The fight outside North High School in Denver was about to turn more violent as one girl wrapped a bike chain around her fist to strike the other. Just before the attacker used the weapon, school staff arrived and restrained her, ending the fight but not the story.
Most high schools would have referred the chain-wielding girl to the police. But North High brought the two girls together to resolve the conflict through conversation. They discovered that a boy was playing them off each other. Feeling less hostile after figuring out the backstory, the girls did not fight again.
This alternative method of discipline, called “restorative practices,” is spreading across the country – and being put to the test. Many schools are enduring sharp increases in violence following the return of students from COVID lockdowns, making this softer approach a higher-stakes experiment in student safety.
The American K-12 education system has been failing too many students for too long. And the problem has only gotten worse amid pandemic-era school closures and remote learning.
Increasingly, parents are venting their frustration at local government bureaucracies and teachers’ unions that they believe have too often failed to put the interests of kids first — and some are voting with their feet.
Throughout Covid-19, traditional public school enrollment has dropped by 3.3% (1.45 million students) while charter school enrollment has increased by 7.1% year over year (237,000 students). Families are increasingly taking advantage of other non-traditional schooling options as well: according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the rate of homeschooling nationwide increased by 5.6 percentage points between April and October 2020.
No, this is not another Qanon or Pizzagate conspiracy theory. It’s a sober recitation of the facts and incidents that can support no other conclusion.
Let’s start with one important stage-setting fact: According to OpenSecrets.org two organizations account for practically all of the contributions made by teachers unions: The National Education Association (about $20 million in 2016) and the American Federation of Teachers (almost $12 million). Both groups — which compete for members, but also collaborate with each other through the NEA-AFT Partnership — are consistently among the organizations that contribute the most money to candidates and political groups. From 2004 to 2016, their donations grew from $4.3 million to more than $32 million — an all-time high.
Even more than most labor unions, they have little use for Republicans, giving Democrats at least 94 percent of the funds they contributed to candidates and parties since as far back as 1990, where the Open Secrets’ data begins. Go here for a detailed breakdown of teachers union political giving.
Perhaps predictably, many public schools kicked off 2022 by switching back to remote learning — or canceling classes altogether — leaving frustrated parents across the country frantically searching for more consistent schooling options.
These past two school years of remote and hybrid learning, forced masking, and an intensified culture of unpredictability has pushed teachers, administrators, students, and parents to very edge. What began as a temporary interruption to student learning has become a vicious cycle of confusion, inconsistency and lost educational time.
The school district that oversees public education in Las Vegas said it will offer teachers and other employees up to $2,000 in bonuses if they stay on amid the current COVID-19 surge and concurrent employment crisis.
Clark County School District said in a statement this week that the CCSD Board of School Trustees had “approved an agreement with all five employee bargaining units to provide eligible regular and full-time employees employed as of January 1, 2022 with a $1,000 COVID retention bonus.”
“CCSD will also pay an additional $1,000 bonus to eligible regular and full-time employees who are employed on May 25, 2022, for a total of $2,000,” the statement added.
The 1619 Project Creator said she doesn’t understand the argument “that parents should decide what’s being taught” to their children in school on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday.
The 1619 project was created by Nikole Hannah-Jones, a writer for The New York Times, and it promotes the idea that America’s ‘true founding’ occurred when slaves arrived in the colonies, framing the history of the country around race and slavery.
“I don’t really understand this idea that parents should decide what’s being taught,” Hannah-Jones said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I’m not a professional educator. I don’t have a degree in social studies or science,” she said.
The Rittenhouse verdict has unleashed a torrent of stupidity and racist rhetoric from commentators across the country. The usual race peddlers seem to have kicked into high gear—even though everyone involved was a person of pallor.
But for me it only got my blood boiling. Let me explain.
In the course of my management consulting, I’ve been to some of the roughest neighborhoods in the country.
The Pennsylvania House has advanced legislation introduced by Rep. Jesse Topper, R-Bedford, to expand educational offerings for home-school students.
House Bill 1041 amends the Public School Code of 1949 to permit home education students to take advantage of their local high school by attending up to four academic courses in a school day and participating in co-curricular activities. They also would have access to programs offered at career and technical education centers.
