“Teaching is a Political Act”: UNT Course Raises Questions Over Political Agendas in Public Education

There is a new controversy over political agendas in education after the release of course materials from the University of North Texas (UNT) for future K-12 educators. It is important to keep in mind that this is just one school. However, the controversy raises, again, the question of whether universities are pushing a more activist model for education. We saw a similar activist movement emerge out of journalism schools that is now taking hold in mainstream media.  The concern over the UNT controversy is whether it is indicative of a wider effort that is causing many families to leave public education.The material is derived from a course and syllabus on “Teaching as Advocacy for Equity.” The course focuses on “structures of social and educational inequality, as they relate to race, class, and gender” and how teaching can be “a form of intervention” to change society through “cultural reproduction.”

Conservative sites have flagged the material because of the highly political content. The course states that “while teaching has always been a relational and intellectual endeavor, we acknowledge that teaching is also both an ethical and a political act.”

It also includes a list of “core commitments” for future teachers that states “[w]e are activists working against injustice for young people, teachers, and communities rooted in racism and other forms of discrimination.”

The material relies on the work of the highly controversial Ibram Kendi.  I have previously criticized Professor Kendi for his inflammatory rhetoric and attacks. Kendi, the director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, previously attacked Justice Amy Coney Barrett over her adoption of two Haitian children and suggested that it raised the image of a “white colonizer.” He suggested that the children were little more than props for their mother.

In fairness to UNT, there has always been a role in education to reinforce core values in society. For most of us, that includes civic values and our commitment to principles of equality and due process. That is why we have long taught lessons on the desegregation movement, the teachings of Dr. King, and other defining aspects of our history and Constitution. However, we have seen a more political agenda emerge in recent years. That includes emphasizing that teachers are first and foremost “activists” as opposed to educators.

For many, the UNT material appears to promote teaching as a vehicle for political activism. That is precisely what parents are rebelling against in teachers treating them and their children as captives to some social agenda.

I previously wrote how some teachers and administrators are rapidly killing public education.

Many of us have advocated for public education for decades. I sent my children to public schools, and I still hope we can turn this around without wholesale voucher systems. Yet teachers and boards are killing the institution of public education by treating children and parents more like captives than consumers. They are force-feeding social and political priorities, including passes for engaging in approved protests.

As public schools continue to produce abysmal scores, particularly for minority students, board and union officials have called for lowering or suspending proficiency standards or declared meritocracy to be a form of “white supremacy.” Gifted and talented programs are being eliminated in the name of “equity.”

Once parents have a choice, these teachers lose a virtual monopoly over many families, and these districts could lose billions in states like Florida.

This is precisely why school systems like the Seattle public schools are facing budget shortfalls as families vote with their feet. These families want a return to the educational mission that once defined our schools.

Of course, this material maintains that political agendas are the educational mission. However, they may find fewer and fewer families are willing to supply their children for such political indoctrination.

87 thoughts on ““Teaching is a Political Act”: UNT Course Raises Questions Over Political Agendas in Public Education”

  1. It all started with ego. Teachers putting parents in there little inferior chairs for conferencesnes like we’re the only ones are in town. With a college degree! Times have changed. Parents are not inferior. They know they are looking control so go everywhere to try to get it…cos to worse. America rules not I completed idiots who butcher the English language re: any individual student! Good luck.

  2. “political activism”

    A horrid combination. Separately, both words are pretty awful all by themselves. Together, the nastiness and nonsense gets multiplied.

    So. Tired. Of. Politics!!!!

    Politicians and Activists are monikers best treated with suspicion.

  3. “YOU CALL IT A TRAGEDY”

    “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

    – Declaration of Independence, 1776
    _____________________________

    “[We gave you] a [restricted-vote] republic, if you can keep it.”

    – Ben Franklin
    ___________

    “We the People,…secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,….”

    – Preamble to the Constitution
    ________________________

    Naturalization Act of 1802

    United States Congress, “An act to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” March 26, 1790

    Be it enacted…,That any Alien being a free white person,…may be admitted [the inverse NOT admitted]…to become a citizen thereof….
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    “Oh, what a tangled web we weave,

    When first we practise to deceive!”

    – Walter Scott, Marmion

  4. It can only be fixed by competition. Vouchers are not only an option they are essential for accountability. Some of these city school systems pay more per pupil in spending than private schools but have worse outcomes.
    The idea that government exists to serve the people is nearly dead, government more and more treats the people as subjects. Time to let the People take their education money to places that will serve them as valued customers.

