Should Evangelicals Attend Public Schools? – With Dr. Everett Piper: Is public education really the best choice for our kids? What kind of results are they actually getting? What is school choice anyway? Tune in to learn the answers to these questions and more!
Air Date: 02/11/2020
Guest:Dr. Everett Piper
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Faith and the Culture
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture, this is WallBuilders Live. Like you wonder what WallBuilders means? That comes out of Scripture, Nehemiah, arise and rebuild the walls that we may no longer be a reproach. Yeah, if you don’t have those walls, you were destroyed as a nation. It was required for the strength of a nation. Same thing today, you got to have the right foundations, you got to have the right principles in place.
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My name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas legislator and America’s constitution coach and I am here with David Barton. He’s America’s premier historian and the founder of WallBuilders. Tim Barton is with us, he’s a national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders and all three of us are very grateful that you’re listening today.
Alright guys, later in the program, Dr. Everett Piper is going to be with us, one of our frequent guests on WallBuilders Live we love having on. Guys, you know, we Americans tend to be, we want the best. We take this American exceptionalism thing to the personal level. It’s not just a nation of excellence and exceptionalism, but individually, we tend to want the best of everything. Except when it comes to education, we don’t really care as long as our favorite football team is where our kid goes to school, who cares how good the education system is?
Consider the Ratings
Yeah, it really is amazing. I mean, Tim and I even recently, we were getting thermal scopes [inaudible 02:34] guns and we’d look at all the ratings and which one’s got the best rating for this, how does it do this? And looking at ratings on various types of ammunition to use. And what do they do, what kind of response are we getting? Looking at ratings on tools that we were adding to the barn. Everything is rating, so we want the best.
And I don’t think anyone in the United States will argue that when you look at all different forms of education in America that public schools are the best. Hands down, they are the worst. Hands down, they get the worst results. And we would never consider getting a car like that or anything else.
Actually, I beg to differ. I think some of the teachers unions would argue they’re the best.
Well, at what they do, which is taking kids and screwing up their knowledge.
Yeah, I don’t think many parents are going to make that arguments. I think some of those in the academic world might make that argument. But yeah, to your point, if now I mean, for us, when we were looking, for example, the thermal scope, it was a little different, because we had a price range we were looking at. So it was like, what’s the best in this price range?
The Lasting Impact of Education
We didn’t go to quite the military grade, because there were some that were like $20,000 and $30,000. And we thought, yeah, that’s more than my truck is, so I’m going to go ahead and hard pass on that one. But you’re right. When we look at things, especially education things, they’re going to have a much more significant longer lasting impact. Why would we not consider the value or the ratings of what we are doing?
And especially if we’re looking at our kids and their future, why would we not be thinking about what we’re pouring into them? And I’m not going to put them in a bad situation, bad rating, bad scenario, I’m looking the best for them. But we don’t often think of education the same way we do, we look at a vehicle, right, whether it’s new or use whatever it is, we’re going to look at whether it’s the Kelley Blue Book value or right, whatever the rating is, whatever this apps are, we’re checking out scrolling through, we look for the best. Except sometimes not always education, which is interesting.
Well, it is because the numbers really aren’t clear. And you’re right, those that within it will often try to defend it. But there’s very few things I buy that have a 19% failure rate. But with public schools right now, for the last 15 years, 19% of all kids who go to public schools come out unable to read at all. They’re 100% illiterate.
19% of High School Graduates Cannot Read
And I would point out that’s not a failure rate, in the sense of if you included those who are failing in general, right, because maybe you graduate because you’re trying like people who are graduating, 19% of high school students graduate who cannot read or write or functional iterate, what about those who graduate with a third grade reading level or fourth grade reading level, right? Because well, they still graduated.
I see, that’s where when you take international testing America over the last 20 years comes in at the absolute bottom or next at the bottom of all industrial nations and reading levels. Whereas we had been number one in the world in literacy, we fell to number 63 in the world in literacy. I mean, by any academic measurement of world standards, we’re the worst in the world on math and science and reading. And we keep putting more money into this and keep putting our kids into, we would never do that with a phone, we would never do that with a washing machine or anything else we buy. We would never take something rated that low.
With things that have much less significance value and weight in our life, we wouldn’t make that decision. And yet, when we look at something, again, as significant as the future for our children, we are putting them in situations that have a proven track record to not go well and it has failed so many hundreds of thousands and millions of students over the last decades and yet this is where modern education is. And even though you might have a lot of parents that are disgruntled and, right.
