Future

Against the Education Status Quo

After doing the jobs of teacher, coach, and cafeteria monitor for more than a year, many parents resented being told to sit down and shut up.

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"I don't think parents should be telling schools what they should teach."

With those words, once and aspiring Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe set off a bout of culture warfare that culminated with his Republican rival, political neophyte Glenn Youngkin, taking the executive mansion.

When the race began, parents were already spitting mad—the worst kind of mad to be in a respiratory virus pandemic. Virginia had the seventh most closed K-12 system during the 2020–21 school year, joining California, Oregon, and other blue states in offering minimal in-person instruction during COVID-19.

Virginia's public schools stayed closed even after it became clear that the risks to school-aged children from the virus were relatively limited; even after the vaccine was made available to teachers and administrators; even after private schools in the state reopened without major incident; even after public schools in redder neighboring states successfully welcomed children back.

While kids sat at home, day after day, chaotic classes tinnily echoing on Microsoft Teams, parents got an earful of what their children actually do at school. And a lot of them didn't love what they saw. Not just on hot-button topics, but on the more mundane stuff of phonics, social studies, and math. That often-disheartening information was blared directly into parents' brains right at the moment when their faith in the education system was already at a low ebb.

Before that, public school curricula had long been a black box. McAuliffe wasn't proposing something radical when he said parents shouldn't have a say in what kids learn; he was describing the status quo.

When kids did get back to learning in person, that status quo struck parents differently. After doing the jobs of teacher, coach, and cafeteria monitor for more than a year, many resented being told to sit down and shut up.

In school board meetings around the country, open mics were and are a scrum of parents angry about school closures and rolling quarantines, masking, race issues, gender issues, banned books, and probably dress codes too. This year saw 84 recall efforts against 215 school board members, up dramatically from an average of 23 recall efforts annually against 52 board members since 2006, according to Ballotpedia. There were also unusually large numbers of resignations and decisions not to run again, as well as an unusually large number of incumbents defeated (though some incumbents did survive well-funded challenges). As this magazine goes to press, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has approved COVID vaccination for kids age 5–11, a new front in an education-adjacent culture war and one that does not promise to cool the superheated waters.

The usual school board squabbles were magnified by the fact that they'd been pent up for so long. And the powers that be—the teachers unions, the school administrators, and their politician bosses—were slow to recognize that the deep well of goodwill they'd long enjoyed had run dry.

Discontented, many families simply chose to exit the system. Enrollment in the Virginia public schools was down by nearly 40,000 kids last school year. In Fairfax County, the largest school district in the state, rolls are more than 10,000 below pre-pandemic levels this year. Virginia's peculiar off-cycle elections also offered parents a unique chance to exercise their voice in a race that always receives outsized national attention.

The parents who chose to stay and fight in the bright spotlight of an election year were immediately vilified. "It's really important to remember why we are talking about school boards at all," formerly disgraced pundit Jeffrey Toobin lectured CNN viewers, "because it's about white supremacy, and that's on the rise in the Republican Party."

That's an uncharitable interpretation, to say the least. Virginia went to Joe Biden by 10 points a year ago. Youngkin took K-12 parents by 15 percentage points, according to an Echelon Insights poll. There are a couple of available theories: Perhaps all these pro-Biden Karens suddenly remembered that they were virulent racists and voted accordingly. (This theory was most succinctly limned by commentator Joy Reid, who declared that "'education' is code for 'white parents don't like the idea of teaching about race.'") Or maybe an awful lot of political independents who didn't love Donald Trump also didn't enjoy being told that they, the people who had administered their children's education for the last year, should not have a say in it.

Sticking up for the status quo while lobbing ad hominem attacks at unhappy parents was not a winning strategy, as it turns out.

Youngkin and McAuliffe weren't drafted into this culture war. Both gleefully enlisted.

McAuliffe wanted his voters to be mad. He hoped they were still mad about Trump, a reasonable enough campaign strategy to pursue in a recently blueish state. Some fumbled bits of stage business complicated matters, with an anti-Trump Republican outfit known as the Lincoln Project claiming credit for a stunt in which folks dressed as Charlottesville tiki torchers and pretended to be Youngkin supporters. (If that doesn't make sense, don't worry about it. It didn't really make sense at the time. Suffice it to say that Youngkin sent the political cosplayers a fruit basket after his victory, as their trollish behavior almost certainly inadvertently won him some votes.) Failing that, Democrats hoped to make the race about race.

