treachery and lies”
Standard
Education and the Marketplace, Education and the State

The State and Free Market Education

The following has been lifted from my PhD dissertation, and slightly edited for this blog site.  I continue to give thought to some of my earlier ideas, and welcome feedback as I continue to refine them.

Amongst some circles there is often talk about a free market. However, God’s Law acknowledges the fact of original sin. Therefore, the market place cannot be totally free and self-regulating. For instance, governments are required by God to impose standards of weights and measures (Leviticus 19:35-36). This is not to hinder free trade, but to ensure that there is integrity in free transactions in the market place. Money should not be controlled by the State. However, the weights and measures that are used to establish fair market amounts of those commodities being used as money must be determined by a body that has the capacity to administer general sanctions when false weights and measures are being used. This cannot be performed by the family, because the family cannot administer sanctions outside its own sphere. This cannot be performed by the church, because the church is to be a minister of God’s grace and mercy, principally. The state, on the other hand, is given general sanctions, such as enforced restitution, enforced temporary slavery, public corporal discipline, confinement to a specific location and capital punishment (Rushdoony, 1973, p. 228). The state, under God, has sufficient power and authority to deter widespread criminality in the market place.

At the same time, it is to the state’s best advantage to allow relatively free trade in the market place. Free trade enables wealth accumulation. Wealthy families in the market place are able to create employment, provide housing, minister social welfare, and so on, thus strengthening the society and the jurisdiction of the state.

This has direct and significant bearing upon the delivery of education.  Education should be a free market commodity.  It is not a jurisdiction of the state.  Statist intervention into education is a relatively modern phenomenon (except for the ancient Spartan experiment).  Under statist control, education becomes a tool for collectivist indoctrination–echoes of the mantra that schools are for socialisation, i.e. convenient places to indoctrinate in the tenets of socialism.  But education should be a means of raising godly seed, to serve the Triune God, not as a way of creating generations of slaves to the state.

References

Rushdoony, R. J. (1973). The Institutes of Biblical Law. Phillipsburg, New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company.

Standard
Education, Education and the Marketplace

Market-Driven Education: The role of private enterprise in education

The following has been lifted from my PhD dissertation, and slightly edited for this blog site.  I continue to give thought to some of my earlier ideas, and welcome feedback as I continue to refine them.

Question 141. of the The Larger (Westminster) Catechism asks, “What are the duties required in the eighth commandment?” The given answer is, ‘Thou shalt not steal!’ Many of the duties relate to the acquisition of private property through the diligent conducting of legal and legitimate business in the market place:

  1. The duties required in the eighth commandment are, truth, faithfulness, and justice in contracts and commerce between man and man; rendering to every one (sic.) his due; restitution of goods unlawfully detained from the right owners thereof; giving and lending freely, according to our abilities, and the necessities of others; moderation of our judgments, wills, and affections concerning worldly goods; a provident care and study to get, keep, use, and dispose these things which are necessary and convenient for the sustentation of our nature, and suitable to our condition; a lawful calling, and diligence in it; frugality; avoiding unnecessary law-suits, and suretiship, or other like engagements; and an endeavour by all just and lawful means, to procure, preserve, and further the wealth and outward estate of others, as well as our own (Wilkinson, 1976 [1646], pp. 225-227).

Jesus spoke much about the importance of conducting business in a godly way, and soundly condemned laziness, indolence and improvidence:

He also who had received the one talent[1] came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You know that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 25:24-30).

A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas[2], and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come[3]’. But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business. … Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief[4]; for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap where you did not sow. He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest: And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’ ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me’” (Luke 19:12-27).

The Apostle Paul also spoke of the importance of godly labour as a Christian man’s duty, and the evils of idleness and dependence upon others for sustenance, when a man is able-bodied:

Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother (II Thessalonians 3:6-15).

Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs (mind your own business, KJV), and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one (I Thessalonians 4:9-12).

It is legitimate to offer one’s skills and knowledge for sale in the marketplace, along with one’s labour. Therefore, most people under God should be paid for passing on their knowledge and skills to others in a fair market contractual arrangement. In this sense, education is a free-market commodity. If there is a demand for a specific skill, and/or element of knowledge, then those who have legally and legitimately acquired or created such should, in turn, have the right to pass such skill, and/or knowledge, on to others for a negotiated and agreed upon price. This is a free market decision, and should not be regulated by governments, [other than governments do have an obligation to ensure that the weights and measures that are being used in the market place are accurate (Leviticus 19:36[5])[6]]. In this context, many people have the opportunity to be teachers, and most people have the opportunity to be students.

The market place will set its own value on skills and knowledge. Those who are enterprising, entrepreneurial, and enthusiastic will do well. Those who are lazy, sloppy and/or dull-witted will not do so well. However, hunger will spur such on to do better (Proverbs 19:15[7]).

[1] Quite contrary to the insistence by some Bible teachers, that this refers to abilities that God has gifted us with (our talents), a talent is a unit of monetary reckoning equivalent to 75 pounds or 34 kilograms (Dennis et. al., 2001, p. 2751).