Get Your Kids Out
As we’re seeing this, we understand that there are some people in some very difficult situations and they recognize that the schools that their kids are in are terrible and they feel trapped, because what else can I do? And so we don’t mean to say this in any way to put shame or guilt on people, but we would encourage you if there’s any way possible to get your kids out of those scenarios, you need to get your kids out if you can, but we oftentimes just don’t recognize how rough the scenarios and situations are. But that’s why we have friends like Dr. Everett Piper to come to shed some light on some of this.
Dr. Pepper our special guest today. He’s been on many times in the past, used to be president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University in Oklahoma, really knows the education system, author some great books and we’re glad to have him back. Stay with us, we’ll be back in a moment on WallBuilders Live.
A Moment from American History
This is Tim Burton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. American patriot, Paul Revere wrote to learned Americans of the impending arrival of the British, but he also sought patriot leader Samuel… of the John Hancock to warn them that the British were seeking their execution. Adams and Hancock were staying with the Reverend Jonas Clark in Lexington. When they asked pastor Clark if his church was ready for the approaching British, he replied, I’ve trained them for this very hour, they will fight and if need be die under the shadow of the house of God.
Later that morning, 70 men from his church, they severed hundred British in the first battle of the war for independence. As Pastor Clark affirmed, the militia that morning were the same who filled the pews of the church meetinghouse on the Sunday morning before. The American church was regularly at the forefront of the fight for liberty. For more information on this pastor and other colonial patriots, go to wallbuilders.com
Welcome Dr. Everett Piper
Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us today on WallBuilders, our good friend Dr. Everett Piper back with us. Dr. Piper, always good to have you, brother. Appreciate your time today.
Oh, thank you for having me on. It’s always an honor.
Hey, so you’ve been a university president. You’ve written bestselling books on how the next generation needs to step up and it’s not a daycare anymore and all of those things. Let’s back up before the university in our elementary education. It looks like more and more people are fleeing the public schools and specifically in the evangelical community. Latest polling says 17% of evangelical teens aren’t in public schools. Wondering about your thoughts on that and in terms of just our American education system and whether that’s a good thing, bad thing, what’s the, you know, with parents that listen to our program, we’re going to try to cover the gambit here and look at it from a societal perspective overall, but then also get your advice to parents on best preparing their own kids and where to go for education?
So let’s start societally. Is this a good thing to have 70% of evangelicals not in public schools in the United States?
For those 17% of evangelical kids, yes, it’s a good thing because they will not be brainwashed by these indoctrination camps, these snowflake camps of rebellion where the kids are coddled and they’re not confronted and there’s no assumption of a biblical worldview or common sense or natural law, in fact, all of those ideas are disparaged by the teachers and the educational establishment.
But the Teachers Are Christians….
And some are listening and saying, oh, well, but I know good Christian teachers in the local public school and therefore Piper is wrong. I don’t dispute that. There’s some very good people that are trying to fight the good fight within the public school system.
But here’s my point, Rick, I am not going to impose my obligation for evangelism and for cultural engagement upon my 10 year old boy. I won’t do that. My obligation as an adult is to fight the good fight in culture as an informed educated Christian adult. I should not impose that vicariously upon my children. My job as a dad is to protect my boys. Pure and simple…
You’re speaking to, Dr. Piper, you’re speaking to those who would say, yeah, but we need our kids to be evangelist in the schools. I mean, literally saying that of their elementary aged kids who are outnumbered and lorded over by these teachers that make them feel stupid if their beliefs are wrong. Sorry, I just want to make sure people knew why you’re saying, hey, I’m not going to impose this on my 10 year old.
Passing on a Christian Worldview
Absolutely. You summarized it well. So is it good for those kids that are being pulled out of those schools? I would argue, yes, it’s good for them. Because they can be educated from the context of common sense natural law, self-evident truths that are endowed by our Creator, a constitutional republic rather than socialism, sexual responsibility and morality rather than sexual nihilism that biology is real and girls are facts and women aren’t leprechauns and unicorns, they’re actually real. All these things can be inculcated in your kids from a biblical worldview, but they won’t get any of that in the public schools because they’re going the exact opposite.
