IndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity

The Bible says, “by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established” (Matt. 18:16). That’s simply what documentaries do. They bring forth evidence and establish truth by presenting an audience with a collection of witnesses. The power of documentaries often lies in bringing the experiences of others to an audience that might not be readily persuaded by a book or sermon. It’s always the eyewitnesses to an event that can present the most powerful testimony — there’s something about looking into someone’s eyes and hearing their story. In the film IndoctriNation, and in the companion book from New Leaf Press, you’ll see how persuasive those testimonies can be, and how moving and meaningful it is to hear firsthand stories of Christian educators working in the government schools.

I could try to explain to you the conflict of being a Christian teacher in a public school, but Christian teacher Sarah LaVerdiere can make that argument with power and authenticity. She was the teacher that everyone wanted for their child. She loved the kids, and the kids loved her, yet her damning indictment of the schools is made with irrefutable honesty. Sarah's reflections are included in the book along with her dramatic resignation letter.

Likewise, school principal Mike Metarko capably stands up against the “salt and light” argument, offering little hope to the parents who argue that their child will be that successful missionary to the schools. If an elementary school teacher had little success, what hope has little Johnny?

Both Sarah and Mike lived their story. What they say is authentic, and the audience knows it. After all, they sacrificed their careers to deliver their message to you!

Again, I could express to you my opinion that parents are accountable for the spiritual and physical risk their children face in the public schools. That’s my opinion, and you could take it or leave it. But when you hear the testimony of Brian Rohrbough, there’s no debate. Brian lost his son in the Columbine shooting, and he leaves every parent with the unforgettable words, “I put him there.” These are some of the bravest words I have ever heard.

There are many other eyewitnesses in the IndoctriNation book who will detail to you the decline of American public education from the inside. From R.C. Murray, who exposes the dumbing down of the curriculum, to Karl Preist who participated in a textbook war and documents the futile 30-year struggle to reform the schools in West Virginia.

Then let us bring you John Taylor Gatto, the author of The Underground History of American Education. As Teacher of the Year in New York City and New York State, he now stands as both an expert and eyewitness chronicling the disaster that is the public school system.  Mr. Gatto’s memorable quote in our film sums it all up for me. He says, “Is there an idea more radical in the history of the human race than turning your children over to total strangers whom you know nothing about, and having those strangers work on your child’s mind, out of your sight, for a period of twelve years? . . . It’s a mad idea!” 

Indeed, it is. Public schooling is unnatural, it’s weird, it’s outdated. It’s based on a model that is neither American (it was imported from Prussia), nor Christian (it was founded by Unitarians, progressives, and utopians). In my mind, there is no better emblem of this madness than the big yellow school bus. That is why it played the part of the antagonist in our film.

 As an outsider, these clunky, noisy, polluting monsters stand out as uniquely American symbols of federal uniformity and statism. The bus is loaded with every anti-Christian ideology from utopians like Robert Owen and Karl Marx, to the evolutionist Charles Darwin, to the psychologist Edward Thorndike, and the humanist John Dewey. Using the bus is not a neutral act, but a decision that opens a child to multiple ideologies that oppose the Christian faith.

 In presenting the IndoctriNation book as an accompaniment to our film, one of our objectives is to equip the homeschooling public with the ammunition necessary to effectively defend our educational choices and attack our adversaries’ choices.   In the pro-life movement, sidewalk counseling has been successful where political action has been less than effective. Now is the time for us to be as bold in the same manner, using these resources to graciously challenge our brothers and sisters who are still deceived by the public school system. No one finds it easy to broach this subject with friends or family. So maybe you can let the IndoctriNation book or film be the grenade you throw in the room and leave! We’ll take the flak for you. Please remember, this is the time to be bold — for those with children in the government schools this might be a matter of life or death.

Colin Gunn is a documentary filmmaker and producer, including the award-winning documentary IndoctriNation. He is also the general editor of the new companion book. He is a homeschool father of 8 children, originally from Scotland currently residing in Waco, TX.

IndoctriNation is available anywhere fine Christian products are sold including your favorite online retailer. You can purchase a discounted combination package, of the book and DVD, here.

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