Written in 2002
I try to be friendly, I try hard every day. But no one seems to notice, they throw my work away. They trip me in the corridors, they slap me in the face, The names that they call me put me down a place. I really hope things get better, better every day Because if they never do I can’t live another morning or another day.
Not long after writing these lines a 14 year old Bristol schoolgirl committed suicide because she could not stand the daily torment of school bullies any more. In response to this and other cases, Education Secretary Estelle Morris has announced new guidelines stating that any student caught bullying would be expelled. The government is spending millions of pounds on sin bins where unruly and violent pupils can be sent and also considering employing classroom bouncers to eject disruptive pupils from lessons.
The breakdown of discipline in schools is a major reason for teachers leaving the profession. A recent article in the press featured a South African teacher who had come to teach in London, having coped well with one of the toughest schools in Cape Town. She left a few weeks later, after facing appalling behaviour with no means of enforcing discipline. The last straw was when a pupil poured water into her handbag, and she sent the pupil to the head teacher, who gave him a chocolate biscuit and sent him back to the class about half an hour later.
Bullying and indiscipline are not the only problem affecting our schools. According to an official survey, drug peddling to the young has reached alarming proportions with nearly one third of all pupils saying they have been offered cannabis, often by other pupils. In line with the governments relaxation of the drug laws and growing tolerance of the use of so-called recreational drugs like cannabis, education authorities are being told they will need to revisit their drugs policy (i.e. relax the rules on drugs).
Recent articles in the press reveal that around a quarter of young people have sex before their 16th birthday. During 2001 25,200 girls under 16 took the morning after pill in England alone, 11% of all prescriptions of the drug from family planning centres. Around 30,000 girls under the age of 18 become pregnant every year, about a third of them under 16. Sex education programmes in schools give no moral guidance; instead they generally promote sexual licence. One educational video shown to nine to ten year olds enlightens them about different positions for heterosexual, bisexual, gay and lesbian sex. Children as young as 13 are being given condom cards to collect free contraceptives without their parents knowledge. This government backed scheme was launched in Sunderland, a area with one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in England.
A report by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority submitted to the Department of Education stated that anti-racist education has left white pupils feeling they could not be proud of their own culture and identity. The challenge is here for teachers to instil their pupils with pride in white culture without it becoming nationalistic or racist. This plea that history and cultural subjects should be taught in a way which does not pour scorn on British culture, laws and past values has met with a predictable rejection by the Department of Education. A spokesman said, There are no plans to introduce this proposal.
Understanding the times
What is happening in our schools is the outworking of certain principles which, when we understand them, help to understand what is happening to our society as a whole. This is a radical change in the values of society to conform to the dictates of those who now have control over key institutions in society, whose thinking was formed in the 1960s. The times they are a changing was Bob Dylan’s sixties anthem of the protest movement which had the lines:
Come mothers and fathers throughout the land
And don’t criticise what you cant understand.
Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command,
Your old road is rapidly aging.
Please get out of the new road if you can’t lend a hand,
Cos the times they are a’ changing.
Well now the times have changed and the sixties sons and the daughters are in command. Yesterday’s rebels against the Old Establishment are now the New Establishment, imposing a new orthodoxy on society through their influence on the government, education and the media.
In a perceptive article in the Daily Mail (12/1/02) Melanie Philips analyses the roots of the changes that have come into our educational system and society. Both parents and teachers have increasingly abandoned the fundamental requirement to set clear boundaries for children and to pass on to them the values and codes of behaviour that instil self-restraint and sexual decorum. Far from expecting children to conform to social and moral rules laid down by adults, these parents and teachers decided to let children work out their own values and make their own choices.
She lays much of the blame for this trend on the influence of Jean Jacques Rousseau, the 18th century French philosopher, Sigmund Freud and 20th century American educationalist John Dewey. Under Freud’s influence, parents came to believe that the way they handled their children might cripple their personalities for life. As a result the focus on child rearing shifted from socialising children into wider world to concentrating on their mental and emotional health. This made parents too frightened to exercise authority. Instead they decided their children’s freedom to choose how to behave was paramount.
Dewey, who laid the foundation for the child centred theories that have ruined American and British education, was the intellectual heir of Rousseau. Rousseau, who dumped all five of his illegitimate children in an orphanage, proclaimed that children were good and had to be protected from adult influence, which could only corrupt them. Dewey dismissed the notion that adults should hand down values to children. Instead he thought that children had to think things out for themselves, with the teacher becoming as much a learner as the child. Dewey’s graduate student, Carl Rogers and another American educationalist, Sidney Simon, developed this philosophy into the doctrine of values clarification. This in effect told children, If it feels good, do it. As a result teachers were not to impose their views on pupils. Whether children had sex or not did not matter. All that mattered was whether they made that decision freely.