Case in point. I just wrote a tweet this morning about Joy Hofmeister, who is the republican elected to the state superintendency of Oklahoma, who is now imposing upon all K through 12 in Oklahoma, the SPLC Rainbow Agenda for gender neutral bathrooms and gender neutrality in the public schools. This is in Oklahoma, the reddest of red states. This from a republican elected official, the state school superintendent Joy Hofmeister is secretively making in to our educational program here, state-wide the Southern Poverty Law Center’s crazy, gender neutral agenda.
In the buckle of the Bible belt, in Oklahoma.
Are Red States Really Immune?
Absolutely. Absolutely. So you might think we’re safe in Texas and Oklahoma. No, you’re not. I think our obligation is to get our kids into an environment where they can learn what you guys teach at WallBuilders, where they can learn what the church believes in terms of a biblical worldview, where mom and dad’s values and mom and dad’s virtues are extolled rather than excoriated. This is our obligation as we teach our kids. And I’ve said it on your show before I’ll say it one more time and I’ll take a breath here.
When I was a PhD student in 40 at Michigan State University, I’m arguably a little bit more ornery, a little bit more determined, a little bit more informed and probably better educated than your average 18 year old. But even as a 40 year old doctoral student at Michigan State, there were often times where I felt intimidated, I felt tired. I just wanted to be quiet and get done with it. If I felt that way, then what in the world does your 18 year old kids feel like and what does your 8 year old kid feel like? If I felt intimidated, then don’t think your kids regardless of how well you’ve done, are going to weather the storm well.
Who Should be Evangelizing?
Man, it’s so good. you’ve addressed the two big, I guess, questions, complaints, whatever I hear from my fellow evangelicals too often, when it comes to this subject of public schools. Is, you know, one, they’re still good ones out there and good teachers or whatever. And then two is but aren’t we supposed to be evangelizing the schools. You’ve addressed both of those incredibly well. Which brings me to the conclusion that you may be had the same response when you saw this poll: 17% of evangelical teens are in public schools. Well, my response was that’s all, why is it? It should be higher than that. 50% should be going to homeschooling or private schooling or more.
Exactly. That’s why I started out by answering your question by saying, yes, it’s good for the 17%. Now, the rest of them, I worry about. Now, again, I know parents are going to call in, they’re going to write in and say, my kids are okay because we go to a good church and they’re being taken care of well by our pastor and we as parents are making sure that they’re being taught the right things. Great, good for you. But recognize who has more influence over your kids than you do? Who has more influence over your kids than your pastor does? The teacher. Quantitatively, they spend more hours in the school than they do with you as mom and dad and they definitely spend more hours in the school than they do in church. So quantitatively, the school has more influence over your kids than anybody else in the cultural system.
Who Has the Most Influence?
Yeah, no doubt, no doubt. You’re so right about that. And sometimes we’re naive enough to think you know, that our one hour with them in the evening at dinner and most families don’t even have that is somehow going to compete with that 8 or 9 or sometimes 10 hours a day with the public school.
Going back to the societal just looking at it as a country as a whole. If 70% or hopefully more of evangelical teens are not in public schools, I think, from a competitive point of view and putting pressure on the public schools to listen and improve a good thing. So the more of our folks that leave those schools, I think as a society can hopefully put some pressure on and say, what are we doing wrong? Why are we losing the customer? What do you think about that?
I agree. Bottom line is you speak with your pocketbook. You speak with your checkbook and with your money. I’ve had parents, I’ve had people time and time again in my commentary on not a daycare and my commentary, my critique of education, said great, Piper, you’ve identified the problem, but you haven’t told us what the solution is. Well, here’s the solution.
Stop Supporting These Institutions
Stop supporting these institutions that teach this pablum, stop sending your kids to these schools. Don’t pay the tuition. Don’t send your school there. Even if it’s a public school and you get it for free. When you pull your kids out of those schools, we all know that that school suffers in terms of the apportionment from the state because they don’t have as many kids attending there any longer. So you can vote with your pocketbook. And when you do, then and only then will these oligarchy and these elitist, these progressive elitist that are running our schools and teaching your kids, only then will they listen because the pressure of the dollar speaks louder than anything else.
Always good wisdom and advice from Dr. Everett Piper. Dr. Piper before you go, where can folks get your regular articles and you know, just keep up with you?
Well, my Twitter handle is Dreverettpiper. And that’s Dreverettpiper. You can go to my website, which is dreverettpiper.com, you can get my books there. And you can also schedule me to speak at your church or your political events or your community events, I welcome that. And I try to make myself affordable to your budget. So you can get ahold of me at any of those locations.
