Time is in a dead sprint at the Kruse home. This year our oldest is a middle schooler. Having employed both homeschool and classical/Christian school so far in his education, we are experimenting with public/government school this year. He is thrilled to be out of our basement and into a crowd of 300 6th graders. We’re prayerfully paying attention to his soul, as well as the school itself. Last week we were able to attend an open house where parents were able to mirror their child’s daily schedule, meeting teachers and sitting in desks built for 12 year olds. Here are seven impressions from the night:
1, I was stunned at how immaculate the building was. If my son’s bedroom is any kind of a harbinger of what 6th graders can do to a space, I was expecting graffiti everywhere, banged up lockers, names scratched into desks, or worse. Instead, it felt like the building was built 5 minutes ago. This triggered the words “tight ship” in my mind. Good thing.
2, signs on the doorways identified teachers using a prefix (Mr. Mrs. Miss) and their last names. I loved this. There is an awful move afoot in government schools to erase all vestiges of gender identity (see Revere Public Schools), which is a horrible sin against a child. Children should grow up embracing the fact that the Father, in His love for them, intended for them to be male or female. Boys in 6th grade should grow up thinking, “I will be a man; what does this mean?” Girls should grow up thinking, “I will be a woman; what dos this mean?” This is because God’s greatest glory and our deepest joy always intersect with the place of our most humble and committed obedience to God’s ways for us. Also, middle schoolers should be calling their teachers Mr., Mrs., or Miss, learning what it is to honor their elders, rather than referring to them by first name. Props to the administration for sticking with this.
3, every teacher was well spoken, had a passion for their subject, had strategic intentions for what they were trying to get done with the kids, and (almost all of them) were long-term at the middle school. This was reassuring. (Oh, and all of them expressed clearly how much easier 6th grade is to teach than 8th!)
4, the place was packed with parents. This was exciting to see. I love that Melrose parents are taking seriously their responsibility as the primary educators in their child’s life, maintaining an intimate knowledge how their child’s day would go.
5, the facade of government school being “non-religious” was, of course, exposed at every stop. It is not possible for these teachers to do their job without working from unprovable, non-scientific, presuppositional commitments that go way beyond a neutral presentation of content. How can the health teacher do a module on sexuality without standing somewhere on issues of morality? Is the most important thing not getting pregnant or contracting an STD? Or is the most important thing pursuing sexual purity until marriage? Are we or are we not sexual beings by God’s design and under His authority? Same thing with science class. The teacher boldly stated “in winter we will be teaching on evolution.” Did she mean micro-evolution/adaptation, or the highly religious (and unprovable) (and really ridiculous) macro-evolution theory that humans evolved from apes? Why is she not teaching intelligent design? Or presenting both, as well as any other theories of creation/evolution? Denying the presence of a Creator is a religious move, not a scientific one. All the same goes for English class, history class, even mathematics (why does 2 + 2 always equal 4?). There is no neutral place to stand from and teach. Melrose Middle School, like all government schools, and any other school that has ever existed, is strongly committed to a religious world view (although this one is sneakily couched under the term ‘secularism’).
6, the above paragraph is why many, many Christians refuse to patronize government schools. I get where they are coming from. We’ve waited until 6th grade because we are hoping that the places where content intersects most vividly with world-view become open doors for discipling our son, pressing the gospel into his soul, and unpacking the beauty of Biblical truth/sound doctrine.
7, we are keeping our eyes out for ways to love and serve the school, students, and parents. I am praying hard for many in Melrose to hear the gospel, repent, believe, and find new life in Christ. I am sure we’ll get beat up some for confessing Christ and holding to Scripture as our authority in life and practice, but the risen Christ is making all things new, and I would love for many to join us in taking hold of the city to come and bringing its beautiful truth to bear on this city right here.