Virtual Voices

Education's Berlin Wall

Education

The following email exchange I had last week with a public school teacher (whose name and geographical location I'll keep anonymous for obvious reasons) demonstrates how the intersection of epistemology and law affects the instructor's professional life, higher education, student teachers, and students:

TEACHER: I am a social studies teacher at a public high school and I am very interested in attending your think tank's upcoming conference "America: Still the Last Best Hope" as a professional development opportunity. I'll need to submit information to my district, but I think it's wise not to offer the conference agenda on your website as the term "Christian scholarship" appears at the top and could cause the administration to deny my request. Do you have anything else I could use?

WISHING: Please see if this link works for you.

TEACHER: Looks perfect!

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WISHING: You were insightful in recognizing how the term "Christian scholarship" could hurt your chances of getting funded. I'm curious: What is your view on how the so-called "separation of church and state" affects the public education system?

TEACHER: While I sense most school districts would have a problem approving a conference advertising Christian scholarship, I am fortunate to teach in a rather conservative district where I am not quite as censored as I would be if I taught at my high school alma mater. I still believe, however, that phrase would have hindered my ability to attend as our superintendent is not quite as "old school" and would not want to appear the least bit bias.

As for the alleged "separation of church and state" in education, I see it starting in the universities and trickling down. Of all the student teachers I have met over my years here, whether in my classroom or another teacher's, I have not met one conservative. They are all very liberal in their political and economic beliefs and I gather that their ideologies are straight out of the university classroom. My great concern is that high school students in this country will be given nothing but a very liberal, and dare I say socialist, education that will influence their further education, their workplace, and their families. I do everything within my power in my classroom to combat this growing problem.

This exchange shows just a few of the ways that America's Berlin Wall-the legal system and bias banning Christian epistemology and thinking from public schools-affects teachers and their students.

This too is a wall that we must tear down.

Lee Wishing
Lee Wishing

Lee is the administrative director of The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College.

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