At one of his final rallies, Youngkin drew applause when he said, "We will teach all history, the good and the bad." He drew more, minutes later, when he pledged that "on day one, I will ban critical race theory in our schools." These two promises are not compatible—the language of CRT bans is universally vague and punitive in ways that will certainly chill the teaching of "all history, the good and the bad"—but they clearly signaled which side he was on.

Youngkin's most effective ad featured a mother appalled that her high school son had been assigned Toni Morrison's Beloved and angry that, during his previous stint as governor, McAuliffe had twice vetoed a bill requiring parental notification for explicit content.

The fact that the events in question happened over a decade ago—the boy is now in his late 20s—shows that politicized battles about education are nothing new. Again, the least charitable reading of the ad is that white people don't want their children to learn about the horrors of slavery and that Youngkin was successfully dogwhistling to them. (The book was not mentioned by name in the ad, which makes this whistle especially high-pitched, if it exists at all.) The most charitable interpretation is that parents would like to know what their kids are up to during the day and be allowed some input, or at least the opportunity to supplement what they are learning at school with conversation at home.

Youngkin campaigned on pledges to add 20 new charter schools to the state, as well as to reverse some changes to the state's magnet schools that had been made largely in the name of equity, in addition to his transparency initiatives. Virginia has long resisted such reforms, so it will be interesting to see if he can actually implement them and if, in the end, elections can be won with school choice substance and not just culture war style.

NEXT: Brickbat: Bang!

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  1. The education status quo has been upended. Enrollment data are showing this clearly, and we will see profound changes in the delivery of educational content over the next decade. Parents are rightly 'opting out' of public school indoctrination, and demanding that their education tax dollars follow their child.

    The school choice movement is very much alive and well.

    Another point: The appalling arrogance of school board members and teachers unions drove a lot of the animus here. Rightly so.

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    2. There was just an article in my local rag this morning from the superintendent of schools, all sad about how many families have left the school system in the past couple of years. Of course, his main issue was that it costs the school system money. His arrogant reasoning was that all the exits were due entirely to "social considerations," because kids wanted to be with their friends. There was no reflection on what was lacking in the school, or what policies were turning parents off to the extent that they were leaving in big enough numbers to make a noticeable dent in the school budget. Instead, he just blamed it on parents.

      He also claimed he personally called every family who disenrolled their kids and sent them somewhere else. I pulled both my kids out about two years ago, and I never got a phone call.

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    3. You'll keep paying for it anyway. I see a future where school taxes climb higher to fund schools that no one attends and pay salaries to unionized "teachers" who do literally nothing but exist.

  2. Fuck Joe Biden

    1. Fuck Joe Biden!

    2. Fuck Joe Biden

    3. FUCK JOE BIDEN

    4. Fuck Joe Biden.

    5. FUCK JOE BIDEN

  3. At one of his final rallies, Youngkin drew applause when he said, "We will teach all history, the good and the bad." He drew more, minutes later, when he pledged that "on day one, I will ban critical race theory in our schools." These two promises are not compatible—the language of CRT bans is universally vague and punitive in ways that will certainly chill the teaching of "all history, the good and the bad"—but they clearly signaled which side he was on.

    Oof.

    You were doing so well, too! Only a few throat clearing both sides moments... Then you crapped the bed.

    When people use the label "CRT" with respect to k-12 education, they are not talking about being afraid of teaching "the bad parts". This is the propaganda cover.

    They are talking about a pervasive agenda to teach children to actually become racists.... To see everyone and everything through the lens of race. To judge everyone's worth, guilt, responsibilities and relationships based on their skin color, which gives them a status as historical victim or victimizer.

    But you knew that. You were around for the entirety of the last couple of years. You saw the materials... And not just the 1619 stuff that reframes history in ahistoric ways to create racist narratives... But also the racist tropes turned into doctrine... "Reason and logic" are somehow white, and tools of white supremacy. Black and brown people have a higher understanding that does not use western tools like math and science.

    Highly racist belief systems that would have made Nathan Bedford Forrest blush are the foundation of the takeover of public education. Children are being taught that race doesn't exist genetically, but it does carry immutable moral inferiority for white people and superiority for others based on a ladder of victimhood.

    But you knew all of this.

    1. So why write this article? Why publish such a soft-peddled partisan attack that you undoubtedly know to be an utter lie? What the hell is the point?