    1. @Tony

      I hate to tell you, but private schools and charter schools are no better. ‘School choice’ is another grift. If we want to solve this, we will have to go to the root, and schools for profit are not the answer. Don’t know if you have children in school, but billionaires in public education and billionaires in ‘choice’ schools amount to about the same, and they are omnipresent. My wife, an educator of many decades, and it goes back generationally for me as well, I have seen the changes, has been in every facet of this, every type of school, across multiple states, and at some point we are going to have to start paying more attention. ‘School choice’ is not a choice at all in most places. If yours is an exception, then good on you, it is far from universal unless you are the wealthiest of wealthiest and your kids go to school on what might as well be another planet. This problem is deeper. Seriously: pick your billionaires. Or think about actually raising and educating your children. This will not be a popular comment. Parents are the ones to blame, and have been for decades, they are largely responsible for the woke hell e find ourselves in.

      1. James – here are figures from 2012:
        General public: Nationally, 11% of all parents enroll their children in private schools, and 89% of American students attend public schools.
        Public School Teachers: Nationally, more than 20% of public school teachers with school-age children enroll them in private schools, or almost twice the 11% rate for the general public.
        Philadelphia Public School Teachers: 44% enroll their own children in private schools, or four times the national average.
        Cincinnati Public School Teachers: 41% enroll their own children in private schools, more than three times the national rate.
        Chicago Public School Teachers: 39% enroll their own children in private schools, more than three times the national average.
        Rochester, NY Public School Teachers: 38% enroll their own children in private schools, or more than three times the national rate.
        San Francisco-Oakland Public School Teachers: 34% enroll their own children in private schools, slightly more than three times the national average.
        New York City Public School Teachers: 33% enroll their own children in private schools, three times the national rate.
        Members of Congress: 33% to 44% enroll their children in private schools, three to four times the national average.
        https://www.aei.org/carpe-diem/why-do-public-school-teachers-send-their-own-children-to-private-schools-at-a-rate-2x-the-national-average/
        If public school teachers think that private schools are better than public schools, we should “listen” to their choices.
        Of course, “schools of choice” are still public schools in most cases, so your bad experiences may relate to those.

        1. No. Parents should wonder what it is that is disappointing teachers about their public school and seek to fix the problem.

          Teachers cannot change administrative decisions. Teachers cannot change school board decisions. Parents and elected school boards can effect changes in legislation, they can voice their concerns and make suggestions. If administrators are really causing problems, can they pressure the school board to make changes.

          Nothing will improve unless parents and taxpayers start paying attention. It isn’t just your own kid’s future–it is also the community’s future, the nation’s future. How can our children shoulder the responsibilities of citizenship and self-governance if we don’t?

          1. Nothing will improve unless parents and taxpayers start paying attention. “

            In NYC, parents paying attention sign up for the lottery to enroll their children in charter schools. They know charter schools provide better education and can see it when one of their children wins the lottery and the other doesn’t.

            Last I checked, 50,000 more kids signed up for the lottery to get into charter schools but are denied that ability because NYC charter schools threaten the teacher’s union and progressives.

            The proof exists in black and white for anyone who wishes to look at the data comparing hundreds of public schools to charter schools. The difference in education isn’t questionable. The data is clear. We are committing cultural genocide by not permitting NYC charter schools to expand and continue functioning without the teacher’s union and progressives trying to block the efforts to graduate students competent in math and English

      2. James, have you read Thomas Sowell’s comparison of NYC public schools to charter schools operating in the same school buildings? School choice can make a very significant difference.

      3. “I hate to tell you, but private schools and charter schools are no better.”

        Look at the data in the appendix to the book and disabuse yourself of your present belief.

        “Charter Schools and Their Enemies” Winner of the 2021 Hayek Book Prize

        A leading conservative intellectual defends charter schools against the teachers’ unions, politicians, and liberal educators who threaten to dismantle their success.

        The black-white educational achievement gap – so much discussed for so many years – has already been closed by Black students attending New York City’s charter schools. This might be expected to be welcome news. But it has been very unwelcome news in traditional public schools whose students are transferring to charter schools. A backlash against charter schools has been led by teachers unions, politicians and others – not only in New York, but across the country. If those attacks succeed, the biggest losers will be minority youngsters for whom a quality education is their biggest chance for a better life.

    2. “The idea that government exists to serve the people is nearly dead, government more and more treats the people as subjects. ”

      No, it is time to put government back in its rightful place.

      Turning to business won’t solve the problem. It will exacerbate it, especially considering the terrible interplay between government and business.

      It will further loosen your hold on the delicate threads left of self-governance.

      Shoulder the responsibility of making your public school right, making it a place the educates children to be free and wise people.

      1. “Shoulder the responsibility of making your public school right . . .”

        Then in the afternoon, perform surgery. At night, tend to your livestock. On the weekend, rebuild your car’s engine. . . .

        1. I know of a farmer who helped start a school and was on its school board. He had livestock to care for and still made time to serve his community.

          Phone calls, letters, and watching meetings takes less or about the same amount of time as watching TV daily. Make time for what matters.

          1. “I know of a farmer who . . .”

            Good for him.

            Now get real about the responsibilities of real parents trying to live a real life.

            And learn something about the value of a division of labor society.

