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Ask The Right Questions When Evaluating a Private School

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

Transgender agenda.


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

any way?


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

ages?


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

above


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!

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