The handbook starts out with the schools “Philosophy Of Education”:
Christian education directs the student toward a life goal of walking humbly before God. Students are challenged to fulfill his will by performing that which is good, acceptable and perfect. Only Christ-centered education gives true wisdom and understanding. At Delaware Christian School, the Bible is considered the inerrant Word of God and is integrated into every subject. Our faculty prepares students for more than academics. DCS students are taught character qualities and morals that will equip them to meet the challenges they will face in the world and influence others for Christ
Not a very good start. Where is the education part of this philosophy? I don’t see my children passing standardized tests, being accepted to college, or gaining employment based solely on “character qualities” and “morals”. Exactly which definitions of education, academics, and even school are they referring to?
The handbook then goes on to a rather lengthy Statement of Faith which includes this interesting tidbit (remember, they’re teaching this to children):
5. The Total Depravity of Man
We believe that the man was created in the image and likeness of God, but that in Adam’s sin the race fell, inherited a sinful nature, and became alienated from God; and, that man is totally depraved, and of himself utterly unable to remedy his lost condition.
That’s it – make them feel good about themselves. And this:
c. We believe that the souls of unbelievers remain, after death, in conscious misery until the second resurrection, when with soul and body are reunited they shall appear at the Great White Throne Judgment and shall be case into the Lake of Fire, not to be annihilated, but to suffer everlasting conscious punishment.
So now my children know that Daddy is going to hell, and the seed of fear has been planted to ensure they never think rationally, critically, or on their own. Great. Aside from the fact that this is pure gobbledygook, and nothing a child should be exposed to, notice the grammatically incorrect presentation. From an institution of “education” (typo or not, this is not good).
We are then fed more statements of faith, but this time they’re called by names like “purpose” and yet another “Philosophy” which includes this very telling gem:
We believe that God's purpose in the creation of man was to glorify Himself.
What an egotistical bastard.
We then move on to objectives. Oh, boy…
1. h. To stress individual responsibility of Christians for world missions.
History tells us how successful a venture this is. Those damn heathen savages. Good thing God’s watching over our brave soldiers while they slaughter them. Once we’ve forced our personal choice of government and economy on them, we can shove our religion down their throats too!
1. j. To promote good citizenship through developing and understanding an appreciation of our Christian and American heritage of freedom and human dignity.
Christianity and America have a heritage of freedom and human dignity? Oh, that explains the Inquisition, Crusades, pogroms, genocides, misogyny, slavery, immense stockpile of nuclear arms, and Patriot Act, among countless other fine examples.
2. b. To foster wholesome personal relationships through development of social skills based on the Christian concept of love.
Is that the same Christian love that tells us to hate our father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters (Luke 14:26)?
2. c. To teach a realistic and Biblical view of life and work and provide skills for future endeavors in college and an occupation.
Aren’t the “realistic” and “Biblical” views of life completely contradictory? Nevertheless, a view of life populated with white, conservative, upper middle class Christians is hardly a realistic view of the world. My main issue with this statement is that it is the first with any mention whatsoever about skills, college, or occupation – and it is a full 22 lines of text into the schools objectives.
Ten lines later we finally arrive at the schools academic endeavors, which include:
3. b. To develop creative and critical thinking and the proper use of Biblical criteria for evaluation.
At the mention of “critical thinking”, my fear momentarily subsides and I crack a rib laughing. The humor is short lived, and the fear quickly returns:
3. d. To teach the basic concepts of scientific investigation and to show that all scientific facts are in agreement with God's Word.
(I’d say very basic.) Ah, yes, the flat Earth, geocentric universe, miscalculated pi, bat-birds, cud-chewing rabbits, and creation debacle of “God’s Word” are indeed scientific facts. Biblical anatomy, with its thinking based in the heart (never mentions the brain – SURPRISE!) and emotions based in the kidneys, was also centuries ahead of its time.
To my relief, I see that the school is accredited:
Grades K-12 are chartered by the Ohio Board of Education.
But after a second thought, that relief turns into bitter disappointment: obviously, standards for accreditation aren’t exactly set very high.
