This transcript is taken from a Stand in the Gap Today program originally airing on April 17, 2023.  To listen to the program, please click HERE.

Sam Rohrer:

Hello and welcome to Stand in the Gap Today and another full week of headline news analysis from a biblical worldview and constitutional perspective. If you’ve listened to us at any amount of time, you know that’s where we are consistently and we’re going to be going there today. But join us all week. Powerful programs scheduled all week, and I don’t think you’ll want to miss any one of them.

But that being said, since creation almost exactly 6,000 years ago now, if you listened to the program we believe in young Earth. 6,000 years ago was creation, not millions. God established his design at that point for human civilization. And regardless of the evil wokeness of modern America, God made man in the image of God. Man as designed by God was in two parts, male and female. So mankind is not male kind, but male and female kind without which humankind would become extinct.

Now, this divine unity, as we know from scripture, was created and established by God with a perfect oneness not to be duplicated by any other variation or demonic subversion. But God’s design was accompanied by God’s purpose and that was that male and female made in the image of God would multiply and bear children, and that these children would then grow to age where the male would choose a female wife with the man leaving his father and mother. And together this new man and woman becoming one would create a new family and bear children.

In God’s plan, the man and woman were to teach their children the plan of God, the ways of God and the will of God, and them to teach their children the same thing. Yet from the beginning, some of these humans like Satan himself rebelling against the God of heaven, the creator and rejecting God’s plan for family began to arrogantly subvert God’s plan for human sexuality, violating God’s divine design for male and female and family.

They subverted God’s design for children, even killing them in the womb or sacrificing them to idols. They subverted God’s content of instruction of those children to instead of learning to live in the fear of God actually teaching their children to love rebellion and the ways of death. Hence, these civilizations became evil and lawless, forcing God in his justice to step in.

Yet in the midst of all of this, all people with a fear of God have striven to resist the evil pressures by evil government and evil rulers to usurp and indoctrinate their children and instead to raise up their children as commanded by God in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Hence, so it is today in America. And the West, generally, where due to the wake-up call of COVID tyranny and anti-Christ global government, we’ve witnessed a resurgence in Christian education in homeschooling where parents have been awakened to the ambitions of an evil society.

It’s in the interest of not only noting this resurgence in right-thinking, but to warn of the anti-God thirst for our children that we feature today’s emphasis as our third in a three-part series on Christian education, homeschooling, and a biblical worldview with today focusing on the fundamental underpinning of parents.

So our title, today’s program is Restoring Parental Autonomy and Education: The Necessity and the Impediments. And with me today in here on this program is Stand in the Gap Today and Stand in the Gap TV co-host Pastor Isaac Crockett and for the very first time our guest, Melanie Kurdys. She’s the president of the Michigan Chapter of USPIE, it’s called. We’ll Describe that. She’s the co-founder of Stop Common Core in Michigan, and she works directly with Sheri Few, founder and current president of US Parents Involved in Education. That’s USPIE and they seek to restore proper local education to parents in regard to their children. But with that, I welcome in right now, Melanie to the program. Melanie, you’re stepping in at the last moment. Sheri got sick. I’m so glad that you were able to clear your schedule to be with us, but thanks for being with us today.

Melanie Kurdys:

Well, thank you for having me, Sam. I appreciate it.

Sam Rohrer:

Melanie, let’s get right into this. I’m going to go right to the heart of this. You did not start your organization, Sheri did, but you’ve been with her from the very beginning. Can you just tell us briefly about why and when the organization United States Parents Involved in Education was started? And in simple terms, why parental autonomy and matters of children education is so foundational?

Melanie Kurdys:

So Sheri started the organization in South Carolina in June of 2000, and it was an opportunity to gather parents, like-minded parents together when the education system for those who were insiders at that time people started to realize were not teaching well. That was probably the first indicators. And then she expanded the organization to US Parents Involved in Education in 2014, and I actually joined in 2015.

So we’ve been working together for quite a while. We believe that parents are the child’s first and best advocates, that no one loves a child more than their own parents. What we’ve seen is, and also we believe that parental rights are fundamental natural rights. I think that comes from what you spoke about from a biblical perspective, and it also comes from a constitutional perspective that in the beginning there was no need to articulate parental rights because they were considered by everyone as fundamental natural rights.