[2] A minas was about three months’ wages for a labourer (Dennis et. al., 2001, p. 1997).

[3] Despite the insistence by pietists that engaging in business affairs is unspiritual, here Jesus is insisting that engaging in business is a normal part of the spiritual life; spiritual life is real, practical, and anchored to concerns of this world, as well as it is in heaven.

[4] Strongs Concordance, Gk 4676: sŏudariŏn; a sudarium (sweat-cloth), i.e. towel (for wiping the perspiration from the face, or binding the face of a corpse). The man’s sin was that he ‘retired’, as indicated by the fact that the mina was buried in his sweat cloth, a cloth used to wipe the sweat from his brow when working. Retirement is like embracing death. Godly men never retire, they continue their labours for the Lord until He calls them home; they do not excuse themselves from the Lord’s work.

[5] Leviticus 19:36 “You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin: I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt.”

[6] Gary North, commenting on this verse, writes: “The State is required by God to enforce His standards. The free market social order – a development that has its origins in the twin doctrines of personal responsibility and self-government – requires civil government as a legitimate court of appeal. But the bulk of law enforcement has to be individual: “Every man his own policeman.” No other concept of law enforcement will suffice if a society is not to become a society of informants and secret police. Secondarily, law enforcement must be associative: market competition. Buyers and sellers determine the degree of acceptable fluctuation around agreed-upon standards. Only in the third stage is law enforcement to become civil. Here, the standards are to be much more precise, much more rigid, and much more predictable. Representative cases – legal precedents – are to become guidelines for self-government and voluntary associative government” (North, 1994, pp. 321-322).

Rushdoony (2005) writes: “We show our reverence for the triune God in the way we treat our elders, all strangers or foreigners, and all men with whom we have commercial transactions or monetary dealings (p. 249).

[7] Proverbs 19:15 “Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger.”

References

North, G. (1994). Leviticus: An Economic Commentary. Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics.

Rushdoony, R. J. (2005). Leviticus (Vol. III). Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books.

Wilkinson, H. et al. (1976 [1646]). The Confession of Faith The Larger and Shorter Catechisms with the Scripture Proofs at Large Together with the Sum of Saving Knowledge (Contained in the Holy Scriptures, and Held Forth in the Said Confession and Catechisms,) and Practical Use Thereof; Covenants, National and Solemn League; Acknowledgement of Sins, and Engagement to Duties; Directories for Publick and Family Worship; Form of Church Government, etc. of Publick Authority in the Church of Scotland; with Acts of Assembly and Parliament, Relative to, and Approbative of, the Same; with the Special Words of the Proof-Passages Printed in Italic Type. Inverness, Scotland: The Publications Committee of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland.

Standard
Aboriginal Education, Accelerated Christian Education (ACE), Denominational Christian Schools, deschooling, Discipleship, Education, Education and Culture-making, Education and the Church, Education and the Family, Education and the Marketplace, Education and the State, Education Delivery Programs, Funding, Hebrew Pedagogies, Home Schools, Home-Based Education, Indigenous Education, Indigenous Pedagogies, Ivan Illich, Life Learning, Natural Learning, Schooling, Schools, Socialization, State Schools, Teaching, Tertiary Education, Themelic Christian Schools, Unschooling

God doesn’t want you to send your children to school: He wants them to have an education

After climbing to the top of the academic tree of education by earning a Diploma of Teaching (Primary), Bachelor of Education, Master of Education (School Leadership), Doctor of Philosophy (Christian Education) and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment [mostly self-funded], and working for about 30 years at all levels of school from Preschool to adult education, I have come to realise that the deficiencies in educational outcomes for children in the western world are because of schools and schooling. Schools and schooling have always been the problem.

Book_Cover

My new book is now available from Amazon.

Education and Schooling are not synonymous. A proper education does not require children to be sentenced to twelve years locked away in a total institution as if they were criminals, mentally insane, enlisted in the military or part of a religious cult.

The state has no mandate, at all, to be involved in education. Education is the proper sphere of the family, with support from the church, and assistance from free-market tutors and other community custodians of skills and knowledge.

True education should be delivered through unschooling, with a discipleship emphasis. Ivan Illich explored the idea in the 1970s, and the Triune God of the Bible emphatically agrees.  You can get this book from Amazon.

Some time ago, now, I walked away from working in a school as a school administrator. I am on the road to deschooling, but am conscious that there is much more of the road that needs to be traveled.

The focus of my research is around Biblical Christian deschooling/unschooling.  Over time I will be triangulating the things that I have found in the literature, with interviews conducted with families that are actually unschooling, and comparing the results with the development of my own thoughts over 30 years, as recorded in my personal journals.

I look forward to the day when home-based education is the norm, not just a curious anomaly.  Those who would like to read my book, you can get a copy from Amazon.

Lance_Spending_Planner

The dissertation for my post-graduate doctoral degree is located here: Dissertation found at this location .

Standard