Indoctrination Is Not Education

What about the training and formation of teachers?


John Stonestreet

Michaela Estruth

The list of reasons for parental rebellion against public education has grown long in recent years. From trans ideology to DEI curriculum to the constant push for activism, many public school classrooms are more committed to indoctrination than instruction.  

Though recently intensified, the ideological push to reject objective truth and teach social conformity is not new. Karl Marx promoted removing children from families and enrolling them in state education. Adolf Hitler targeted youth with social propaganda well before the beginning of World War II. And for decades, the heavily federally funded Planned Parenthood has monopolized sex education, teaching risky behavior, abortion, birth control, and LGBTQ theory under taxpayers’ noses and with their dollars.  

More recently, even as reading, writing, and math scores plummeted, classrooms and libraries have been stocked with radically sexualized books with no other educational value other than to … radically sexualize kids. Students are forced to comply with the latest “trans equality” efforts and punished if they do not. Third through 5th graders are given anti-racist reading lists, and The 1619 Project, which redefined the founding of America as entirely slave-based and racist, boasts that “thousands of teachers across every state” use their content.  

This last point may be the most significant. Teachers entrusted with children’s care for up to eight hours a day are themselves indoctrinated on how to teach. Take a look at any number of elementary education departments at colleges and universities, and one will find it more of a call to activism than an education in how to teach. Of course, there are many dedicated teachers bucking the pull toward moral relativism and cause-based activism, but these programs are where most public and private school teachers are trained. And this raises the question: If a Christian teacher is to teach as a Christian, where will they learn to do so? 

Complicating the problem is that in many cases, teachers have the liberty to create their own lessons without much accountability. According to a 2017 RAND Corporation survey, most teachers do not strictly follow state curriculum. Instead, in language arts, for example, 99% of elementary teachers and 96% of secondary school teachers said they use materials they developed or selected themselves. The American Federation of Teachers, the U.S.’s second largest teachers union, runs a “Share My Lesson” website. According to The Free Press, the site boasts 2.2 million members, more than 420,000 resource materials, and more than 16 million downloads. Partners of the site include activist organizations like GLSEN, Project Happiness, Global Amnesty International, USvsHate, and dozens of others. 

What all of this means is that if Christians are to truly take advantage of the disruption in state-run education, much will depend on the training and formation of teachers. Well-trained teachers educate. Indoctrinated teachers indoctrinate. Thus, Christian educators have an incredible opportunity right now to make a difference in this culture. 

A few years ago, the Colson Center, in partnership with the Association of Christian Schools International, developed Colson Educators, a set of Christian worldview training and formation resources for Christian educators. So far, over 35,000 teachers from hundreds of schools have been equipped in Christian worldview through this program. And earlier this week, over 500 Christian school teachers joined ACSI and the Colson Center for the Rooted Educators conference to be further trained in Christian worldview on a number of cultural issues. 

This is one way that the Colson Center fulfills its mission to equip Christians in their calling. If you’ve found Colson Center podcasts, webinars, or training programs helpful as you engage the culture around you, please prayerfully consider partnering with us. June 30 is the end of the Colson Center’s fiscal year. Please go to and click Give to donate. 

This Breakpoint was co-authored by Michaela Estruth. For more resources to live like a Christian in this cultural moment, go to 


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