So what we’ve seen over time as these natural rights being undermined, and I have been thinking that, as you mentioned earlier, the willingness to kill a child in the womb with the mother was one of the first moves into where our society came between a mother and their child. So what we’re seeing now is that the schools are continuing that fight to come between parents and children.

So our mission is specifically to bring that control back to parents and by eliminating the federal and state or minimizing those oversights and giving more freedom back to parents.

Sam Rohrer:

All right. Well thank you so much, Melanie. That brings us pretty much up close to the break here, but you did lay it out, which is what we want to talk about more today and I’ll build it out in the next segment. Ladies and gentlemen, where we are today where we’re even having to talk about the fact of who’s in charge of education, parents, really? Now, for you and me listening right now, we know that, but that’s a bizarre thought to many in our culture today.

They think somebody else is responsible for it and down the road in Washington, they really think they are the ones who should govern education, but it didn’t used to be that way always in this country, and they’re in with just a bit of a history, but we’re going to move into what the impediments are and have Melanie build out some of what she just shared as we move through then ultimately in the program segment three, what we can do about it on a civil perspective, and then we’ll conclude it in the final segment with what we must do biblically to reestablish parental autonomy. We’ll be right back in just a moment.


Sam Rohrer:

Well, if you’re just joining us today in the program, we are pursuing this theme, restoring parental autonomy in education, the necessity and the impediments. Our special guest today is Melanie Kurdys. She is with the national group of US Parents Involved in Education. USPIE is the way they look at it, And Melanie is from Michigan into their Michigan chapter and she’s with us today. She’s been involved in education for a long time as a mom and someone who’s been involved in… She actually ranked for Michigan State Board of Education 2012 and been passionately involved in trying to help parents become aware of what’s happening in education and to become involved.

As a result, I’m actually restoring local control. Now, when it comes to the matter of the role of parents in education, we’re trying to lay down that foundation right now. In the first segment, I tried to build out what it was from the beginning. It’s all housed on how God established, created the family, male, female, family, mom, dad, children, and then the responsibilities from around that. But seems to be a challenge today, doesn’t it? As if there’s all different kinds of views, but when it comes to the actual role, the role of parents in education, there’s a huge difference between parents being in charge.

In theory, most politicians will say, “Oh yeah, yeah, parents are in charge of the kids’ education.” But when it comes right down to it, in reality, it’s government who’s in charge and that’s how they vote for the policies. Now, in the end, the extent of a parent’s autonomy or right in reality is directly related to the operative worldview as defined by God and executed by parents or defined by those in positions of government and executed by government on behalf of parents, which is really mostly what it is today.

For instance, let me go back in just a little bit of history here. The definition of parent as our guest, Melanie Kurdys referred back at the beginning of our country, it wasn’t an issue then. It was very clear. They didn’t have to spell it out. It was understood by definition, and here’s where it was. In 1829, I used the Webster’s dictionary of 1829 because it was the operative dictionary reflecting what people thought about what words meant at that point in time, the beginning of our country.

It reflected truly a fear of God worldview as compared to the modern, I’m going to put it this way, no fear of God, worldview. Now, for example, listen carefully, I just find it interesting, 1829, and today in 2023, if you look up the definition of parent, it actually is the same thing. A father or mother. Interesting. They haven’t changed the definition yet into two men or two women or who, whatever. It is a father and a mother. That’s definition of parent, 1829, 2023. So is the word autonomy which means the authority or right to self-government or self-choice. That word is also the same definition now as it was in 1829.

Now so far so good. But when the purpose for parents is defined, here is where the difference in worldview becomes so obvious. In 1829, the fear of God’s definition as I’m saying it of parent included this statement and get this, this is 1829, the duties of parents to their children are to maintain, protect, and educate them. Period. That’s it. That was the duties of parents. That was operative definition at the beginning of our country.

Then when you consider the definition of duties or rights, if you go back and look at that as in parents’ rights to educate their children, here’s where God’s design is flipped on its head and government becomes hostile to God and parents as we see today. 1829, the fear of God worldview at that point for right, here’s the definition of right. It was defined as conformity to the will of God. The 1829 definition of right, as in the parent’s rights was conformity to the will of God.

