Education: what's a dad to do (7): public schooling is not fine

New Warhorn Media post by Tim Bayly:


Sorry you think of us who hate the anti-christ government school system to be idealogues and simple-minded. There’s a lot more I could say, but you make it clear you don’t want to talk to those kind of people.

I’m not impressed. If you have something to say, or an argument to make, then go for it. Otherwise, don’t.

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And I’m not impressed with insults. If you don’t like my statement then you can kick me off. I won’t compromise with evil insults. They aren’t Christian, and it only shows that he has no argument, just ad-hominem attacks.

So Lance, what makes you think I don’t want to talk to “those people?” I thought I was. Rebuking them is talking, or at least that’s what I intended. I’m used to people who are rebuked talking back to me and think that’s healthy.

Again, what makes you think I want to kick you off? Why do you accuse me of giving evil insults? Unchristian evil insults? What did I write that was ad-hominem? Why do you say I have no arguments?

Sir, like Joseph said, make your case, please. Love,

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Speak to any of the moderators like that again, and you will be asked to leave. My first comment was meant to be a warning with a gentle nudge toward the type of engagement that is possible in disagreement on this topic, as evidenced by @JosephSpurgeon here:

Learn from him.

Now here’s the actual quote you are objecting to as an “insult”:

So the case you need to make is that all government educations are precisely the same. Or you need to acknowledge that those who think so are simply being ideologues and simpleminded. Or some other option I can’t think of.


So be it, now I know what kind of forum you’re looking for and I’m not interested in being part of an echo chamber. I know you feel you have to defend another Bayly, but what he did was wrong, and you are only doubling down. Sorry that you guys don’t want to talk about this from a Christian perspective. Christ is my King and I won’t compromise him for acceptance in a forum.

Very well. That is your choice. If you ever change your mind and would like to engage in argument, we’d love to have you do so.

God bless.

Well, I’m just a young dad and I appreciate people applying biblical wisdom to the American school situation.

And with that said, I think Pastor Bayly’s are about the best words of wisdom out there. In my area (Tulsa), there are some really good Christian schools and some great home school co-ops. What I’m saying is that there are a lot of options here. But not all areas are like this. In my small home-town there was only a Christian School through the sixth grade and just a handful of homeschoolers. (They were trailblazers back in the eighties and nineties.) So public school was about the only option.

The thing is, my parents were always very involved in my education and would never have thought of leaving my religious education up the the schools or to once-a-week Sunday school. We ate together every night. We read God’s word together. We prayed together. We ministered together. Discipline was generally consistent and certain.

And I think those things are more important than school choice. School choice matters. It can really give a child a “leg up,” but without the father fulfilling his role in the home it is just wishful thinking. And sure, God works miracles in all kinds of homes and people (and every act of regeneration is a miracle) but that doesn’t excuse us from obeying his word.

Neither should education be split into scholastic and religious. We father’s need to recognize we are responsible for all of our children’s education even if we are not the primary administrator of every single bit if it.

Geeze, I hadn’t meant to write my own article :slight_smile: but I’ve got one more thing - a short story:

When we started our oldest son at his school we met with the headmaster. He asked me who I thought was responsible for my son’s education. I hesitated because I thought this was some kind of trick question. “I am.” I finally said. And that was his point. It’s not going to work to sign my son up for a Christian School and then turn off my discernment and responsibility. Fathering is a full time job, and I for one, love it.

Anyway, thanks for writing about education. It’s helpful to most of us.


Precisely.Also, what constitutes “government schools” varies greatly from place to place. In our town, it means (partly) classical education run by a Reformed Presbyterian headmaster. Which is why we have a couple of our grandchildren educated there.

Much more important.

Great story. Thanks for your encouragement.


To do a brief SOS style baggage check, I’m from a #neverpublicschool* family and church, but I’m deeply appreciating your articles’ focus and am trying to honestly work through them.

That said, something in post 5 seemed inconsistent and I’d like you to explain it to me. When you did your “specific suggestions,” you said for junior high school boys and girls “Not public school no matter what.” By high school age, you re-allowed it. Two questions on that:

  1. What changes occur between junior high and high school in boys/girls and/or the schools which moved public schooling from “no matter what” to sometimes?

  2. How is not allowing public school for junior high school not the simplistic/ideological stand you’re warning people against?

I know you prefaced the ranking with “in most situations with most children,” but what “percentage” of most children in most situations do we need to reach before we can generalize with the qualified statement “never”? It seems to me that this is essentially what most #neverpublicschoolers, such as myself, are trying to do. I.e. taking stands based on what is nearly always true. Thanks and God bless.

*Not quite as catchy as "#nevertrump:slight_smile:

When I write “no matter what,” I don’t really mean no matter what. Sorry. Hyperbole, so you’re right in calling me inconsistent. What I’m trying to get at is the relative greater vulnerability of junior high school students than high school students. Well-raised ones, that is. I would never allow my children to go to public junior high school but did allow them further afield in high school, even sending son Joseph to Indiana University for classes in high school. By the time children get to high school, they should be coming closer to independence and testing their wings is good in high school whereas in junior high school they don’t have wings.

So really, I’m trying to point out that what can be good and proper in elementary and high school would be unacceptable—completely unacceptable—to me in junior high. Junior high students are learning to obey their sex and incredibly vulnerable as they do so, and nowhere is our wicked culture more intent on subverting God’s order than sexuality.

