Navigating Public Schools
Who should read this book?
Navigating Public Schools will empower Christian parents to navigate the increasingly secular public school system with the aim to 1) cultivate strong relationships with their children in a season of immense secular pressure; 2) help their children stand firm in their Christian faith and Biblical worldview; 3) exercise their rights on campus; 4) become salt and light for Jesus Christ.
This book will also be a powerful resource for all Christians involved in schools—teachers, administrators, staff, extra-curricular groups, Christian club volunteers, youth leaders, pastors—as they learn to discern the misapplication of the “separation of church and state” and appropriately live out their Christian faith on public school campuses.
How can this book help you?
For Christians, navigating the public education system is becoming increasingly daunting. Christian parents often feel anxiety about sending their children into the public school environment. Kids spend more waking hours in school than in their homes, and while there, they face many challenges to their faith. The statistics on kids and faith reveal that roughly 50-70% of Christian teens walk away from church when they leave home, and only about 10% come out of the teen years with a Biblical worldview.
Navigating Public Schools was not written to debate whether kids should be in public schools or not because the fact is, the majority of Christian kids are in public schools. Navigating Public Schools was written to parents who are hungry for guidance on this journey.
As a public school teacher for ten years, Stephen saw firsthand how a child’s faith may be eroded, so he desires to equip parents and concerned adults to protect children’s faith in schools. This book is perfect for busy parents who want clear tools to navigate curriculum pitfalls, exercise their rights in schools, build a strong worldview foundation as a family, and influence the culture for Christ.
This book is meant to help Christian parents be intentional about charting a course to protect their child’s faith and Biblical worldview. But it’s not only for parents—Navigating Public Schools also equips teachers to step off the fear-induced cultural tightrope and appropriately incorporate Christianity into their curriculum. Christian educators, volunteers, pastors, and anyone who is involved directly or indirectly with public schools will learn to exercise their Constitutionally-protected rights in a respectful way. All Christians who read this book will become more empowered to impact and protect the next generation.
This video is the introduction from a conference that Stephen gave on Navigating Public Schools:
Growing List of Endorsements:
“As a public school teacher for ten years, Stephen Williams saw firsthand the challenges facing Christians in public schools, and he desires to equip parents to protect their children’s faith and worldview. Weaving the story of the court case he was involved in makes the book intriguing on multiple levels.”
Josh McDowell (www.Josh.org)
Author of Evidence that Demands a Verdict and More Than a Carpenter
“At a time when religious liberty is under attack from all sides, Navigating Public Schools is a much needed resource for parents, students, and teachers in public schools to remind them that they actually have robust Constitutional freedoms at school. Stephen’s own story of how he courageously took a stand and victoriously asserted those freedoms in the face of intense opposition should serve as an inspiration for others across our country to do the same.”
Gary McCaleb, J.D. Regent University
Senior Counsel and Executive Vice President, Alliance Defending Freedom (www.ADFlegal.org)
“As a superintendent within the public school system, I want to see parents actively engage in the educational journey of their children and to feel they have a voice. Parents will benefit greatly from the guidance contained in Navigating Public Schools. This book provides important information on students’ and parents’ rights in schools, and also insights about how to properly handle conflict should it arise. As a parent, I also appreciated the encouragement to build a strong faith and worldview foundation at home. Families in the public school system will benefit greatly from owning and reading Navigating Public Schools.”
Public School District Superintendent
“Navigating Public Schools is a book whose time is come. It is clearly for such a time as this because, sadly—and many times, unintentionally—public school teachers and curricula are presented in such a way as to explicitly or implicitly undermine a Christian worldview. This book is overflowing with great, practical advice to parents who want to not only protect their children, but to empower them to live and think for Christ. Quite frankly, I cannot think of another book like this, and I highly endorse it.”
J.P. Moreland, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Biola University
Author of Love Your God With All Your Mind
“At this time in history when our public schools are often adversarial toward Christianity and intolerant of a Biblical worldview, it is imperative for all Christian educators and parents to read Navigating Public Schools. Stephen and Sarah Williams do a fantastic job of analyzing our public schools, past and present, while emphasizing the importance of not sacrificing our Biblical worldview nor that of our children.”
Executive Director, Christian Educators Association International (www.ceai.org)
“Stephen and Sarah Williams have done us all a great service by producing such a thoughtful and carefully researched book to guide us through the American public school system. They are uniquely qualified to do this with tremendous wisdom and expertise. This book needs to be in the hands of every caring Christian parent in the country.”
Craig J. Hazen, Ph.D.