Wow. Whereas in 2023, now the no fear of God worldview, right is defined as a just claim or title as in you have the right to say what you please. And herein is the modern dilemma: Under a biblical worldview, and the original American fear of God worldview, parents’ rights or autonomy in education was foundational and was recognized as the God-given right and duty for parents to educate their children in conformity to the will of God. That’s it.

Today, our government as God has long been undermining the parent’s role and has determined that they know best about what constitutes education for their children. Terms mean things, ladies and gentlemen. So Melanie, let’s come back here and gets into this. You identified a couple of contrarian worldviews that fundamentally compete against what the original view of parents’ role in educating children was. Can you identify if you could, from a human perspective, perhaps the most onerous and hostile law or institution or government policy that works directly opposite to God’s view of parental autonomy and education?

Melanie Kurdys:

Well, I think one of the most difficult and challenging are the certified teachers through the teacher colleges at the universities throughout the country. They are taught this worldview. They’re not taught good education practices like the trivium and those sorts of things, but they are taught this worldview, and so they bring it into the classroom. And the problem was we delegated education so much so and then schools became secretive.

So if a parent used to be able to go in and observe a classroom, but did they put barriers up? You couldn’t do that. You used to be able to go in and look at curriculum. You couldn’t do that. And then all of a sudden when we had the lockdowns and students were learning on their iPads or the computer, parents could see and hear what was happening. And so it opened a door, and that’s one of the places where you started to actually notice that the teachers are not on the side of the parents.

So we had just recently, Indiana administrators were recorded secretly that they are still… Even though in Indiana it’s against the law to teach critical race theory, they’re still doing it. And they tell the children, “Don’t repeat this.” And they try to use different words, but the same whole theory. And then we have new laws in states like Connecticut and California and Washington where they can take your children away from you if you don’t agree to trans surgery for them or trans healthcare, whatever you want to call it.

So this model of these worldview people teaching and protecting our children that trans is a lifestyle and that it’s okay and convincing them and hiding from parents the fact that kids want to change their pronoun and all of that stuff so that the teachers and their attitudes and the administrators, and the problem is all public schools require certified teachers most of the Christian schools, and in many of the school choice programs around the state are regulation that’s included in those around the country are using teachers who are certified through the university system.

Isaac Crockett:

Melanie, that’s helpful to see that. I think folks who have kids in public schools right now can see some of that. Like you said, especially when we were listening, watching what our kids had coming over the airwaves during the lockdowns. What would be a second one that you could identify a government or a policy or an institution that could be taking away autonomy from parents?

Melanie Kurdys:

So I think an awful lot of us have come to believe in government largesse, money. The typical parent or taxpayer’s attitude is, “Well, I pay taxes. I might as well get my fair share.” That’s different than actually applying for stuff. But money has been used to convince states and schools to do things that they might otherwise not have done. Common Core was largely driven by money from the federal government to the states.

So our attitudes about money and the use of money is very important. One of the key items that USPIE is looking at how to change that balance so that government money isn’t what’s in control, individual people’s money is.

Isaac Crockett:

Those are really important things. And I think, Sam, you worked in government and you see those things working in education. I don’t know if you have anything you want to say about that. I know the break is coming right on us though.

Sam Rohrer:

Well, you know what I do, Isaac, and Melanie, I think you’re right on the money. We’ve talked about a lot on other programs, not just in relationship to education, but when you talk the money, I talk in terms of corruption and bribery because you can do a lot with money. We saw that during COVID. We saw how the money flowed and how it corrupted and moved and encouraged nurses and doctors, and everyone else to violate their positions.

It happened in education too. Just like you’re talking, ladies and gentlemen, be aware of that. Melanie only mentioned a couple, teachers, basically pre-programmed teachers through teaching colleges, a framework of education, a worldview. You can’t get away from that. You can’t get away from that. That, and you combine it with bribery and money to fuel and reward. You really have a system that’s been really turned upside down. When we come back, we’re going to move into the next segment. Take a little bit look at some of the things that can be done now to oppose these things.


