People are starting to ask me this question more frequently..
The answer is No. And Yes.
I know this is an unsatisfactory and ambivalent answer. But it’s the truth.
Let me explain. I’ll start with “No” first. Like our country, the deterioration of our schools didn’t just happen. It’s been happening for at least 40 years. I know, because I saw it during my thirty years of teaching. I probably even participated in it without knowing.
Anything that takes that long to happen cannot be undone in an instant. It will take a long time to fix. If you currently have children or grandchildren in the school system, it’s probably too late to change it for them. We may be able to make it better, but it will take a long time to fix.
I’m sorry to give you that bad news. But the Marxist nonsense that is embedded and SYSTEMIC in our schools will not be undone quickly.
So, what can you do?
The biggest thing you can do is to get your children out of the government schools immediately. Yes that means your local school, the one you think is so great. Believe me, it’s not as wonderful as you think.
How will you get your children educated? As I see it, you have two choices. Private school or homeschooling.
Private schools may seem to be the best option for working parents. Yes, the tuitions are a burden, but many will gladly pay to assure that their child is educated, not indoctrinated.
Be careful. Private schools, even religiously based, are not always better than the government schools.
Here are some examples. There are two private schools in our area. One goes up to grade 8, the other is high school level. Both have always had stellar academic reputations. Lately, both have begun to implement the same CRT, SEL and indoctrination present in the government schools.
The upper-level school which charges $27,850, suddenly started demanding staff list their “pronoun choices” on their info. The Headmaster proudly lists all his options and has hired an openly transgender staff member. The latter wouldn’t be concerning if the school had not made a big deal over this. And when you hear that parents have been cautioned not to publicly complain about school policies or their children would be expelled you know they have a problem with parents defending the rights of their children.
Is it worth almost $30,000 a year for that? You would think parents would have some input into what goes on at the school, but I guess even that kind of tuition doesn’t buy you a seat at that table.
The elementary private school comes in at $17,000 a year and made a huge point of rewarding children for taking the Covid vaccine; recognizing students who did at an assembly by handing out gift cards. Social engineering, once the domain of the government schools, was deftly inserted into their mission.
One would hope that religiously focused private schools would be much better, but you have to understand that they are subject to the lure of government grants that can shape their curriculum as well. There have been numerous complaints from parents over actions taken during Covid.
And don’t forget that the National Association af Independent School has started promoting the “woke” agenda.
Bottom line is to investigate those private schools extensively and ask the hard questions.
Private schools could be an option, but not if they adopt the same beliefs as the government schools.
So, where can you go?
Homeschooling is an option that many parents won’t look at because they don’t know if or how they can do it. Instead of me telling you how you can, here’s this post written by Brandy Frampton, a homeschooling mom, earlier this year.
Brandy says it all. Home schooling IS a viable, and possibly the only, option.
But. don’t think your worries will end there. There is a move among the Marxists to outlaw homeschooling.
So, now, let’s go to the answer “Yes” about saving the government schools.
Remember, this will be a long term project.
Here’s what needs to happen:
- Local control: Get rid of the US Department of Education and limit State centralized control. The Federal and State Governments need to get out of the education business. Since the Feds and State have been influencing locals, costs per student have risen. Per pupil costs have increased from $2200 in 1980 to $14,000 in 2019. Why? Federal and State mandates have required more staffing and social programs among other things. • U.S. public schools: average expenditure per pupil 1980-2019 | Statista Meanwhile, test scores have remained flat or have declined in math, science and reading since 1980. Spending more, getting less. Experts will tell you, the closer control of the schools is to the community, the more public involvement and quick improvement.
- Get the Teachers’ Unions out of politics and school policy. The NEA and AFT have approximately half a billion in assets combined. NEA spends 170 million on political activities and lobbying and 120 million on other contributions, gifts and grants which can be and often are political such as political action committees, progressive organizations, and “ballot initiatives.” Only 9 cents per dollar is actually spent on helping teachers. Is it any wonder they control what goes on in schools more than Boards of Education, Administrations, and parents? Politicians will say and do anything to garner favor with what the Wall Street Journal called a huge “honey pot.” Even the CDC bowed to the unions on masks and kept mandates although they were harmful and ineffective. ( Link to article and other links: Part Two: The Lies They Tell You About Education in the U.S.- Unions Care About Teachers and Students – Radio Free Oxford ) No public employee union should have that much influence, especially when they don’t fulfill their main responsibilities.
- Allow Per Pupil Costs to Follow the Child: For example, on average, government schools in Maryland are given $15,000 per pupil. Since this is taxpayer money, allow parents to take that amount and put it to the education of their own children whether it is to a public, private or homeschooling option. This could be in the form of a tax reduction locally and for the State.
