New Age in the Schools: Educators Respond to Parents
by Rick Branch
Every day Watchman Fellowship receives numerous letters and phone calls from parents asking what they can do to prevent their children from learning New Age philosophy in the local schools.
After WF provides documentation, rational reasons and sound tactics, the parents are often confronted with irrational responses from the educators.
Over the past few years, as Watchman Fellowship has produced materials and taught in hundreds of Churches on New Age in the Schools, many of these irrational responses from educators have been personally experienced by Watchman missionaries.
Last week a few pages of a Christian newsletter called the Indiana Education Quarterly arrived at WF's office. This group has done an outstanding job of summarizing some of the many irrational responses.
What follows is a partial reprint from that newsletter.
"We list for you typical responses to questions or objections brought before educators. Do any of them look familiar?
"1. Don't you trust me?"
"The Guilt Trip. Your involvement in your child's education has little to do with trust. If you did not trust the school or teacher your child would not be going to that school."
"When you leave your children with a baby sitter you show a great deal of trust. That doesn't mean you cannot leave instructions on what is to happen with your child in your absence."
"3. I am a professional".
"The `see my diploma' argument. There is a great difference between being `educated' and having `discernment.' No amount of schooling can better equip teachers to deal with your child than you can deal with your child.
"As the U.S. Department of Education clearly states, `Parents are a child's first and most important teachers.' Diplomas mean little in the parental involvement discussion.
"4. I am a Christian teacher".
"Righteous Indignation. A Christian teacher should understand the concepts of humility, accountability, parental authority, and cooperation."
They should also be willing to understand the theological dangers of teaching children non-Christian ideas. If they do not understand the theological differences between what they are teaching andChristianity, they should be willing, as Christians, to looks at the differences and the dangers.
"5. Those parents are religious fanatics, radicals, fundamentalists.
"Attacking the Messenger. This is a tactic often used to discredit a parent's concern. If you can't respond to the message, you attack the messenger."
"Parents who are concerned enough about their children to involve themselves in the school no more deserve to be labeled and generalized, than a teacher deserves to be labeled `left-wing, arrogant brain-washer."
"We struggle enough with name-calling on the playground. Address the issue not the personality."
"6. Some of the children need this program".
" Transferring the Need. If some student in the class need special attention, parents should be consulted about the best way to deal with that child's special needs."
"If one student in the class has cancer, you don't treat all the students with chemotherapy."
"7. I only use segments of the program."
"Editorial Control. If the segments used are good, then parents can shout, `Bravo! I appreciate your discernment. May I review your final product?'"
"8. We can't be censors!"
"Double Standard. Is your local school censoring material? Do you have Hustler magazine in your elementary school? Chances are very good that your school officials have determined that some items are appropriate for children and some items are not."
"You are helping teachers, administrators and school board members do their job in determining what community standards will allow.
"9. No one should put restrictions on what I teach in my classroom."
"Academic Freedom. Every freedom carries with it responsibility. Teachers have a responsibility to taxpayers and parents. They are public employees. The academic freedom argument implies that teachers should not be accountable."
Each and everyone of these responses have been experienced not only by this author, but also by every other WF missionary who speaks in Christian Churches or to groups of educators about the dangers of the New Age influence in the American school system.
This information was listed here in hope that when the next parent confronts the American Educational System, they will be better prepared for the irrational and fallacious arguments they will receive.