We know that there are good teachers and good schools out there. Many teachers are Christians – they go into the profession because they love God, love children, are passionate about their subject matter and have a gift for helping children learn.
Many do excellent work, and I’m thankful for the great teachers my children had and the good schools they attended.
But at the same time, I’m very aware that our education system has serious problems. The news is filled with stories about bad things happening in public schools – and some private – across the country.
It really feels overwhelming and like we’ve reached an urgent tipping point: Parents must have educational freedom – to give their children better opportunities to learn and grow, to protect them from chaotic classroom environments and underperforming schools, and to safeguard them against radical and sexual ideologies.
Here are just a few examples of problems in education that have been reported by news outlets. They illustrate why parents need school choice and educational freedom.
Violence and Bullying
Rod Dreher, author of Live Not by Lies, recently highlighted a story from The San Francisco Chronicle. He writes:
A Ukrainian refugee girl fleeing the war in her homeland is so disturbed by violence and anarchy in her San Francisco school that she wants to go back home — to a war zone!
The Chronicle reports that the young girl, Yana, thought school in America would be like what she saw in television shows, “idyllic settings where teenage conflict and angst ironed itself out by the end.”
But when she and her mother left Ukraine, Yana was terrified by “the chaotic scenes in her middle school classrooms … the verbal abuse, hallway conflicts and classroom outbursts.” Students stole her cell phone and threatened her.
Teachers are growing concerned, and not just in San Francisco. The Chronicle reported:
Across the country, teachers say student violence overall has more than doubled since the pandemic began and that they are “increasingly the target of disruptive behavior in the classroom,” according to a survey released Thursday by education research firm EAB.
The survey also found that 84% of teachers believe current students lack the ability to self-regulate and build relationships compared with peers prior to the pandemic.
Yana’s school “offered her a security action plan to make sure she felt safe.” But she just stopped attending and is trying to transfer to a different school. “Yana just wants to go back to her hometown in central Ukraine, back to the only school she knew before the war,” the paper reported.
Lack of Transparency
The New York Times, somewhat surprisingly, recently ran a story about teachers hiding children’s “gender identity” from parents. The paper reported on parents who were upset by this, but seemed to sympathize more with school administrators and teachers:
Educators are facing wrenching new tensions over whether they should tell parents when students socially transition at school.
The Times told about a 15-year-old girl who had been identifying as a boy at school. The mom saw a boy’s name on a homework assignment:
When she asked about the name, the teenager acknowledged that, at his request, teachers and administrators at his high school in Southern California had for six months been letting him use the boy’s bathroom and calling him by male pronouns.
The article went on to explain that the California school “is one of many throughout the country that allow students to socially transition – change their name, pronouns, or gender expression – without parental consent,” adding:
Districts have said they want parents to be involved but must follow federal and, in some cases, state guidance meant to protect students from discrimination and violations of their privacy.
The Times reported:
But dozens of parents whose children have socially transitioned at school told The Times they felt villainized by educators who seemed to think that they – not the parents – knew what was best for their children. They insisted that educators should not intervene without notifying parents unless there is evidence of physical abuse at home.
It’s not just gender ideology that’s hidden from parents, but radical political ideology, as well. Accuracy in Media President Adam Guillette told Fox News about an investigation he did which found “educators use selective language to conceal what they teach children.”
Fox News reported:
Critical race theory continues to be a point of contention between schools and parents, and Guillette said the teaching of CRT was a factor everywhere his team investigated.
At this point, I’ve been in over 150 school districts across the country, and we saw the same thing again and again and again, and we didn’t go to Berkeley, California, or Boulder, Colorado.
Sexualizing and Confusing Children
Every February, the American Association of School Libraries, the National Education Association, and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) – the largest LGBT activist group in the U.S. – encourage teachers to read books about transgenderism to elementary school students.
The “Welcoming Schools National Day of Reading: A Celebration of Stories Supporting Transgender and Non-Binary Youth!” is now in its eighth year. Teachers are encouraged to read picture books about sexual identity confusion to 5- to 12-year-old children.
The Daily Caller reported:
Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) hosted its second annual observance on Feb. 16 of the Jazz & Friends National Day of School and Community Readings, a Human Rights Campaign event created to teach about LGBT bullying inspired by transgender child advocate Jazz Jennings, according to the school district website.
Deputy Superintendent of Instruction Dr. Karla Estrada read pre-kindergarten through sixth grade students “Red: A Crayon’s Story,” a book that teaches gender identity by describing a crayon who is labeled as red but is actually blue, and then students completed an activity based on the reading.
HRC provides a toolkit for teachers with activities and other books to read, such as My Rainbow, where a mom “creates the perfect rainbow-colored wig for her transgender daughter”; When Aidan Became A Brother, about a young girl who thinks she’s a boy; and the short story “Petra and Pearl,” in which the two protagonists “empower one another to share their true transgender identities with those they love.”
As the Daily Citizen has reported, several states have moved toward educational freedom, where funds follow the student, allowing parents to choose between different school options.
Former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos writes,
Education freedom is about giving every single family in America the power and the resources to decide where, when, and how they will educate their children. It’s about unlocking the full array of educational choices so every student can find their best fit. It’s about funding individual students, not the school buildings or systems.
Arizona and Iowa now have universal educational freedom programs in place, and states like Florida and Texas may soon follow.
But we need more. It’s clear. Parents, grandparents, pastors and concerned citizens must become active in advocating for educational freedom in all states.
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