I was so excited that my colleague in classical, Christian education, David Goodwin, published a book with Fox News anchor Pete Hegseth that I immediately purchased 500 copies and gave them to Christian leaders and educators across the United States. I love the book and can recommend it to anyone.
In 2022, Fox Nation made a companion documentary retitled “The Miseducation of America.” Although the documentary differed from the book and did not align with my personal views on the problems and solutions to education, I could see the Fox team was trying to expand the conversation beyond civil government education. Accordingly, Classical Conversations (CC), my home school support organization, promoted watch parties for Season 1 and discussed our points of agreement and disagreement. The CC home-schooling community was, in general, happy to see a major media outlet finally acknowledge what we have been shouting from the rooftops for 50 years.
From Fox Nation’s perspective, the series was well-watched and well-received. Pete Hegseth wanted to continue the series and ignite a growing insurgency that could break the hold of civil government on education. I hoped that Season 2 would be less about the obvious results of inherently socialist education and more about the myriad of truly free-market, privately-funded, academic choices that already exist. Through some mutual friends, I was recommended as a guest for Season 2 and was excited that Pete Hegseth included me in the series. I am so grateful to have been included in the final episode. I’m pleased that Season 2 ended on a positive note with Classical Conversations and the Association of Christian Classical Schools highlighted.
However, the bulk of Season 2 continued in the same negative spirit as Season 1. I recommend that friends of decency listen to episodes 1 and 2 instead of watching them because they are graphically explicit. The most perverted aspects of sex education common in civil government schools were described in episode 1 and gender identity education was described in episode 2. I appreciate the purpose of episodes 1 and 2. Pete, David, and any of the interviewees want to expose every institution that mocks the name of Jesus, especially while pretending to care about children. Episodes 1 and 2 should succeed in waking up any that think the woke are harmless.
Episode 3 added teachers’ unions to the list of problems with civil government education. Power in the wrong hands is always wrong, whether that power takes the form of Democrats trading housing and food stamps for votes, or the form of Republicans trading corporate welfare for campaign financing. No special interest has the natural right to insist on funding from other people’s pockets, elected or otherwise. C.S. Lewis said, “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive” (God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics). We need neither teachers nor politicians to save our children. The children have a Savior. It’s only when the hearts of fathers turn to their children and the hearts of children turn to their fathers that He will rise with healing for our nation. At CC, our focus is on parent support, not child support. Anything less is a losing battle. I beseech any teachers reading this to become entrepreneurs and start your own educational services where parents are truly your partners. You will make more money and be more satisfied.
Very little was said about free market solutions. Instead, Episode 3 began to lead the audience towards so-called school choice where government policy extends the reach of civil government education by expanding the flow and therefore control of public money into private education through ESAs and charter schools. All of the leaders want to destroy public education as we know it. No single ideology thinks it is a good idea as is. Liberals want to abolish uncontrollable local school boards and increase Federal control. Hence Jimmy Carter’s establishment of The US Department of Education. It’s no mistake the Feds provide almost 50% of civil government school funding. And recently, the government and unions conspired to impose the closing of schools for Covid to create local panic. Conservatives want private education to be tax-funded. They think there will be no controls but a government policy inherently has to be controlled. We should be angry when someone spends our tax dollars without oversight. Every policy needs a mandate, funding, and enforcement – otherwise it is not a policy!
Too often, the horrors of our modern culture are sanitized and hidden. During Roman times, it was awful for people to throw unwanted babies into the streets, but at least Christians could see the horror and rescue the babies that still breathed. In our culture today, hospital abortion sanitizes and thus hides the horrors. Season 2 exposed how the collusion of civil government, self-indulgent culture, and powerful unions have successfully hidden the horrors of the classroom. It is good to bring these truths into the light and be forced to address them.
I don’t want those of you who value my leadership to think I ever home-schooled because the civil government schools are bad. My husband Rob and I home-schooled our four sons because the locus of education is the family and Creation is the curriculum. Raising sons for Christ is an important duty and responsibility, but it is also full of joy!
In conclusion, I know Pete and David through Fox Nation will continue proclaiming the good news of Christian education, but I would caution believers to remember 3 things while determining your role in this battle.
1. The weapons of the Lord’s insurgents are prayer and love. (Ephesians 6)
I encourage all people to pray about their responsibility for their neighbor while also praying for our policy makers and media leaders to do no harm. By helping my neighbors who have fewer financial resources, I also can share the gospel.
2. It is the goodness of God leads men unto repentance. (Romans 2)
I encourage our Classical Conversations community, The Association of Classical Christian Schools, The Society of Classical Learning and any other organization dedicated to the restoration of classical, Christian education to reject modern methods in exchange for higher enrollments. This is difficult, but I pray we stick to our mission to know God and to make Him known through family discipleship. Offer good, true, and beautiful services. Continue building libraries before gymnasiums.
3. If you drive out a demon, but have nothing to replace it with, seven more will come (see Matt. 12:45).
The horrors of Marxism may drive families from civil government education, but it won’t drive them into church government education or family government education. Support Fox Nation as they expose 100 years of family destruction from the loss of Christian capital, but don’t linger. Pray for ways to replace the current demon or something worse will come. Like online education alone in a climate-controlled room.
In 1997, our many ‘lone’ schooling friends lost confidence and started enrolling their children in public schools. We couldn’t say “Don’t” when we didn’t have a “Let’s do together;” so we started Classical Conversations. We belong to a church committed to Christian education. Our body sponsors a CC community, a private part-time school, a private full-time school, and a scholarship fund for private Christian education. During the COVID-19 lockdowns, I sponsored a micro-school for working parents. My family regularly donates to private schools because we believe in parents' rights to assemble even if we don’t believe private institutions are the best solution for children. CC donates to homeschool scholarship funds across the nation. And we encourage local CC communities to sponsor and hold accountable local families who may need financial support.
Good ideas, willing hands, and plenty of private funding are ready to create and innovate thousands of forms of education without any aid from civil government. My hope is that Season 3 will be about God’s provision for His families and His Church, and the freedom awaiting a nation that loves independence.
Leigh Bortins, is the founder and chief visionary officer of Classical Conversations, which supports classical, Christian homeschoolers in all fifty states and in thirty foreign countries.