      How do reason's writers absorb and regurgitate the let's cover spin so quickly and so thoroughly? It is charitable to say the response to a cultural onslaught from the far left that is hard to see as anything other than an attempt to re-institite a culture of racism in a society that had largely left racism behind as "taking interest in what they are being taught"? Really?

      You do know that they explicitly say this is part of the strategy, right? They run up and punch someone and then film the response and decry the hate and violence of the enemy. And you pretend not to know this?

      Let's take a look at how those racist Republicans blow those dog-whistles down ticket:

      https://youtu.be/VUsxHbFHWR8

      Listen to her shamelessly talk about patriotism and service...

      You can see why those racist voters in Virginia responded to this "right wing culture war" and are so desperate to keep their children from learning "real history".

      1. Oh, c'mon, you know CRT doesn't even exist and even if it did exist it isn't taught in schools and even if it is taught in schools it's not what you think it is and even if it is exactly what you think it is it's a good thing and if you believe otherwise it only proves you're a white supremacist.

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      2. Cyto, you don't understand. If she doesn't take shots at these evil right wingers then Ward doesn't get invited to the cocktail parties in DC. And those cocktail party invitations are worth way more than her own integrity. Trust me.

        1. The only cocktail parties any Reason staffers in DC have attended in the last two years are ones they hosted in their own office for their own staff. But let’s not let facts get in the way of narrative.

          1. Wait, how would you know unless...you are ENB! *pulls mask off Dee's face to reveal "Der Sandwichmaker"

      3. Unlike you, KMW is not a white supremacist so she's abandoned things like logic and facts that support white supremacist ways. She knows abandoning a functioning and tolerant society in favor of racialized views of the world is the only way to atone regardless of the cost to others.

    2. The term "CRT" no longer has a defined meaning. It is pure post-modernism in practice. It means whatever the writer wants it to mean at that moment.

      1. I don't know why everyone is so mad about cathode ray tubes. I mean, yeah we have flat screens now but those bulky monsters had their charm.

      2. Cathode ray tube.

        1. and Noob wins it by a nose

    3. And Cyto, how would you address certain *observations* in the classroom that would comport with your vision of education?

      Let's take the issue of criminal justice - it is undeniable that prisons have a disproportionate share of minorities than the general population. Why is that? What are the reasons behind that result? How should we look at this situation?

      If you say "that's the result of white supremacy" then you piss off parents who think that they are ones being scapegoated as evil racists throwing black people in jail.

      If you say "that's the result of the individual choices of those accused, nothing more" then you piss off parents who think that this simplistic view whitewashes (literally) the bigger picture - such as, a bunch of laws passed mostly by white legislators resulting in disproportionate number of black people in jail. If there WASN'T some element of racism involved, in some form or fashion, why is the result disproportionate? And if the legislators themselves aren't a bunch of raging bigots, what else is responsible for that disproportionate outcome?

      In my view, if educators have to pick a side, they should pick a side that favors open inquiry and discussion, even if it makes certain parties uncomfortable, rather than a side that teaches a narrow view that overlooks or omits key facts, in the name of making parents happy.

      1. Let's be honest, you don't want open inquiry.

        Despite being 13% of the population...

      2. If you really think that is what people are talking about, you are an idiot.

        But you don't. Nobody on either side is talking about such discussions, as interesting and controversial as they might be.

      3. You mean like the enhanced crack cocaine sentences that ravaged the black communities, instituted at the behest of the white supremacists in the CBC?

        Sometimes the racial disparity is more cultural or economic than actually racial but you don't care for those explanations because they toss some responsibility back on the sacred black & brown communities. You cannot glorify thug life and all it entails while being horrified that robbing, killing, pimping and hoeing ends up leading to jail time. Once you stop making excuses for dysfunction the disparities you see will go away. While you make excuses for the dysfunction you are enabling the "racist" outcomes you supposedly decry.

        1. I was there when those white supremacists instituted crack cocaine sentencing disparities. They were demanded by activists in the black community. You see, at the time crack cocaine was racist. And not doing enough to stop it from ravaging black communities was racist. It was evil, white Republicans who didn't care about black people who were slow to act and didn't support these changes.

          Things like this make me question all of history.... Because I have been around long enough to watch Maxine Waters and John Lewis and Hosea Williams go from decrying the racist plot to dump cheap crack cocaine in black neighborhoods and demanding greater criminal penalties to calling those penalties that they demanded racist.