- Allow School Choice: In most districts, parents cannot choose which public school their child attends. This means that many parents are locked into underperforming and dangerous schools. Many parents resort to lying about where they live in order to get their child in a better school. If they were allowed school choice, they would have a chance to put their children in better environments. Schools would be motivated to improve to attract parents.
- Publish school curriculum and teacher lessons plans online so parents can access them easily. This is a no brainer. Teachers will complain that this creates more work for them, but honestly, posting lessons would take less time than making a Facebook or Instagram post, and teachers don’t complain about that.
- Put cameras in the classroom. Yes, I know this strikes fear into the hearts of teachers, but many countries already do this ( South Korea). They do it as much to protect the teachers as the children. If there are legal privacy issues with this, then deal with them in the same way that Zoom classes were handled.
- Take all “pet project” programs out of the schools and insist that 99% of classroom time is spent on academics and not social programs. I’m not advocating getting rid of extracurricular activities, but educational mandates such as “social emotional learning,” and other programs that indoctrinate have no reason to supplant academic lessons. Taking academic time to fill out multi-page intrusive surveys or to talk about the teacher’s gender choices are a non-productive ( and dangerous) use of time.
- Reinstitute strong discipline and rules across the board. When schools have different rules for different groups of kids, chaos ensues. Discipline needs to be consistent regardless of race, economic status, etc. Students who are chronic violent offenders in school need to be removed from the regular school environment for alternative schools. The current practice of allowing psychologists to roam the halls of our public schools and admonish teachers to let a child “work out his anger” while throwing a temper tantrum needs to stop.
- Get rid of teacher tenure. Teachers will hate this, but honestly, tenure mostly protects bad teachers. And, when a district wants to remove a tenured teacher for just cause, it can cost up to 1 million dollars. No other job in the world protects a person from being let go. Instead of tenure, why not take all that money that unions won’t be spending on politics and union staff salaries and put it toward legal consortiums that can be on retainer for local teachers. Perhaps counties can institute appeal boards for when teachers are in danger of being fired. No one should be guaranteed their job just because they have been there for more than three or four years.
- Redesign teacher training: Currently teacher training is a train wreck. Even after four years of college and some student teaching, teachers are coming out of school ill prepared for teaching. Many have never worked with kids and many more don’t know their content area much less how to teach it. It would be better for prospective teachers to major in their content area for two to three years and then work as a teacher apprentice for two years. Some states already do this but more with non-traditional teacher candidates. And please, remove all the CRT, SEL, and culturally relevant indoctrination. Teach that all students are unique learners .
- Pull the schools back to their original job description. Schools have tried to become “one stop shopping” for too many services and goals. Schools are not hospitals, mental health facilities, entertainment venues, surrogate parents or babysitters. They are institutions that should educate. Period.
- Reduce the number of standardized tests students take each year. These tests have become the goal of schools (teaching to the test). While they may yield a general snapshot of how schools are doing, they take an inordinate amount of time away from real learning. And who is making money off the tests? Test publishers.
- Stop encouraging all students to take AP Classes, College Prep Classes, etc. Not all students belong in college. Many do better if they go to a trade school or into an apprenticeship after high school. Why not help those kids discover their true abilities and vocations instead of insisting on putting round pegs into square holes.
There are many more steps, but these are the few I would start with!
As a parent/grandparent/community member:
- Know your legal rights and the legal rights of your child. Be ready to defend the rights of all children. Know the law.
- Go to every Board of Education and school-based meeting that you can go to. Make sure you know the agendas of meetings. Become well versed in educational jargon and phrases they use to hide CRT, indoctrination, etc. Know the people in charge and make sure they know you. ASK QUESTIONS.
- Understand how government schools are funded in your state.
- Hold elected officials accountable and VOTE VOTE VOTE. Make sure you vette candidates carefully regarding how they will protect student and parent rights. Support candidates who are committed to those rights!
- When speaking at Board of Education meetings, be prepared, polite, and appropriately passionate. Never threaten anyone with physical violence or harass them.
- Join other parents/community members locally and nationally. Become an advocacy group for students. Have regular meetings. There is strength in numbers!
- Be strong and tough, but never let your children suffer harassment because of your activities in the system. If they are, take action immediately and put people on notice that you will not tolerate it.
- Don’t be patient but understand how long it will take for change to occur. This is a fight that will last long past the time that your children or grandchildren will be in school.
The one thing Marxists are good at is playing the “long game.” We may have to play the same long game to get our schools back where they should be.
The link below will give you some more ideas. I have also included a pdf of a guide for parents.
The Talbot County Family Advocacy Alliance hopes to have a BIG announcement soon! Stay tuned.
Remember, our May 31st meeting will feature Michael Peroutka, Constitutional lawyer and candidate for Maryland Attorney General. He will be addressing student and parent rights and how to protect them!