Read the Fine Print – STORIES FROM SCHOOL AZ


Always read the fine print:
1. We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female.
2. We believe marriage is ordained by God, and joins one man and one woman in a single union.

These two things were posted on a preschool’s website that was happy to take my husband and my money (despite the fact that we are not wonderfully and immutably a male and a female couple) to teach and watch over our 3 and 4 year old.

While there is faux outrage and disinformation being spread about the nation accusing public school teachers of indoctrinating elementary school children, I find it laughable that the highest rated preschool in my zip code had no problem posting ideas about gender and sexuality on their website.

I want to believe that the teachers in the classroom do not intend to raise these topics as part of preschool instruction, but after reading those statements on the school’s website… I have my doubts.

I already had woes as an agnostic person. In order to give high quality programs to my kids, they might have to sit through religious stories. I could stomach this — after all, I went to catechism classes and concede that often biblical stories are used to teach responsibility, citizenship, empathy, and compassion. But why, in one of the largest cities in the country (Phoenix), does it seem like the trade off for quality is conceding my religious beliefs?

Why do guardians ever have to do that calculus:
This school is great + it is close – it will teach a god I do not wish to teach my children about.

That school is fair – bit further + at least it is secular.

Which outcome is a win for me? My convenience as a parent, the quality of education, or my religious preferences?

On face value: I do not mind the existence of religious schools. People of faith should absolutely have the option to include religion as part of their student’s upbringing. However, given the stark contrast in qualities I have seen, and the minimal secular options provided for pre-school. I have to wonder: is this happenstance, or part of a larger crusade?

Indeed, according to the National Center for Education statistics, only 24% of preschool students in America attend a “nonsectarian” school. Simultaneously, the Pew Research Center has found that, in 2021, America has the smallest percentage of Christians, and largest number of people who identify as irreligious in United State history.

The cynic inside me posits that the religious preschool dominance is by design. Can religious politicians ensure a strong hold in a community by blocking state-funded preschools? Can we, in fact, indoctrinate a community because the “capitalist free market” has been rigged by wealthy religious donors?

One might be right to point out that a wealthy atheist or agnostic could come along and bankroll a preschool too – but a hunch tells me that religious folks have more motivation than that of secular society.

So with this system in place, where the government does little-to-nothing to support quality education when our youth are at their most impressionable, what other motivation could they have?

I realize I am proposing a sinister and insidious claim with only a singular statistic, a few hunches, and personal observations… and maybe I am wrong. Maybe it is a coincidence.

Whether it is a coincidence, or a devious plan… One thing is sure for guardians: always read the fine print.



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Natasha M. McKnight

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