Sam Rohrer:


Well, since the early days of our nation education, just as you heard in the Stand in the Gap minute, just in that break, if you are listening to that and as we’re talking about it today, education was assumed to be not just driven by parents, but Christian education. Yeah, that’s right. It actually was the case. Parents, not government used to, still do before God, but culturally recognized, held the autonomous right to make education decisions for their children, and state, and federal laws reflected God’s model, not the other way around.

For instance, in the first educational institution founded in American, and it was there for the purpose for education, it was secondary education college level. That was the first formal educational entity that was established was at Harvard University, and it was for the purpose of teaching men how to preach the gospel and to deliver an understanding of what we would now call today an integrated biblical worldview of life in living.

Now, for instance, the original purpose for education at Harvard still reads. I mean, the plaque was hanging there on the wall covered over by vines some years ago. Still probably is there not read, totally ignored. But here’s what it said because it was the foundation. It said this, quote, “Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well. Let every student consider well that the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ who is eternal life.” Plaque still says all this as found in John 17:3.

And then John 17:3 is written out, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent.” Do you think that’s underlying our educational philosophy today in America? Do you think anyone in the Department of Education, anyone in Congress? Do you think any of our supreme court justices, our president, governors, do you think any of them would stand up and say, “Do you know what, ladies and gentlemen, the purpose of education in America is…” Do you think they would cite that? Not a chance. How things have changed.

Okay, Melanie, in the balance of the program, I’d like to look at what we can do to contribute to the weakening of this God of government worldview and the strengthening of the original fear of God worldview. So in the next segment, we’re going to talk about more biblical based things, but in your area, you’re talking and identified a number of things as your organization, United States Parents Involved in Education, things that people can do constitutionally, civilly, public policy wise, all of which does need to be done, identify the main one that you’ve identified.

Melanie Kurdys:

So our number one emphasis right now, and you can see it in our film, Truth and Lies in American Education is that parents in the United States are empowered to educate their own children. Homeschooling is legal in every state. Now, there are some regulations in certain states that make it a little bit harder, but homeschooling is legal as well as sending your kid to a private Christian school. That’s legal. You have to protect your children and make sure they get the right education.

Our number one message is it’s up to parents. There is nothing anyone can do that can stop you from making sure your kids and your grandkids get the best education possible. We also have some policy efforts that we’re working on. So one is to close the federal Department of Education and eliminate all funding programs, all the programs. We wrote a blueprint for doing that. We’ve pitched it in Washington. Obviously, this administration is not interested.

So parents, people in the communities can vote to help move our country back to making sure we have an administration who is willing to take this step. In the meantime, we’re writing another blueprint showing states how to get out from under federal education dollars and take control of education back within their own state. We’re writing that. We think it’s doable because most states take about 10% of their total education budget from the feds, but that money gives a huge policy impact.

So by eliminating that 10% and probably with the overhead, we think it’s even less than that. So we’re working on that. We also like the school choice or parental choice idea of tax credit, but again, if any kind of mechanism where the government gives you money or lets you keep your money for an identified purpose, we do run the risk of regulation.

So it’s like when you pay your income taxes and you check a box, I have three kids and I get this amount of money, that’s really what we’d like to see is check a box, my kids don’t go to public school. I get this amount of money. And then there’s no regulation very limited that would come from that. But the bottom line is American parents really do have the power. And for us, we do not have to submit our children to the public schools and we can make great progress enforcing change if we all just tell them, “No, we’re not going to go anymore.”

Isaac Crockett:

Melanie, that’s a good frame of thought for us to have as parents. I’m a father. We have three children. Sam is a father and a grandfather. His family, they homeschooled their children. My wife and I are homeschooling. But it is something. It’s a framework that we have to think, “Okay, I’m in charge of my children. I’m going to make the decisions.” It would be great speaking as a homeschool parent to be able to have a fraction of the money that is spent on the public school in my community to be able to use that as a parent. Those would be great ideas. What are some other things? Is there another thing that could be top priority that parents could be looking at doing to help take that autonomy that they should have?

Melanie Kurdys:

Well, I think partnering with other parents in the community is a great way to start. If you feel overwhelmed with the process, parents can also help if you have your kids in a Christian school to develop scholarship programs. I’m a Catholic, and at our Catholic school we have, oh, it’s a classical Catholic school. It’s awesome. We’ve established an angel fund that provides scholarships to families who might need help in getting their kids there.

