I’m still continuing to further comprehend the extent of the scope of power that the establishment clause of the first amendment possesses. It emphasizes that government should not establish a national religion and favor one religion over another. One of the biggest hot topics that this includes is the presence of religion in public schools. Now I’ll admit I’m a little biased because I went to a private Christian school but I’ve observed students that left over the years to go to public school and their performances there, not to mention the overall performances of public schools across the nation. I may be completely wrong in this, but a lot of people, if they are able to afford it, are putting their children in private schools, regardless of their religion, because private schools are providing better educational opportunities than public schools. Is it possible that the people that do put their children in public school care more about the child’s religious freedom rather than their education? It just seems there is an overwhelming theme of “should we have prayer in public schools” rather than being concerned if our students can do basic arithmetic or read.
Even now, there are controversies here in Texas on teaching creationism or intelligent design in public schools so that students won’t feel discriminated against because of the theory of evolution, which I actually think is really stupid. This sounds like the government giving preference to a specific kind of religion which is in direct contrast with the first amendment. In many ways, Texas politicians seem to think that the only children that go to public school are Christians which is presumptuous on their part. The point of public schools are that regardless of religion, they are supposed to provide a foundation of education that will enable them to survive in the workforce and society at large. With the way public education is nowadays, there is no challenge or a motivation for students. Besides, rather than teaching students to do well and actually retain knowledge, they teach to the TAKS test (or another version of the test depending on what state you’re in). Most of the students that slacked off and got lousy grades in my private school went to public school and got straight A’s. That tells me something. There are loads of other issues going on as well that may contribute to this. There is a great documentary called “Waiting for Superman” that goes further into the dilemma of the educational system in America. Among the problems are the teacher’s union and cutting of funds that go toward public education. I also like to think that the the lawsuits concerning religious disputes in the schools are another issue that drains further funds from the schools as well.
Private schools on the other hand have an established religion and are typically not funded by the state (there have been exceptions in history to this) but they have the initiative to actually educate students and send them off to college. More and more people are realizing this and are sending their children to private schools because they want their children to be more successful in their careers and in dealing with the world. It didn’t really matter what religion you were. It was an Episcopal School, but a lot of the classmates in my high school were Baptist, Jewish, Islamic, even some Atheists. They tolerated the Episcopalian overtones knowing that they were getting a better education. Also, we were never taught Creationism. No, we were taught Evolution because they did not want us to close our mind from other viewpoints. We are rapidly approaching the fact that we as a species are growing into a global community. The rest of the world is superior to us in education and that’s a problem to us as people. From a lack of education do people do terrible things that endanger both them and make the world into the cesspool that it already is. I know that sounds pessimistic, but if we are not able to amend the religious and educational issues going on within our public education system, a large majority of people are going to cripple their own lives and the lives of others.