Bruce Shortt’s book about public schools is endorsed by TV preacher James Kennedy; Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Seminary; and Southern Baptist fundamentalist leader Paul Pressler.
The foreward to the book is written by T.C. Pinckney, a leader of the fundamentalist swing in the Southern Baptist Convention. He and Shortt were the leaders of the movement to pass a resolution at the 2004 Southern Baptist Convention encouraging Baptists to take their children out of public schools.
Pinckney begins the work by claiming public schools are anti-Christian; they are spiritually, morally, and academically corrosive. The foreward sets the tone for the rest of the 658 pages including footnotes.
Chalcedon Press is the publisher. Chalcedon is owned and operated by people in the Reconstructionist movement. The group is a long-time promoter of home schooling and private Christian academies. Leaders in this movement have signed on with anti-public education movements for decades. This extremist end of the Religious Right hates the idea of the First Amendment and teaches it is the biblical mandate for Christians to take over the government.
Shortt quotes several Reconstructionist writers, as well as the founder of the California-based movement. Southern Baptist leaders have denied any part of such an extremist organization, but links have surfaced through the years. The idea that Chacledon has published the work endorsed by such high-profile SBC leaders has raised concern among historians. Mainstream Baptist leaders have noted the connection in their Web site after publication of the book.
Shortt is a Houston lawyer and active member of a Southern Baptist church in the city. Shortt calls public education schools “government schools.” His disdain for government helps to connect with his disdain for government’s education system.
Short says the evidence is overwhelming regarding the destructive effect of government education. His long lists of endnotes reveal he has done his homework. However, the linking of peculiar and far-out happenings in public schools around the nation is made to seem as if it is the norm.
One particular story about a school dance is described as if it is standard practice at schools. The endnote explains the administrators at this school stopped what was taking place and were not sponsoring such activity.
Shortt does in the book what fundamentalists did in the Southern Baptist Convention. They took some isolated incidents, many not even factual, and tried to make them seem as if they were the norm.
Many of the incidents listed in the book appear so far out as they are hard to believe they even occurred in any public school. With the thousands of districts, and scores of district schools around the nation, it wouldn’t be hard to come up with some peculiar episodes that districts have had to endure.
The author claims few public school students can read write or do math and science. He believes public schools are run by radical elements connected to lesbians who are against boys.
The result is that these schools are “killing our children” spiritually, morally and intellectually. One chapter heading claims schools are pagan seminaries which practice what he calls the ABCs–anything but Christianity.
Shortt blames the Supreme Court for many public-school problems. A common thread for Religious Right organizations is to blame separation of church and state for the problems in schools. He takes the accusations to new heights claiming that government schools actually persecute teachers and students who are Christians.
Though public schools are asked to remain neutral to religious views, accommodating all beliefs, Shortt believes they are out to destroy Christians. As a matter of fact the book claims the reason why reports of 88 percent of all youth active in church leave it is the result of the efforts of the anti-Christian message of public education.
Schools not only teach pagan ideas, Shortt says, they teach moral relativism. He believes this ethical system undermines biblical dogma and is the official ethical system of the government school movement. Government schools have even been known to force young girls to undergo pelvic exams.
The book claims public education actually degrades the intellect of American children. He even believes federal prisons are safer than public schools.
According to Shortt, these schools are so dangerous that there is 100 times more sex abuse by them than by Catholic priests. Drugs are dispensed at government schools to sedate children. Many of the drugs are designed to make little boys not act like boys.
The schools are not even run for the children but actually are set up, according to the book, for special-interest groups. Government schools teach cultural Marxism. Traditional values are absent from these schools, which are rooted in Unitarianism and Socialism. “Survivors” of public schools go to the market place without any real job skills.
School testing is a fraud, according to the book. Grade points, standard entrance tests for college and other forms of testing have been dumbed down to make schools look good. As a matter of fact Americans are so ignorant now that Ivy League students think Germans and Japanese were allies with America during World War II. Short believes that 1955 high school graduates were smarter than university graduates of today.
Shortt believes there are still some Christian teachers working for this huge bureaucracy, but they need to wake up to what has happened. He is not kind toward teachers in general, stating that the only real requirement for teachers in California is that they be able to breathe.
Teachers, according to the book, are semi-skilled, well-paid, part-time employees. They are “nice people who don’t know what they are doing.” Shortt says university schools of education are “intellectual slums.” The author states that if any foreign government had done to American children what teachers and their schools did we would have considered it an act of war!
Don Wilkey is pastor of First Baptist Church in Onalaska, Texas.