Securing A Good Education For Our Children

On Saturday, Just the News posted an article about Moms for Liberty’s idea to help parents gain more input into their children’s curriculum.

The article reports:

“We’re launching something on Monday called ‘The Parent Pledge,’ and that’s something that elected officials and candidates can take,” Moms for Liberty founder Tiffany Justice announced during a wide-ranging interview Saturday on the John Solomon Reports podcast.

“It just says that they recognize parental rights are fundamental rights, that parents have that fundamental right to direct the education, the medical care, the moral and religious upbringing of their children in their character development,” Justice explained. “And that the government needs to know their place and that they will stand against government overreach.”

The article concludes:

Moms for Liberty has been starting chapters across the country and establishing political action committees to challenge the stranglehold teachers unions have long maintained on public education.

“These unions realize that they’re losing their grip and their hold on public education,” said Justice, citing Florida Democratic nominee for governor Charlie Crist’s selection of a “union boss” as his running mate. “And now they’re looking to assert themselves and really show their real true political colors at higher levels of government so that they can strongarm people into doing what they want. But parents aren’t going to let that happen.”

The voices of parents were loudly heard in the recent Virginia election for governor. When one candidate essentially stated that parents should not have input into what is being taught in schools, he lost the race. Since taking office, Governor Youngkin has respected the rights of parents and has undone some of the more radical legislation signed into law by his predecessor. Since the advent of the U.S. Department of Education, student test scores have fallen consistently. It’s time to decentralize education, abolish the Department of Education, and give parents a voice in their children’s education. Education should be local–all localities have different needs. When we tried to standardize the teaching of mathematics and language arts, the scores trended downward. It’s time to go back to the time when our students were learning the skills they needed to become useful citizens of America.

 

How To End The Tyranny Of The Woke In Our Schools

Since the U.S. Department of Education was created, academic scores in America have gone down. Somehow our children and grandchildren are not learning reading, writing, and arithmetic any more. It’s more important to have them use the right pronoun than for them to know what a pronoun is. On Sunday, The Western Journal posted an article that might give us a clue to solving this problem. The article tells the story of a woke Illinois middle school teacher talking in a video about lying to parents about their children.

The article reports:

In her self-congratulatory video, the smug leftist went on and on about how she purposefully excludes parents from being informed when students claim to be “transgender.”

Constantly grinning from ear to ear, the teacher told her social media audience, “I respect their name and their pronouns, and I use them in class, but because their parents don’t know — I even say this to the students — I say, ‘I’m gonna have to use your legal name and pronouns when addressing your parents, okay?’ And this usually, again, strengthens the bond, the trust bond between me and the kid.”

Before we go on, note that last bit about “strengthening the bond” between her and the kids. This is evidence that she is purposefully driving a wedge between parents and kids and attempting to eliminate parental influence in education.

The article includes a possible solution to teachers that are doing this in the classroom:

At the end of her video, though, this woke teacher did say something that just might give sane people some hope.

The teacher glumly noted that one of her leaders said, “Hey, there might be a law that comes down that says eventually you could get sued for doing that.”

And on a note that might make the parents of her students cheer with delight, the teacher concluded saying that if such a law is ever passed, “Well, that will be the day that I exit teaching.”

The sooner the better, I’d say.

Still, this is the perfect path toward eliminating this garbage. Sue them. Sue them. And sue them again until this dangerous behavior by woke teachers ends, and teachers like this one begin to “exit teaching.”

Once precedents are set that affirm teachers have no right to eliminate parents from education, the better it will be for the nation’s children who will finally be able to get back to learning instead of being subjected to left-wing indoctrination.

This teacher did reveal the rot infesting our public schools. But she also helped us see a way toward surgically removing it.

Parents need to reclaim their rights as parents.

Whose Debt Is It Anyway?

Today, The National Review reported that President Biden announced that he would be forgiving the student loans of many Americans.

The article reports:

President Joe Biden is set to “forgive” up to $10,000 in federal student debt for those making under $125,000 annually, and $20,000 for Pell grant recipients, transferring the cost of the loans to the American public, the White House announced Wednesday.

…Biden is also set to extend the federal student loan freeze for a final time until December 31.

Lawmakers, including Nancy Pelosi, have argued that Biden’s executive order, is unconstitutional and goes outside the rights of the executive branch.

Congress, not the president, is the only body that can cancel student debt, Pelosi said in July of 2021, arguing that “the president can’t do it.”

