Secretary Miguel Cardona is tone deaf on education

On Friday, August 12th, 2022, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona sent out possibly the most tone-deaf tweet in recent memory: “To address the teacher shortage issue, we must address the teacher respect issue in our country.”

Apparently, in Secretary Cardona’s Washington bubble, he thinks the reason for a lack of faith in the public education system that has gradually increased to a critical level over the last two years is a “respect” issue. I can’t tell if Secretary Cardona believes this nonsense or is just trying to run cover for a public education system that has been a continual failure and money pit for the last 30 years, at least.

Teaching is an honorable profession, and no intelligent person should ever say otherwise. Personally, I’ve spent the last 3 years working as a part-time adjunct professor in addition to my primary profession, and the experience has been one of the most rewarding of my life. That said, I know that respect is earned, not given, and teachers earn the respect of their students through four main avenues.

Image: Miguel Cardona tweet. Twitter screen grab.

1) Fair and professional conduct when it comes to managing a classroom, grading assignments, and holding discussions.

2) Helping students who are having trouble with the current curriculum, while maintaining an engaging learning pace for those students who are on pace or excelling in their work.

3) Ensuring the classroom is a place for freely expressing ideas, and not using their personal opinions to determine which statements are “right” and “wrong”

4) Providing ample feedback and engagement with parents to ensure their child’s needs are being met in the classroom and ensuring a productive dialogue to keep learning going while the child is away from school.

I’m sure anyone who has observed the charade our public education systems have been over the last few years can see they’ve failed on all four of these aspects.

Professional conduct has been completely abandoned. You have teachers setting up their classrooms to look like nightclubs to provide a “safe space.” Apparently, this full-time Canadian teacher and part-time drag queen forgot which job he was working at for the moment. Classrooms aren’t supposed to look like nightclubs, least of all because it’s hard to see your pencil and paper in that level of darkness.

The public education system has declared war on gifted and advanced placement programs saying they’re “racist” because not enough Black and Hispanic schoolchildren are in them. Of course, these same people can’t quite explain why Asian children are in these programs at even higher levels than White children, despite a history of anti-Asian discrimination. Clearly, expecting some level of academic integrity from teachers is asking too much.

Speaking of a “safe space” there was a time in the not-so-distant past when school classrooms were a place to debate ideas, discuss alternative points of view, and learn about compromise and working together to find a middle ground with all people regardless of their political opinions. Our public education systems have completely abandoned this. Last year an incredibly brave young man from Minnesota’s District 196 school district listed the multitude of biased incidents he witnessed and experienced during his school year, to the point where he decided to attend a private school because of it.

And finally, thanks to virtual learning during the pandemic of 2020, parents got an up-close-and-personal look at exactly what the public schools were teaching their children. Many parents had likely figured that, because they were home with their children, they could assist them during these two years to ensure they didn’t fall behind.

Instead, they saw rampant political proselytizing and cult-like indoctrination steering their children into political activism. When parents raised these concerns, either to teachers directly or, more famously, at school board meetings, they were shouted down, threatened with arrests, and even targeted by the Department of Justice. You had schools telling parents they couldn’t monitor virtual learning classes, while the National School Board Association claimed the actions of parents bordered on domestic terrorism.

In conclusion, no, Secretary Cardona, it’s not a “respect issue” that’s causing the teaching shortage, at least in terms of parents wanting to respect teachers. It’s that the teachers in multiple public school districts decided that they didn’t need to have respect for parents, students, or the communities they served.

Parents have already responded by pulling their kids out of public school en masse for homeschooling, with record numbers in both 2020 and 2021. Did you ever think that one of the reasons you have a teacher shortage is that the public education system has become outright hostile to more than half the country due to adherents to leftist ideology, Critical Race Theory Indoctrination, and a cult-like desire to cause gender confusion in children? Maybe you can ponder those things when you’re unemployed in 2024.

Gregory McCants is a pseudonym.

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