There’s much debate going on about whether kids should return to school this fall. My position: of course they shouldn’t.

We know it’s dangerous.

We know they will be exposed to things that could do them irreparable harm.

Statistics show that we stand to lose over half of them – forever.

Of course, I’m not talking about the virus. Children are at risk of something far more dangerous in the form of godless worldviews. Peer pressure, antibiblical curricula, and the structure itself all drive our young people away from the faith at staggering rates.

In my experience, plenty of people acknowledge that but they usually include at least one of two caveats. First, they hold that their schools are better. Everywhere I go I hear that, even though everyone agrees that schools in general have become anti-God. If every local school is better, then where are the bad ideas actually being taught? As it is, we settle for too little. Christians are far too excited over hearing a prayer at a football game or a Bible verse mentioned in a school that otherwise bans God. A good school is one that declares Jesus as Lord and operates under that principle above all else. It’s safe to say almost every American would agree, “Our school isn’t like that” when we hold to that definition.

Second, they acknowledge a downward trend due to ideas like relativism and the embracing of all kinds of sexual deviancy, but believe it’s only happened in recent years and should be monitored. The fact is, this isn’t new. The truth isn’t that “schools have gotten bad recently” or “everything was ok until Common Core.” Sure, things have gotten worse and Common Core was a net negative. However, the truth is that the point of the system has always been to shape young minds to think as the state desires, regardless of how the parents think.

Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence said as much in the late 1700s: “Our schools of learning, by producing one general and uniform system of education, will render the mass of the people more homogeneous and thereby fit them more easily for uniform and peaceable government.”

Horace Mann, one of the godfathers of public education in America took that idea one step further just 50 years later: “We who are engaged in the sacred cause of education are entitled to look upon all parents as having given hostages to our cause.” In describing his plan to have professionally trained teachers in every schoolhouse, one of Mann’s colleagues said, “An institution for this purpose would become by its influence on society, and particularly on the young, an engine to sway the public sentiment, the public morals, and the public religion, more powerful than any other in the possession of government.”

Again, the idea that schools would be used to train children to think the way the government wants it to is not something that showed up in the last 20 years. It was literally the founding principle. With that in mind, two things become clear. First, it’s easy to see why we have such a high dropout rate, as young people walk away from the faith and embrace secular worldviews that they’ve been trained to defend. Second, biblical ideas like training up a child in the way he should go (Proverbs 22:6) and teaching your children when you rise up, lie down, etc. (Deuteronomy 6:7) are at odds with what the aims of modern education.

As you face the difficult choice about what to do this school year, spend plenty of time in prayer first of all. However, I hope you’ll also spend some time considering that maybe this is an open door to bringing your kids home and teach them from a Christian worldview. Maybe this is God giving us a chance to prevent mass dropouts in the next generation. Maybe this is His way of bringing our families back together and removing Christian kids from influences that push them toward embracing all kinds of sexual deviancy and eventually a rejection of Christ. It’s my prayer that you’ll consider those possibilities as you make your decision.

For further reading, grab a copy of my book on American education and check out our education archives here.