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Chapter Two

How to Start A Christian Daycare

Rev. Ellsworth E. McIntyre

Founder of Grace Community Schools & Early Childhood Education Pioneer

Chapter Two

The Price We’re Asked to Pay in Public Education

Public Education is Neither Noble Nor Free

Public, or more properly government education, is widely and mistakenly believed to be noble and free. In some parts of the Bible Belt, public schools once rivalled motherhood in veneration. To criticize public schools in Texas, for example, is to ask for a black eye. One would suppose that the same government that cannot be trusted to build roads or run a post office without scandal and waste becomes infallible when teaching the young. But the reality of declining literacy has lately crashed against this traditional mindset. This teacher wonders, “How long, O, Lord!” before some Christians cannot ignore the message?

Public education is expensive. Ninety percent of local property taxes is spent on declining, incompetent, unproductive schools. They are no bargain at any price. I know that we must pay taxes, but surely we do not have to use silly excuses like, “Well, our schools are not as bad as some others!” That others have lost more should not be a comfort. In economics, there is a doctrine called “value of opportunity.” If our money is not in the best place to earn more, then there is a cost. There is an old proverb, “You can’t dance with all the girls at once.” You must choose. Opportunity is limited. After all, your children have only one youth. After years have been wasted in a bad choice of schools, the lost opportunity cannot be recalled. Every school, whether it charges tuition or pretends to be as free as the public school, has a very high opportunity cost. Your child has only a few years of childhood.

What is the cost of producing a self-righteous, egotistical child who cannot read or be trusted to give correct change for a Big Mac? Such a failure is very expensive! America spends more per student than any other nation to produce a student more ignorant than every other nation in the First World. What is the remedy according to the National Education Association? “More money! Give us money for smaller classes and bigger salaries.” Neither remedy works.

Complaints Are Fuel to Spend More Tax Money

Who chooses impractical courses? Who decides year after failing year to retain a thoroughly discredited reading system? Who mindlessly decides to teach discredited modem math? Who decides to reward failure with promotion? Who refuses to pay teachers on the basis of merit? The parents? No, my friend, policies are not set by parents. Parents pay taxes to the govern­ment, and the government pays the teachers. The piper that calls the tune is the one who signs the checks. The parents’ money passes through too many hands. The government administrators choose the policies for political reasons. The politicians do not think in terms of improving results as much as they think in terms of spreading government jobs. The more people on the payroll, the more successful the politician. Complaints about the schools are actually welcome, because complaints create very splendid opportunities to add a layer of new administrators to install a “new program” that will, of course, require more money for more people. Public administrators are almost al­ways poor managers, but poor management is welcome. Why? Because inefficiencies are opportunities to hire new people to put in new programs to “make things better.”

In Government, Cooperation is Better than Efficiency

Not only are public school administrators, as a rule, poor managers, they are poor teachers as well. Why? Do you know which teacher is most likely to be promoted to principal? The coach... that’s right, the athletic director. I had two coaches as teachers in my public high school. One taught government; the other, health. Neither seemed to be able to prepare lessons, but both were very popular and likeable fellows. They smiled often. They liked and were liked by their associates. They could be counted on to propose no radical ideas such as merit pay for testable results. They were team men. They were able to play to enable their political bosses to win. In any political organiza­tion, cooperation is a great virtue. Promotion follows slavish obedience. Stand outside the graffiti-covered walls of the huge public school palace, and one can almost hear the back scratches and contented purrs of the contented bureaucrats. There is only one sound, however, that will be neither heard nor heeded in the government school—the voice of the parents.

Who Chooses the Curriculum?

The public classroom teacher may reason, “OK, the system is unresponsive, but when the classroom door swings shut, I can still teach what I want, can’t I? Even if my virtue will be neither noted nor rewarded, I will rise above it and gloriously teach!” Fully fired by such noble thoughts, the selfless educator picks up his curriculum, his books and materials. What does he find? A wide choice of textbooks? Sorry, such choices have been made from above. By what standard? Well, there is cost, always cost, and, of course, the paramount question is always, “Does this textbook offend anyone?” Politicians, ex-coaches, and failed teachers have put their collective heads together to guarantee that only the “approved” material enters the class­room.