Pennsylvania home-school students currently are permitted to participate in extracurricular activities at the high school in their district.
Public education has been under the microscope lately, especially since many states shut down in-person learning last year during the COVID-19 pandemic. With children learning from home via technology, many parents had the chance to hear what their children’s teachers were saying—and they didn’t always like it. In fact, many were downright disturbed by what public schools were teaching their children.
Parents should not be forced to sit by and watch as their children get indoctrinated with progressive ideas they don’t agree with. Assuming it is legitimate for the government—that is, the taxpayers—to fund education, the government should distribute those funds directly to parents in the form of vouchers and allow them to choose where to educate their children. Not only would this allow for more choice in schools, but it would also reduce much of the conflict we are seeing today between parents and school boards across the country.
A common response to voucher proposals is that they would allow parents to use taxpayer dollars to send their children to private religious schools, thus violating separation of church and state. In other words, atheists and progressives argue that they should not have to financially support schools that teach students religious worldviews.
When students are armed with a world class education, they can break down barriers and achieve their deepest dreams. However, in America today, big government and big unions are preventing students from receiving a quality education by forcing American kids to attend the school closest to them, even when it is totally failing. There is no school competition for kids who can’t afford to opt-out of the shoddy school they are forced to attend. This policy and practice especially impacts poor and minority children. But in our home state of California, we’ve had enough of failing government monopolies. We are launching a ballot initiative that will deliver educational freedom to every child in the state, regardless of where they live or how much income their parents earn.
We have all seen government schools that transition from safe havens for learning and hope into depressing institutions that fall short of educating tomorrow’s leaders. Parents are mad, taxpayers are frustrated, and our teachers are not supported by their union bosses. Nowhere is that reality truer than in states where big unions—like the California Teachers Association—control political decision makers with massive campaign war chests seized from their members’ obligatory dues. That’s why Fix California has launched a project to put a ballot initiative in front of voters in 2022—to emancipate students from the government monopoly on education.
Currently, in California, residents are taxed exorbitantly at every turn, with the ruling party’s promise that those dollars will ostensibly be spent on improving the state. That’s a lie on many fronts, but it’s especially untrue in education where failing government schools continue to be rewarded by more tax dollars and virtually no accountability. Tax dollars are siphoned off in the form of required union dues and are funneled straight into the coffers of corrupt unions financing campaigns of politicians who ensure the gravy train keeps flowing. It is a crooked cycle that has destroyed government education across the country.
An unnamed social sciences teacher at a high school Sacramento-area high school is facing disciplinary action after an anti-conservative question appeared on a quiz.
The controversial question was presented in the following manner at Whitney High School:
The backlash from the incendiary language in a recent letter from the National School Board Association to President Biden asking for federal law enforcement to intervene on outspoken parents at school board meetings escalated this week when the group’s Ohio and Missouri chapters withdrew their respective memberships.
The Missouri School Boards Association in announcing its departure said the national group “demonstrated it does not currently align with MSBA’s guiding principles of local governance.”
The Ohio chapter was more direct, saying in its letter Monday that its departure was a “direct result” of the Sept. 29 letter to Biden.
The majority of Americans oppose the Biden administration’s plans to monitor and investigate outspoken parents at school boards meetings, new polling from Convention of States Action reveals.
The poll found 57% of those surveyed do not support the announcement while 19.8% are in favor. The rest are not sure.
“…One can plainly see that those who are aware that Merrick Garland made this announcement oppose him by large majorities, while there’s a group who marked ‘not sure’ because they don’t know about his announcement or don’t know enough about it,” said Mark Meckler, president of Convention of States Action.
Many Americans today assume that the threat of Communism subsided with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. But “We continue to see Communist and socialist regimes pop up and spread not only in Latin America – for example, in Venezuela and Nicaragua – but around the world,” says Ambassador Andrew Bremberg, president and CEO of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC). “These regimes regularly kill their own citizens and have a devastating effect on human rights and their national economies.” In fact, over 1.5 billion people – including those living in Laos, North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, and, of course, China – currently live under oppressive Communist and socialist governments.