          When someone can proclaim their own demands to be the product of other people's racism, it might lead you to hypothesize a head injury of some sort. But when nobody bothers to ask about their former demands and how they came to disavow all knowledge of such things, it makes me suspect something much less mundane and far more insideous than head trauma.

        2. You mean like the enhanced crack cocaine sentences that ravaged the black communities, instituted at the behest Of Joe Biden.

      4. Let's take the issue of criminal justice...

        If you say "that's the result of white supremacy"....

        If you say "that's the result of the individual choices of those accused, nothing more"...

        Imagine being so stupid as to not have the intelligence or social grace of even a 60s-era slimeball politician. "As to the issue of criminal justice, this is a modern issue with many facets best discussed among educated adults in a university setting. Which is why it's not, never has been, and while I'm Governor, never will a mandatory part of K-12 education. People with deeply held values about the criminal justice system are free to teach their children outside the curriculum just as we don't, and won't, mandate teaching feminism or creationism. Topics too potentially controversial and, in the eyes of their proponents, too critical to be left up to public education."

      5. So educators should pick a side that favors open discussion and yet you always come down on the side shouting that any disagreement is due to racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia. Very tolerant and open to discussion there.

        1. Well, it worked, didn't it?

          The question at hand was an article that whitewashes the entire cause of the debate and attempts to cast doubt on the motives of people calling for something as mundane as "don't separate my kids by race and have them discuss all the ways that white people are evil and racist".

          But now the partisan trolls have managed to obfuscate with their usual dab of mendacious non sequitur attacks.

          So I guess I see the point. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. And since we always fees the trolls....

        2. yet you always come down on the side shouting that any disagreement is due to racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia.

          You must have me confused with some left-wing caricature.

          SOME disagreement CAN be due to racism, but of course not all. I don't want to shout down or suppress different viewpoints, whether they are from the left or from the right.

      6. "Let's take the issue of criminal justice - it is undeniable that prisons have a disproportionate share of minorities than the general population. Why is that? What are the reasons behind that result? How should we look at this situation?"

        Um, could it be that black males commit murder at rates 5 times that of white males?

        Also, men are hugely disproportionately behind bars. Is this also automatically "unfair"?

        1. Um, could it be that black males commit murder at rates 5 times that of white males?

          So why is that the case?

          1. So why is that the case?

            Even more sophistry. The cause is not relevant if the verdicts are valid.

      7. Here's the radical individualist explaining that he's not actually an individualist, and that disparate outcomes are de facto proof of racism.

        Maybe you're "radical" in that you have the radical belief (radical for an individualist) that individuals are a product of their upbringing and environment, rather than individuals who can make decisions that run counter to their backgrounds, upbringing, and experiences?

        1. disparate outcomes are de facto proof of racism.

          I think that is one hypothesis among many that deserves further study. I certainly don't think the hypothesis should be suppressed or banned from schools. Do you?

          1. I certainly don't think the hypothesis should be suppressed or banned from schools. Do you?

            From K-12 schools? Without question.

          2. It shouldn't be taught as truth, which is exactly what CRT is.

            1. Should it be taught as one hypothesis among many? If so, we are on the same page.

              1. As long as you're okay with it being taught alongside eugenics, Nazism, and white supremacy, I guess you're being consistent.

                I'd prefer to teach falsifiable hypotheses, personally.

                And I don't trust public school teachers to teach it even remotely fairly. Teachers may be professional, in a technical sense, but they have no expertise I'd ever defer to.

      8. OMG. You live in the greatest country ever, all because it's based on the notion of '...results that come from individual choices...' but then call it simplistic. EVERYONE who legally comes here to systematic and the white supremacy racist America, blows by the American Black who votes 90% of the time for communists, (who currently are spending $50 million a week on illegals to replace them and telling black children they are worthless garbage who can never do what everyone else is doing) all because of choices they make - (stay in school, stay married and don't have out of wedlock children with three different men) the left can't handle Asian's being so successful so they have turned them into honorary white people.

      9. And Cyto, how would you address certain *observations* in the classroom that would comport with your vision of education?

        Let's take the issue of criminal justice

        I see you got responses to your garbage ideas just like you wanted. Intelligent people who can't help but take your bait.

        But your entire argument is fallacious. Because there is absolutely no reason to broach the subject of criminal justice with K-12 graders. The vast majority do not have the critical thinking skills to address the topic. The only reason to broach the subject with children is to feed them the teacher's own opinions (propaganda) while they are still immature.