Founder and Director of the graduate program in Christian Apologetics, Biola University
Author of the novel Five Sacred Crossings
“Stephen and Sarah Williams have written a book that will greatly help students, parents, teachers, and all school staff to navigate the murky waters of public education as it relates to Christianity. I highly recommend equipping yourself with the insight and knowledge they provide in Navigating Public Schools—I only wish this book had been available when I was a teacher and principal in public schools.”
Public School Teacher and Principal for 19 years
“This book will empower Christian teachers, parents, and students to navigate the often turbulent waters of our public schools. Navigating Public Schools doesn’t enter into the debate about whether or not Christian students should be in public schools. It recognizes the fact that the majority of Christian kids are in public schools and so need to be discerning about what they are taught. Anyone involved in public schools—including staff, volunteers, extra-curricular groups, and all who are hungry for guidance on the journey—will find this book helpful. It clarifies what rights Christians have in the school system and how we can exercise those rights in a loving, yet effective, way.”
President, Gateways to Better Education (www.gtbe.org)
“Most of us, as Christian parents, have an increasing concern about the world our children will inherit and the nature of the public school system that will prepare many of them for their journey through life. Stephen and Sarah Williams have done all of us a service in Navigating Public Schools. They provide unique insight into the challenges of the public school environment along with a thoughtful framework to equip our young people for success.”
J. Warner Wallace, Cold-Case Detective
Author of Cold-Case Christianity and God’s Crime Scene
“In 2004, many in our land of liberty were stunned to read headlines like ‘Declaration of Independence Banned in Cupertino California.’ Stephen Williams was in the eye of the storm of protest that was caused by his teaching that the founding of America was expressed in terms of faith in God. In fact, the importance of God for our Founders is inescapably evident when the four direct references to deity are identified in our Declaration. Based upon his remarkable experiences emanating from that tumultuous time, Stephen and Sarah have written a wise, readable and commendable handbook for families entitled, Navigating Public Schools. I encourage you to read this book for wisdom and guidance, as well as for assessing the seemingly inexorable march of American culture toward the establishment of non-theistic secular ideology as the American creed.”
Dr. Peter A. Lillback, President, The Providence Forum
Author of George Washington’s Sacred Fire
“From the perspective of being teachers and coaches, we see the powerful influences vying for the hearts and minds of our youth. Navigating Public Schools provides critical information for Christians to stand strong in a raging sea of ideas. We must be proactive in teaching our children the defense of their faith, so they will recognize ideology contrary to a Biblical worldview. Stephen and Sarah provide excellent information and resources Christians must know to impact their communities, schools, and homes in both an effective and respectful way.”
Kent Wieber, Public School Teacher, Social Studies Chair and Coach
Heather Wieber, Public School Teacher and Coach
“Stephen and Sarah Williams have done a remarkable job to help any reader understand the importance of a Biblical worldview in a culture becoming more secular every year. They give a clear historical overview how our culture shifted from a Judeo-Christian worldview to a secular view. His personal legal journey through this clash between Christian and secular as a Christian teacher in a public school makes reading the book come alive. They clarify terms, explain ideas, give answers and provide solutions to people searching for guidance. They do this by providing an accurate understanding of the concept of the separation of church and state. They clarify people’s rights as Christians involved in public schools, coaching or leadership as well as parenting. A great resource book for Christians living in a modern world.”
Larry Day, Ph.D. Psychology, Studied at L’Abri under Dr. Francis Schaefer
Author of Self-Esteem by God’s Design
“This is a must-read book for all parents, children, and teachers trying to figure out how to stay true to Jesus Christ while working within the secular U.S. public school system. Stephen Williams knows what he’s talking about, having made national headlines when his school principal banned Stephen’s teaching of the Declaration of Independence in his classroom. Stephen and Sarah Williams write as a team, and their writing is winsome, practical, and full of wise counsel. They show the reader how to navigate the turbulent waters of teaching about God and living the Christian life in today’s secular public school setting. This book will save you a lot of worry and grief, while giving you the confidence to know and defend your God-given rights and beliefs.”
Joel Comiskey, Ph.D. Fuller Seminary
Founder of Joel Comiskey Group (www.joelcomiskeygroup.com)
Author of Planting Churches that Reproduce
“We thank God for the ministry that Stephen and Sarah have devoted their lives to all these years. Their devotion to God’s truth, and their love for others, is a true testimony . . . Stephen and Sarah have taken great care to gracefully provide powerful insights that offer the reader hope and wisdom in the midst of the raging war of ideas within our public school system.”
