Christian Education Awareness Network (CEANet)
Presents a New Book:
Let My Children Go
Why Parents Must Remove Their Children From Public Schools NOW
by E. Ray Moore, Jr., Th. M.
Chapter One -- The Family School (Part 1 of 2)
The place was The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina. The occasion was Commencement, 1993. The graduating class of that year had voted to have former President Ronald Reagan as Commencement Speaker. The college from which I had graduated in 1965 had a grand tradition of allowing fathers who were Citadel Alumni to award their graduating sons their degrees.
Our first-born son, Ray III, or Raymond, as we called him, was to receive the medal as First Honor graduate or Valedictorian of his class. I was to award his degree, with President Ronald Reagan assisting me nearby. This was a great moment for our family, but it also was, a validation of the ways of the Lord in the Christian education of our children.
We had been among the pioneering home-schooling families in the United States in this modern era, having begun in September 1977. Now it was 16 years later, and the path down which God had directed us back then had come to a dramatic fruition.
May 13, 1993
McAllister Field House was filled with over 6,000 family and friends of the class of 1993. At the time, I was serving as an Army Chaplain on active duty at nearby Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, and had been selected to offer the opening prayers, invocation and benediction for the graduation ceremonies.
The moment came for the procession, and we entered the large Assembly Hall. The Citadel’s President, Lt. Gen. Claudius E. "Bud" Watts, USAF Ret., President Ronald Reagan, and other dignitaries were leading the procession. I was the guest chaplain that day. My wife Gail was seated in the audience with our other children.
Gail and I were the parents of the First Honor graduate, Cadet Colonel and Regimental Commander. The moment was almost surreal. We could not have dreamed of nor created such a special moment had we tried. The band played, the grand march began, and we arrived on the ceremony platform. My moment had come to offer the invocation, which came first in the ceremony.
There was silence. I stepped forward and prayed, "Lord God, our dear heavenly Father, bless this ceremony, the Citadel staff, faculty and Board during these difficult days. We are grateful for President Reagan and his service to our country these many years. Let him see the travail of his soul and be satisfied..." I concluded with "Bless the graduating class of 1993 and their families. May old men dream dreams again and young men receive vision for the road ahead. In Jesus’ Holy Name. Amen."
Our experience vindicated the special form of education we had begun 16 years before. There was nothing like it! We knew that God had his hand on us. Gail and I had trusted Him, and He had brought us to this moment. On May 13, 1993, our son, who had been home schooled, graduated from The Citadel at the top of his class.
L to R -- Ray Moore, III, Ronald Reagan, and E. Ray Moore, Jr.,
and Lt. Gen. Claudius E. "Bud" Watts, USAF Ret.
Early Decision to Home School
In September of 1977, my family and I embarked on what would prove to be the greatest adventure of our lives. My wife Gail and I found ourselves becoming one of the first fewdozen families involved in what soon became known as home schooling.
We had just moved to West Lafayette, Indiana, to start a new campus ministry in September 1977, called Trinity Fellowship Church. Our ministry was intended to serve Purdue University and the surrounding area. I had earned the Master of Divinity degree from Grace Theological Seminary, Winona Lake Indiana, in 1974, and had completed all the class work for the Master of Theology, lacking only the written thesis to finish my degree.
Raymond had reached the age when he was ready to begin the first grade. We experienced a sense of concern and even dread as we realized we had few choices in his first grade education. When we arrived at West Lafayette, we had already decided we could not accept the local public school. We had fully expected to place Raymond in a local Christian school, but after looking at two schools, we were not satisfied with their spiritual environment or academic rigor. It was a lonely feeling to realize that of our choices, neither the public school nor the local Christian schools were acceptable.
Earlier, while I was enrolled in seminary, Gail and I had read a book entitled Sketches of Jewish Social Life, by the great Jewish Christian scholar Alfred Edersheim. One chapter described a family-school type of education for young Israeli lads in the New Testament era, the kind of home education that our Savior, Jesus Christ, had at the hands of his parents until he attended the synagogue school at age 12. This was our only written source of encouragement, outside the Holy Scriptures, themselves, offering us light to launch the new adventure.
Over a period of several days, confronted with an unexpected situation, Gail and I prayed and discussed what we should do. I recall how my burden was lifted when Gail announced her willingness to take up the academic as well as religious instruction of our first-born son saying, "I think I can do it."
The Family School
We simply called our experience the family school, and we were careful not to tell many people except our closest friends about it. Raymond was only six years old, but he knew his parents were doing something very different in his education.
