Ye Old Deluder
What is the purpose of a school?
MONTANA — Greetings from the beautiful Big Sky Country.
Thanksgiving is over and people are now preparing for Christmas. Colorful lights are highlighting the houses on our street and many Christmas trees can be seen in the windows.
At the moment, I’d like to take a brief trip back into my past.
A couple of decades ago I took a graduate class in Education at the University of Montana and we had a guest speaker. She was going to give a talk about the history of public education in America.
As a history guy I was excited about the topic. I had studied the history of education in America and around the world for a number of years and found it a fascinating subject.
Our guest speaker started her talk with the very first examples of public education in America. That was a logical way to begin but there was just one minor problem. She skipped the very first example of public school education in America.
That was the first red flag.
As she spoke I realized she wasn’t giving us the history of education in America but her view of what she wanted public education in America to be all about. The things that didn’t fit her view were either ignored or ridiculed.
For those of you who don’t know, the very first laws setting up public education in America were passed in Massachusetts.
In 1642, twenty-two years after the Pilgrims arrived in the New World, the colonists realized they had a problem. The families were so focused on surviving and setting up a society where they could worship God that they had failed to teach many of their children how to read and write.
The Law of 1642 didn’t set up schools but required parents and masters to be responsible for the education of the children under their care. The law was not very effective as people were more concerned with that survival thing.
So in 1647 the colony passed another act requiring towns with 50 families to hire a schoolmaster to teach children to read and write, and towns with 100 or more families had to set up a school that would prepare students to meet the entrance requirements for Harvard College.
The Massachusetts School Law of 1647 was the first law setting up public education in America. I thought everyone knew that.
How could that fact be missing from her talk?
She had a doctorate in education. Surely she knew about the Law of 1647.
I think the problem was that the Massachusetts School Law of 1647 actually said why public schools were important and the reason didn’t fit her worldview.
Historians often refer to the Law of 1647 as:
The Old Deluder Satan Act
“It being one chiefe project of ye ould deluder, Satan, to keepe men from the knowledge of ye Scriptures …”
Okay, so spelling wasn’t a big deal to the Puritans.
What was a big deal was their awareness that Satan would try to keep their children from being able to read and understand God’s Word on their own. The Puritans didn’t want their children to be misled by “deceivers.”
I believe that’s why our guest speaker didn’t deal with the real historical facts in her presentation because she also ignored many similar historical facts that didn’t fit her view of what education should be.
Just a thought …
Can you imagine any public school in America today indicating they were teaching reading so the children (our nation’s next generation) could read and understand the Bible?
“As we peer into society's future, we -- you and I, and our government -- must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for our own ease and convenience the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.”
― Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969)
34th President of the United States (1953-1961)
Here are some stories I found interesting last week.
“A Turkey’s Day of Reckoning” by Bill Bonner. An interesting look at the economy.
“Physician Assistant: ‘My bosses didn’t want me to report Covid-19 vaccine side effects’” The Sharyl Attkisson Podcast, 21 NOV 2021.
As we head into the Christmas season I thought you might want to hear what Jesus taught concerning people who don’t like you.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
Jesus, from The Sermon on the Mount
Matthew 5:43-45 (ESV)
Before I go I’d like to share a blessing with you from the Old Testament.
“May the Lord bless and protect you; may the Lord’s face radiate with joy because of you; may he be gracious to you, show you his favor, and give you his peace.”
Numbers 6:24-26 (The Living Bible)
Until next time … be the reason someone smiles today!
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