This is a topic that has long been on my heart, and has been prominent in my thoughts. First, a little background ... I come from a family of teachers. My father and his siblings were all teachers. My cousin and my sister are teachers. My brother-in-law has had a long career in teaching and being a principal. My father served on our local School Board, years after he left the teaching profession, because he believed in the importance of a good education, and in serving the desires of the parents in their children's education.
Having come from that background, I have always been interested in the quality of education, what is being taught, and the level of knowledge being attained by students in our nation. As I've gotten older, I have also become aware of the history of education, and how it can become a weapon of indoctrination in the hands of despotic men. At this point, I want to make it clear that this is not meant to be a political post, but rather my own worldview -- both secular and Biblical -- about how education is an important influence in the culture of a people, and should therefore be safeguarded as a virtuous pursuit.
We can go all the way back to the Garden of Eden to see how important the pursuit of knowledge is to God. He created a Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and warned our forefather, Adam, to refrain from eating the fruit of that specific tree. The Bible tells us that Satan was already in the Garden and Scripture tells us he was crafty [subtle, and skilled in deceit]. God knew that once Adam ate of that fruit, he would became conscious of a choice between good and evil and would be tempted to disobey this commandment, leading to his ultimate doom. We all know the consequences of Adam and Eve's choice... Knowledge of Evil was released on the earth. And the foundational definition of "knowledge" is this: facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.
Now we see that experience and education leads to knowledge. So, it stands to reason that the facts and the information we receive are important factors in how we are educated, as well as the substance and purpose of the education we receive. From the beginning of time, education, knowledge, and wisdom have been appreciated and sought after. The Bible recognizes that knowledge [coming from education and training] is important. But sadly, it can be subject to corruption. Paul exhorts Timothy regarding this very possibility: O, Timothy, guard and keep safe the deposit [of godly truth] entrusted to you, turn away from worldly and godless chatter [with its profane, empty words], and the contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge” -- which some have professed and by doing so have erred (missed the mark) and strayed from the faith (1 Timothy 6:20-21).
It's apparent in today's world that having knowledge is simply not enough. There are countless people in the spheres of higher education, the media, science, and social philosophy who bear titles that allude to their possession of knowledge. But do they have Wisdom? Man can gain knowledge through his own efforts. But Wisdom comes from God alone. And when you receive Wisdom from God, you receive knowledge of His Truth, understand His Truth, and know how to apply His Truth. There is no greater example of the difference between having Knowledge alone, and having Knowledge plus Wisdom, than the story of Moses.
Moses was raised as a son in the royal household of the King of Egypt. Along with his step-brothers, he would have been given a classical Egyptian education; taught reading, writing, mathematics, medicine, geography, history, music, and science. The brothers were all taught the same, yet only Moses received Wisdom from God and went on to lead God's people out of slavery and bondage and into the hope of freedom in a promised land. As simple as it may sound, Wisdom is a necessary component to receiving Godly knowledge in any education system, and it can have profound effects on entire peoples, cultures, and nations.
Which brings me [finally] to a good hard, look at our own education system. I can only imagine what God must think when He contemplates how far Wisdom has been removed from our education system, and what serves as Knowledge in our classrooms. There is not only concern regarding what is being taught, but what has been removed. In researching the classical education of children in colonial America, I discovered that the typical education of the time began at about age eight. Students who went to school were required to learn Latin and Greek
grammar and to read the Roman historians Tacitus and Livy, the Greek
historians Herodotus and Thucydides, and to translate the Latin poetry
of Virgil and Horace. A formal education also stressed the seven liberal
arts: grammar, logic, and rhetoric, as well as arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music. And, of course, the Bible.
Students were encouraged to debate ancient philosophies, and enjoyed the freedom to question dogmas in the pursuit of truth. For those who had little formal education (such as our first President George Washington), the personal study of classical thinkers was commonplace, as was a classical influence from the pulpits of Cotton Mather and Jonathan Edwards. In other words, intellectual curiosity and the pursuit of knowledge, infused with Wisdom from God and the Bible, was a guiding force in the founding and governing of this nation from the beginning. Benjamin Franklin said, "The Bible is the foundation of all education and development", and "The greatest education is the knowledge of God".
Virtue [showing and enacting high moral standards] was valued in our education system. Today, I fear that virtue has been replaced with what has become known as "virtue signaling", defined as showing support for a socially acceptable moral cause without actually doing anything to advance it; a false show of self-righteous behavior; placing more importance on the appearance of moral correctness, than acting morally.
Instead of the Biblical character of empathy (the ability to understand and share the feelings of others), our children are now taught identity politics; it's all about me, which is the opposite of empathy. And just 60 years after Martin Luther King, Jr. shared his dream of a just nation, we find that we are still judged by the color of our skin, and not the content of our character.
We may point out that our educational system began failing when God and prayer were removed from our schools by the Supreme Court in 1962. But the Enemy of God began invasively planting seeds of division long before that. At the turn of the 20th Century, our schools began to be infiltrated by Social Reconstructionists who believed that a
society could be reconstructed through the complete control of education. The objective was to change society to conform to the basic ideals of the political party or government in power or to create a utopian society through education. The result has been an increase in the transference of educational authority from the States to the Federal government. In addition, School Boards have become increasingly accountable to social and political causes and groups, rather than to parents who rightly hold them responsible for the education of their children.
We have recently seen this growing national conflict between School Boards and parents in Loudoun County, Virginia. And I recently watched a live forum on Education in which educators, parents, and policy experts voiced their concerns over the manipulation and indoctrination of students in specific sociological and political ideology. Both parents and teachers voiced the harassment they have endured when they dared to question School Boards about their children's education. It was disturbing to hear how far our Educational system has veered from the standards and goals of a Godly education.
But perhaps the most alarming, yet hopeful, testimony came from a Loudoun County school teacher. She said she found herself cleaning out a classroom [before being moved to a new location] and she cried out to God, saying she was tired of fighting the system and didn't know how much longer she could continue teaching. She lamented how far we've fallen from presenting our children with a fair, true, equitable education that subscribes to Godly principles, and she repented for having failed the children. She admitted she was afraid to fight back against the School Board, having seen the personal attacks that came with that stance. And she told God she was sorry the American people had allowed Him to be removed from the classroom, but she wasn't sure how she could make a difference.
As she reached for the last book on the bookshelf, she saw that it was the Holy Bible. When she opened the flyleaf, it read, "Gifted to the Loudoun County Senior Class of 1955." And she heard the Lord say, "I did not leave. I survived the Supreme Court ban of 1962. I have not abandoned this school, and I have put you in this place for this time to represent Me in this battle for our schools". That teacher said she is no longer afraid to speak up and has joined with other concerned teachers and parents to take back the schools in Loudon County, Virginia. Indeed, that is the goal of the new governor of Virginia, Glenn Youngkin, and his amazing Lt. Governor, Winsome Sears.
I know that this post will have no great consequence in bringing the Mountain of Education under the influence of the Kingdom of God. But I just wanted to remind us all that we have a rich heritage of the pursuit of Knowledge and Godly Wisdom in this nation. It is well worth resurrecting and inviting the Creator of all knowledge to once again be the guiding Light of teaching and instruction for our generations. The road we have been going down has only served to divide us, which pleases God's enemies. Let us join together to preserve the minds and futures of our children. They are our hope. How they are educated will determine if this nation survives in freedom, or descends into oblivion.
Proverbs 4:13 Take hold of instruction; [actively seek it, grip it firmly and] do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life.