Hope that helps explain myself better. Love,


Tim, in part 5 you recommended that high school girls should almost never go to public school, whereas your preference for boys was public school over homeschool. I understand your reasoning for the boys, but I’m curious about your reasons in the girls side. Don’t they need to start spreading their wings, too?

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My concern is with the boys who are homeschooled never getting out from under their mother’s control. Men become men by measuring themselves against men. Or other boys. Young women have their mother but young men don’t have their fathers. For forty hours a week like homeschooled daughters do. I think the really important thing is that dads do their best to get their sons out from under women no later than late junior high or early high school. Not out from under all women. Not out from under every woman. Not out from under their mother’s authority otherwise than homeschooling. I’m not against women. Rather, I’m in favor of young boys and men learning the huge part of their lives that is obeying their sexuality from men rather than women, whether their mother or cloying Christian school teachers (who fro sure are very well-meaning). So if that makes sense to you…



Pastor Bayly,

I am following your reasoning and agree as a whole with it - reluctant as I may be given my serious distaste with the public school system. However, given my experience, I am frankly having a hard time believing that there is such thing as a public school where a whole Christian world and life view is taught. I mention this not to push back but am genuinely curious as to what these schools actually looks like (i.e. curriculum, teachers, discipline, accountability, etc. etc.)

All that makes sense to me, but I guess my question was more about the “almost never” recommendation for public school for high school girls. What makes it “almost never” instead of just option 3?

We all have serious distaste for government education. Every last one of us. Those who don’t aren’t beginning to think with Christian discernment. Decisions are complex, though, and those who think they can remove public schooling from the options no matter the state or city and no matter which child is being educated are taking a shortcut that can burn them. I have a serious distaste for moralistic and hypocritical “Christian” schools, and in many cases I would choose to have my children in a medium to bad public school over a bad Christian school. Let me put it this way: I’d rather have a secularist public school teacher pushing my daughter into feminism than a classical Christian school teacher. So the question about a public school in which “a whole Christian world and life view is taught” is a non-starter for me because there is NO school anywhere that has a whole Christian world and life view. Every human institution is corrupted by the Fall, and this most decidedly includes you and your wife’s homeschool. Love,

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Pr. Tim,

All my kids are out of college now (another propaganda pest-hole, even when a student gets something useful out of it), but our heavenly Father has granted me the grace of having grandchildren who are teetering on the threshold of primary education. Some things have changed from their parents’ childhood days, others not so much.

Overall, I’d say the public schools are far worse than when my kids were in them. In fact, when my youngest graduated from high school, things were visibly turning rotten. She got out just in time. Consequently, I fear for my grandkids’ exposure to them.

However, I don’t take it as a given that so-called “Christian schools” are “safe.” If, for example, they use all the standardized textbooks the local public schools use . . well, is a Christian icing and daily chapel going to fix what’s in those textbook?

I can say the same about homeschooling curricula, though I don’t speak from personal experience (yet). I know my kids are concerned, and it appears they have a steep evaluation curve to climb on behalf of their kids.

Here’s a thing that’s not changed - the need for the parents, no matter how their kids are educated, to stay involved/engaged with their children as those kids are being educated. This means, for example, devoting dinner time to inquiring from the children a repetition in summary of what they are learning. “What did you learn in school today?” should be the question the kids expect to hear at every evening meal. If they expect this, it (perhaps) prompts them to have something to say in answer.

In this way, we were able to counter-teach what our children were hearing in the public classroom. In high school it got a bit more challenging, but we kept at it. When editing my daughters’ essays, book reports, and such, I learned how flatly wrong they were being taught about the craft of writing.

I don’t see that putting your kids in Christian schools should relieve parents of this duty - to monitor what their kids are learning, and to constructively “interfere” when it’s necessary to correct errors of fact, emphasis, or application.


Yes, and that’s always the true curriculum, which is why I have little patience for intense discussions of curriculum. The true and overwhelmingly imprinting curriculum is always the teacher, which is why children almost never rise above their father and/or mother. So absolutely agree with everything you say, as usual. Love,

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For many people, I think the issue of education choice comes down to what is the least bad option. Even in California, where I live, I think that sometimes the least bad option might be public school.

In my area there are two sorts of Christian schools. The first type has high tuition and is affordable only to high income families with 1-2 children. Even if my kids could go for free, I’m not sure I would send them because worldly success is a top priority among the parents. The second type has lower tuition and provides a spotty education to students, many of which are sent by parents hoping that the school will do the job of moral reformation. Again, I think a California public school might be preferable.

I homeschool my kids, but the longer I do it, the more I become aware of the pitfalls and exposed to occasional weirdness. As father, I decided on the curriculum and the overall approach and told my wife what subjects she would teach and what subjects I would teach. Of course I consulted with her, but it never occurred to me that she would be the primary mover and decision-maker regarding schooling. In fact, I did the majority of the teaching in the early years because my wife was busy with babies, and my kids viewed me rather than her as their teacher. As time went on, I came to discover how very unusual that was in the homeschooling community, and I routinely receive letters and emails from organizations and retailers assuming that I am a woman.

The absence of fathers in homeschooling strikes me as a great weakness of the movement, so I understand Pastor Bayly’s concern about homeschooling of high school boys, but as someone who intends to homeschool my boys all the way through, I would appreciate hearing any advice on that topic.