Religious Ideas Are Taught—But...

The curriculum is certain to teach several bedrock human­istic, ideas. First, that there are no absolutes. Second, that there are no rules. Third, that every man is entitled to his own opinion of right and wrong. Fourth, that every man is as good as every other man. Fifth, that any man who believes some men are more gifted than others, or who believes that one kind of sex relation­ship is more moral than another, or that men and women are different, or that private property is superior to socialism, or that one religion is true and others false, is a bigot! Above all, every child must be taught to hate and evade being called a bigot. The child must be taught to make no judgments in science except on hard facts. In the science lab, he must ruthlessly judge only on what he can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. He must be able to reproduce the results, or they are not scientifically reliable, proven facts. However, in all social relationships concerning home, church, government, and business, no amount of demon­strated, reproducible evidence of hard facts must be permitted to sway his faith in the equality and brotherhood of man. Men, women, perverts, saints, sinners, criminals, and all shades and variations must be valued equally. When the student can value the criminal’s rights, the homosexual’s rights, the infidel’s rights, the failure’s rights as equal to or greater than his own, he is pronounced “educated.” If, however, he junks the tenets of the humanistic faith to recognize the obvious, that all people are not equal, he will be punished for blasphemy against the high gods of the public school.

Make no mistake: children should be taught that all men are equal under God’s law. That is to say, God respects no man’s person. God will punish sin according to His law. Instead of teaching Biblical equality, however, the public schools teach no law, no rules, no faith, no values, and will not teach these, I suppose, until there will be a freeze in a Southern region; but such a humanistic worldview does not change reality. God values men on the basis of His law-word and it is blasphemy to teach any other standard (See R. J. Rushdoony’s book, Institutes of Biblical Law, Vol. I).

The Lowest Common Level of Ignorance

Regrettably, the most idealistic, well-meaning teacher can never overcome the curriculum straight jacket and the pervasive anti-Christian religion of government schools, but suppose for the sake of argument that God’s law could be taught as binding for a successful life and that in economics and history, govern­ment could be judged on testable results, would the curriculum be acceptable? Hardly, for another crippling reason: the cur­riculum would still fall of its own weight. Textbooks have to be written to be sold in all fifty states. The text that survives the lowest common denominator lands in the classroom. No text­book can be used that reads above the national reading level (fifth grade and falling is the current level). The student, who learns from such a text, is sure to sink or tend to sink to the lowest standard of the lowest state. That is a standard too low for this teacher. What about you?

Income Level for Teachers

It has become a byword that teachers are underpaid, but to suppose that raising teachers’ salaries would automatically raise teacher performance requires humanistic faith in the face of scientific reality. People are rarely motivated primarily by money. Power, prestige, and recognition mean much more than money to most people. Most truck drivers make more money than school teachers, but which would most mothers prefer their children to be? Let’s suppose, for the sake of argument, that money could motivate most teachers. How are we to reward the best teachers? Remember, most teachers, with a great and unshakable faith, believe that all are equal in all respects. After all, they teach this daily in all that they do. They live by democratic majoritarian notions. If the government decides that one teacher has more value than another, what will happen to their ethical system? It would be a brave but foolish ex-coach/ administrator who dared to install such a merit system. Since the public political system punishes such bravery and rewards egalitarianism, you can be sure the public school will be invaded and captured from the outside before an unequal pay system can be installed from within. What passes as a substitute for merit pay are pay increases for completing graduate courses. Gradu­ate courses have no power to bestow or reward God-given teaching talent. Master’s degrees and doctorates are equally as powerless, as are four-year undergraduate degrees, to raise teacher performance. Pay raises for graduate study are very popular, because graduate study requires more government jobs, more money, and more power for politicians.

Sadly, throughout my lifetime of 61 years, the status of teachers has declined. The mala dictum, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach, and those who can’t teach, teach teach­ers how to teach,” has become painfully more true than ever before. I can still remember my shock when my English profes­sor at the University of Pittsburgh commented, “If a man can write, he doesn’t want or need a professor like me to teach him, because if a man can write, he doesn’t require a college degree to succeed.” The greatest of the creative geniuses, as a rule, do not hold teaching chairs; they are too busy doing.