“Not everybody realizes that, but the president can only postpone, delay but not forgive” student loans, she added.

The Department of Education came to the same decision, arguing that the executive branch “does not have the statutory authority to cancel, compromise, discharge, or forgive, on a blanket or mass basis, principal balances of student loans, and/or to materially modify the repayment amounts or terms thereof.”

The article concludes:

The total estimated cost for Biden’s one-time cancellation is $300 billion, according to a study released Tuesday by the Wharton School of business at the University of Pennsylvania. The cost would increase to $330 billion if the program continues over the standard ten-year window, the study showed.

Republican lawmakers have sounded the alarm over Biden’s decision, saying that it will lead to inflation.

Payments for most student loan borrowers have been stalled since March of 2020, when Congress, and then former president Donald Trump, paused the payments due to predicted financial hardships stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic. Biden has extended the pause four times, and the freeze was expected to expire on August 31.

For once I agree with Nancy Pelosi. The President does not have the power to forgive student loans.

In December 2016, The Wall Street Journal reported the following:

To help pay for ObamaCare, Democrats simultaneously federalized the student loan market and projected fictitious savings, all while adding more than $1.2 trillion to the federal balance sheet. The amount keeps increasing like the debt clock. Liberals then cited the government “savings” to peddle the fallacy that the feds make money off student loans—a pretext they then used to sweeten debt forgiveness plans that have helped keep default rates artificially low.

The Education Department claims the national student loan default rate is 11.3%, yet only half of all debt is in repayment. Borrowers can seek forbearance or deferment if they are unemployed, return to school or claim financial difficulties. Or they can enroll in income-based repayment plans that let them discharge the debt after making payments equal to 10% of their discretionary income for 20 years. Those who work in “public service”—government or a nonprofit—can wipe out their debt in 10 years without a tax penalty.

Initially, only students who borrowed in 2014 or later were eligible for these generous loan forgiveness plans. Then President Obama retroactively extended the benefits to buy millennial votes. Over the last three years the share of outstanding federal direct loan dollars in income-based repayment plans has doubled to 40%. Costs have exploded.

Students signed a contract to repay those laws. By switching the college loans from private lenders to the government, the government acquired the power to interfere in that contract. However, the House of Representatives has the ‘power of the purse’–not the President.

I wonder if the people whose loans are forgiven will see through this effort to buy votes or if they will simply vote for Democrats because their loans were forgiven.

Losing A Legacy

On Aug. 28, 1963, at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr., said the following:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

Unfortunately there are many Americans who have chosen to ignore the wisdom contained in that statement. Martin Luther King, Jr., preached forgiveness and non-violence.

Today we are dealing with leaders in the black community preaching division and racism.

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about Critical Race Theory–something the government encouraging to have taught in our public schools. The premise of the theory is that all white are racist and all blacks are victims. Teaching the theory has a very negative impact on our children.

The article reports:

This week, the U.S. Department of Education announced that officials are preparing to use taxpayer money for K-12 schools to advocate the idea that America is systemically racist, and anyone who thinks differently, children included, are part of the problem—whether students know it or not.

Since members of Congress reintroduced a legislative proposal this year to create national civics standards, the Education Department’s new rule would help shape the content of those standards around the intolerant ideas of critical theory.

In a proposed rule released April 19, federal education officials outlined new priorities for federal grant awards to K-12 educators for use on history and civics education in schools.

The content of these standards does not prepare or encourage children to become productive Americans.

The article reports:

The agency would prioritize grants that use critical theory, a worldview that says racism is everywhere and anyone who disagrees is oppressing other people. The Education Department’s announcement highlights The New York Times’ 1619 Project and civics content that the National Museum of African American History and Culture created as exemplary material for educators to use.

Yet the proposal does not mention that the Times’ editors issued a correction to the 1619 Project after high-profile criticism from scholars who said the project’s claims about colonists fighting the American Revolution to protect slavery were wrong. Nor does the federal register say anything about how project editors refused to correct other factual inaccuracies after criticism from Pulitzer Prize-winning researchers.

The federal proposal is even more problematic for parents and teachers who want children to learn attitudes and behaviors that will help them to be good parents, neighbors, employees, and community members when they grow up.

The announcement highlights educational material from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture without admitting that museum officials had to withdraw some content after widespread complaints over the museum’s message.

Last summer, the museum released an infographic describing “white culture” as oppressive, and said ideas such as “hard work” and efforts to “be polite” are evidence of systemic oppression.

