Taking Control of Moral Education
People remove their children from public school and move to private schools for a lot of reasons. For one thing, the contract you have with a private school is in every way different than your relationship with public school. Because you pick your private school, the schools in your area are in competition for your “business”. That means they work for you and they are responsible to live up to their promises to you when you pay them to give your child an education.
This phase of the process, when you are interviewing various private schools is when you have the chance to stipulate exactly what part of the education of your child you are prepared to hand over to the school and what parts you do not want them fooling around with. For most parents, we are looking to send the child to school go learn about history, english, science, math, foreign language art, composition and other academic subjects that they need to conquer to be a success in college and eventually in life.
Unfortunately public schools also take it upon themselves to educate children in what might be considered moral, ethical or even religious areas of life. And for many parents, this is meddling and imposing values on their children that the school has no right to impose and that is outside their authorization to do so. No other subject better illustrates this principle than sex education.
Sex education in schools is a topic of considerable controversy. And it will continue to be controversial because it is something most parents do not want to see the schools getting involved with and something most schools very much want to have as part of their curriculum. The grey area comes in the realm of physical education. Lessons on hygiene, anatomy and how the human body works are a natural part of the science or physical education curriculum. So you might be able to understand if part of that education is to go over how the human sex organs work from a scientific point of view.
Even at this basic level, though, parents often feel they should be consulted on what they want their children to know. The age old image of dad sitting on the porch and explaining the birds and the bees to his son is time honored and revered in families and we are as a society not comfortable with handing that job over to some stranger whose values we know nothing about.
But sex education in schools doesn’t usually end with a basic discussion of the medical of physical properties of the body. Many schools have more advanced curriculum that cover the sex act, how pregnancy works, venereal disease and “recreational” sex activities as well in some cases. And some of the more aggressive programs actually provide condoms to the children “just in case.”
You may become alarmed at any or all of this level of instruction if it is to be considered part of a public school’s educational program. The problem is because our contract with public schools gives no control to parents, you only have the choice of be quiet and let them teach what they will or remove your child to move to a private school who is more prepared to regard the parent’s wishes in regards to sex education or any other areas of moral, ethical or religious education that they wish to carry out at home.
If these kinds of programs at the public school level are what have alarmed you and began your transition to become a private school family, you are not alone. And maybe if enough families go this route, the public schools will get the message that parents have rights in these matters and those rights must be respected.