Let me begin this review with a bit of self-disclosure. I am a product of the public school system. All of my education from Kindergarten through twelfth grade was in Minnesota public schools. Early on in my career, I spent more than 5 years working at an educational software company, which put me in direct contact with public schools on a daily basis. Based on my experiences, I would have described myself as a person who is very familiar with the state of public education in America. Before I even made it to the first chapter of IndoctriNation, I began to wonder if I might be mistaken about how much I actually know. The following statement from Chuck LaVerdiere in the introductory portion of the book echoed my sentiment exactly, “I already arrogantly considered myself well-educated on the state of America’s public schools. After all, I experienced them firsthand growing up.” If he honestly felt his own beliefs were arrogant after going through the process of editing this book, I knew there would be much for me to learn here too.
Enough about me, let’s get back to the book. The book IndoctriNation published by Master Books is a companion book to a documentary film by Colin Gunn and Joaquin Fernandez. IndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity in America follows Colin Gunn and his family as they travel across America in a big yellow school bus seeking to discover the origins of our modern-day education system. The film features some staggering statistics as well as interviews with former public school insiders, key leaders in the Christian homeschool movement, and many others. Ultimately, the filmmakers come the conclusion that our modern-day education system is humanistic and man-centered, designed to tear apart the family, circumvent God’s design for education, and undermine the influence of Christ and His church.
Prior to beginning IndoctriNation, I hadn’t seen the film. Fortunately I had an opportunity to watch the film as I was making my way through the book. While the book is fine as a standalone resource, it’s like trying to drink from a firehose. If you’re going to read the book, I strongly recommend that you watch the film first, so you’ll be better equipped to understand the context of how each chapter relates to the message of the documentary.
IndoctriNation is by no means a short book, coming in at a whopping 384 pages. Below are the titles of the chapters and a bit about each author, so you can have a better understanding of what you’ll encounter in the book:
- CH 1: America’s Trojan Horse: Public Education – Michael J. Metarko (former 4th grade teacher, elementary school principal)
- CH 2: Drugging Them Up – Dr. Bruce Short (lawyer, homeschooler, cosponsor of the Christian Education Resolution submitted at the 2004 Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention)
- CH 3: Dumbing Them Down – R.C. Murray (former public school teacher)
- CH 4: Discipline Discipleship – Sarah LaVerdiere (former public elementary school teacher who was forced to resign by her school district due to their “concern that [her] Christian views would influence the students and their parents.”)
- CH 5: On Trial for Christ: A Teacher’s Testimony – Robert Ziegler (former public school teacher who was fired for proclaiming God’s Word in his classroom)
- CH 6: A Tale of Two Masters: Parents of the State – Which Does Your School Board Serve? – Karl Priest (former principal and teacher)
- CH 7: Educational Monopoly – Neal McCluskey (Director of The Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom)
- CH 8: Separation of School and State – Howard Phillips (former chairman of the Boston Republication Party, former director of the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity, and former chairman of The Conservative Caucus)
- CH 9: Early American Education – Roger Schultz (dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Liberty University)
- CH 10: A Firm Foundation: A Brief Survey of the Faith of America’s Founding Fathers – John Eidsmoe (Professor of constitutional law and related subjects at Faulkner University)
- CH 11: Pavlov’s Child – Samuel Blumenfeld (well-known author, writer)
- CH 12: The History of History Textbooks – Geoff Botkin (political consultant, filmmaker, husband, and father of 7)
- CH 13: What Has Athens to Do with Jerusalem? – Douglas W. Phillips (founder and director of Vision Forum, father of 8)
- CH 14: The Co-Opting of Big Education by Big Business – John Taylor Gatto (former school teacher)
- CH 15: When a Nation Forgets God: Authoritarianism and Government Schools – Erwin Lutzer (Senior Pastor of Chicago’s Moody Church)
- CH 16: Where Are We Headed? Present-Day U.K.: A Snapshot of our Future – Ken Ham (President/CEO and founder of Answers in Genesis-U.S and the Creation Museum)
- CH 17: Let My Children Go – E. Ray Moore (President of Frontline Ministries, Director of the Exodus Mandate Project)
- CH 18: Jurisdictional Boundaries: Who is Responsible for the Education of Your Child? – Voddie Baucham, Jr. (husband, pastor, author, and church planter)
- CH 19: The Second Mayflower – Kevin Swanson (Director of Generations with Vision, host of Generations Radio, author, pastor )
- CH 20: Mind, Body, and Soul: Three Big Reasons to Homeschool – David and Kim d’Escoto (homeschoolers, authors)
- CH 21: The Dog Ate My Lesson Plans: Common Excuses to Keep from Homeschooling – Israel Wayne (home school graduate, author,Marketing Director at Wisdom’s Gate)
- CH 22: Evangelism in the Home – Scott Brown (Director of the National Center for Family Integrated Churches)
- CH 23: The Goal of Education – R.C. Sproul, Jr. (author, pastor)
Many thanks to Colin and Joaquin for making a great documentary film and also to Master Books for publishing such a thought-provoking and informative companion book.
Where to Buy:
This book was provided by Master Books for review. The reviewer was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
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