The Task of the Teacher

The task of the teacher is to point out what talent achieves and to transmit an appreciation of skill or art to the non-gifted. We can learn to appreciate good music, but no amount of teaching can make everyone into a composer. Only God can make a composer. We can teach economics, but only God can make an entrepreneur. I do not belittle teaching. Teaching is my great joy. The good teacher is a gift of God no less than the composer or writer. If a teacher can open the eyes of our children to see, hear, and appreciate the good, the moral, and the beautiful, he has been successful. Let us not ask our teachers to pretend to be as gods, bestowing talent. Teachers, as a matter of fact, do not have to be doers. They merely need to stimulate, uncover, and discover the talent buried in the child. The teacher who can do this is endowed by God with a gift not to be despised. Unfortunately, many of my teachers not only could not stimu­late a child, but they hated and envied all who could. Instead of raising consciousness of beauty and talent, they taught that the great were mere mortals like us. My teachers taught us that we could each become like George Washington, Mozart, Mark Twain, or Andrew Carnegie. We were just as good, just as equal. Genius, they were fond of cooing, is 99 percent perspiration and 1 percent talent. Is it any wonder that suicide claims so many? How can a teacher who has the gift to teach going to gain recognition in such a system? All men are not equal except under God’s law. The gods of humanism, however, stalk the school halls, sniffing for anyone who believes in the law of God to put all such godly teachers into unemployment.

High Turnover in the Profession

Most newly certified teachers never stay long enough in the system to fully appreciate the ties that bind them to mediocrity. Teaching, for many women, is a brief stop on the road to marriage. Once she has married, then it is exit time for the woman. For a man, bound by matrimony, it is time to get serious about earning a living; consequently, it is also exit time for him. Those who stick to teaching come to accept their relative poverty compared to those of equal educational credentials as “honorable.” When they speak, one hears a familiar refrain. The career teacher says, “I could have left teaching, as you did, but I could not be happy doing anything else. I am just as talented as you are, but I have a great and tender heart. Teaching is my life, an imperative written into the biology of my being. I accept low esteem and a low salary. I genuinely hope you are happy not teaching and very, very guilty that you are not a saint as I am. You have renounced the faith in the basic goodness of mankind, and you will be rewarded by the devil with prestige, money, and power. However, I will have my integrity.”

The Retirement Dream

Our humanistic teaching paragon of integrity is not plan­ning to live totally on virtue, however; he has reserved a golden parachute called “the state retirement plan.” Since achieving my current financial success, my family has enjoyed five ocean cruise vacations. We thoroughly enjoyed a week or so of absolute luxury in those floating dream hotels. One of the astonishing discoveries I have made on these voyages is how few rich people I have met. No, not even one! Around the table of ten, I have chatted over dinner with my fellow travelers. To make conversation, I introduce myself. “Hi, I am Ellsworth McIntyre. This is my wife, Pat.” They answer with eyes, not rising from their plates, “I am Joe and this is Sarah.” Very seldom do they give their last names—I wonder why? To keep the conversation going, I will say, “Pat and I are school teachers. We own several private schools in Florida.” That usually breaks the ice. A volume of questions about me follows, but still no clue as to who they are and what they do. When I finally drag from them their names and occupations, I find usually retired local and federal government employees.

Apparently, the business successes do not often cruise. However, I am haunted by a horrible thought. What happens if the state retirement system fails? Do you know how many state retirement systems have failed in the history of the world? Tough question? Well, let’s put it this way. How many state pension systems have succeeded? You would be right, if you said, “NONE!” Oh, they spit out money for a while like a pyramid chain-letter scam, but they always fail! When the state retirement pipe dream bursts in the air (not if, but when), the virtue of the priest of the public school system will turn to ashes in his mouth. He who labors in the temple of the public school had better prepare for a poor old age. The winners are out there on the cruise ship now, but they are on the front end of the pyramid scheme. Which end will be yours?