    4. This is pretty much the comment I jumped down to make, although I think you probably put it better than I would have.

      So, ++

    5. Well said. I'd like Ms. Mangu Ward to show me any state laws that are ambiguous enough to disallow a teacher teaching about Jim Crow laws, civil rights marches, the horrors of slavery, or Japanese internment camps.

      The laws I've seen explicitly ban teaching that skin color is indicative of positive or negative qualities, that people today bear responsibility for the past, that racism is embedded in today's society, and other obviously false CRT precepts.

    6. This point, distinguishing teaching "the bad things" in history from teaching CRT, is so important. I'm going to try to boil it down a bit.

      Teaching about how slavery operated, how Jim Crow laws were enforced, etc. are not CRT. Even saying it's reasonable to feel remorse or sadness over these events is not CRT.

      CRT is teaching that because these things happened, the white students are directly morally culpable for them. It is absolutely possible to teach one without the other.

  4. Get your kids out of the education industrial complex. It is the best thing you could ever do for them.

  5. Enjoy the Virginia victory while it lasts.

    Because this won't be over until the public sector unions are brought to heel.

    Which is to say, not for a long, long time.

    1. The public sector unions won't be brought to heel until the public sector itself is. Abolish government schooling and then teachers are no longer public sector.

  6. In my view, the purpose of education should be to create well-informed critical thinkers who will be able to participate as functioning citizens in modern society. A properly functioning education system should help students become the individuals that they were meant to be.

    Sadly I don't think this is as common of a viewpoint as I would like. I think a lot of people view education as a job-training program. That it should teach skills that students need to get a good job, and that's it. It shouldn't delve into the "squishier" subjects that might encroach on a student's value system. And I think that is short-sighted.

    Students aren't just clones of their parents. A properly functioning education system should help students discover who they really are, and that sometimes means that the students pursue a different life journey than the parents would have liked them to. And that makes some parents mad.

    It also means that sometimes schools will broach subjects that parents would prefer that they not. Such as issues of race, or class, or sexuality. But it would be irresponsible of any educational institution NOT to teach relevant subjects that are needed to foster the development of critical thinkers and informed citizens. Like it or not, race is an important concept in our society. One isn't a racist to merely *observe* what is empirically true about race today. And if educators did NOT talk about subjects of race - in a professional, age-appropriate manner - they would be doing their students, and ultimately the parents, a disservice. Shortsighted parents who hold a narrow view of education should not hold back the broader mission of education to create informed critical thinkers.

    1. Team Red: "The purpose of school is to make the liberals cry".

      Team Blue: "The purpose of school is to make the conservatives admit that they are deplorable".

    2. Shortsighted parents who hold a narrow view of education should not hold back the broader mission of education to create informed critical thinkers.

      Now do shortsighted teachers' union hacks and the shortsighted politicians they hold in their pocket.

      Your view of the purpose of education is fine, and so is mine. But the issue is about who decides, and if you are truly an individualist, you can only side with parent; because to do otherwise would be to side with the collective.

      1. I am siding with the student. Both parents and teachers are doing students a disservice if they send kids into the world without addressing the topics needed for becoming well-informed critical thinkers.

        1. I am siding with the student.

          So...you're siding with the parent. That is the correct way, grasshopper. 🙂

          1. Yes, this! Short of clear child abuse, I think it is safe to say that parents usually love their children more than Government Almighty (and-or the teachers' union) does!

      2. Use your imagination. Couldn't you think of someone other than the parent who could decide such things? It could be decided by the doctor, the dentist, the butcher, etc. Not necessarily collectively.

    3. Why is it the place of teachers to help students discover their sexuality? Are you back to promoting pedos in America?

      Why is it a teacher's place to instill values in kids? That has little to do with critical thinking and everything to do with indoctrination.

      And finally, you're back to misunderstanding, deliberately, the monomaniacal focus on race that is CRT. This isn't teaching slavery happened or reconstruction was ugly, but an insistence that critical thinking is white supremacy and every thought must be through a lens of racial advantage/disadvantage with morality assigned to the disadvantage.

      1. It is easier to control people if they have been indoctrinated for 12+ years.

        Those who cannot do, teach. Those who support those who cannot do, screech.

        1. "Those who support those who cannot do, screech."

          Lol! Wordsmith Chumby strikes again! His pen is mightier than the gay blade of Zorro!

