Episode 31: ESAs: What You Need to Know with Israel Wayne

Israel discusses the origins of the public school system in America and the government funding of private education.


Israel Wayne


Should homeschoolers accept government funds to help finance their children’s education? As tempting as it might be to accept one of these stipends, homeschool families need to understand the dangers that lie beneath the surface of these government funds. In this conversation of Refining Rhetoric, Robert Bortins is joined by Israel Wayne, a homeschool dad of eleven children, the director of Family Renewal Ministries, and the author of multiple books, including Education: Does God Have an Opinion? and Answers for Homeschooling: Top 25 Questions Critics Ask. Robert and Israel discuss the origins of the public school system in America, the foundational principles on which this system is built, and ultimately, why we should be concerned about the government funding of private and home schools. If you are a homeschool parent, this episode is a must-listen!

To learn more about government-funded private education, click here.


“People say that public schools are broken. They are not broken. They are doing exactly what they were created to do. You hear people say, ‘Oh, they’re failing.’ No, they’re not failing. They are succeeding beyond the wildest hopes and dreams of their founders.”

Israel Wayne


  • Intro to Israel Wayne [0:59]
  • The origin of the public school system in America; how cottage schools became government schools [2:12]
  • Horace Mann’s idea for nonsectarian schools [6:07]
  • What does the Bible really say about who is responsible for children’s education? [9:48]
  • Why homeschoolers should stand against government-funded homeschool grants [12:24]
  • Can we try to reform the government school system? Or is it beyond fixing? [18:54]
  • The means of the public school system don’t justify the ends; the form and structure of education matter, not just the content [21:36]
  • Government funding of private schools leads to government values being taught [24:48]
  • How government funding of school choice could lead students to think all welfare systems are beneficial [32:14]
  • We need to acknowledge Christ as the center of all education [38:02]
  • Homeschoolers can create an additional tax burden for non-homeschoolers [40:18]
  • “Classical Tools Recap”: Omnibus Bill [43:34]
  • Ad: The Classical Conversations Master’s Program [49:43]
  • “Classical Crypto”: The FTX Collapse [50:48]
  • Outro [56:21]