The abusive education monopoly must go.
Having retired as a teacher over ten years ago, I often look back on some of the great educators that I worked with during my 28-year career, and how lucky their students were to have them. I also think about the stinkers I encountered, and how sad it is that my students’ parents were essentially powerless to do anything about them.
I spent the last 15 years of my teaching life at a Los Angeles middle school, where I had the misfortune of having “Miss L” as a colleague. She was a humorless crank, whose main tone of voice was screech when she belittled children, which she did on a regular basis. “Mr. H” was a nice old gentleman, but his classroom often resembled the latter stages of a British soccer riot – pure mayhem. “Mr. F” was a PE teacher who had an interesting ritual between classes. He would go to his car, parked on campus, and open his trunk where he kept a large cache of booze. By the end of the day – every day – he was obviously pickled. But due to union mandated permanence rules, getting rid of any of these teachers was just about impossible.
The inability to get rid of incompetents is not the only alarming aspect of public education at this time. In Pennsylvania, a middle school teacher assigned her students to pack a bag as if they were refugees “forced to leave America by President Donald Trump.” In New York, a middle schooler was given a homework assignment which included a fill-in the blank question. “President Trump speaks in a very superior and _____ manner insulting many people. He needs to be more _____ so that the American people respect and admire him.”
In Portland, OR, all eighth-graders are assigned notorious Marxist and liar Howard Zinn’s A Young People’s History of the United States, which is a simplified version of his politically fanciful screed A People’s History of the United States. Going north to Seattle, we find a “Math Ethnic Studies Framework” for grades k-12, in which power and oppression are the ways in which “individuals and groups define mathematical knowledge so as to see ‘Western’ mathematics as the only legitimate expression of mathematical identity and intelligence. This definition of legitimacy is then used to disenfranchise people and communities of color.” Yup, so called “social justice math” holds that “mathematics itself operates as Whiteness.”
In New Jersey, a new law mandates the teaching of “LGBTQ history” and students cannot be opted out. Many parents are outraged because their kids now will be force-fed info about “lifestyles and life choices that stand 100% against our family values.” They also object to their tax dollars being used for an “assault on religious liberty.” Pretty much the same deal in California, where SB 673 would have required parental permission slips to allow children to go to sex ed classes through the sixth grade. But it was voted down in the state Senate and the more arcane opt-out process is still in force. This is hardly surprising in a state that lets girls out of school to get an abortion without any parental notification whatsoever.
Additionally, unable to contain their extremist bent, Golden State legislators are entertaining AB 1922, a bill mandating that climate change education be a “coursework requirement for students in grades 1 through 6, and a graduation requirement for students in grades 7 through 12, starting 2025.”
Not surprisingly, the teachers unions play in important role in the advancement of classroom indoctrination. As I wrote recently, in the fall 2019 edition of American Educator, the quarterly American Federation of Teachers magazine, teachers are given sample lessons. As The College Fix reports,
The 44-page issue includes 13 references to ‘tolerance,’ 15 to ‘equity,’ 32 to ‘racial identity,’ 33 to ‘racism,’ 34 to ‘diversity,’ 39 to ‘discrimination,’ 52 to ‘prejudice,’ 54 to ‘hate,’ 79 to ‘identity,’ and 102 to ‘bias.’ Perhaps surprisingly, ‘white supremacy’ only appears three times.
The National Education Association has asserted that its goal is to teach children that their country “was founded on racism and still exudes it from its very marrow today.”
At the same time as the edu-blob ramps up the propaganda, our National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores have been stagnant for 20 years. The news isn’t much better for PISA, which tests 15-year-olds around the world in mathematics, science, and reading every three years. The U.S. came in the middle here, ahead of Germany, Belgium and France, but behind Estonia, Singapore and Ireland. All this despite the fact that we are spending more than ever on education.
Unless you are well-to-do and can afford to send your kid to a private school, you could be stuck with inappropriate sexual proselytizing, blatant political indoctrination and very possibly a mediocre or worse teacher who is unfirable. No parent should have to subject their children to that kind of abuse. The monopoly government education system we have in the U.S. – aided and abetted by unions – must go. All parents should be allowed to send their kids to a school of their choosing – public or private – and let the money follow the child.
Next week is National School Choice Week, during which there will be 51,300 planned events and activities to raise awareness about opportunities in k-12 education across the country. At this time, no cause is more worthy of your attention.
I am part of several upcoming National School Choice Week events in Southern California:
Jan. 25th: California School Choice in Glendale. Info here.
Jan. 25th: Parent Union 5th Annual School Choice Fair in Santa Ana. Info here.
Feb. 1st: My wife will be hosting a screening of Miss Virginia in North Hills. For info, call 888-290-8471.
Hope to see you!
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Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers and the general public with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues. The views presented here are strictly his own.