The current cost per student of public education in the United States is $11,392.00. That’s per student, per year. That seems to me to qualify as bad news, because that’s a lot of money per student. And without getting into details, do we believe that we are getting our money’s worth in terms of educated, well-informed young people able to think for themselves? Most of us do not believe that.
The state of Indiana, my home state (actually my country, since I have seceded from the United States, but please don’t tell anyone) does somewhat better in its spending than the national average. We spend $9,857.00 per student. That means we are 34th in spending per student. Only 16 states spend less per student that we do. Us Hoosiers are a bunch of Scrooges! Don’t we care about our kids?
Actually, we Hoosiers are just about like everyone else in the country. We want our neighbor to pay for most of the expense of educating our children. And we have not thought a lot about what would really be best for our kids. When a system has existed for many decades, and we are born into the system, we assume the system is the way things should be or have to be, and we just go along with the system. Especially since the system is set up to cause my neighbor to pay for my kids’ education. Hey, free education! Is this a great country or what?
The Christians are like everyone else. A Christian who removes his children from the public education system is a rare bird. We Christians like free stuff about as much as the next person. The Eighth Commandment (Exodus 20:15) means you don’t hold up a liquor store. It has nothing to do with not forcing our neighbors to pay for the education of our children. At least so we seem to think.
Children in public education don’t seem to be learning very well. Physical safety and sexual safety are problems. The worldview of the teachers is increasingly humanist and trite. Public education may be “free,” but it is not really free since it has to be paid for, and taxpayers pay for it. Our neighbors get stuck with much of the bill, but even the ones with kids in school have to pay taxes, so it is not as free as it seems.
So far all the news is bad. But now I want to try to find some good news.
Hoosiers are paying $9,857.00 per student per year. That is a lot of money. And the results are pretty grim, in terms of what that money buys.
The good news is that we could educate children privately for a small fraction of $9,857.00, with much benefit not only to our pocketbooks but also to our children.
The math is not all that difficult to understand. A committed Christian with a desire to help children learn–a person of normal intelligence and of good character–could probably easily take ten children under his wing for $3,000.00 per child, without undue strain. (Not paid by the state, of course–paid for by the parents of the children.) That would allow the teacher an income of $30,000.00 for nine months’ work. No fortune, but still a decent salary.
The cost is 30.4% as much as we are paying per child right now in the Hoosier state. The children would have a safer environment. There would be no bullying. Individual instruction would be right there for every one of the ten students. The teacher could help the kids learn to think God’s thoughts after Him, with nobody whining about separation of church and state.
Teachers in the public schools who no long have jobs would be freed to work at some other job–something where they will really be producing wealth that we all voluntarily would pay for. Some of them might even be good teachers as private individuals.
The good news is that such a world is within our reach.
Why do we put up with a world in which public education is expensive and brings disastrous consequences for many children? The disastrous consequences are many–physical, sexual, inability to read, add, subtract, multiply, and divide, inability to think in a Christian manner. Why do we put up with it?
We all, Christian and non-Christian, are a people with larceny in our hearts. We Christians give God 2.5% of our increase, whereas He requires a tithe (10%). (See emptytomb.org for statistics.) We want our neighbor to pay for the education of our children, when we have no moral right to demand that of him. However, God is the Supreme Ironist. He has declared that theft is a round game, and more than one can play. We want to rip off our neighbor, and as a result we get ripped off also. And at the same time our children suffer from our irresponsibility.
We don’t have to put up with the world that we were born into. We can learn, repent, adjust. We can work toward building a better world. We can probably start by saying, “You know, this is nutty. I am responsible for my children. I’m gonna pay for their education, and I’m gonna leave my neighbor alone.” To show we are serious, we can begin moving up from 2.5% giving toward 4%, 6%, and even up to the tithe (10%) He asks us to give to help Him build His kingdom on earth. When we no longer have larceny in our hearts, our ability to think clearly will be improved. “You can’t cheat an honest man,” as W. C. Fields said.
Our children don’t belong to the state. They belong to us, under the oversight and instructions of the God of the Bible. The bad news is we (both Christians and non-Christians) are a long way from understanding our responsibilities and acting on them. The good news is an attitude adjustment on our part will bring clarity of thought, and our path forward will become more clear as well.
Attitude adjustments don’t come to a mass of people. They come to individuals. That is how God has created the world. The bad part of that is that society as a whole may not want to move in a wise direction. The good part of that is that we don’t need to wait for society as a whole. One person can learn, repent, adjust, and in the process improve life for himself and his family. We don’t have to wait for mass man to act. We can just begin to do the right thing, and we can see what happens. I predict that what happens will be good, and will help our children.