So we can help each other solve the financial problems that might come with these choices, but we do it ourselves in a small community so that we’re not subject to the regulation and control of people with contradictory worldviews.

Sam Rohrer:

All right, Melanie, that is excellent. So you’ve identified, and Isaac you just mentioned, I think from my perspective as well, this is really very, very important. What you said, Melanie, is this and that is fundamentally within American jurisprudence and law. Ladies and gentlemen understand this. We operate under what you may have heard as a term before, loco parentis, parental control. Most states, if there have been educational challenges that have gone before the courts, it has been routinely recognized that students who are in public school or in any school outside of homeschool are temporarily loaned to that school.

In that school, public school, the teacher in that classroom, whatever, they operate in the place of the parents who have autonomy. So fundamentally, under law, parents, you have thankfully the law, reflecting God’s law, but the law is on our side. But like always is the case, we must exercise it or it will be lost, which is one of the reasons we’re doing this program.

Isaac, you and I have done several programs on TV and this one here and on radio in highlighting the rise in homeschooling, the rise in Christian schooling, and how, as you said, Melanie, earlier, the COVID lockdowns brought parents where they actually were able to look over the shoulders of their children and were shocked at either what they were learning or what they weren’t learning, and they decided we’d better do something.

Well, that ladies and gentlemen is in fact one of the most important ways to change the culture, and that is to basically reclaim what is in fact the law. And that law is you, mom and dad have the duty and their understanding under law to educate your children. So educate them biblically, and that is where it goes. So if there’s a practical application, Melanie, which I appreciate you stating very clearly upfront, and Isaac, you’ve acted upon it and we’ve talked about before, our rights before God is his standard God-fearing people. We start there. This country also recognizes our right. If we exercise it, we can keep it. If we forfeit it and give it up, it will be lost. Now, that’s about as simple as it. When we come back, we’re going to talk about the biblical side of the equation because understanding what we’re talking about is not just understanding the law, it’s really understanding what God says is his design and then doing it. We’ll be back in just a moment.

Sam Rohrer:

Well, before we go into our final segment today on the program focusing on education today, our theme has been restoring parental autonomy and education, both the necessity and the impediments. We’ve built out the biblical worldview underpinnings. God’s design is parents in charge of their children’s education and reasons we’ve given for that. That’s why God lays it out.

Yet from the beginning, government, and those opposed the devil and his minions have sought to overthrow God’s view, purposes for mankind and his method for instructing mankind in matters of truth, education, and instead, replace it with lies not the truth. And the purpose for education. Purpose for life is to what, glorify God? Well, what’s the purpose for education if you were to go out and talk to a person in government school today? What would they tell you the purpose for education is?

Probably tell you to get a job or who knows what. Or maybe in the aspect of schooling today, they’ll tell you how you can get an abortion or find out what your real sexuality really is and how you feel about it, right? How it’s changed. So whether the issue is establishing the definition of human sexuality, or marriage, or role of parents, or the duty of citizens or the purpose for government or business, the solution is the same.

Whether the issue is injustice, bribery, corruption, lawlessness, murder, envying or strife, the solution is the same. Whether the issue is anxiety and despondency, or dependency, the answer is the same. And whether the question is the most simple of all, who am I? Why am I here? And where am I going? The answer is the same. And that solution and that answer is the written word of God. That alone informs us plainly of the plan of God, the will of God, and the ways of God.

Now, Melanie, you and I talked before the program and you and Isaac and I did, and we’ve chatted a little bit, and even in this program here, we know that without recalibrating the minds and the hearts of people to think and act in the fear of God, there’s no amount of public policy or law change that actually can be made since laws and policy are downstream to people’s worldviews.

So I just want to ask you at this point, and then I want to go to Isaac and ask him to give encouragement to the pulpits who play such a critical role. But just out of curiosity, from your perspective, you haven’t told us yet, but I have a guess, how did you educate your children, and what was it that drove you to the point of saying, “No, I’m not going to let government educate my kids. I am going to take and make another choice.” What was that that convinced you to make that choice?

