The New England Primer was first published between 1688 and 1690 by English printer Benjamin Harris, who had come to Boston in Massachusetts in 1686 to escape the brief Catholic ascendancy under James II. Based largely upon his earlier The Protestant Tutor, The New-England Primer was the first reading primer designed for the American Colonies. It became the most successful educational textbook published in the colonial and early days of United States history. It was used in what would be our 1st grade for 200 years.
While the selections in the New England Primer varied somewhat across time, there was standard content for beginning reading instruction. Each lesson had questions about the Bible and the Ten Commandments. In fact, most of the entire book taught Bible verses at the same time it taught students how to read.
The 90-page work contained selections from the King James Bible and others were original. It embodied the dominant Puritan attitude and worldview of the day. Among the topics discussed are respect to parental figures, sin, and salvation. Some versions contained the Westminster Shorter Catechism; others contained John Cotton's shorter catechism, known as Milk for Babes; and some contained both. The primer remained in print well into the 19th century and was even used until the 20th. A reported 2 million copies were sold in the 1700s. No copies of editions before 1727 are known to survive; earlier editions are known only from publishers' and booksellers' advertisements.
Supreme Court Challenge
The Supreme Court challenged the idea of using Bible verses to teach English and morality in public schools in 1844. There were three different cases that upheld the use of the Bible for that specific use in public schools:
In a Supreme Court case of 1844, Vidal v Gerard, a Philadelphia school wanted to teach morals without using the Bible. The Court said "Why may not the Bible, and especially the New Testament, be read and taught as a divine revelation in the schools? Where can the purest principals of morality be learned so clearly or perfectly as from the New Testament?" The court concluded that any book teaching good morality would certainly be teaching what the New Testament teaches, so why not use the original source which doesn't change. In another challenge the court ruled "Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind, and it's impossible that it should be otherwise: and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian." The court also quoted 87 different historical precedents to back up its decision, from the Founding Fathers, Acts of the Founding Fathers, and Acts of Congress.
Noah Webster, writing in the History of the United States, 1833, stated "the moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and law…All the miseries and evils which man suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible." Daniel Webster, cited on July 4, 1800, Oration at Hanover, New Jersey: "To preserve the government we must also preserve morals. Morality rests on religion; if you destroy the foundation, the superstructure must fall. When the public mind becomes vitiated and corrupt, laws are a nullity and constitutions are waste paper."
National Education Association (NEA) founded in 1857
The National Education Association (NEA) was founded in 1892. The following statement appeared in their published record: "…if the study of the Bible is to be excluded from all state schools; if the inculcation of the principles of Christianity is to have no place in the daily program; if the worship of God is to form no part of the general exercises of these public elementary schools; then the good of the state would be better served by restoring all schools to church control."
The National Education Association is the largest professional organization and largest labor union in the United States, representing public school teachers and other support personnel, faculty and staffers at colleges and universities, retired educators, and college students preparing to become teachers. The NEA has 3.2 million members and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. With affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the nation, it employs over 550 staff and had a budget of more than $307 million for the 2006-2007 fiscal year. NEA is incorporated as a professional association in a few states and as a labor union in most states (but it is not a member of the AFL-CIO or other trade union federations). On its website, the NEA describes itself as a "professional employee organization," although it is often categorized as a labor union with strong leftist and liberal leanings, particularly by critics. Unfortunately, the NAE has come a long way since those days. They are one of the most liberal organizations in existence today.
Following is based on a study by Specialty Research Associates in conjunction with David Barton of Wallbuilders. Specialty Research Associates, under the direction of David Barton, released a report entitled America: To Pray or Not to Pray that provides statistical evidence of the impact on the removal of prayer from public schools since 1963 and includes over 100 pages of graphs and statistical analysis to prove that crime, venereal disease, premarital sex, illiteracy, suicide, drug use, public corruption, and other social ills began a dramatic increase after the Engel vs. Vitale Supreme Court decision was made in 1962 which banned school prayer.