Further on we get into discipline. Surprisingly, they have left the Biblical standards and the children aren’t going to be put to death if they are unruly and disobedient (Deuteronomy 21:18-21, Exodus 21:17, Leviticus 20:9). This is good. They do, predictably, incorporate corporal punishment. I adamantly believe in discipline, received numerous spankings in school, and see no problem with this. But what exactly does this discipline entail?
(3) Teachers will be certain that the student understands what he has done is wrong and why it is sin.
(4) Teachers will pray with the student and help him understand God's forgiveness and the teacher's forgiveness.
Not only did you piss off the teacher, but God’s pretty damned upset with you too, little Timmy. Dirty sinner.
In case you’re wondering what kind of offenses are serious enough to warrant paddling:
k. Failure to fit into the spirit of the school
l. Immorality or compromising activity and pregnancy
m. Any action which may tarnish the student's testimony for Christ.
These are rather vague. For context, tobacco, drugs, and alcohol were h, i, and j, and possession of weapons is n. But the extremely subjective and broad-sweeping category of “irreverence” made number two on the list. Better to tote a pistol and pocket full of crack rocks to school in a drunken stupor than be “irreverent”.
Looking for more emphasis on actual education, I look to the section entitled “High School Graduation Requirements”:
3 units of Math
2 units of Science
4 units of English
3 units of Social Studies
4 units of Bible
Clearly, Bible is extremely important, especially when compared to something as inconsequential to academic achievement as science. Though, I guess it would be rather hard to teach a Biblically-correct science class for more than two years, since its pretty much all contained in the first two chapters of Genesis. I personally want to see the text book diagrams of God opening up the windows in the “firmament” so it can rain.
By now I see that the quality of my children’s education is pretty much on par with, oh, I don’t know – obedience school for dogs. Add to it an extremely limited representation of social diversity, a promise of naivety, and a thorough mind-fucking misanthropic guilt trip complete with promises of everlasting torture in a fiery pit, and a pretty clear picture is forming.
Yeah, horror was an appropriate response.
It gets even more interesting. In the section describing Health Policies, we see this rather vague entry:
The Delaware Christian School has adopted a policy on aids based largely on the guidelines and recommendations of the Association of Christian Schools International. A copy of this policy may be attained by contacting the school office.
I wonder exactly what that policy is, and why they don’t just come out and say it.
A bit of humor follows in the Communicable Diseases section:
2. A student may be exempted from immunization upon the presentation of the written religious or moral objection of his parent or guardian…
3. A child will be excluded from school if the principal suspects the child has a communicable or nuisance disease...
Don’t rely on modern medicine to keep your child healthy when all you really have to do is pray, but also don’t expect your kid to be welcome in school in the event s/he does get sick.
Last but not least, we come to the school dress code. As expected, the school enforces uniforms. I’m on the fence with this one. It is much cheaper for me (or it would be thought until one sees the cost of school uniforms), and it removes one of the more obvious signs of class, and thus indicators for potential harassment, but it takes away some personal identity, more firmly cementing the perception of school as a factory of conformity. Whether yay or nay, I am both entertained and uncomfortable with this statement:
The purpose of requiring girls of all ages to wear skirts is to instill in young ladies an appreciation of their femininity and their unique role in God's plan for society.
As long as it isn’t the Principal’s “appreciation” of their femininity.
This is a nightmare. To add to the mess, their mother is requesting more child support to help cover tuition. I have seriously considered seeking legal resolve for this issue, but, besides being broke, I don’t see many courts, much less one in a blue state, siding with an atheist father (race traitor at that).
I constantly remind them to think for themselves though. During Columbus Day and Thanksgiving celebrations, my daughters spoke out in class about the European treatment of the indigenous Americans. The teacher insisted they were mistaken (she also told her students that their parents should vote for Bush because Kerry isn’t a Christian), which shows the strong ethical standards the school screens for in its hiring process.
I suppose it won’t be too long before they make me exceedingly proud and raise a little hell in “science class”.