We’re going to make both of those links available wallbuilderslive.com and highly recommend that you do that. We’ve had Dr. Piper on Legislators Conference at Patriot Academy, we’ve seen the impact you can have and we encourage your organization to do the same thing. Dr. Piper, God bless you, brother. Thanks for coming on again.
Hey, blessings and thank you.
Stay with us, folks, we’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
A Unique Opportunity for Pastors
Hi, this is Tim Barton with WallBuilders. And I want to encourage all the pastors out there with unique opportunity that we’re presenting at WallBuilders, we’re doing a special tour just for pastors, that you can come and learn more about the spiritual heritage of our nation, not just seeing the sights but understanding the significance of what they are and what they represent. We get to go through the capital a night and we get to see the spiritual heritage of our founding fathers of who we are as a nation, where we came from. We bring Congressman that will tell you about current legislation, about our religious liberties and freedom and what’s going on in Washington DC.
If you’re a pastor or if you want to recommend your pastor for this trip, you can go to our website, www.wallbuilders.com and there’s a link that’s for scheduling. If you click on that link, there’s a section for pastors briefing. There’s more information about the dates, when it’s going, how it’s going to happen. If you want to know more about our nation, our religious liberties, our freedom, our spiritual heritage, this is a trip you want to be a part of.
We’re back here WallBuilders Live, thanks to Dr. Everett Piper for joining us. Back with David and Tim now. Guys, it comes back some we’ve, you know, talked about on this program for what 15 years now school choice, parent’s authority to make this decision, competition all those things that make every other product work better.
Competition is Key
We need more of that competition in education and I love the fact that Dr. Piper at the same response we do. Why is it only 17% of evangelicals that have left the system that’s indoctrinating our children against the faith? It ought to be more than 17%.
It ought to be more. And by the way, just going back to something you said earlier, educational choice. This is something folks can pray about. You want something add your prayer list, put the Espinosa case on because the US Supreme Court this year is a case that will be heard about school choice. Right now at this point, there are somewhere between 37 and 40 states in the United States that will not allow school choice because it is constitutionally not permissible or at least that’s where the court can interpret it.
Now when you say school choice, does that mean that parents can’t choose to go to public schools or private schools or their kids, they can’t choose to homeschool their kids, what do you mean by school choice?
School choice means that you, for your tax dollars, can choose the form of education that you want. Right now, we’re saying, well, you pay tax dollars, but you can only choose this one form of education.
So the tax dollars only get applied to a public school?
To a failing public school, a secular public school…
Where Should Your Tax Dollars Go?
So even though I’m taxed, if I want my child to go to a private school or Christian school, those tax dollars don’t need to go there. And tax dollars can only go to public school, which doesn’t work. And then if you want your kid to go to a Christian school or a private school, well what you have to do then?
You got to pay extra. Now, interestingly, we’re averaging about 13,000 a year to send a kid to public school and most private schools run the 5,000 to 6,000 range. So you actually get higher academic results for half the price at private and Christian Schools, but you’re already having to pay the public school tax dollars. And now you’re going to have to pay Christian School on top of that or it could be a classical school, it could be other forms. It doesn’t have to be Christian school, could be private, parochial, etc. But school…
Well, think about it from that parent’s perspective, David, that may not be paying 13,000 in taxes, but 13,000 is being spent on their child. Right?
And all they’re saying is, hey, let me take, you know, 5 of that and go to a private school instead of me having to come up with 5 to go to a private school. Let me just have 5 of that 13 that you were going to spend to educate my kid and I can go get them a better education at this private school.
Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue
And so what’s happened is a number of states have tried to do that. They say, we see the results. We would like to have more of our kids be able to actually read the English language or be able to write and be able to read what they write. And so we want kids to go, from the state standpoint, what you want is educated kids. And it doesn’t matter where they get educated. If they come out and they know math and they said know science and they know government and they can read, that’s what the state is interested in. And suddenly, we’re saying no, the only schools you can go to are these failing schools over here. Whether it be something like Washington DC, where the schools are disastrous, you have so many gangs, that’s the only option you’ve got unless you want to pay a whole bunch of money more. And that’s just hard.
So what happens, this case at the Supreme Court from Montana, where then Montana, the state of Montana said, you know, you can actually use some of your tax dollars to choose the school you want and you can take those tax dollars and choose. And the court said, no, you can’t do that because people might take their tax dollars and go to these better schools that have better scores called Christian Schools. And so if you’re a Christian school, we have to discriminate against you.