Gail and I still remember the day we announced to him he wouldn’t be attending the local public school as his neighborhood playmates did, nor would he be attending the local Christian school we had discussed in family meetings. He would get his first grade schooling at home in a family school primarily from his mother, with Dad helping out in Bible and history.
As a 6-year-old he had learned to think for himself. He was pretty sure this was not a good idea and cried, "Mommy and Daddy, don’t do this to me!" We promised to take it only one step at a time, and we assured him this was God’s will and was, therefore, best for him and our family. We assured him of our love for him and our desire to do God’s will.
Raymond’s Fast Progress
Raymond was soon doing accelerated work and reading well ahead of his age group. One day after family school had ended, I was on the porch preparing for a sermon. It was after the local public school had let out.
Raymond was playing with his neighborhood friends on the porch nearby, but also comparing his level of academic work with that of is friends. He questioned his friends carefully and was really surprised at what they were not learning at the local public school. He was doing cursive writing. They had not even heard of cursive writing.
He realized he was also reading books well ahead of his neighborhood friends. In fact, he was reading on a 4th grade level. After that experience he seemed forever satisfied that his educational experience was both religiously and academically significant.
Curriculum in the Early Days
We had some difficulty in finding a Christian curriculum in those early days but used the big red books from Foundation for America’s Christian Education for history and government. We also used A Beka books from the local Christian school that sold them to us after A Beka refused us direct sales.
In those days the A Beka policy was to sell only to Christian schools. We made formal requests for three years. Finally, in 1980, A Beka changed the policy and began to sell to home schooling families. We pieced together a Christian curriculum, and Gail created many of her own teaching aids and materials.
Encouragement and Discouragement
One local pastor and his wife, Ray and Alice Joseph of the local Reformed Presbyterian Church, were supportive. Ret. Gen. John and Janet Bradshaw also supported us, supplying us with good books on history and government from a traditional perspective. These two couples heard that we were home schooling, visited our home and gave us additional books and materials for our curriculum. They expressed moral support and agreement with our approach. The Josephs were the first pastoral couple to help us, and these two Christian families validated us in this step of faith, and it encouraged us much at the time.
Other Christian friends had expressed serious doubts, and one pastor friend even implied we would harm our children if we persisted with our family school. Home schooling was so new in those days that we were concerned about attracting negative attention and possible legal action against our family school. We were very quiet and had not informed the local public school district of our plan.
Preparation for a Legal Challenge
Christian civil rights attorney David Gibbs of the Christian Law Association was speaking in Lafayette at a local Baptist church. We arranged a personal meeting to explain our family school and requested that he represent us if we got into legal difficulties. He agreed to help us, but we never needed to call him. But it was comforting to know he was prepared to help us if needed.
Around 1980, the Indiana Department of Public Instruction finally did contact us. They asked us what we were doing and why we were home schooling. The contact came by letter and we suspected someone had turned our name in as having truant children.
By this time we were nearly four years into the family school and knew we had discovered something wonderful. In those days we described our little home school as similar to the "...merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it" (Matthew 13:45-46).
We were not about to give it up even under legal pressure, but the contact from Indiana’s educational establishment gave us great concern. We informed them about the nature and curriculum of our home school and why we were educating our children that way. We gave them Biblical reasons that we felt this was God’s will for our family.
Their next contact asked us to help them develop a "Home School Permission Form." Like most governmental agencies, they needed a bureaucratic form to cover any eventuality. The Indiana Department of Public Instruction said we were the first family they had known that was home schooling in Indiana, and they wanted to prepare themselves for this circumstance should other families attempt it.
We informed them that we didn’t mind helping them prepare a "Home School Notification Form" but that permission to home school was not theirs to give. We informed them that it was a God-ordained right of parents to home school and they could not interfere unless they could show that we were harming the children in some fashion.
After this communication we held our breath and kept David Gibbs’ telephone number at hand. But this was the last time we heard from the Indiana State Department of Public Instruction concerning our home schooling experience.
The Growth of the Movement
By 1983, we had influenced some friends in Indiana and around the nation to consider home schooling. We also discovered other home schooling families in Indiana.
It was also in 1983, that the biggest breakthrough for home schooling nationally took place. That year, Dr. James Dobson interviewed noted home school authors Raymond and Dorothy Moore on his Focus on the Family radio program. Gail and I listened at night to that interview and were thrilled that home schooling was getting this recognition.