The Radical Alternative
Back in the sixties I was a young left wing English teacher who espoused the kind of thinking described here. On January 1st 1970 I made a decision, which radically altered the direction of my life. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Saviour and Lord. While I rejoice in the real freedom I found through accepting the Lord and the guidelines for moral behaviour in the Bible, I am horrified to see the success of my former comrades in dictating their ideas on our society today. The very things, which were being discussed and planned by young radicals like myself in the sixties, are now becoming the norm.
Today we see a relentless attack on personal and public discipline. Moral values passed down from one generation to another are constantly ridiculed (especially when they are based on Biblical Christianity). There is little or no respect for (or even knowledge of) the history and the past achievements of our country. An attitude of contempt for authority – parents, teachers, and police – is actively encouraged.
In place of all this there is the constant promotion of a formless multiculturalism, which gives young people no guidelines and no sense of identity or history. As such they become easy targets for exploitation by the destructive influences in our society. They are also being moulded for inclusion in the globalist tyranny, which will be the end result of the changes being imposed upon us by the New Establishment. Many people today who think they are being rebels against the system are actually being its slavish conformists.
The central error in the philosophy described above is the denial of original sin. Rousseau thought that children are basically good, corrupted by a bad world. Dewey taught that adults should not pass on their values to their children. Carl Rogers said, If it feels good, do it. The Bible actually teaches the exact opposite. However delightful children may be, all of us are born with a sinful human nature. If we say that we must let children express what is inside them without setting any boundaries or giving any moral guidance, we should not be surprised if the results are rudeness, violence, bullying, racial hatred, sexual immorality, alcohol and drug addiction.
Jesus said, ‘Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man’ (Matthew 15.19-20). Because of this fact of life children need to be taught moral values and restrained from evil habits and actions.
This requires some sort of discipline to be in place. The government is spending millions on sin bins where disruptive pupils are sent (and probably pick up more anti-social ideas from each other). Vandalism in schools costs even more millions. The cost of bullying can never be measured in money, but only in the anguish it causes to the victims. How much of this would be countered with effective discipline of children? The Bible states: ‘Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.’ (Proverbs 23:13).
Of course today’s New Establishment will never accept this and go on blindly blaming every one else but themselves for the disaster, which has come upon our education system and society. From the point of view of Bible prophecy the collapse of discipline and morality is a clear sign of the last days of this age. In Psalm 2 we read of the nations raging against God: ‘The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and his anointed (Messiah / Christ), saying, Let us break their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords from us.’ This is a vivid picture of the spirit of Antichrist in our society, which is leading people in a self-destructive rejection of all restraint and laws of God.
Isaiah 3 describes a decadent society in which there is no restraint of evil: ‘I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them. The people will be oppressed, every one by another and every one by his neighbour; the child will be insolent toward the elder and the base toward the honourable. … As for my people, children are their oppressors and women rule over them. O my people! Those who lead you cause you to err, and destroy the way of your paths.’ (Isaiah 3.4-5, 12)
In 2 Timothy 3 we read: ‘But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.’
How much can we thank Rousseau, Freud, Dewey and those who think like them for creating this state of things?
The only hope is to be found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I remember an incident, which happened when I was teaching at a very rough Comprehensive school in south London, back in the 1970s. I was teaching Religious Education and gave a lesson on the 10 commandments.
At the end of the lesson after the class had written the 10 commandments in their books I said that this is God’s standard for our behaviour, but unfortunately we cant keep them. God knew that the children of Israel would not be able to keep all his commandments and so He instituted the system of animal sacrifices through Moses, so the people could be forgiven for their sins. When Jesus died on the cross He was the fulfilment of all the blood sacrifices and through his once and for all sacrifice we can have forgiveness and new life. I then said that if anyone wanted to stay behind and talk about this they could. Four boys stayed behind and accepted the Lord. Out of that we set up a Christian Union, meeting once a week at lunchtime to look at the Bible
Probably I would lose my job for doing that today, but I find it interesting in the light of this article that it was a lesson on the 10 commandments that the Lord chose to use to set up the Christian Union. This just verifies the fact that children need to be given clear moral values and guidelines – and also we all need to receive the new life available in Jesus by the Holy Spirit in order to live by these commandments. The people who choose to live this way are the ones who are really showing their independence and non-conformity. Now is the time to join the radical alternative to this rotten society, which is heading for self-destruction.