Now's Our Chance To Create Public School Alternatives
We have never had a better opportunity to create an alternative to the crumbling, corrupt public school system. Conservatives must decide how to act and then act quickly.
Throughout parts of the United States, children have not been in school for a year. Instead, they are expected to daily attend zoom classes. What that means in practical terms is that many kids sit somewhere at home, log in to class, turn off the camera, and go back to bed or play games on their phone throughout the “school” day. One young man I know is one of only two students in his entire middle school class whose face appears in the zoom classroom -- and that is because he is a disabled student whose mother sits with him. The school district cannot force children to turn the camera on.
In my work counseling children, numerous children have complained to me of isolation, severe loneliness, and anger. One formerly school-loving boy asserted that teachers don’t care about their students and it makes no difference if he does his work or not. He will carry that sentiment back into the classroom, should they ever open up.
Meanwhile, kids are bouncing off the walls with no sports outlets and minimal social contact. Those families who have been rendered especially fearful during my state’s excessively stringent and arbitrary lockdown rules have barely left the house. The psychological impact on many of these kids will be extreme. I worked with one anxious child, whose parents’ obeisance to staying home all the time rendered him agoraphobic, petrified to step outdoors, crying in fear at the dangers outside.
Those children who live in cramped, tiny homes, perhaps with physically, emotionally, or sexually abusive relatives, have been denied their only haven away from family misery. They’ve also lost the chance that someone might identify their dangerous situation and help them. These children, who are disproportionately lower-income and minority, have become invisible.
No wonder teachers don’t want to go back to school. With angry, apathetic, depressed, anxious, and disrespectful kids, some who missed a year of learning, coming back, behavior problems may be rough.
Meanwhile, the curriculum has become a lot angrier. California, for example, is all-in for BLM-supported Critical Race Theory instruction with overt anti-white and anti-Semitic components. The entire school board in the Oakley School District in the Bay Area of California resigned after being caught in a hot mic moment mocking parents for wanting school re-opened to “babysit” kids so they could stay at home and get high.
The head of the Los Angeles Unified School District union, UTLA, Cecily Myart-Cruz (whose claim to fame appears to be that she is the first woman of color in her position and is an avid BLM supporter and activist) tweeted on January 17,
We (UTLA) have fielded voice mails, emails, stalked on social media by wealthy white and middle eastern parents, in regards to opening schools. Our district is huge and infection rates are at an all time high. Educators want to be back in their respective classrooms, but when it is safe. We must think about the inequities that exist in Black and brown communities we serve. #Whenitissafe.
Aside from Myart-Cruz’s bigotry, fewer people are buying this teachers’ line any more. It’s not about the children. It’s about them. If the union cared about the children, they would be trying to return the children to a semblance of normal life for their mental health and to ensure their academic skills didn’t crumble away. The union for decades has declared every pay raise that teachers receive is “for the children.” They have convinced millions, Michael Moore being a recent example, that they are grossly underpaid and underappreciated.
But are teachers underpaid? They work a nine-month year and get paid for twelve months. They retire with a lifelong pension. They are decidedly middle-class.
And while there are wonderful, talented, caring individuals teaching, the union protects incompetent, indifferent, horrendous teachers from ever being fired. Is that for the children? Myart-Cruz received 69% of UTLA’s votes. That shows the teachers are pretty much all-in with her radical positions.
Even parents who typically don’t notice are starting to notice. They are seeing their children doing worse, getting unhappier, and losing interest in school. They are suddenly noticing and getting frightened by the Critical Race Theory curriculum’s racial divisiveness. If a viable alternative were available, a free alternative, that offered their children a place to go, learn, and play outside, they would go.
Hillsdale College has launched a K-12 curriculum that has already been implemented successfully in charter schools. This is a classical education that emphasizes the basics, the values, history, and academic basics that public schools no longer teach. This is a stark alternative to the anti-white, anti-Semitic, hate-filled rhetoric that is permeating our schools with ever greater intensity, to the exclusion of actual academic subjects.
If affordable alternative schools were available, the curriculum is ready. They don’t need to be large. A single neighborhood could be enough to start the process.
I don’t know who can organize or implement this, so I encourage a discussion. Existing groups and organizations may want to get on board. Members of Congress might be interested. Parents could band together. Wealthy donors could partner with grassroots community-level groups.
We have never had a better opportunity to offer parents an alternative to teachers with values like Myart-Cruz and we better take it fast. Many parents other than long-time conservatives are starting to realize the system is rotten to its core. They see teachers demanding to be in the front of the line to get vaccines, yet still refusing to enter the classroom for “safety.” More and more parents are seeing the hypocrisy, but they still have no other place to send their kids when these awful schools eventually open, (unless they are the few who can afford private schools).
Even as we continue to fight for vouchers, we must connect as a community to create an alternative that can end the left’s corrupt control over our children’s minds. Which people or organizations will ready to take the lead?
Eleanor Dashwood is a pseudonym.