Should Christians Send Their Kids to Public Schools?

by Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis, the Ark Encounter, and the Creation Museum

Well, I’m not going to come out and say yes or no! It’s not my place to tell you what you should do.After all, there’s no Bible verse that states “thou shalt not send kids to public schools.” And there are all sorts of circumstances and difficulties people face: family issues, finances, etc. It is God to whom we are accountable. But I will challenge us all with the following:

  1. God’s Word lays down principles about how to train children—the priorities and methods. So I would pose this question: If someone asked you right now to explain what God teaches regarding the nature of children, how to train them, the priorities for their education, and who is ultimately responsible, could you give an adequate answer? Now it’s not possible in this short article to give my answers, but you can watch one of the presentations I gave when my friend Dennis Rainey and I did a parenting conference here several months ago. If you can’t answer those basic questions, then whose methods are you using? Are they the right methods? (See Raising Godly Children in an Ungodly World.)

  2. I’ve heard people use the reasoning, “I send my kids to public school because the Bible says we are to be salt” (Matthew 5:13). Yes, but the Bible also states we need salt in us (Mark 9:50). Matthew 5:13 also tells us that if the salt is contaminated, it’s no good. So, parents (and particularly fathers as the spiritual head) have a responsibility to ensure that they put the salt of biblical truth in their children, teaching them doctrine and apologetics to defend their faith against secular attacks. They are to do their best to stop contamination by the world. The point is, children can’t be salt until they have it—and if the salt’s contaminated, it’s basically useless.

  3. If your kids are in public school, you can’t ignore the fact that—by and large—they are being taught a secular (anti-Christian) worldview. This education system has mostly thrown out God, the Bible, prayer, and creation; students are taught how to explain everything by natural processes. But naturalism is atheism. There is no neutrality. We’re either for or against Christ (Matthew 12:30; James 4:4). One has to recognize that public schools have become basically churches of atheism and moral relativism.

  4. Finally, children are beings who are going to live forever and ever and ever and ever and ever . . . in heaven or hell. There is no greater investment than in the eternity of our children. What an incredible responsibility we have as parents! So what principles are we using in training our children? Who really has the greatest influence in their lives? Yes, each person has to answer to the Lord in regard to whether they are saved or not. But are we doing the very best we can to take our children to heaven with us?

“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:7–8).