I made the enlightening mistake of spending one morning on the trending hashtag “#ExposeChristianSchools”. The hashtag discussed the personal experiences and the nature of (mostly) evangelical K12 education across the United States...
It was an illuminating discussion on how US history, civic responsibility, (sex ed) and the purpose of our democracy is being taught to large numbers of kids across the country. Besides the fact that there are a ton of separation of church and state violations in ideology and practice (thanks to Betsy Devos), in some states it seems like America has a ginormous uphill battle.
Why should any of us care?
The #ExposeChristianSchools hashtag started in backlash to comments made by Mike Pence about criticism of Christian schooling. What I am most interested in was a thread from 2017 about Stonewall Jackson that was linked to the discussion about the nature of Christian school education and the willful negation of facts about our country that common citizens take for granted... Kathryn Brightbill begins the thread by sharing her experience learning from Bible textbook publishers- Bob Jones University Press and Abeka .
BJUP and Abeka are seen as the leading publisher for Christian and homeschool curriculum, providing education and resources to thousands students across the country.
Two tweets that stand out:
What responsibility do K12 schools have to ensuring that students are prepared for reality when they leave?
The questions posed on the trending hashtag were seen as an intolerant attack on Christian values and morals. But if the people making these statements are products of these schools, are they an attack, a criticism, or an opportunity to connect on a shared experience? Measures and legislation to keep these schools open and funded is deliberate and fuels a particular agenda, but many students leave feeling ill-equipped to function in our democracy and in the world at large. What responsibility do schools have to ensuring that students are prepared for reality when they leave?
If a house divided cannot stand, we are at a critical tipping point. There is a movement and an entire couple generations of people who have attended these schools, believe in their version of America, and are taking action to upend progress. If a group of people are raised on the ideas that non-violence is treason, slavery was migration, and the Confederates were correct, how can we question the rise of “Trump” America. How can we wonder how our fellow citizens can harbor such radically different and wrong ideas about the United States.
Read Kathryn’s thread. If it’s triggering... you’re right, but still read on.
On a more positive note: I’m somewhat relieved that the direction our country is headed in is in part because of educational indoctrination and a little less about human nature... so there’s still hope.
So what do you think about all of this? Share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter using the hashtag: #LetsK12Better
I'm a former teacher and former college athlete, currently working to make life more equitable for all people. My mission is to get parents to partner with their child's teacher.