Is Bethany Baptist Academy God's choice? Ask the fundamentalist Christians who teach there or whose children attend the academy, and their answer will be a yes as unequivocal as their claim that the Bible is God's inerrant, absolute word. Is this truth or arrogance?
In "God's Choice," Alan Peshkin offers readers the opportunity to consider this question in depth. Given the outsider's rare chance to observe such a school firsthand, Peshkin spent eighteen months studying Bethany's high school--interviewing students, parents, and educators, living in the home of Bethany Baptist Church members, and participating fully in the church's activities. From this intimate research he has fashioned a rich account of Christian schooling and an informed analysis of a clear alternative to public education.
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. (Kirkus Reviews)
Series: Total World of a Fundamentalist Christian School
Number Of Pages: 360
Published: 1st January 1986
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.0 x 15.0
Weight (kg): 0.45
Edition Type: New edition