            1. I am a real parent trying to live a real life. I do not have livestock yet but I do have 4 kids who keep me very busy. It can be done. Geez, how many text messages and emails do people send in a day? Surely one email could be sent to a school board member.

  5. Sick of this ****. Those of you who have not been paying attention because you do not have children in school are 200% to blame. Today, I have flame for all of you, this has not been a mystery since the 90s, nobody cared. And here we are, even though many of us absolutely *pleaded* with the rest of you. even the conservatives, even everybody.

    1. Addendum: my wife has been teaching in these trenches for decades; from NYC, to CA, to NM, to PA; and you had better believe that the one singular factor to make this all diarrhea has been 100% the introduction of millennials and gen z into the workforce. Not the MSM, not the narrative, not anything but these generations and how they have been shaped, and then put into positions of authority. Those of you that raised them: you did the sh**iest job imaginable. In all of recorded history. By all means, do be ashamed of yourselves, because you absolutely deserve shame. That is a fact, and that is true, and you CONTINUE to do it. My wife STILL, in 2023, gets parents doing their kids’ work for them. That naturally translates back to where they, themselves, were educated and beyond that the homes they were raised in. Though not in the insane woke way, we are absolutely seeing the fruit of 30 years of a certain way of doing things with children. To be very fair; this began with W Bush and no child left behind. Wake the **** up. Before it is too late and we have to shoot each other with real bullets.

      1. “My wife STILL, in 2023, gets parents doing their kids’ work for them.”

        Would these same parents be appalled and angry with their kid if their kid got caught cheating on a test or plagiarizing?

  6. The equity fight is simply pitting Parents who are willing to give up something of their own for their Children’s future against parents who are unwilling to put their children’s future ahead of their own wants.
    The equity fight is an insult to both parents who deprive themselves for their children and to white groups who have been equally discriminated against because of their religion or heritage.

    1. It is absolutely true, but it *could* have been avoided. Nobody wanted to talk about this 20 or more years ago, even though ,any of us implored that it was necessary, you were shut down for even suggesting the possibility, and indeed still are; and this goes for interactive parents, too – it was absolutely taboo and met with extreme hostility. Yet here is the world we’ve made, and if we hope to undo it, it will take a committed, generational effort. The reversal will not happen fast. This is not 1969, it is not the Black Panthers, it is not all of the stuff you imagined as an intellectual exercise. It may be very, very unfair, but even people alive today in their 80s had better start paying attention and acting accordingly, right effing now. This is not just America, it is the entire planet.

  7. “Give me just one generation of youth, and I’ll transform the whole world.”

    – Vladimir Lenin

      1. Teachers union head Randi Weingarten mocked for blasting DeSantis in ill-formed tweet
        “Teachers union boss Randi Weingarten lashed out at Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — firing off a tweet riddled with grammatical errors that accused the potential 2024 presidential hopeful of “banning everything he dislikes.”
        https://nypost.com/2023/03/07/teachers-union-head-randi-weingarten-mocked-for-blasting-desantis-in-ill-formed-tweet/

  8. Teachers are also not psychologists (licensed to treat) or psychiatrists and the outrageous thought among some of them that they know more than the parents what is good for the children is elitism taken to obscene levels. Hiding health information from parents or conducting subversion and pushing alternative lifestyles and health is outside out of their lane and is also obscene.We should not have to fight this battle at every school board in the country. State Boards of Education should set this criteria and do it publicly. At least that way you will know from the outset whether you want to move there or move away. It might lead to even more movement away from the Blue states, as well as some movement towards them. Thats fine with me.

    1. Gigi – You say” “Teachers are taught how to teach–parents are not.” If a degree from a school of education iweres necessary to “teach”, then home-schooled children would perform abysmally in standardized tests. Yet the opposite is true. As stated in Ray, “Home-Schoolling: the Resarch,” September 15, 2022,
      “The home-educated typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests. (The public school average is roughly the 50th percentile; scores range from 1 to 99.) A 2015 study found Black homeschool students to be scoring 23 to 42 percentile points above Black public school students (Ray, 2015).
      78% of peer-reviewed studies on academic achievement show homeschool students perform statistically significantly better than those in institutional schools (Ray, 2017).
      Homeschool students score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parents’ level of formal education or their family’s household income.
      Whether homeschool parents were ever certified teachers is not related to their children’s academic achievement.
      Degree of state control and regulation of homeschooling is not related to academic achievement.
      Home-educated students typically score above average on the SAT and ACT tests that colleges consider for admissions.”
      https://www.nheri.org/research-facts-on-homeschooling/
      I don’t think Socrates ever went to a School of Education.

    2. “We should not have to fight this battle at every school board in the country.”

      Why not? That means local control of your own district.

      Also, a lot of this nonsense of turning teachers into therapists is coming from administration.

