We all want a “good education” for our children, but what does that really mean
for your family, your kids. Everyone will have a slightly different focus for what
this looks like to them, but I think it’s safe to say that parents want their kids to
learn Math, Language Arts, Accurate History, and Accurate Science. Many parents
are also choosing Homeschooling or Traditional Christian Private schools because
they want their children to have an environment where the morals and values of
their family are upheld and encouraged.
Public schools around the country are not meeting parents’ expectations for their
children. The Heritage Foundation has recently published their Education
Scorecard for all 50 States and the District of Columbia, and it is a dismal picture
for most of the country, especially here in Illinois.
Traditional Christian private schools are often the first alternative parents explore.
I meet and speak to so many parents who are reconsidering where to send their
child so they can receive a “good education.” While anyone who knows me knows
that I believe in homeschooling your children; that is not always desired by some
families, or possible.
Of course there are many questions you can ask to determine if a private school
meets your child’s needs, but these are some of the issues that I encounter quite
often when working with my clients that they are unaware they need to ask!
The assumption most parents have is that Christian private schools will follow the
Bible and not teach Critical Race Theory (disguised as the terms “Social and
Emotional Learning” or “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion”) or teach the
That is not always the case, and it is becoming more and more apparent that
Traditional Christian private schools (Non-Public Schools) are NOT adhering to
Biblical Principles and Teachings in their curriculum. In order to discern whether a
private school is right for your children, here are 8 questions you should ask, and
make sure they are answered, before you decide who gets to spend more time with
your kids than you do.
*I have directed these questions for parents in Illinois, but the majority of them are
valid for all States.
1. Are you either Registered or Recognized by ISBE? If so, what requirements does the
ISBE have with respect to curriculum?
It is very important to understand that there is a VOLUNTARY process that many private schools go through in Illinois to be “Registered” or “Recognized” by the Illinois State Board of Education. Registration comes first, then the school can apply to be Recognized the following year. Each designation comes with the requirement that the private school agrees to follow certain laws, such as immunizations (mandates), “nondiscrimination”
(aka CRT), and the following which is from the application:
“7. The school complies with applicable federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination including assurances that the school will not prohibit hairstyles historically associated with race, ethnicity, or hair texture, including, but not limited to, protective hairstyles such as braids, locks, and twists.
8. The school agrees to comply with any other applicable State and federal laws, relevant case law, and State and federal rules and regulations.”
Note that #8 is all encompassing. What is “applicable” and who determines that from year to year – the ISBE. Registration also means that all enrollment data, immunization information, staff information, and contact information is provided to the ISBE.
The reason many Traditional Private schools go through this process is to participate in IHSA sports and extracurricular activities around the State. While I can understand that parents may want this, it does not help your child with exposure to sports scouts, or other endeavors. There are plenty of private schools and homeschool teams to play a full season without playing IHSA teams.
As a matter of fact, the more private schools that are NOT Registered or Recognized, the more teams there will be to play. Many of the Registered or Recognized private schools are scared to play other private schools for fear of losing their ISBE status. Vicious cycle that can be broken if more parents just understood the system and the ramifications of Registration or Recognition.
I would go into the interview knowing the answer to this question. Never forget, YOU are Interviewing THEM. In litigation we always say, don’t ask a question you don’t know the answer to! The same holds true for this so you can gauge their reaction and get a read on how excited they are about this. You can find Recognized and Registered schools, or their current status on the ISBE site.
2. Do you incorporate Social and Emotional Learning in any capacity?
If you ask a school if they teach Critical Race Theory, the answer will be a
strong “NO”. Unfortunately, CRT has been disguised as the phrase “Social
Emotional Learning.” What could be bad about that? It is a strategic decision
in order to implement the concepts that all black, brown, Native Americans
and other minority students (except Asians?) are victims, and all students
with white, European, or Nordic ancestry are oppressors.
The very basic premise of Critical Race Theory is a major proponent of
dividing students, and society, by race. It is the very definition of racism –
judging a person by the color of their skin. I could write an entire Blog on
this topic and how the schools are implementing this, but these questions
will help you determine if this is incorporated into the school’s curriculum
and culture. Learn more about CRT.
3. Do you follow any Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs or use
curricula that utilize these concepts?
This is the other phrase used to disguise Critical Race Theory.
4. Do you use any CASEL materials, or are you affiliated with CASEL in
This is the organization that has put forth the Social and Emotional Learning
concept to hide Critical Race Theory.
5. Do you teach any Sex Ed? If so, what materials do you use and for what
Here in Illinois the Legislature has adopted the “National Sex Education
Standards” and stated that all school districts must follow this highly
sexualized curriculum unless they “opt out” from teaching “Comprehensive
Sexual Education.” The concern you should have when choosing a private
school, is that if they are Registered or Recognized, they may have adopted
these standards as well.
Again, I could write an entire Blog on these “National Standards,” but what
is important to understand is that the organization, Siecus, calling these
“National Standards” has NOTHING to do with any official governmental
entity. They have a social agenda, and if you do not agree with it, and are
looking for a private school alternative as a result, then you will want to
steer completely clear of any Sex Education curriculum that involves this
organization, or others referenced HERE.
6. Do you use any Common Core curriculum?
Common Core was designed to further separate kids from their parents by
eliminating books, introducing a way of doing math that is confusing and
takes parental help out of the equation, and doesn’t teach critical thinking.
Bill Gates, who invested over $2 Billion in the development and marketing
of this curriculum to the States, said “(i)t would be great if our education
stuff worked, but we won’t know for probably a decade.”
If you want to best academics for your child, Common Core is not it.
7. Do you use books or electronics?
Even if you are not opposed to your child learning via electronics, studies
have shown that our brains do not take in information in the same way, and
too much screen time is detrimental to brain development. Studies have also
shown that children’s (and adults!) attention span has decreased in direct
correlation with the amount of screen time – the more screen time, the more
easily distracted we are.
At the very least, whatever is used should be accessible to parents, ALL of
it. In public schools, parents do not have access to complete materials, only
some random worksheets that are given as homework.
8. If they use books, are they permitted to come home with my child? *See
The goal is to be fully informed about what the private school will be
teaching your children. They will be spending more time with the adults and
kids at the school than they will with you.
As you explore the best options for you and your children, do not forget – Parents
are the first and best teachers of their children!