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Public Education Crisis – Flashing Red

Posted on Wednesday, April 27, 2022
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by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
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30 Comments

Where does one begin – in discussing the public education crisis? Divisions and dissention are everywhere, and not without cause. Since before COVID, parents were concerned about what their kids were being taught. Public education is changing, not for the better. Can it survive?

Four factors flash red: A fast-changing “public school culture” (raising parent activism), outsized power and political tilt by teachers’ unions, how school boards address parents, and the social impact of decaying standards.

First, the concept of public education has changed in just one decade. America has experienced an accelerated turn from objective standards in math, sciences, reading, writing, and history, to acculturation and systematic indoctrination in social, cultural, and political retraining.

While political ideas were always taught, they traditionally reflected established facts, including historical writings, persons, trends, dates, principles, and ideas contained in the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, a balance of individual freedom, free markets, limited government, and equality.

Over the past decade, emphasis on hard skills, understanding facts, and critical thinking have been in retrograde. Official measures of achievement have continued to slip, not only against former American norms but against competitors and adversaries, such as China.

The one-two punch of politicizing public education and taking many jurisdictions hard left, all while undermining core competencies, erodes preparedness, competitiveness, quantitative and qualitative skills. The trends are alarming, if correctable. This is not about money, but emphasis.

Second, not unrelated, many school districts have been driven by politically engaged national teachers’ unions which initiated an agenda, rather than reflecting parental aims. Emblematic were unions leveraging the teachers’ return to classrooms for socialist goals in places like California.

The reality is that these powerful unions, beyond non-political functions, work to coopt teacher sentiment, prescribe positions, and influence or dominate many school boards – invariably aligned with Democrats. Political contributions embarrassingly run up to 50:1 for Democrats, strange. While they claim to be non-partisan, the data is clear and says otherwise.

Moreover, the national teachers’ unions – directly and via school boards – seem to prioritize social, cultural, and political retraining of teachers and students, rather than higher math, science, reading, writing, and history standards.

The net effect of financially powerful, politically motivated, left-oriented unions, while differing state to state, has been culture shock in schools, a downshift from teaching competencies thought essential for personal success, civic cohesion, economic advancement, and national security.

Rather than focus on raising student accomplishment in areas of clear importance, quantitative and qualitative skills needed to produce higher incomes, family and societal cohesion, individual thinking, good judgement, and command of data and language, the reverse has been a priority – turning public education into a “transformative” political and cultural process.

Third, following these two shifts – namely, educational culture and powerful, left-leaning unions – parents have grown concerned. They began investigating what children were taught, having assumed it was innocuous, suddenly alarmed it opposed parental expectations.

Efforts at openness have been resisted by administrators, school boards, and sometimes teachers, creating anxiety among parents. Fears increased when Biden’s Departments of Education and Justice targeted outspoken parents with anti-terrorist laws.

Introducing Marxist, Socialist, Critical Race Theory (class tied to race), gender redefinition (and medical correction), with other socially “progressive” (arguably anti-religious, anti-science, anti-historical, anti-constitutional, anti-free market) ideas into schools put parents over the top.

The result has been a groundswell of parent activism, new groups hoping to rein in otherwise unaccountable unions, school boards, administrators, and promotors of politics in education.

Fourth, all this is not just an immediate crisis, although it is triggering a shift to private education, home schooling, and (recently) early entry into the labor market for high schoolers.  

While students suffered union-led extended remote learning, leading to after-effects like poor learning, poor concentration, and high absenteeism, that is just the immediate issue.

The crisis of confidence, departing from objective standards, and political reorientation now transforming trust in public education has enormous downstream impacts. The damage lasts.   

If parents concerned about falling efficacy and integrity fail to regain control over curriculums, major changes may occur, hollowing out or wholly reshaping public education.

Private schools responding to parent concerns will grow. States may suddenly certify new, non-municipal learning options. Homeschooling, church and community schooling will multiply.

In the end, America’s public education system is under enormous pressure, as left-leaning political forces seek to coopt what has been – since Jefferson and Franklin – a public good. If those in positions to respond fail to hear parents, the system will shift – for good. That may already be inevitable, given the depth of political saturation, but the bell…is ringing.