  9. Professor Turley states, “Conservative sites have flagged the material because of the highly political content.”
    Why are only ‘conservative’ sites finding this as offensive? ALL Americans should be critical of political ideology being embedded in teaching materials.
    Upstate Farmer is right: either home school (or start a drive to convert old buildings to independent schools). Get these kids HIGHLY PROFICIENT in the three RRRs before you start all this other nonsense. Kids today cannot spell three-syllable words but can tell you all about BLM and pronouns.

    1. Lin,
      I would clarify that if there is going to be any kind of political discussion, it should be in and only in Civics class. It should only be in context of how our political system works.
      All the rest of the wokeism indoctrination should stay out of public education.

    2. “Kids today cannot spell three-syllable words but can tell you all about BLM and pronouns.”

      Competition is the cure for public school imposed socialism.

  10. I’ve yet to hear a coherent argument that lower-income parents should be forced to send their kids to poor-performing, government schools simply because they can’t afford to move nor pay ‘extra’ to send them to a better-performing school, public or private. In all candor, I just don’t see why that MUST remain as the status quo.

    1. There is the KCMO public schools boondoggle from the late-80s to end of 90s showing that regardless how much you spend, whether you bring in the best teachers, have the best facilities, and spend BILLIONS, you get the same outcomes. Or, you can look at Dan Rather’s “American Disgrace” and see what happens when even the best of the best catch a break and have some family support, they wash-out at an ‘average college.’

      I have yet to see any evidence that increasing funding creates better outcomes. None. Find a school district anywhere in the country that added a bunch of money and then their outcomes increased – bonds (notice the school bond hucksters never point back to the benefits in student outcomes since the last bond?), handouts like KCMO or Zuckerbergs fiasco with Newark (did get booker a senate seat though, lol.).

      There is the cogent argument made when we had school bussing that schools were better when they were community-based, I believe vp karmela even says that.

      The argument goes like this: school are the products of their communities. If your community could give a shit, well, you get KC MO or Detroit. If your community cares then you get average to exceptional schools, depending upon the education levels of the parents there. This isn’t rocket science.

      Can you corral some kids from bad places early and ‘save some?’ That is one of the primary white-guilt trips, but it has been done. Of course the left is vehemently opposed to anything that puts their public works/dnc slush fund institution at risk, so…

      1. That is looking at the problem from one perspective. The other perspective is what happens if you look at the ‘flight to opportunity’ communities a handful of years after the program gets going. It’s not pretty. Imagine you have a class of thirty kids and three of them won’t stfu. They are a distraction, they suck up your and your kids time, and they cannot be disciplined (thanks soros/ari duncan/obama/holder). The class suffers. The good kids complain. The good kids’ parents don’t get the answers they need. The people with means, leave. See Baltimore County for an example.

        It is amzing the damage a few Federal judges can inflict on the stability and health of a community, see Marvin Garbis.

        1. I made an error, that last sentence should read: It is amazing the damage a single Federal judge can inflict on the stability and health of a community, see Marvin Garbis.

      2. Yes, and that’s more likely the reason teachers are leaving the public school system – disruptive kids the teacher can not permanently removed for the benefit of the other students (and an administration that turns a blind eye toward bullying). Low pay is probably a close second, being forced to teach a curriculum that has little to do with raising the next generation to be independent, self-reliant, self-supported adults is probably third in the list. Under those conditions, I’d quit too if I could.

        1. Yeah, teachers come and go – that’s unfortunate. However, it is standard operating procedure at many very good private schools. So, while that is not ideal, it isn’t that destructive.

          It is when the community changes to one that is less interested in raising kids. When the good families move out, the schools suffer and the communities suffer – although the places they move to generally benefit.

          1. All the more reason to allow the parents who still care, but have fewer financial resources, the opportunity to send their kids to better schools using a voucher equivalent to the same dollars the state would spend at the less interested ‘community’ school. I believe we’re saying the same thing, but there’s a chance I’ve completely misread your comments. Are you saying parents who can’t afford to send their kids to better schools do not deserve that opportunity with state-issued, restricted to education only, vouchers?

            Teacher turnover rates are higher than in the past 10 years in far too many states. Knowing several teachers personally, they say the reductions in staff are less related to pay scale and community involvement compared to administrators not having their backs in the classroom. They’re saying they’re less safe than when they started 5-10 years ago. You’re correct if you say more money will not solve that problem but that in itself is another reason for more, not less, parental control over the money the state is already spending on behalf of their own kid.

            1. “Are you saying parents who can’t afford to send their kids to better schools do not deserve that opportunity with state-issued, restricted to education only, vouchers? ”

              I do not think that that is the answer, a band-aid, temporarily, but not an answer. I think the entire education structure needs to be re-engineered.

              I think that kids should be grouped by ability at a very early age. There can be some upward and downward movement, like English soccer, but for the most part we should address kids with similar abilities as groups.

