“So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”
When warning people about the prophets of His day, Jesus compared these individuals to fruit. The good prophets produced healthy fruit with their words and promises; the false prophets produced harmful fruit that led their followers toward destruction. When Jesus gave this warning, He was not referring only to doomsday-speaking mad men. In His day, prophets were people who might give counsel or advice; they might help families make tough decisions; or they could be using the gift of discernment to point groups in a particular direction.
Today, the public education industry has subsumed much of the role of the prophet in the ancient world. Some of this is by necessity. Today’s world is much more complex and technological than the social life surrounding Jesus. The common folks of that era might have hoped for supernatural advice about when to plant crops, who their children should marry, or how to apply the Torah to an unfortunate situation. Prophets could help with each of these ancient scenarios. However, prophets aren’t as helpful in regards to many of today’s difficult problems: prophetic insight won’t help us use that accounting software at work; it isn’t terribly useful for filling out the 1040; and it only has limited effectiveness for assisting with the new piece of engineering equipment in the factory. Unfortunately, as society shifts, we have leaned more and more on the public education sector for answers. The prophets of public education make promises that children in their tutelage will have “twenty-first century skills,” “career readiness,” and become great “global citizens” if we only follow their methodologies and procedures. Sadly, while the public school education fruit is good for some, it is poison for others.
Public education has some positives: it equitably meets the basic needs of people that attend and provides diverse opportunities to help students realize their gifts. This is made possible by public school teachers who expend extraordinary effort dedicating their lives to help children find success in society. However, the system also brings with it extraordinary negatives, and many of these are beyond the control of the teachers. By law, any type of religious devotion is illegal if faculty are involved. Any academic message that offends the smallest segment of society, even if true, is eventually censored. Moreover, with large schools, regulating negative behaviors such as profanity and lewdness becomes nearly impossible as school officials struggle day-to-day with drugs and violence.
Education was never supposed to be this way or have this role in society, and I am thankful that New Testament Christian Church supports Keokuk Christian Academy as part of The Mission. Our environment intentionally reflects Biblical values and includes worship to God. Our teachers can boldly teach the truth without being hampered by relativism. And, while we have our share of ornery students, I am thankful that we are small enough that we can keep the crimes and travesties of the public schools away from our youth as they develop into Godly men and women.
However, all of this takes a significant amount of resources. Iowa public schools spend $6,591 on average to educate a single student in a year. At KCA, we scrape by with a tuition of $2550. This happens because we have parents that believe in our program, teachers with missionary-mindsets that make sacrifices for our students, and a wonderful host church! We are grateful for the financial contributions, volunteer hours, prayers, and shared resources. On behalf of KCA, I want to say “thank you” for your decades of support for making Christian education possible in this region!