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Marianne
Marianne
1 year ago

Eloquent, presice, and to the point! Absolutely great journalism. Thank you AMAC.

DMarie
DMarie
1 year ago

Exactly the reasons I am running for our local school board! At 65, this was not on my bucket list but I have 8 grandchildren, along with thousands of other children who deserve better!

OldConservativeGuy
OldConservativeGuy
1 year ago

The pace of the change has been truly amazing. It reminds me of the change I viewed in the summer of 1968 when I left a sane college scene in May and returned to mass chaos and protest in September. I served on a school board for 24 years and just decided a few years ago to “retire” so I didn’t run for what would have been my 7th 4-year term. My last day on the board was December 31, 2019. In the short time since then, schools have done students an incredible disservice with COVID regulations and have adopted curricula that are historically incorrect and divisive. Teachers have started teaching unacceptable personal views that have absolutely no place in the classroom. In the short 2+ year period since my “retirement,” one of my grandchildren has graduated and EVERY OTHER grandchild has left the public school system where 3 of their 4 parents went to school and are enrolled in parochial schools. Florida’s new law requiring 5 year reviews of tenure in state supported schools needs to be adopted across the country and sane individuals with a modicum of common sense need to take control of school boards.

Steve Weidert
Steve Weidert
1 year ago

Liberal thinking is destroying this Country at an unprecedented rate. They are attempting to control everything they touch, and the point is that it’s not their job or their business. But the mindless minions continue to allow these factions to dictate how people should obey their false laws and opinions. It is appalling to see this wreckless behavior continue. If the American people do not wake up, straighten up, and make a stand against the evil doing….they will be doing the Chinese goosestep which in fact is identical to Nazi’s. And the current administration is behaving no different than Hitler, Stalin, and Putin.

GlenM
GlenM
1 year ago

My children and grandchildren are all out of school thankfully. My granddaughters had to endure the beginning stage of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (Critical Race Theory in disguise) but they were well grounded and did not fall for that garbage.
Very good article. I think the best thing for parents now is take control of the school boards or turn to private or home schooling.

Deb Rockwell
Deb Rockwell
1 year ago

A move toward more private schools would be a huge step in the right direction. Now we need to make vouchers available to parents so they can use their own tax dollars allocated for their child and apply it to a private school instead. We need to leave public schools in huge numbers. I moved my daughter to a private Christian school last year with McKay funds and it has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Smitty 550
Smitty 550
1 year ago

It would be a pleasant surprise if we parents could be given the freedom to choose where our taxes go. I.e., being relieved of paying part of our taxes to a corrupt leftist union-dominated public school system that takes away parents’ choice of what is taught their children, and allowing parents to choose which PRIVATE schools to send their children. Money paid would be directed away from public schools if parents chose.

Unless parents are given a choice of schools, our kids will continue to be indoctrinated into the Socialist world chosen by corrupt Socialist federal and state governments. We are able to vote for our political leaders; why can’t we be given the freedom to vote with our pocketbooks for schools that WE choose, then be given tax credits that align with what had been previously directed toward public education?

Even though my children are grown, I would have no problem paying part of my taxes to support only private education institutions that emphasized the 3Rs and creative thinking (i.e., how to think, vs. what to think), remembering that today’s children will be tomorrow’s leaders.

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
1 year ago

Go
Home school
Charter school
Voc & Tech Ed College

Tim Toroian
Tim Toroian
1 year ago

Smitty 550, no pleasant surprises, these people are a form of dedicated communism and have no intention of ever stopping, they must be STOPPED. If they change philosophically it will be when the world is a total mess. There is one aspect these bumble brains seem to overlook or never consider is how the Islamic world will receive them. Unless that world is in charge.

Philip Hammersley
Philip Hammersley
1 year ago

A telling factor is that many public teachers send THEIR kids to private school. Some years back in Chicago, i believe the number was 40%. Would you buy a Ford from a salesman who drove a Chevy?

Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
1 year ago

When you get your county taxd bill this year ,look at how much of your money is going for school taxes. Kyle L.