After this interview came the greatest explosion in home schooling. It could be said that Dr. Dobson’s interview of the Moores helped birth the modern home school movement. We later met the Moores at an early home schooling conference in Winona Lake, Indiana. Their books on home schooling have been a tremendous help to many families.
Our Home School Experience
During this period we had a temporary lapse, putting Raymond in West Lafayette Junior High School in the 7th grade. Our own convictions and theology were still in formative stages.
Like most evangelical Christians at that time, we did not understand that the public schools are an establishment of religion and are religious in nature themselves, albeit humanistic by design. Our own worldview on Christian education was incomplete. Like so many Christians who home school, we saw our decision as only a personal and family choice.
Raymond is the only one of our four children ever to attend public school, and then it was for his middle school and part of his high school years. Raymond finished his high school years at Heathwood Episcopal School, Columbia, South Carolina.
Richard, Dorothy, and Wm. Rieppe all were home schooled through 6th and 7th grades and then finished their education at Ben Lippen School, an evangelical Christian school, and a division of Columbia International University (formerly Columbia Bible College).
When we placed Raymond in the 7th grade, the local West Lafayette Junior High staff was so relieved that we had given up our home schooling that they did not even require testing to place him in an advanced class. He was placed in advanced classes with many children of Purdue University staff and faculty.
We think many in the community were also relieved, and some thought it absolutely scandalous that some Christian family would home school when West Lafayette had such a superior public school system.
Raymond excelled in this new school setting. He made all A’s, and in his 8th grade year was invited to participate in the Northwestern University talent search. He was invited along with other gifted 8th graders in ten Midwestern states to take the SAT.
To our surprise he scored in the top 400 children on his SAT in his age group in the 10 states in the Midwestern region. There were forty 8th graders in the State of Indiana to make this cut.
Raymond had only a year and a half of formal schooling by this time. He was a gifted child, and even in his early youth he had a tremendous drive and a strong work ethic, but Gail and I did feel that this award was God’s blessing on our obedience. At that time we were overwhelmed that we had stumbled upon a forgotten Biblical pattern of education for children.
We were experiencing God’s blessing that comes in obedience to His ways. Raymond and I made the trek to Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, on a March day when the wind blew cold off Lake Michigan. He received his award along with others from the Midwest, perhaps the only home schooler in the entire group. Driving back that afternoon was mostly quiet for me as I pondered these things in my heart.
By this time home schooling was beginning to find acceptance in the evangelical churches, and several thousand families were home schooling nationally.
Early Home School Growth: Reasons
The great legal battles, many fought by Michael Farris and the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), would be won in the decade of the 1980’s and early 1990’s. This by itself is one of the great stories of Christian heroism and leadership in our time.
I attended the Bill Gothard Pastor’s Conference in the spring of 1983 held at Wheaton College Chapel. Several thousand pastors from the Midwest attended. I found this conference to be among one of the most helpful and refreshing I attended. In one of the sessions Bill Gothard discussed home schooling, which was still a new concept to most evangelical pastors. He said he had been praying and seeking the Lord for a weapon to rebuild the Christian foundations of America. He believed home schooling to be that weapon.
In 1985, Gail and I left West Lafayette, Indiana, after eight years of campus ministry at Purdue. By now we were home schooling two other children, Richard and Dorothy. Our youngest, Wm. Rieppe, was two years old.
Home schooling had grown so well in eight years that area home schoolers held a book and curriculum fair that attracted hundreds of families from the surrounding counties in the greater Lafayette area.
We had not invented home schooling in Indiana although we were likely the first family in the modern era, according to the State Department of Public Instruction. We spent much of those eight years explaining our Biblical rationale and the advantages to dozens of Indiana families. Many had begun to take up the challenge.
The Holy Spirit of God, "hovering over the face of the waters," birthed the modern home schooling movement at a moment when Christian families were seeking Him for help in raising and educating their children.
Gail and I have always had the pioneering spirit, and there is a great and inexpressible joy that comes in being one of the first families to take up this home schooling model. We had so little light and encouragement in the early days. Home schooling did not yet exist. We only heard the still small voice of the Lord to take this step of faith and obedience. We have learned through this that obedience to God is its own reward.
Success Stories: Home Schooling Spreads
We were pioneering home schoolers. It is important to realize, though, that we didn’t set out to start a "movement." We made a choice to obey God’s commands regarding the education of our children.
However, as we cited God’s commands to others as our authority for what we were doing, our choice began to inspire others -- sometimes without our awareness. Back then, almost no support for home schooling families, grass roots or otherwise, existed. But when a practice is built on a philosophical or theological foundation, what begins as a personal choice soon develops into a movement, and the support networks begin to emerge.
