Class Warfare

Perhaps we have become used to the serious problems that plague our nation's schools. Are we not accustomed to hearing about the rampant drug use and the proliferation of teenage pregnancies among our school-age youth? Such problems are ever-present stains in the modern fabric of school culture. Does it take the horror of a campus shooting for us to take notice of vices in the academy?

Student-initiated violence, drug use and related problems must be dealt with in a serious manner. But we should not allow campus incidents, whether outside the walls or in the halls, to distract us from the business of the classroom. The concern over matters of curricula extend far beyond the effectiveness with which the basic subjects are taught. The influence of radical secular ideas presents an ever-growing problem in academic institutions at every level. Given the stakes involved, we should not be surprised that the classroom is one of the premier battlefields of today's culture wars. This battle over the mind and soul of our youth, headlines notwithstanding, surpasses the significance of school violence.

  • Feature Article
  • I. Education: Culture Wars and Ideology
  • II. Education: Church and State
  • III. Education: Reform and Alternatives
  • IV. Education: Higher Education and Great Ideas

    Feature Article:

    Outcome Based Education
    Don Closson
    This article explains why many Christians have reacted negatively to OBE curricula. While the methodology may be neutral, the learner outcomes never are.

    I. Education: Culture Wars and Ideology

    Education and New Age Humanism
    Russ Wise
    An examination of the subtle, insidious ways humanism, relativism, and New Age thought have been introduced into American public education, from a Christian perspective.

    Culture Wars
    Don Closson
    Starting with a comparison of books by James Hunter and William Bennett on the current culture war, this essay asks some important questions for Christians to consider.

    Education Beyond the Classroom
    Jerry Solomon
    A significant portion of a child's education takes place beyond a formal classroom. Parents are encouraged to give attention to what their children hear, read, and see. The "curriculum" often includes naturalism, hedonism, syncretism, pragmatism, existentialism, and postmodernism. Sensitive parents will encourage their children to recognize these ideas and respond by thinking God's thoughts after Him.

    Don Closson
    Multiculturalism is a politically correct attempt to over-correct cultural bias by elevating all subcultures to equal status. It features the new tolerance, inclusivism, and a profound lack of discernment.

    Sex Education
    Kerby Anderson
    Addresses the issue of sex education. Also examines arguments for school-based health clinics and parental notification. Concludes with a biblical perspective on sex education.

    II. Education: Church and State

    Can Public Schools Be Religiously Neutral?
    Paul G. Kussrow and Loren Vannest
    The Supreme Court ordered that all religious activities be removed from the public schools (Engel v. Vatale, l962) and in subsequent years strengthened its decision through further restrictions. Has the Court been able to remove religion from the public schools or has only certain types of traditional (God based) religion been removed while non-God religions fill the vacuum?

    State Education and the Decline in Morality
    Paul A. Cleveland
    Developing the personal moral character of children is an essential prerequisite for the continuation of civilization. Further, education is an important component of that process since moral behavior requires empathy for others. Regrettably, state schools are wholly unsuited to this task.

    The Courts: Order in the Classroom
    Bruce C. Hafen and Jonathan O. Hafen
    Schools, with public support, can develop within our young people the intellectual values and skills the First Amendment was designed to protect. To do so, teachers have to intervene constructively in children's lives, and students must be protected against possible abuses.

    The Morality of the West: From Bad to Worse
    Ray Cotton
    A critique of the ethics being taught in our schools and how it has changed from bibically based values to the morality of political rationalism. The reasoning of moral relativism is destroying our society and corrupting the minds of our youth.

    III. Education: Reform and Alternatives

    Schooling Choices
    Don Closson
    Using the book Schooling Choices: An Examination of Private, Public and Home Education by Dr. Wayne House, this essay considers the arguments for each type of educational environment.

    School Choice, The Law, And The Constitution: A Primer For Parents And Reformers
    Clint Bolick
    A consideration of the legal and constiutional aspects for school choice alternatives.

    Teaching Christian Humanism
    Virgil Nemoianu
    Conservatives often denounce the many flaws of today's secularized curricula. Developing a positive alternative, however, is another matter entirely. The author ventures to do just this as he defines and advocates a curriculum of Christian humanism. He also provides the philosophical and historical basis for such a program.

    Reforming Education: A Whole New World
    Chester E. Finn, Jr.
    In the early 1980's, the "A Nation at Risk" study, produced by the National Commission on Excellence in Education, provided the standard for education reform: raise standards and improve quality. Recent studies have done more to call into question the actual paradigm behind public education itself, a model that has remained in place since the turn of the century. The author of this review essay considers several recent books that argue for a radical transformation of our educational system in terms of bringing about a paradigmatic shift.

    Virtuous Reality: Character-Building in the Information Age
    Jeb Bush and Brian Yablonski
    The Founding Fathers believed democracy depended on the virtue of its people. Today, however, we speak of values rather than virtues. Understanding the difference between the two enables us to better comprehend the nature of social problems and their solutions.

    Schooling for Virtue
    Charles L. Glenn & Joshua Glenn
    The authors review two books on the subject of morality in education.

    IV. Education: Higher Education and Great Ideas

    The Christian University: Eleven Theses
    Richard John Neuhaus
    Fr. Neuhaus establishes several general guidelines for defining the role of a university in providing a distinctly Christian form of higher education.

    When Worldviews Collide (Part One)
    Armand Nicholi
    A comparison of the thoughts and viewpoints of C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud. Dr. Armand Nicholi, who serves on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School, examines the worldviews of Lewis and Freud, and in particular their ideas concerning life, pain and death.

    When Worldviews Collide (Part Two)
    Armand Nicholi
    Armand Nicholi, Jr., M.D. concludes his anaylsis of the worldviews of Freud and Lewis by writing of their thoughts on death and life. Nicholi has done much original work in his research on their respective thoughts on such substantial topics. His knowledge helps Christians to reevaluate their own views on these important subjects.

    Idols of the Century
    James Nuechterlein
    Marx, Freud and Darwin fueled many of the intellectual movements of this century. The former two are no longer in vogue in today's university. Darwinism finds itself being challenged ever more frequently. With modernity no longer serving as a model for secular intellectuals, what is the status of its heir, postmodernity?

    The Closing of the American Heart
    Don Closson
    Using Ronald Nash's book as a starting point, this essay looks at the philosophical foundations of modern education in America and how they have contributed to low performance.

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