GOD'S CHOICE: The Total World of a Fundamentalist Christian School by Alan Peshkin

GOD'S CHOICE: The Total World of a Fundamentalist Christian School

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The growth of fundamentalist Christian schools and their special character is here studied in a classic and thorough manner. The author lived with a church member for 18 months and, except for one day a weak, was completely absorbed in the activities of this community. The result is a depth of understanding of his subjects not often found in the public forum. Eminently fair, Peshkin is careful to define his own beliefs and prejudices in an attempt to be as objective as possible. The church members welcomed him and were as helpful as they could be. They are straightforward in their opinions and goals--politically, socially and morally. They concentrate on the basics in education and bolster them with dress codes, strong discipline, patriotism and God. They aim to indoctrinate the whole person, in school and out, continually. That they succeed in doing it with a third of the budget of a public school and no government money is, in its own way, remarkable. The students interviewed vary in the intensity of their beliefs, but on the whole demonstrate that the school had achieved its aims. The staff is underpaid, overworked, competent, dedicated and, like everyone associated with the operation, born-again Christians. The idea of a ""total institution"" in the American pluralistic society has always stirred debate since it claims to know the truth and thus has the right to demand unswerving obedience. Many perturbed citizens have asked: Who are these people? Where are they going? And what does their success mean for the rest of us? Peshkin answers these questions with a thoughtful analysis and vigorous opinions.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1986
ISBN: 0226661997
Publisher: Univ. of Chicago Press