              I don’t think we’d need vouchers, then, as kids would go to the school where they belong. Oh, i know, the stigma…Oh, the math school may be 85% Asian kids, etc. But the idea of teaching feral kids until they are 18 in a public school is a joke, really – that is all that can be said. Baltimore City School kids are simply wasting everyone’s time and money in school, like 99% of them, maybe more.

              Also, class sizes need to come way down. Fewer administrators, more teachers. With current technology, we can probably get class sizes down with fewer teachers, too.

              For tomorrow, am I OK w/vouchers? Sure. Do i believe that it will change much, nope. But it will get kids that want to be kids and not f’ups a chance.

              The biggest problem facing education, though, isn’t how to help the kids, it is how to figure out what to do with all the useless people working in the system, because schools should not be public works projects…but that is all many of them are.

              1. I’m not sure I follow the English Soccer reference…grouping kids by their ability…starting at what age and how do you measure their different educational abilities? Some kids will score very high on maybe one or two metrics. Should a 6 year old be placed in a seventh-grade reading class, a different third-grade math class and some other subject class with older, bigger kids based on initial testing? Kids better relate socially to other kids their own age. Is that a consideration? I’m not saying it’s wrong, necessarily, but I can see where there would be different problems associated with large age differences in the same classroom.

                Then, first you were against vouchers, later you’re for them (at least in the short term). Again, for what purposes? I’ve been pretty consistent, lower-income parents should have that option the entire time, K-12, for selecting the school that gives their student the best chance to become productive, self-sufficient adults after graduation – without regard to race, religion, national origin and other metrics students have no control. How is that bad educational policy?

                1. From a philosophical standpoint, I am for vouchers. Parents should have some choice in where their kids go to school. But from a systemic standpoint, I do not think it is the answer for education system. So for a parent/kid, it might be great, for the system, not the answer.

                  The reason it is not the answer, imo, is that schools as facilities are meaningless, a school is a collection of parents, teachers, admins, and students. If a city has X number of students, then it doesn’t matter what number of vouchers you have, you are still going to need to educate X number of students that have the same number of parents teachers and admins. Vouchers are simply a shell game where a thoughtful parent puts their kid into the least worst school.

                  If all the kids at crappy school X used their vouchers to go to above average school Y, average school Y would become crappy school Y – we see that in flight to opportunity areas except you don’t need all of the kids from school X, just enough to ruin the classroom, about 3-4 kids each.

                  I don’t know what the answer is. The evidence I have found indicates that small class sizes and the ability to get rid of ‘bad’ kids can help more kids than what is typical in public schools. Things that don’t work are: more money (not spent on getting smaller class sizes), “better” teachers, higher teacher pay, mixed-ability classes, bussing, or ‘better’ technology.

                  Smaller classes would seem to require some homogeneity in learning ability, the ability to keep-up or the need for a slower pace (here is where vouchers would become disadvantageous, if you have too many parents screwing-up the homogeneity, it hurts the system). The goal is to create life-long independent learners, right? For some that’s simply not going to happen and they need to be shunted out of formal classrooms and into trades or professions. Get the trade school kids out of a general high school by 10th grade. There’s more of course. But if you have classes moving too fast or too slow, you are not going to educate kids well.

                  1. ” But if you have classes moving too fast or too slow, you are not going to educate kids well.”

                    FYI: I was told about 5-years ago that 25% of all 4-year college courses in the US are remedial. WTH are those kids doing in a university? Gee, I don’t know, but I do know an awful lot of kids drop-out and/or have big loans they’re not happy about.

                  2. Ah, I see your point now. Is it your intent to sound like a snobbish elitist?

                    “The goal is to create life-long independent learners, right?”

                    Well, the goal should not be life-long, tenured Ivy-League folks looking down through their opera glasses on those who fix the plumbing and electrical systems in their 5000 square foot homes, either.

                    “For some that’s simply not going to happen and they need to be shunted out of formal classrooms and into trades or professions. Get the trade school kids out of a general high school by 10th grade.”

                    Ouch. So the trades are where the so-called, shunted students deserve to go, as if that’s their proper station in life?

                    “From a philosophical standpoint, I am for vouchers. Parents should have some choice in where their kids go to school. But from a systemic standpoint, I do not think it is the answer for education system. So for a parent/kid, it might be great, for the system, not the answer. The reason it is not the answer, imo, is that schools as facilities are meaningless, a school is a collection of parents, teachers, admins, and students.” Huh? Schools as facilities are meaningless?

                    The ‘system’ deserves only folks who don’t need vouchers? Seriously…”The System”? Yikes.

                    “If a city has X number of students, then it doesn’t matter what number of vouchers you have…”

                    Yes, it matters to the lower income families with bright students who are being forced to stagnate in the worst schools.

                    “…you are still going to need to educate X number of students that have the same number of parents teachers and admins. Vouchers are simply a shell game where a thoughtful parent puts their kid into the least worst school.”