    4. "A properly functioning education system should help students discover who they really are,"

      A properly functioning school system will ensure students have mastery of basic acedemics subjects and skills, like reading, compostion, and math skills. In a properly functioning school system, every kid graduates with basic, grade-level proficiency in those subjects, because without that, it really doesn't matter "who they really are." Without a decent, basic proficiency in those core subjects, you can't do shit in life and be successful to any extent. If you have a decent education, you can be anyone you want to be, not the other way around.

      A person with a high school education should be able to function as a productive, independent human being without requiring taxpayers to subsidize remedial education at "free community college."

    5. In my view, the purpose of education should be to create well-informed critical thinkers who will be able to participate as functioning citizens in modern society. A properly functioning education system should help students become the individuals that they were meant to be.

      "I'm gonna say some shit I don't believe because I think it will prevent people from rejecting me out of hand."

      Sadly I don't think this is as common of a viewpoint as I would like. I think a lot of people view education as a job-training program. That it should teach skills that students need to get a good job, and that's it. It shouldn't delve into the "squishier" subjects that might encroach on a student's value system. And I think that is short-sighted.

      "Remember the part where I lied about saying I wanted kids 'well-informed' and 'critical thinkers'? No? Good. Now lets talk about the necessary primacy of teaching squishy subjects where it's, by the definition of squishy, impossible to tell what constitutes 'well-informed' and 'critical'."

      Students aren't just clones of their parents. A properly functioning education system should help students discover who they really are, and that sometimes means that the students pursue a different life journey than the parents would have liked them to. And that makes some parents mad.

      "Remember the part where I lied about saying I wanted kids 'well-informed' and 'critical thinkers'? No? Good. Well, I think the real important thing is that kids are taught not to be their parents."

      It also means that sometimes schools will broach subjects that parents would prefer that they not. Such as issues of race, or class, or sexuality. But it would be irresponsible of any educational institution NOT to teach relevant subjects that are needed to foster the development of critical thinkers and informed citizens.

      "Remember the part where I lied about saying I wanted kids 'well-informed' and 'critical thinkers'? No? Good. Because it also turns out that sometimes teaching them to be well informed critical thinkers takes a back seat to teaching them issues that don't make them more well informed or critical thinkers but are important to teach because I allege parents won't teach them based on no evidence and that I don't even bother allege or verify that they can/can't learn on their own.

      To sum up my report, I think being well informed and thinking critically are important but overrated and to overcome racism it's more important that nobody read Huck Finn or Tom Sawyer in school unless it's taught to them by a black person."

      1. "I'm gonna say some shit I don't believe because I think it will prevent people from rejecting me out of hand."

        This is Jesse-level trolling just with more words. If you want to argue against a stereotype then fine. But I said what I mean above.

        Somehow you have this idea in your head that "well-informed critical thinkers" must only take objective classes in the hard sciences, or something. That is just false.

        1. Kids can learn how to think critically without being taught why something happened or what its ramifications are, which is where history becomes squishy. Kids can learn how to think critically without being taught what makes one poem more beautiful than another or why Charles Dickens wrote Oliver Twist or what Heart of Darkness really means, which is where English gets squishy. Kids can learn how to think critically without being taught that it's good policy to have large safety nets in society, which is where political science gets squishy. Get my drift?

          Those classes are soft because they focus on interpreting facts, rather than just learning the facts. Teachers teaching children HOW to interpret facts is not teaching critical thinking, it's indoctrination.

          1. Teachers teaching children HOW to interpret facts is not teaching critical thinking, it's indoctrination.

            No it's not. Part of a *proper* education is showing people how to make sense of the sometimes confusing and often contradictory wealth of facts out there. What do you think the entire field of statistics is? It is a systematic method for HOW TO INTERPRET NUMBERS. Is statistics "indoctrination"?

            If a teacher tells students "correlation is not the same as causation", is that teacher "indoctrinating" students by telling them HOW to interpret two data sets which appear to be correlated?

            For heaven's sake, teachers are professionals. Have a little bit of faith that most teachers, most of the time, are actually behaving as professionals and not the caricatures of left-wing zealots that so many imagine of them.

            1. Well I guess if "correlation does not equal causation" is an interpretation of facts, rather than a basic logic proof, you might have a point.

              Statistics is the study of how to eliminate bias from data interpretation. Sounds like teaching critical thinking to me. If my statistics teacher instead taught me that the correlation between skin color and net worth is proof of causation, they've moved from teaching facts (like the fact that correlation doesn't equal causation, or that non-random sampling results in non-significant statistical results) into teaching people what to think.