Founded in 1993 by a bipartisan, unanimous Act of Congress, VOC is “devoted to commemorating the more than 100 million victims of communism around the world and to pursuing the freedom of those still living under totalitarian regimes.”
Before coming to VOC, Bremberg served as the Trump administration’s Representative of the United States to the Office of the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva. During his time there, which he describes as a “profound and life changing experience,” he “became aware of the challenge of China,” which was “far worse” than he had realized. He notes that the U.N. International Human Rights Council made investigating the United States’ record on racism during the summer of 2020 its highest priority – putting it above China’s appalling human rights violations against Uyghurs, among other ethnic groups within its borders.
It’s no secret that the far left has infiltrated higher education with its radical ideas. But now, woke ideology has come for K-12 classrooms across the country.
“As parents, we send our kids to school to learn to think critically, to figure out how to solve problems, and to respectfully discuss and resolve differences of opinion,” Ashley Jacobs, executive director of Parents Unite, said Friday during the new organization’s first conference.
“But,” Jacobs said, “our educational systems are not enabling these skills, and in some cases, [they are] stifling them.”
It is probably an understatement to say that when one group designates another as a terrorist organization, diplomatic relations between the two become strained.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights.”
Truths. Equal. Creator. Rights. Concerned parents want schools to teach truths, not ideologies; operate under equality, not equity; and respect faith in our Creator and our parental rights. These are the fundamental principles from our Declaration that are at stake in American education today.
Destruction of the family has always been at the center of the collectivist project. In chapter two of The Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels point out that the destruction of private property will never be complete until the “abolition [Aufhebung] of the family” is accomplished. The dream is perennial among snarling misanthropists. A couple of years ago, an interview in The Nation with a radical feminist explained that if you “want to dismantle capitalism” then you have to “abolish the family.”
It is worth keeping that in mind as the little drama of Merrick Garland versus the parents of America unfolds. I wrote about the attorney general’s absurd but troubling memorandum shortly after it was released on October 4. As all the world knows (but only some precincts of the world admit), Garland threatened to mobilize the entire police power of the state against parents. Why?
Among last year’s other lessons, none may be more important than this: Our taxpayer-funded education establishment cares more about adults than children.
Consider the evidence: public school union bosses pressured officials to close schools and keep them shuttered beyond what medical authorities recommended. In spite of the obvious harm to children of school closures, unions throughout the country lobbed threats and issued demands. In Chicago, the union went so far as to sue the Mayor to keep schools closed; in San Francisco, the city had to sue its school board.
A public education system that failed to do right by our children has kept union bosses empowered and politicians cowed. Thankfully, our country offers an alternative—one that proved its mettle this past year. In a recent survey of public school and Christian school parents, the Herzog Foundation found that parents of children who attended a Christian school were vastly more satisfied with their school experience.
As disruptive as the 2020/2021 academic year was, it led to many positive educational changes that will be transformative and long-lasting. Most notably, parents have been re-empowered to take back the reins of their children’s education from government bureaucrats and teachers unions. Frustrated by school closures and district “Zoom schooling,” families fled public schools in droves over the past year, and there are several signs that these families won’t be returning this fall.
According to an analysis by Chalkbeat and the Associated Press, public school enrollment fell by an average of 2.6 percent across 41 states last fall, with states such as Michigan, Maine, Vermont, and Mississippi dropping by more than 4 percent. These enrollment declines far exceeded any anticipated demographic changes that might typically alter public school enrollment.
How many of these students will be back in a public school classroom next year? Not as many as public school officials hoped.
Last week, Kentucky was the first state legislature to pass a new program to fund students instead of systems this year. The proposal, House Bill 563, would allow eligible students to access scholarships to use at approved private education providers of their families’ choosing. But the Bluegrass State’s Democratic governor, Andy Beshear, blocked educational opportunities for thousands of children by vetoing the bill on Wednesday.
Kentucky requires a constitutional majority in both the House and Senate to override Beshear’s veto, and that vote is expected to happen Monday.
During his press conference announcing the decision, Beshear said that the bill “would greatly harm public education in Kentucky by taking money away from public schools and sending it to unaccountable private organizations with little oversight.”