CoNMTX
CoNMTX
1 year ago

I spent 25 years in public education. Both as a teacher and then a counselor. I’ve now been retired for 22 years. I could see the changes coming many years ago. I just hoped I could ride it out to retirement and not be forced to resign. All that is happening has been in the works for decades. I got out at the right time. Elon Musk hasn’t got enough money to get me into the classroom today if I were younger. My daughter is a teacher but teaches in a Christian private school. All my grandchildren attended private church schools. The two younger ones are not in college yet but the 3 older ones went to 3 different, excellent universities and graduated with honors. The church schools were an excellent educational base for them plus they learned to love
God and live decent Christian lives.

Aloys Notzon
Aloys Notzon
1 year ago

School choice is the answer.

jake the snake
jake the snake
1 year ago

Simple to fix. outlaw the teachers union, cut school curriculum staffing 80%, have real performance reviews of all teachers where parents and principal weight equally, and give every parent a 100% school voucher for the full cost of a child’s educaiton in the pubic schools.

Do these things and public schools will work again in two years.

don’t do them and it is because you do not want the schools to work.

PFArizona
PFArizona
1 year ago

AZ Governor Ducey is set to Sign HB2161 that reinforces the existing parental rights in Arizona law, clarifying that parents are to have access to all educational and medical records. Additionally, it requires the opportunity for parents to review and give their consent before any survey is given to their child. To enforce this, parents are given the power to sue schools or governments that violate or infringe on their parental rights.

Do not let AZ become California. A young boy in grade 7 in middle school in Los Gatos California came home crying because his teacher told him he should be ashamed of his white privilege. What was she teaching? And why weren’t the parents aware of it before their child came home crying!
 

Becky
Becky
1 year ago

Public unions were NEVER supposed to be formed. Are people maybe learning why now?
Kill the unions.
Fix ‘teacher’ education. Or get rid of it. I’ve tutored math for decades. There are enough of us to teach our kids. Clean up universities.
When the Department of Education was formed by Carter in the 70s, for better ‘control’….. This end was a foregone conclusion. Kill that, too.

Elizabeth Dempsey
Elizabeth Dempsey
1 year ago

It seems to me that we have seen our standing in education internationally on a downward spiral for several decades and for that we should be ashamed. I view Common Core, and have since its inception, to be an unacceptable move.

Unions have no business being a dictator of the business of the school and yet that has somehow become the presiding body. Parents have every right to have a say in the training that their children are getting. Like the military are getting less training in what their job is, our children are now seemingly being taught fewer of the real basics needed to become an independent thinker and discover and find their interests building the foundation for their life direction. This is totally unacceptable.

Bruce Wickstrom
Bruce Wickstrom
1 year ago

Biden is doing everything possible to destroy our country. I hope the left is happy because no normal American can support this runaway damage. God bless America. Rvn 68-69

Centurion
Centurion
1 year ago

An entire generation will be on public welfare because they will not have the knowledge or skills to get and hold a job. All thanks to demon-communist-cRATS.

PIDL
PIDL
1 year ago

The schools have been “dumbed down”! I see the results of this being the election of AOC. She seems like one of the products of a corrupt school system, not teaching math and science, but teaching political activism and socialistic ideals. The people electing them are less intelligent, after being academically neglected by the teachers, just like the person being elected.

bob
bob
1 year ago

Parental apathy over the years has allowed these social, cultural and political change to occur. Bake sales and student car washes were the extent of parental involvement. The silver lining around the pandemic was for the first time in decades that the parents became aware of school curriculums.
So now they are fighting back to reclaim what supposed to theirs to begin with. The teachers’ unions have become so powerful that they dictate curriculums and policy. Unions are supposed to protect the employee, insure a fair wage and good benefits. The political activism of the teachers’ unions at the local, state and federal levels have made them a force to be dealt with and they are in bed with politicians who use them as a platform for indoctrination of our youth.
Teachers are here for the parents and our community. Unfortunately, it seems as if the parents and communities are here for the teachers’ unions. A pure case of the “tail wagging dog.”

Chuck
Chuck
1 year ago

When the house is on fire–get the kids out first!!!!
Fight the fire later!!

R Mellor
R Mellor
1 year ago

SCHOOL CHOICE !

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