Christian education fervently hopes for re-election Trump

Meeting TCC-education delegation with US-Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (29 Oct 2019):  From left to right: Pieter Moens (VGS), 3x staffers Betsy DeVos, John Van Der Brink (5th from left - Netherlands Reformed Christian School - New Jersey), Jim Bazen (Plymouth Christian High School, Grand Rapids - Michigan), Betsy DeVos (Secretary of Education of the US), Henk Jan van Schothorst (founder and director TCC en CCI), André Verwijs (VCPOZ), staffer Betsy DeVos, Dick van Meeuwen (Hoornbeeck College), Wim de Kloe (Driestar College)


In: Reformatorisch Dagblad
October 26, 2020 Monday
Section: FORUM; Page.24
Dutch National newspaper
About 50,000 daily copies
Reach: About 150,000 people
Authors: John Van Der Brink and Henk Jan van Schothorst – see below

Christian education fervently hopes for re-election Trump


Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos fights for free school choice in the United States. That would be a godsend for Christian education. However, if Biden wins the election, the fight will have been in vain.

Christian education in America has a guardian in Washington DC in the person of Secretary of Education Ms. Betsy DeVos, appointed by President Trump. She is a supporter of free school choice. This removes financial barriers for parents who want to send their children to schools of their choice. These can also be Christian schools. The Dutch organizational model has her interest, as was shown during a meeting of an education delegation of Transatlantic Christian Council (TCC) with her in Washington DC. Her plea is crucial for the survival and flourishing of the American educational system. Public education has suffered in recent years from the imposition of policies and practices that have robbed it of its moral and educational integrity.

Currently, parents must send their children to public schools in their zip code area to receive government-funded education. The so-called Blaine Amendment, an archaic, anti-religious and, in fact, anti-Roman law, forbade tax money to be spent on schools owned or run by a denomination or sect. Although this law did not become a nationwide federal law when proposed in 1876, 38 states incorporated it in some form into their respective constitutions.

Free school choice

On 30 June 2020, in a case in Montana, where this law had been in force since 1889, the Supreme Court ruled with a majority of one vote that this law violated freedom of religion. The Supreme Judges Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, nominated by Trump, were among the supporters. This paved the way for government-funded Christian education and the introduction of free school choice. However, if Biden wins, DeVos will be replaced by a new Secretary of Education, who will return to the policies that led to the current failures.

America is known for being the land of freedom, of opportunity, and of choice. When the founding fathers set foot upon American soil, they fostered a spirit that wanted to be free from oppressive and intrusive government. They desired the religious and education freedoms denied them in their countries of origin. They planted schools and passed laws that insured their children would be taught to read and to reason so that their children could read the Bible and make laws and establish institutions consistent with it. The Old Deluder Satan Act was passed already in Massachusetts in 1647 requiring communities of fifty or more families to start schools so the children would not grow up ignorant of the Word of God. These ideals were enshrouded in American culture. American public schools were really Christian schools for many generations.

Today’s public education has lost its religious fervor. The authority of the Bible and prayer has been ruled out and replaced by multicultural influences and humanistic principles. Basic academies have fallen to identity politics, sexual exploration, and a host of other distractions. The following quote can be found on Joe Biden's website: "On his first day in office, Biden will reintroduce the Obama-Biden directive, which has been repealed by the Trump-Pence administration, and which will restore transgender students' access to sports, bath/shower rooms and locker rooms in accordance with their gender identity." Today's teachers are shackled with spending more time on political correctness and promoting leftist ideologies than teaching traditional values and educational basics.

The results of these trends have become evident. Compared to schools in seventy other industrialized countries, American schools rank 23rd in reading, 25th in science, and an abysmal 39th in mathematics! Wealthy parents often send their children to private or charter schools to try to find good alternatives. Christian parents struggle financially to send their children to their own parochial schools, which can cost around $10,000 per child per year. Others choose home schooling. Lawmakers scramble to establish standards and increase educational expenditures, in an effort to bring about improvements. This has been the trend of the last fifty to seventy years. However, concerns remain.

System of vouchers

Education Secretary DeVos has introduced and promoted free school choice as a new solution to these persistent problems. She advocates for parents a system of vouchers in which education dollars do not go to specific schools but follow the child to the chosen school. This addresses inequity and levels the playing field for all families and allows the poor as well as the rich the quality of education that a competitive system provides.

Not surprisingly, her proposals are strenuously rejected by the Democrats, who see their own values reflected in the ideology of the public school system. On the other hand, Trump and the Republican Party are in favor of traditional values and true freedom of education.


Would the concerns be gone with the introduction of school vouchers? No, some concerns would remain. Left-wing policy currently has a stranglehold on education in America. We fear that after introduction of school choice, the Democrats will try to gain control over the content of Christian school programs, in exchange for releasing tax dollars for non-public schools. This is one more reason why the elections in November are so important!

John Van Der Brink is director of the Netherlands Reformed Christian School in Pompton Plains (New Jersey) and member of the Board of Directors Christian of Council International (CCI), US-based sister organization of NL-based Transatlantic Christian Council (TCC). Henk Jan van Schothorst is founder and director of CCI and TCC. >>