                    You can’t be for vouchers in theory and against them in practice.

                    Which gets to the root of my original post: “I’ve yet to hear a coherent argument that lower-income parents should be forced to send their kids to poor-performing, government schools simply because they can’t afford to move nor pay ‘extra’ to send them to a better-performing school, public or private. In all candor, I just don’t see why that MUST remain as the status quo.”

                    Your own words demonstrate very clearly your wish to deny lower income families the opportunity to get out of the worst schools. While you may not like the status quo, it’s better than allowing the ‘lessers’ in life making decisions for themselves and their children. “Vouchers are simply a shell game where a thoughtful parent puts their kid into the least worst school”. (Cue the fainting couch)

                    It’s quite fascinating you recognize the system is broken, but at the very same time task the State – not the parents, not the 70+% of teachers who are trying to encourage kids to become self-sufficient despite the union’s heavy-handed attempts to thwart them – to fix the very system they, in my very humble opinion, intentionally ruined themselves; i.e: the status quo.

                  3. “The goal is to create life-long independent learners, right? For some that’s simply not going to happen and they need to be shunted out of formal classrooms and into trades or professions. Get the trade school kids out of a general high school by 10th grade.”

                    Being in a trade does not mean a student is not inclined towards lifelong, independent learning. I knew a guy in the trades who was quite the history buff. What professions? Being a lawyer is a profession.

                    I see merits for mixed ability classrooms, particularly in elementary school. However, there are merits for ability grouping, too.

                    What is the goal of K12 education? To create worker bees, to get them on a career pathway? Where is being educated to be a free person in a constitutional republic fit in if a person is steered out of HS and into trade school by 10th grade?

                    1. What is the goal of 10-12th grade education? I think you are reflexively imparting value on it that isn’t there for most people. Trig, calculus, a deeper dive into history you already learned, more science (poorly taught)…that’s all I remember. that and honors english that taught the same books those 3 years I had already read my freshman year at a good catholic school.

                      I love the trades, I want them enhanced. I want better schools for them, populated with younger eager minds.

                      Professions that don’t need general 10-12th grade: accountant, actor, appraiser, chef, dental hygienists, farmer, florist, …

                    2. Neil,
                      “Trig, calculus, a deeper dive into history you already learned, more science (poorly taught)…that’s all I remember. that and honors english that taught the same books those 3 years I had already read my freshman year at a good catholic school.”

                      I’m sorry your school was not up to snuff. That was not my experience at all. My history classes were generally well taught by people who loved history. My science classes were engaging and demanded I read quite a bit and learn to write research papers, too. Upon comparison with Chem 101, for instance, I found my Survey of Chemistry course in HS to be a fairly close match and excellent preparation for college. I was a strong and diverse reader in high school and yet the works my English teachers picked did not, generally, overlap. We often picked our small group books, so if I’d already read one, I just gravitated to a different group. We read a great deal of poetry, plays, short stories, novellas, and novels. There are so many great works that I rarely felt any annoying redundancy. Even if I did have to reread something, my teachers did a great job of, somehow, making the story new by aiding in finding new meaning and greater appreciation for the story–kind of like encountering something new in a book you’ve read 4 times and keep returning to because of its richness.

                    3. “Professions that don’t need general 10-12th grade”

                      But citizens very likely do.

                    4. “But citizens very likely do.”

                      Yet you are against charter schools where in NYC children in public schools lack an education but the charter schools graduate kids that go to college. Something is wrong with how you are putting 2+2 together.

                    5. “What is the goal of K12 education? To create worker bees, to get them on a career pathway? Where is being educated to be a free person in a constitutional republic fit in if a person is steered out of HS and into trade school by 10th grade?”

                      Why do you look down on plumbers and electricians?

                    6. S. Meyer,
                      “Why do you look down on plumbers and electricians?”

                      Huh? That does not follow. Plumbers and electricians are also citizens and need a thorough preparation for shouldering the duties and responsibilities of citizenship. To best accomplish that, I think most people need the full 12 years of schooling with a broad and generalist education that includes the very best of what Western Civilization in particular but also what mankind offers. Our form of government is the product of Western Civilization so you need to know what went into its development over the centuries.

                    7. “Huh? That does not follow. Plumbers and electricians are also citizens and need a thorough preparation for shouldering the duties and responsibilities of citizenship. To best accomplish that, I think most people need the full 12 years of schooling with a broad and generalist education.”

                      Your ideas sound a bit Hoity-toity. There is nothing wrong with trade schools and learning to be a plumber, electrician, or any other trade.

                      Next, you will object to shortening college for those doctors simultaneously getting an MD Ph.D. You will find their education incomplete.

                      Let us hear what you find critical to the education of a plumber missing if they go to trade school. Be specific.

                    8. SMeyer…seems messages are getting mixed between two or more threads now. It’s difficult keeping up. 🙂

                    9. “Your ideas sound a bit Hoity-toity. There is nothing wrong with trade schools and learning to be a plumber, electrician, or any other trade.”