It is clear this was a benchmark year from which tipping points began to emerge regarding social ills in our nation. Prayer in schools prior to 1962 was utilized in school districts all over the U.S. in many varieties. Some teachers used extemporaneous prayers, simply expressing their thoughts and desires; others implemented structured prayers, such as the Lord's Prayer or the 23rd Psalm, or others approved by local school boards. New York students prayed each day: 'Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence on Thee and beg Thy blessing over us, our parents, our teachers, and our nation.' It was this simple prayer which came under fire and went to the Supreme Court for the landmark decision.
Says David Barton, 'It is impossible to know how many of the 39 million children were involved in daily verbal prayers, but most accounts indicate that a clear majority of the students voluntarily participated in daily school prayer. Is it possible that the prayers that were being offered by these children and their teachers across the nation actually had any measurable, tangible effect?' It was this question that led Barton to uncover the statistical proof that the removal of prayer did indeed take its toll on America.
Gay Influence in Education
In 2009 the Obama administration made a controversial appointment to director of the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools. Kevin Jennings is the homosexual founder of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the nation's largest advocacy group devoted entirely to promoting homosexuality among school kids, even as young as kindergarten age. Under the guise of "safe schools," GLSEN uses its interpretation of "safety" terminology to promote special protections for, "sexual orientation, gender identity or expression." This is another example of how a liberal leader like President Obama begins gradually to infiltrate the educational system with appointments that can impact the entire educational system. Gradually his worldview will be expressed in subtle and not so subtle ways followed by legislation that can mandate beliefs and behavior to the most vulnerable of all people, our school children.
Supreme Court - June 25, 1962 - Engle vs Vitale
The year 1962 is the year we can trace back to the greatest decline in moral conduct in public education. This is the landmark case that removed prayer from the public schools. It was even noted in the 1963 World Book Encyclopedia as the first time that we had separation of religious principles from public education. The amazing thing is that it was done without citing any precedent from other cases as is the normal procedure. Instead, it was an entirely new statement not based on any historical or legal base. There were no quotes from previous legal cases. Instead, it was a brand new doctrine which according to all the previous legal decisions was in violation of the Constitution. Nevertheless it took precedent over all the previous interpretations of the Constitution which had cited many precedents that disagreed with this new ruling.
Thomas Jefferson said: "The reason Christianity is the best friend of government is because Christianity is the only religion in the world that deals with the heart."Jesus says do not hate, don't lust in your heart." That takes care of adultery, stealing, killing, etc. The founders pointed out that Christianity was the only religion that could stop crime before it started because all crime came out of the heart. If you deal with the heart problem, you won't have to deal with crime.
John Dewey, regarded as architect of modern education instigated early changes to move away from God in education which led to promoting a belief in no absolute truth: "…faith in the prayer-hearing God is an unproved and outmoded faith. There is no God and there is no soul. Hence, there is no need for the props of traditional religion. With dogma and creed excluded, then immutable truth is also dead and buried. There is no room for fixed, natural law or moral absolutes."
Our First Universities
Harvard's 1636 motto stated: "Truth for Christ and the church." It was later changed to simply say: Truth "veritas". Certainly they have removed the true source of Truth.
Harvard was first established in America by the Puritans. Early documents reveal such statements: "Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well the main end of his life and studies to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3) and therefore lay Christ at the bottom, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning." Princeton's early founding statement in 1746 was "Cursed is all learning that is contrary to the Cross of Christ."
Gouverneur Morris (January 31, 1752 - November 6, 1816) was an American statesman who represented Pennsylvania in the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and was an author of large sections of the Constitution of the United States. He is widely credited as the author of the document's Preamble: "We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union...". In an era when most Americans thought of themselves as citizens of their respective states, Morris expounded the idea of being a citizen of a single union of states. Morris enrolled at King's College (now Columbia University) at age 12. He graduated in 1768 and received a master's degree in 1771. "Religion is the only solid basis of good morals; therefore education should teach the precepts of religion, and the duties of man towards God." In the Life of Gouverneur Morris, Volume III, Morris wrote and signed the Constitution was as one of the most prominent speakers in the constitutional convention.
Careful review of the original seal of Columbia University shows above her head: "Yaheweh in Hebrew. At the top: Palm 36:9 in Latin "In thy light we see light" and on the ribbon: Psalm 27:1 "God is my light" in Hebrew. Under her feet is 1 Peter 2:1-2 and an admonishment to desire the pure milk of God's Word.