An Important Supreme-Court Decision
Well, this is at the Supreme Court. And if the court says, no, you don’t have to discriminate against better education. If it’s Christian school has better education, you can do that. If that happens, that changes the state constitutional revision to somewhere between 37 and 40 states. And that turns around. And if you start getting competition, it will improve the quality of education at every level for everybody. But that’s a big case to pray for that’s before the court right now, this session.
And that’s when is coming. So it would be decided this year, we’d probably know by July or August of this year.
We will know by June of this year, by the end of June, about 1st of July. And this is actually a case that we got the help file a brief in arguing for getting rid of this owner’s provision and letting competition occur. So it doesn’t mean every State will adopt it. But if the Supreme Court makes the right decision on this, we then have an open door to start being able to take our tax dollars and get better education with it.
Stay with us folks, we got a quick break. When we come back, we’ll answer the question of can you even do this? Can you take tax dollars and those dollars be use for a child’s education at a faith based school? Does that violate separation of church and State as so many people often claim? We’ll be right back, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
This Precarious Moment
Hi, this is David Barton. I want to let you know about a brand new book we have out called This Precarious Moment: Six Urgent Steps That Will Save You Your Family and Our Country. Jim Garlow and I have coauthored this book. And we take six issues that are hot and the culture right now, issues that we’re dealing with, issues such as immigration and race relations and our relationship with Israel and the rising generation millennials and the absence of the church and the culture wars and where American heritage is, our godly heritage. We look at all six of those issues right now that are under attack and we give you both biblical and historical perspective on those issues that provide solutions on what each of us can do right now to make a difference. These are all problems that are solvable if we’ll get involved.
So you can grab the book This Precarious Moment and find out what you can do to make a difference. ‘This Precarious Moment’ is available at wallbuilders.com.
Is School Choice Constitutional?
We’re back on WallBuilders Live, just a few minutes left. Guys, let’s just quickly, I know we need a whole program to do this. But is it constitutional to allow a state to take those tax dollars that they’re using to educate, supposed to be all the kids in the state, but if those parents choose to take some of that money and get the education at a different building than the local public school that happens to be a faith based education, does that somehow violate the Founding Fathers view of education in the constitution?
The Founding Fathers when they gave us the First Amendment wanted to make sure the federal government could not set up a single denomination as the National denomination. This provision in front of the court is called the Blaine Amendment and it was passed in 1876 to make sure that Catholics could not get controlled education, everything by a Catholic school. Well, the courts over the years have said, well, instead of Catholic, let’s just say religious school. Well, that’s different. They just didn’t want one denomination running everything. They didn’t care if all denominations had a seat at the table. So that’s what this is about. There was never designed to make it unconstitutional for everyone to have a seat at the table.
And it’s also worth noting that the Founding Fathers largely promoted the use of Bible and schools. And so we’re talking the same guys who wrote the Constitution, then when they are leaders under the Constitution, right, whether they are presidents, whether they are governors, whether their congressmen or senators, they’re now back at their states.
The Founders Promoted the Bible in Schools
They’re promoting the Bible to be used in schools because they knew the Bible was a basis of morality, is the best basis of morality and that Republics only work when you have a moral people. And this is why George Washington, his farewell address, talking about religion morality had to be part of our nation if we were going to survive.
And so the notion of having the training of youth in biblical morality was something the Founding Fathers largely supported. So it’d be hard to argue it’s unconstitutional when the guys who gave us constitution supported this very position.
Well, folks, be sure to visit our website today, wallbuilderslive.com is where you can get archives of other programs you can listen to from WallBuilders Live from the last few months. All available there at the website as is the contribution button. Yeah, I know, I mentioned it every program and it’s because every program is a listener supported program, which means we need you as a listener to become a supporter of this program. It helps to expand the program. We reach more people. We get on more stations. We do more trainings with legislators and with pastors, with young leaders, with a teachers, with all kinds of folks that are helping restore freedom. And you get to be a part of restoring freedom. When you make that contribution, it’s invested in the culture, it’s invested in our society in a very positive way. It teaches people about the Constitution, about the Bible, about historical lessons we can learn and teaches them how to be good citizens.
Should Evangelicals Attend Public Schools? – With Dr. Everett Piper
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We sure appreciate you listening today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.