              Just because a "proper education" has traditionally included a lot of teaching people what to think doesn't mean it's the right way to do it. Teach them the scientific method and how to set up an experiment. Teach them statistics and how to avoid bias in data collection or analysis. Teach them whatever you want, including humanities. But surely even you can see that teaching someone how to write a persuasive essay isn't actually teaching them facts--it's teaching them what to think. It might track with how the majority of educated people think is the most effective way to write, but it's not critical thinking. It's more like job training.

        2. Somehow you have this idea in your head that "well-informed critical thinkers" must only take objective classes in the hard sciences, or something.

          "I'm not going to legitimately refute anything you said because I can't. Instead, I'm going to dismiss it in favor blaming you for misinterpreting my definition of 'squishy'."

    6. No you don't. If you did, you would be on the other side of this issue.

      But you know this.

      This is the Gish-gallop technique of pseudoscience, a long used practice of strategic advance and retreat.

      There are exactly zero people opposing teaching issues of race or history of racism, slavery or any of that. There are also zero people on the far left proposing such things.

      They are pushing an indoctrination into a racist ideology.

      And when called on it, the tactic is to pretend that there is no spoon. (Matrix quote). "we only want to teach children to think critically about issues of race! Why are you being so unreasonable and racist?!?!"

      It is a stupid and childish argument that could never work in a long form debate, but is perfect for a battle of bumper sticker sound bites that is refereed and edited by a compliant media who are actually active participants in the debate.

      1. Cyto, I think your paranoia is getting in the way here.

        "we only want to teach children to think critically about issues of race!

        Isn't that what we all want? But here is the thing. This can't be achieved if students are only subjected to a narrow range of "approved" viewpoints. I am absolutely in favor of exposing students to a wide range of diverse viewpoints on all manner of issues, in a professional and age-appropriate manner. That includes viewpoints that you or I might not agree with.

        1. ["we only want to teach children to think critically about issues of race!]

          Isn't that what we all want?

          Obviously not. CRT characterizes all perspectives other than theirs as white supremacy, nor do it's supporters teach it as one perspective but as the only true perspective. It doesn't teach critical thinking at all. That's why those supporting CRT should be removed from education or any other position where their racism impacts others.

        2. "we only want to teach children to think critically about issues of race!

          Isn't that what we all want?

          "I don't want 'inner city youth' learning how to run a business or how to play basketball well because I don't really care about black people as much as I care about telling other people what to do and how to think."

    7. In my view, the purpose of education should be to create well-informed critical thinkers who will be able to participate as functioning citizens in modern society. A properly functioning education system should help students become the individuals that they were meant to be.

      Hard to argue with that lofty goal, but you know who else wanted to make good German citizens out of children?

      1. Peter the Great? No, wait, he wanted to make them good French citizens.

        Frederick the Second? No, wait, he wanted to make them good Roman citizens.

        Napoleon? No, that's a pastry. I could go for one now.

        Horace Mann, and that's my final answer.

      2. The good folks at Playmobil?

    8. the purpose of education should be to create well-informed critical thinkers

      Jeffy lies. He has continuously stated his preference for teachers to be allowed to present propaganda to students disguised as curriculum.

      Students aren't just clones of their parents.

      This is the tell of the Marxist shill. The insinuation that the state usurpation of teaching values to kids is actually in everybody's best interest. While in reality, the kids that have no respect for their parents values are by a giant margin the ones that fail to integrate into society.

  7. "After doing the jobs of teacher, coach, and cafeteria monitor for more than a year, many parents resented being told to sit down and shut up."

    Shouldn't it read: After doing the jobs of parents for decades on end, many teachers resented being told to sit down and shut up.

    1. "After doing the jobs of parents for decades on end..."

      Sometimes true! In cases of derelict parents! It will REALLY start being true when teachers pay my taxes (typically real estate taxes) that support the schools!

    2. It's more like, "After usurping the role of parents for decades, schools are resentful at being told to butt out."

      It's not parents' fault or choice that the modern school day coincides with the modern work day. If parents could change it, many would, which is evident in the growing number of families who are opting to homeschool their kids. Just this morning, there was an article in my local rag from the superintendent of schools, lamenting the exodus from public schools in town. And it's not even a lousy system; the high school is consistently rated among the top 5 in the state every year. Parents want out of even the best schools. Of course, the superintendent's problem was, the school system loses money when families go elsewhere. No reflection on why families are choosing to leave in numbers large enough to make a dent in the budget.