In our case, God began to use us to further His will for America’s children, which I am convinced is to abandon Pharaoh’s school system in favor of the Promised Land of home schooling and private Christian schooling. By the late 1980’s, grass-roots support for home schooling had begun to appear, in the form of organizations such as the Christian Home Educators Network, which was started in 1986 by Paul and Karen Apple, a home schooling family based in Maryland, and now numbers some 1,500 members across that state. This is just one example.
Home schooling was starting to become a refuge from the secular humanist worldview that was taking over the public schools.
Outperforming Public Schools
Still more favorable support for home schooling existed. By the late 1990’s, it was becoming clear that home schooled children vastly out-performed their counterparts in public schools. They were scoring in the highest brackets on standardized tests such as the SAT and being admitted to major universities, including Harvard, where they were flourishing at the top of their classes.
The Downward Spiral in Public Schools
Moreover, people involved in the public schools themselves were beginning to pay attention. Christians in particular who were teaching in the public schools were getting increasingly worried about the tendencies they were seeing. One such person wrote to me back in 1998:
"I am a Christian and a teacher in the California public schools, and I grow more concerned daily with the insidious and morally destructive agenda infiltrating our public schools.
"I abandoned [a] Christmas program because every belief system is allowed except Christianity. We can do Hanukah, New Age, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Eastern religions, etc., even Santa Claus, but no baby Jesus, even though at least 60-80 percent of the school goes to Christian churches!"
The children in her public school were manifestly afraid to profess Christian comments openly:
"When I mention Jesus to the Christian children, they are shocked I would utter the very word in the classroom. They love it, of course, but are ‘trained’ to keep it to themselves, and there is definite fear there." Such teachers could be a real boon to private Christian schools.
Why do we need home schooling and private Christian schools? The first and major reason is that God strictly commands it, as we shall see in this book. And even by itself, a close scrutiny of what has been going on in the secular public schools ought to persuade Christian parents of the need for alternatives to public education.
Goals 2000? or Exodus 2000?
The 1990’s became the decade in which one of the major education buzzwords was Goals 2000. What was Goals 2000? What did it propose, and what were its assumptions?
The Goals 2000 Educate America Act (P.L. 103-227) became law with President Bill Clinton’s signature on March 31, 1994. The Act provides for the distribution of federal money to state and local school systems. Congress appropriated $105 million for the first year. Individual states could submit grant applications describing the process they would use to implement Goals 2000 mandates. Spelled out, Goals 2000 seems innocent enough. It contains planks summarized as follows:
1. By the year 2000, all children in America will start school ready to learn.
2. The high school graduation rate will increase to 90-percent.
3. All students will leave grades 4, 8, and 12 having demonstrated competency over challenging subject matter including English, mathematics, science, foreign language, civics and government, economics, the arts, history, and geography. Every public school in America will be expected to ensure that its students learn to use their minds well, so that they may be prepared for responsible citizenship, furthering their learning, and productive employment in the nation’s modern economy.
4. Every school in the United States will be free of drugs, violence, and the unauthorized presence of firearms and alcohol, and will offer a disciplined environment conducive to learning.
Who Could Argue with Goals 2000?
At first glance, who could argue with these goals? The truth about Goals 2000 is far different from the appearances presented by such statements as those above. This can sometimes be seen by reading between the lines. What, for example, can goal number 1 actually mean? How can a government program ensure that "children in America start school ready to learn"?
What the "Goals" Really Mean
This first goal statement really implies the use of federal money to assume responsibility for babies as young as six weeks old, supervising them for eight or nine hours every day in government-run day-care centers while both their parents are at work.
Federal dollars mean federal control. This has always been the case, and always will be, and that lets us spell out what Goals 2000 really means: control of the education of our children by the federal government from their earliest days, eventually indoctrinating them in the latest forms of political correctness, socialism and unconditional loyalty to secular authority.
It is a vast social-engineering project. If its work is begun when the children are infants and continued on through their formative grade-school years, they will grow up never having known anything else.
The "Enemies" of Goals 2000
Abundant evidence exists, according to Goals 2000, that parents are the enemy. The other enemies of the Goals 2000 effort to produce socially engineered children are pastors, Christian schools and home schoolers, along with anyone else likely to oppose this plan for our children.
Organizations such as the Christian Coalition are also targeted as enemies. This is evident from some of the cassette tapes and workbooks that have been produced by Goals 2000 bureaucrats. One of the tricks of the trade has been to try to control the language. Goals 2000 bureaucrats will portray critics of this agenda as "opposed to education."