                      Being a well-informed citizen is hoity-toity? Knowledge is power. It is at least some kind of shield against those who would try to manipulate you. Knowledge makes you better able to weigh whether we ought to do something as a nation. Strong language and communication skills helps you express your ideas and hopefully effect positive change. Helps you see into marketing and manipulation campaigns by those in power, or at least have a shot at it. Who wants to be manipulated to serve other people’s too often self-serving ends?

                      I come from a farming family. Practical knowledge helps give you good horse sense, so to speak. But my family also aimed to be well-informed.

                      We do need more tradesmen. But we also need strong citizens. Do both. Run them concurrently, if possible. Have tradesschool start directly after high school. Either way. Heck, combining the good, practical horse sense that comes from working with real things with book knowledge and rhetoric skills of a generalist education could form pretty tough and versatile minds.

                    10. A person who graduates with a trade is a success story. An unemployed underwater basket weaver is not.

                      You asked.

                      “What is the goal of K12 education? To create worker bees, to get them on a career pathway? ”

                      The answer is yes because a career pathway leads to freedom. A lack of a career leads to entitlement. With the freedom a job provides, one is free to expand the mind as desired. Schools provide the ability to learn on one’s own, and being able to choose a pathway is a success.

                      “Being a well-informed citizen is hoity-toity?”

                      Are you saying a plumber cannot be well-informed, but a child who graduates 12th grade without proficiency in reading or math is? Doesn’t that sound strange to you?

                      Schools are supposed to teach us how to attain knowledge. A trained plumber has succeeded in that task. The rest is up to him.

                      You talk about knowledge as a religious experience instead of what it is. Yet, elsewhere you say, “Who wants to be manipulated to serve other people’s too often self-serving ends?” while at the same time permitting teacher’s unions and politicians to manipulate our children throughout the nation.

                      “Practical knowledge helps give you good horse sense, so to speak.”

                      Does a plumber lack good horse sense?

    2. People in communities with poorly performing schools need to own its failures and do something about it by pressuring the school board and administration to make changes.

      People could start by having high expectations and making sure their kids bother to show up for school and do their homework.

      1. Completely agree, Rose. The problem isn’t parents lack of participation in the system, it’s the cabal running the system (unions, administrations at the state federal levels of funding – remember the people who pay the most have the loudest voices) that simply says, “no” to most attempts to right the proverbial sinking ship. You and I have a very clear memory of the time before the Department of Education came into existence. The best first place to start reversing the decline in American education is to abolish that unconstitutional, unaccountable, disaster of federal overreach.

  11. Rid ourselves of the unionized teachers everywhere and then neutralize the public schools. Assign the education monies to each student rather than a school system and watch this reform happen. We have been asleep at the wheel far too long because we thought schools were benign – we were tricked/lied to.

    1. Many states do that now, spend the same money per student. The howling starts when anyone speaks about the ‘idea’ of giving the parent(s) the ability to steer that money to better schools, even better-than-average government schools. The government school system is, as you correctly identified, a unionized cabal and the cabal will not tolerate parents taking their own tax dollars elsewhere.

      1. JAFO,
        Read an article that NYC public schools were spending twice the money per student as charter schools but the charter schools outperform the public schools

        1. Agreed. There’s a single “traditional” school in my state’s largest district. It’s a public-funded K-4 school, only they don’t call it ‘charter’. The school gets the same funding amount per student, but local parents, teachers, and principal set the curriculum separate from the rest of the district. And get this…it’s the only one in the district with a waiting list to get in. Sadly, starting at 5th grade, those students go to regular, union-controlled schools afterwards and generally run academic circles around their peers who didn’t attend the ‘traditional’ school (good news), but the district has shown no interest in building a second, similarly focused school for anyone above grade 4 (bad news). The kids deserve better, but the cabal effectively says, ‘no, they don’t.’

        2. Cyber charters do not perform better than public schools in PA, for the most part. Most are about the same or actually worse.

          I’ve seen the curriculum for one of them. It looks like an excellent curriculum–it appears to have a lot of classical elements. Unfortunately, even with this great curriculum, it is still performing badly.

      2. Parents should take other people’s tax dollars elsewhere.

        Fix the schools. Fix your self-governance.

        To fix this, starting at the top rather than the bottom may be best? For it appears the fish has started rotting from the head down–the Federal Department of Education has tried to “fix” too many problems and has ended up causing many more.

        1. “Parents should take other people’s tax dollars elsewhere”

          Good grief. Should NOT take.

          I am getting tired, it seems.

          1. Instead, you wish the tax dollars to go down the same drain as the education of the young.,

          2. Prairie Rose…it has indeed been a long day. Can you clarify, please? Are you saying tax dollars should continue to go to broken, underperforming schools regardless of any parent that wants those same tax dollars to follow the child?

