Public Vs. Private School The Debate for Innocence

I visit public schools a lot to see my "church kids," and I’ve come to appreciate all the committed, hard-working educators. In fact, my wife works for the Anacortes public school system and my sister-in-law teaches at a public high school.

The public vs. private school debate is a hot topic not only in our Orcas Island community, but in other places too. Politics aside, allow me to give you one reason for Adventist Christian education: restored innocence.

Public education suffers from one fundamental challenge: Americans have created a high school educational system that does not support and cannot restore innocence back into our youth. Innocence is a lost value in our pop-culture.

Many Washington state school districts are using Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets to teach values such as honesty, sense of purpose and restraint. I applaud those districts who have adopted this system. Unfortunately, these assets will never be taught effectively because by definition, public schools must also adopt virtually every other value out there, including pluralism, individualism and materialism. Allowing these contradictory values to have an equal presence in our school culture does not lend itself to an effective transfer of assets.

A Christian school, on the other hand, can and should effectively teach important assets that contribute to restoring innocence. Kids should never have to experience the things they do in many of our public schools. They should not have to grow up dealing with obscenity and sexuality before they are ready. Of course, negative behavior is present in every school, public or private, but we can easily forget that having an Adventist Christian school is a huge gift to our community because it provides a place where students can be motivated to live out renewed innocence.

This is why I believe every parent—whether Christian or not—should consider Orcas Christian School (or any of the 22 other Adventist schools in western Washington) as a great option for the education of their children. Let's not take this option for granted.

October 01, 2007 / Washington Conference