      Parents didn't create the school day, and it's more and more evident that, when they have the opportunity to do so, they're choosing other options.

      1. Actually, it is both. Plenty of "parents" have disowned primary responsibility for raising their own kids, and have been quite happy to see schools step into that role.

        Now, let's guess what party most of them support.

        1. I'm guessing their from the party that opposes things like school choice and charter and private schools, and loves "equity" and culturally responsive education, and who are currently posting Facebook pictures of their kids getting covid vaccines, and who wear masks in the car, alone.

    3. Shouldn't it read: After doing the jobs of parents for decades on end, many teachers resented being told to sit down and shut up.

      Only in a bizarro world where teachers necessitate students who beget parents and not the other way around.

      If teaching or raising kids and being told to sit down and shut up is so terrible you'd think teachers would just quit.

    4. Of course not. You assume an unproven fact, that the teachers were doing the job of parents as per their wishes rejecting any inclination to teach CRT, equity, ....communism. It's sad that parents didn't get more involved and stop them 20 years ago.

    5. Get up off of your damn knees.

  8. Your Vote

    Members of school-boards are elected. They can be recalled.

    Parents are justified to object to the indoctrination inflicted on pupils today. Who's to blame? Those who voted for those who supervise the inflicting.

    https://www.nationonfire.com/education/ .

  9. School choice solves a lot of problems in that if you want your kid learning CRT you can do it. If you don't, you can choose another school and soon the CRT schools will die on the vine because if they're teach CRT (or intertwine the theories throughout the curriculum), it's going to be a crappy school.

  10. "I don't think parents should be telling schools what they should teach."
    With those words, once and aspiring Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe set off a bout of culture warfare...

    Except it's not "culture warfare" when an employee or prospective employee forgets who he works for.

  11. insert obligatory "cosmic fool proclaims this conformity factory closed" Simpsons line ...

    1. Let's not forget the PTA Scene

      1. "Oh yeah, the taxes. The fingers thing means the taxes."

        whole episode is beautiful. "Skinner says the teachers will crack. Purple monkey dishwasher."

  12. The progressives have accomplished the Republicans could only dream of...destroying the democratic party, driving traditionally democratic voters to the republican party, and blowing up the education system. There is more but that will do for now.

    1. I don’t know.

      Maybe, but Trump has done a number on the Republican Party, too, splitting it and leading it to become populist and drop some of its long-held principles.

      And the possibility of Roe v Wade being overturned could “energize” Democratic support.

      1. Only because Democrats stopped voting by thier morals over the last couple of decades. As the MASS genocide of the innocent have become their number one issue. They r but a religious cult for pure Evil.
        The Phucko Knows

  13. These two promises are not compatible—the language of CRT bans is universally vague and punitive in ways that will certainly chill the teaching of "all history, the good and the bad"—but they clearly signaled which side he was on.

    This is stupidly wrong. CRT teaches nothing about facts and thus a ban on CRT cannot impact teaching "all of history". It's revealing to see Reason is helping protect CRT by opposing bans.

    In reality though CRT bans are irrelevant. Implementing CRT in schools is racially discriminatory and thus violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Everyone involved in these implementations should be prosecuted for civil rights violations.

  14. [WE] need MORE Commie-Schools! /s

    So why did [WE] need Gov-Guns in everyone's personal education again?

  15. The two best things about this Plandemic is the implosion of r education and medical "systems". BOTH run and full of scared and pathetic UNIONIZED humans who do nothing but force feed their antihuman bullshit down the throats of the folks they're suppose be taking care of. The demise of these pathetic creatures will bring happy days to the rest of humanity.
    The Phucko Knows

  16. The author had me until the end when he claimed the promises to teach all history- the good and the bad, and ban CRT are not compatible. Why not? CRT focuses only on race and racism. It claims that everything has to do with race and preserving ‘white supremacy.’ Why can’t one simply tell the truth about our history in the context of the time it happened without claiming it is still happening to this day? White people don’t have an exclusive on bad behavior. Because someone’s great-great-great grandfather did something that does not conform to today’s ‘woke’ standard of acceptable behavior doesn’t mean they are racist by proxy. CRT is a giant leap backwards in race relations and should not be taught in schools any more than a KKK sponsored lesson plan.

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