      3. “The howling starts when anyone speaks about the ‘idea’ of giving the parent(s) the ability to steer that money to better schools, even better-than-average government schools.”

        JAFO, I posted this before. There is no better argument for charter schools than this discussion between Thomas Sowell and Peter Robinson. If one reads or listens to this interview and then looks at the numbers with a fair mind, they will gasp in horror recognizing how progressives and the teachers union are denying young children a good education.

        https://www.hoover.org/research/economist-looks-90-tom-sowell-charter-schools-and-their-enemies-1

        This interview is a must-read for all.

        1. Agreed. Best we can do is continue to show the evidence that works and where. Some areas it doesn’t, but that should never negate the attempt to do better somewhere else.

  12. I really got a warm glow in my heart last nite when I read about the decline of the Seattle Public School system and the layoffs that were occurring because of yearly declines in school population of nearly 10%. It needs to happen. Over the years I worked with many people who were home schooled. As a general rule they were well taught, stable and quite capable of making reasoned decisions and highly intelligent. No religious zealots among the bunch. Maybe the British were right (hate to admit that) since they utilize “Public Schools” (which are really private schools) for the education of many children. Of course being rich or well off is generally a prerequisite. If the states can pull it off then the competition might save our public schools. As long as it drives Randi Weingarten off the screen and out of work, how can you argue against it. Their are states where this activism has not taken root so not every state needs it.

    1. GEB,
      I read the same article.
      Though I prefer to look at it as more and more parents who 1) are actively interested in their children’s education, 2) who want the best for their children to have a better life for themselves then they do, 3) look and see that wokeism is neither of those, 4) and how dangerous wokeism is to not only their children, but society.
      I think we are going to see more and more of this in other states and counties as more and more parents are becoming awake and not woke to the fact that wokeism is the path to indoctrination and not education.
      Read another article where people applying for a job, if they have indications of wokeism e.g. declared pronoun usage on their resume, they are not getting as many looks, initial interviews as those who do not.
      Which would you hire? Someone who has the qualifications and can do the job? Or someone well indoctrinated that might be more interested in bringing their activism to the work place (a study found 30% of people believe they should be allowed to bring their activism to work)?

  13. It seems like we’re hearing more and more about how the public education system and colleges are actively morphing into a system of public indoctrination; cue Charlotte Iserbyt and her book called The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America. To think, there were people that actually called Charlotte Iserbyt a wacko conspiracy theorist but yet we’re seeing much of what she said was going to happen. I think what we’re seeing is just the smoke from a few of the fires, the tip of the iceberg if you will; unfortunately what we’re not seeing is the smokeless conflagrations that have been burning for quite some time undermining our public education system and producing brainwashed hive-minded totalitarian drones.

  14. Ah yes… the faithful followers of Ibram Kendi, such a paragon of knowledge & wisdom. Just get your public-school disciples to scream that meritocracy is racist, gifted programs are racist, tests are racist, entrance exams are racist, and of course any white person who adopts a black child is a racist colonizer. Blame the abysmal school performance of black students on white racists and accept zero responsibility for any of your actions. It’s a winning formula for Mr. Kendi and his followers.

  15. This indoctrination and agenda pushing has been going on for years and we didn’t stop it. Look at any children’s books from as far back as 1990’s to see Al Gore’s climate change misinformation. The education establishment pushes the Progressive agenda. School boards are so powerful and few people, until recently, even pay attention to the elections. 1/2 of the country that has been used to being complacent is beginning to vote and pay attention.

  16. Home school!
    Teachers are not activists, nor should they be allowed to push a political agenda. They are not there to indoctrinate young minds.
    They are there to teach, reading, writing, math, the sciences, history (the good, the bad, and the ugly in context) and sex ed when age appropriate.
    But as we have seen, schools that push social justice agenda have students that preform lower in testing then schools that do not.
    An educated populace is key to a successful society and nation.
    An ignorant one is ripe for abuse from its government.

  17. Time to end all federal loans and aid to colleges!

    Also end public unions and/or the involvement in politics

    Currently the Fascists Democrats take money from Public Unions….to spread FASCISM!

    END IT!

  18. It’s all so neat and easy. Black students fail, so what’s the reason? White supremacy. And what’s the solution? Eliminate failure by eliminating anything there is to fail, like exams. And what’s the preventative measure? Transform teaching into activism — no one with an IQ over 10 will fail “activism.” Problem solved. And we actually pay teachers and administrators to come up with this garbage.

  19. I retired from a large public school system and was required to attend an in-service presented by Prof. Kendi. He point across the audience and declared every white teacher a racist and unfit to teach any Black child. This was without ever stepping into our classroom and witnessing our relationships with our students. There wasn’t much more I wanted to hear from that jack wagon.

    1. Perhaps the alumni should respond with their checkbooks. Aren’t most big contributors among the older alumni? Hard to believe that they would support this.

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