Jason Jimenez and Alex McFarland of the StandStrongTour.com
Jason Jimenez, Founder/Director of Re|Shift Ministries (www.ReShiftMinistries.org)
Author of The Raging War of Ideas: How to Take Back Our Faith, Family, and Country
Alex McFarland, Director of AlexMcFarland.com
Author of The 10 Most Common Objections to Christianity—and How To Answer Them
“Navigating Public Schools is a breath of life-giving oxygen . . . A vital text for all Christians engaged in the public education system (and anyone wanting to understand it) that draws upon common sense, original texts, and the American legal code. Serving as a guiding light in the dark hallways of our (all too-often) anti-Christian public schools, the Williamses provide easily understandable and eminently usable material for us all.”
Rev. Timothy Sternberg, M.Div., M.S. Ed.
Author of Fear Not, I Am with You!
“As a newsman, I well remember Stephen Williams’ ‘church-state separation’ case … Now, after a decade of mapping out public education’s increasingly hazardous terrain, Stephen and his wife, Sarah, have written a valuable, heartfelt and highly practical primer to help Christian families involved in the public school system.”
David Kupelian, Managing Editor of WND.com
Author of The Marketing of Evil
“As the Director of the Greater Portland Area Chapter of Child Evangelism Fellowship, I highly recommend Navigating Public Schools by my friends Stephen and Sarah Williams. This book is an excellent resource for all Christians involved in the public education system, including those called to work in Christian clubs or groups. The guidance and practical tools in this book will help keep the gospel of Jesus Christ alive within our public school system.”
Portland, Oregon Area Director, Child Evangelism Fellowship
“Navigating Public Schools encouraged me tremendously as a teacher in public school. By gaining a better understanding of my legal rights in the public school system, I no longer feel like I am walking on a tightrope in regards to what I can and cannot say regarding my faith. I also have a better grasp on the fact that schools are not meant to be “religion-free zones,” according to the Supreme Court. I would highly recommend this book to all Christian teachers and staff involved in the public school system. You will be greatly encouraged!”
Public School Teacher
“Stephen and Sarah are well respected throughout Central Oregon. Their acumen regarding public schools and Christian apologetics has helped hundreds of young people, parents, and teachers by giving them the longitudes and latitudes, so to speak, that steer them clear of dangerous secular reefs. I would encourage anyone involved in the public school system to read Navigating Public Schools.”
Former Pastor, Westside Church, Bend, Oregon
Author of Life2
“This book is a must read for believers whose children attend public schools. Stephen and Sarah skillfully acquaint the reader with the spiritual condition of our public schools, the challenges, the rights available to parents, and most importantly, how to navigate through the trials encountered while we strive to raise our children according to a Christian worldview.”
Chairman: Board of Trustees, Western Seminary, Retired Silicon Valley Executive
“Stephen and Sarah Williams have developed a tremendous resource for potentially millions of Christian families. As both a father and grandfather, I know our own family has faced the full range of schooling choices and challenges. This new book is a well-researched, thorough guide for those whose children are in public schools. And because that is the reality for so many Christian families, the help and encouragement offered by the Williamses is both practical and critical.”
Publisher, Christian News Northwest newspaper
About The Authors:
Stephen John Williams attended the University of California at Berkeley on a swimming scholarship and graduated with a degree in economics. He worked as an economic consultant before pursuing a teaching career. Stephen spent ten years teaching 5th and 6th grade in the Cupertino Union School District in California.
Stephen founded Prepare the Way Ministries in 2006, following his involvement in a federal court case concerning the censorship of historical documents with Christian references. His principal and school district censored primary source documents including the Declaration of Independence, William Penn’s Frame of Government, and Samuel Adams’s The Rights of the Colonists due to their misinterpretation of the “separation of church and state.” With the help of the legal firm Alliance Defending Freedom, Stephen filed a federal court case in November of 2004 to protect the freedom of speech and religion in public schools. The case gained national media attention, with TV interviews on Fox News and articles appearing in major newspapers. The case was settled out of court in the summer of 2005 and a written settlement was put in place that allowed primary source documents with Christian references to be used in Cupertino classrooms.
Having been on the front lines in the church/state battle, Stephen offers a unique perspective on the ways our culture can erode a Biblical worldview. Stephen speaks nationally on worldview, apologetics, and cultural issues. He currently resides in Bend, Oregon with his family.
Sarah Williams completed a Ph.D. in environmental engineering with an emphasis in microbiology from Stanford University. She is the recipient of a National Science Foundation graduate fellowship. Prior to attending Stanford, Sarah graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in engineering. While at the University of Michigan, she was awarded several Hopwood Awards in Poetry and Fiction; following her undergraduate coursework, Sarah was awarded a one-year fellowship to study English at Oxford University. She has published several scientific papers and book chapters in the area of environmental microbiology, as well as poems and stories in several magazines. She is married to Stephen Williams and is the mother of four daughters. She also consults part-time in the area of environmental engineering, enjoys creative writing, and helps with Prepare the Way Ministries.