Students should not be taught to “work before play” or “plan for the future” because these ideas represent systems of power, according to the museum. Museum officials issued an apology and removed the document in July.

I wrote about that exhibit last July (article here).

The article concludes:

Biden issued an executive order during his first week in office that is consistent with this latest proposal from the Education Department. If approved, the federal education agency’s new rule would ingrain critical theory in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the law governing federal actions on K-12 schools.

Washington is bringing critical theory’s prejudice to your child’s classroom, and whether or not you are a parent of a student, we all should reject the notion that the next generation should be trained in bigotry.

We are ruining the legacy of Martin Luther King. Jr. Let’s go back to raising children who respect authority and don’t judge people according to their race.

 

Reaching For Fairness

Yesterday The Daily Wire reported the following:

On Monday, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorneys representing teen track star Selina Soule and two other minor female track athletes submitted a complaint to the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights seeking an investigation into sex discrimination. The complaint specifically challenges the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) policy allowing biological males who identify as female to compete in girls’ athletics, ADF announced in a press release sent to The Daily Wire on Monday.

Per the CIAC policy, Soule was forced to compete against female-identifying biological males in a high-stakes track competition where two transgender sprinters beat the field, taking first and second place by significant margins; Soule landed in 8th place, missing an opportunity to compete in front of college coaches by two places.

“I am very happy for these athletes and I fully support them for being true to themselves and having the courage to do what they believe in,” Soule told host Fox News host Laura Ingraham in February. “But, in athletics, it’s an entirely different situation. It’s scientifically proven that males are built to be physically stronger than females. It’s unfair to put someone who is biologically a male, who has not undergone anything in terms of hormone therapy, against cis-gender girls.”

“Throughout the 2018-19 track season, males consistently deprived the female athletes who are part of the complaint of dozens of medals, opportunities to compete at a higher level, and the public recognition critical to college recruiting and scholarship opportunities,” an ADF news release said. “The complaint notes that CIAC’s policy and its results directly violated the requirements of Title IX, a federal regulation designed to protect equal athletic opportunities for women and girls.”

I will admit that this is a new issue to me. Transgender was not common when my children were in school. It does seem to me that adolescent girls and adolescent boys are different physically. Generally boys have more muscle mass and more upper body strength. That makes competition between the sexes uneven. If a male transitioning to female is allowed to compete against women, he has a physical advantage–he will generally be taller with more muscle mass. That seems unfair to me. The only logical solution is to set up athletic events specifically for transgender students. Otherwise the athletes are not competing on a level playing field.

Common Sense From The Huffington Post

I missed this article when it came out, but the Huffington Post posted an article in early August that makes an important point.

The article reports:

The story about Bill Gates’ swift and silent takeover of American education is startling. His role and the role of the U.S. Department of Education in drafting and imposing the Common Core standards on almost every state should be investigated by Congress.

The idea that the richest man in America can purchase and — working closely with the U.S. Department of Education — impose new and untested academic standards on the nation’s public schools is a national scandal. A Congressional investigation is warranted.

The close involvement of Arne Duncan raises questions about whether the law was broken.

Just the idea that the federal government is taking over local education is frightening.

The writer of the article explains why she opposes Common Core:

The revelation that education policy was shaped by one unelected man, underwriting dozens of groups. and allied with the Secretary of Education, whose staff was laced with Gates’ allies, is ample reason for Congressional hearings.

I have written on various occasions (see here and here) that I could not support the Common Core standards because they were developed and imposed without regard to democratic process. The writers of the standards included no early childhood educators, no educators of children with disabilities, no experienced classroom teachers; indeed, the largest contingent of the drafting committee were representatives of the testing industry. No attempt was made to have pilot testing of the standards in real classrooms with real teachers and students. The standards do not permit any means to challenge, correct, or revise them.

In a democratic society, process matters. The high-handed manner in which these standards were written and imposed in record time makes them unacceptable. These standards not only undermine state and local control of education, but the manner in which they were written and adopted was authoritarian. No one knows how they will work, yet dozens of groups have been paid millions of dollars by the Gates Foundation to claim that they are absolutely vital for our economic future, based on no evidence whatever.

The article points out that at a time when local districts are struggling to fund education adequately, they are now being asked to spend additional money on Common Core materials, testing, software and hardware. This does not make sense.

Diane Ravitch, who wrote the article at the Huffington Post is a Research Professor of Education, New York University; and Author of the book, ‘Reign of Error.’ She is calling for a Congressional investigation into Common Core.