Those Deemed "At Risk"
Goals 2000 has provisions for that special category of student determined to be "at risk." Obviously, the more students which teachers, social workers and bureaucrats can identify as "at risk," the more federal dollars they can heroically request. We have seen, therefore, an ever-widening set of "at risk" children alongside an increase of "disorders" (e.g., Attention Deficit Disorder, and Attention Deficit Hyper-activity Disorder, never heard of before the 1990’s).
"Voluntary" visits with the parents of "at risk" students are scheduled. Refusals by parents of such visits are logged, and recalcitrant parents are monitored in a computer database.
The Goal: Government Involvement at Every Level
In short, Goals 2000, like its close cousin, Outcome-Based Education (OBE) -- as it is sometimes called, Performance-Based Education -- is a campaign to involve the federal government in education at every level, from the cradle through college. Today, there are more than 750 federal education programs run by 39 agencies -- costing taxpayers some $100 million a year. Since its launch in 1994, Goals 2000 has cost taxpayers more than $2.1 billion.
Education researcher and lecturer Michael J. Chapman, with American Heritage
Research, gives a concise definition of Outcome-Based Education:
"OBE redefines the meaning of education in both content and structure. OBE shifts content from knowledge to attitudes, values and beliefs. In structure, OBE focuses on minimum performance instead of measuring results against a fixed 'academic' body of knowledge."
In a "dear colleagues" letter, Congressman Henry Hyde, a Republican from Illinois, describes Goals 2000 in very blunt terms:
"It is a concept for dumbing-down our schools and changing the character of the nation through behavior modification (a vital part of this plan).
"It moves away from an academically intensive curriculum to one that is integrated with vocational training, producing skilled manpower for the labor market. The economy will be controlled by the federal government by controlling our workforce and our schools."
Hyde refers to the work done on Goals 2000 by Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Ira Magaziner and Mark Tucker prior to Bill Clinton’s election in 1992. He connects Goals 2000 to the School-to-Work Opportunities Act of 1994 (discussed in Chapter Two) and the Improve America’s Schools Act, all of which were signed into law by President Clinton in 1994.
The Abject Failure of Goals 2000
It is clear that, in the end, the few goals of Goals 2000 that sound laudable are actually deceptive. Public schools are not free of firearms and violence. Events both before and after the Columbine killings show this quite clearly. Administrators in inner cities schools have not dismantled the metal detectors on their front doors because of Goals 2000. Nor are they free of alcohol and drugs.
Public schools contain plenty of sex education, however, (often over the explicit objections of parents) helping to foster teenage pregnancy. Condoms and sometimes even abortion services have been made available to girls younger than 16.
Plentiful other trappings of secular humanism were discussed in the introduction to this book. Goals 2000 did not raise standards but lowered the bar, so more students could meet minimum standards resulting in what Congressman Henry Hyde called "dumbing America down." What I’ve learned since 1977 is that Christians do not have to tolerate this.
Is reforming public schools the answer? No, it is not. Reform, in this case, means reform of a secular institution and must be carried out in terms that will satisfy the secularists. It is time for God-fearing and Bible-believing men and women to speak out against this brand of education with their feet. In other words, I defend the idea that it is time for a mass exodus from public schools into private Christian schools and home schooling.
The reasons why Christians should abandon the public education system in this country were all present by the mid-1990’s, and actually long before. What we lacked, however, was an organized movement and the inspiration and motivation to carry it forward.
1. Current edition: Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 1994.
2. See for example Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore, The Successful Homeschool
Family Notebook (Current edition: Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson, 1994.)
3. Personal interview with Michael J. Chapman, American Heritage Research, PO Box 1291, Minnetonka, MN, February 24, 2002. Chapman is also an associate with the Minnesota based Maple River Education Coalition.
4. Henry Hyde’s letter is archived at http://www.eurekanet.com/~cpr/hydelett.html
Click Here to Access ==> Part 2 of Chapter One of Let My Children Go
Exodus Mandate Vision Statement:
Exodus Mandate is a Christian ministry to encourage and assist Christian families to leave Pharaoh’s school system (i.e., government schools) for the Promised Land of Christian schools or home schooling. It is our prayer and hope that a fresh obedience by Christian families in educating their children according to Biblical mandates will prove to be a key for the revival of our families, our churches and our nation.
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Copyright (c) 2002 by E. Ray Moore, Jr.
Chaplain (Lt. Col.)
U.S. Army Reserve Ret.
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