Melanie Kurdys:

Sam, are you asking me?

Sam Rohrer:

Yes. I’m asking you on that, Melanie.

Melanie Kurdys:

Okay. My children are now in their 30s, so they’re older, and they all went to public school, but I was very active in the schools and overseeing their education. But that was how I began to see the failure of the system. So now my grandchildren are being homeschooled or are attending classical Catholic private schools. And the reason obviously is because I don’t want my children, my grandchildren brought up with people who have this other worldview.

I know a lot of Christians struggle with the idea of staying in the public school to be the salt and light, but I feel like it’s such a very bad environment for children that they can’t… It’s like throwing your children to the lions and rather that parent adults should fight the battle and keep going to the school board meetings and try to influence policy, as you said, but we need to protect our children.

Sam Rohrer:

Okay. So you acted as many. When I was in education here, when I was in Pennsylvania house, I worked with people from all over the state, from all different walks of life. I knew people who were devout Christians who chose to homeschool and or to Christian school. There were actually a couple members of our Pennsylvania house at that point who were not at all Christian under any sort of the way, but they decided that they were going to educate their kids because they thought they could do them better.

So I encourage parents, as a parent, you can educate your children. You really can. And there’s been such magnificent progress made in availability of aids for parents, that parents educating their children, the mere fact that they are involved in their children’s education, there are benefits that derive from that.

Now, Isaac, let me go to you. You have chosen to homeschool. Our listeners know that. When you grew up, you were at a Christian school. Your parents had made that decision for you. And what we’re talking about here today that fundamentally the role of parents is they are to be primarily engaged, autonomous, directing their children’s education. In this regard, because we’re talking worldview, what would you say to pastors and others from the standpoint of the motivating factor that we are in fact dealing with the hearts of our children, the hearts of our culture? And it does come down to worldview distinction. What would you say?

Isaac Crockett:

Sam, that’s a really good way of looking at it, because as pastors, as ministers of the word of God, that is our responsibility to help the families under our care. We’re supposed to be a shepherd. We are supposed to help them in the role that God gave them. So I think we need to do exactly what Melanie was reminding us of to date. We need to remind parents, you are the parents. You are the ones that God put in charge of your children, and you are an expert in knowing your children more than any other person or institution can when we’re doing things right.

So our temptation to say, “Well, let the church teach my kids about faith, maybe a youth pastor or a youth group,” okay, you can use whatever tools and resources you need, but ultimately you are the one responsible. Let’s go to scripture, Sam. You love to go to the Book of Deuteronomy where Moses is handing these things down, knowing this is his last chance before the Lord takes him. He’s handing it down how this will be handed down generationally.

In Deuteronomy 6:7, what does he say? He says, “Impress God’s commands on your children.” Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. I know we don’t have time, but I just want to really quickly say, Sam, there’s no time limit. There’s no age limit. Sam, your kids are adults, they’re parents themselves, and you are still pressing these things upon them and now upon your grandchildren. And so there’s no classroom setting where a parent’s teaching work is done.

As a parent, whether your kid go to public school, private school or homeschooled, you are always in charge of their education, in charge of teaching them. And no matter how old they get, you should be praying for them and showing them the way, mentoring them in the ways of all God’s truth.

Sam Rohrer:

Isaac, that is excellent. And that pretty much brings us up to the end of the program here. Ladies and gentlemen, we don’t have time to get into this, but we have touched on it before. God established institutions, the home, the family, civil government, and the church. In all of those, everyone in those capacities are going to give an account to God one day for how they executed God’s plan, teaching God’s way, and God’s will. Parents, every parent will. Every person in civil government as a minister of God, Romans 13, are going to give an account to God for how they executed the matters of civil government according to God’s plan, so are those in the church.

If we just understand and act upon those things that we will give an account, it should bring us into the fear of God and with the fear of God, the commitment to keep his commandments, his will, his way, what a difference would that make. Melanie, thank you so much for being with us today. Melanie Kurdys, USPIE, United States Parents in Education, is their website. Thank you very much for being with us today. Isaac, great to be with you on the program today as well. Ladies and gentlemen, join us here tomorrow, the Lord willing.