The recent activism of parents in school board meetings and elections in the fight against Critical Race Theory (CRT) has been a positive development for the American education system. Rather than merely fighting school boards and school unions to protect their children's education, however, these parents should also advocate for school choice.
Only certain states allow for school choice. School choice would allow parents to use the public money allocated to fund their child's education in the manner that the parents see fit such as sending the child to a school outside of their home district, to a private school (whether non-religious or religious), or home school.
It is based on the principle that parents should have the freedom to send their children to the schools of their choosing.
The past year has shown the harm that America's public education system can do to the country's children. The lack of in-person instruction had several negative consequences.
Student learning and socialization skills suffered. Students without computers or internet connections lost a valuable year of education because they could not access virtual learning.
The distribution of free or reduced-price meals faced difficulties due to school closures. The reporting of child abuse may have been compromised due to the lack of teacher and expert observation of students.
CRT has the potential to greatly harm America's children. CRT can divide children via race or ethnicity and cause discord and fights between children of different backgrounds.
It can make children have low self-worth due to their skin color. Last, it can push children to develop a victim-like mentality which deflates their drive to succeed. These problems could last a lifetime and have a profound impact on the country.
Before the coronavirus and CRT, America's schools already had significant problems. According to the Pew Research Center, the U.S. placed 38th out of 71 countries in math and 24th in science. At the same time, the U.S. spends the second highest amount per student in the world. America's education system is in a crisis.
Teachers unions have played a big part in both the lack of in-school instruction and CRT. Unions influenced the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) policies and guidance on school reopenings.
Teachers unions such as the National Education Association support teaching CRT and are conducting opposition research on those groups opposing CRT. The unions' clout also indicates that unions' policies have contributed to the schools' failures in math and science.
School choice helps in the fight versus CRT. First, if parents do not want their kids taught CRT, parents would simply put their children in schools which do not teach CRT. They would not have to worry about fighting school boards or unions.
Second, if parents want to keep the kids at the same school but eliminate CRT, school choice will help in negotiations with unions. As it stands now, parents have little leverage because they will still likely have to send their kids to the school in question regardless of the result in negotiations.
With school choice, however, the mere ability to leave the public schools would pressure schools to accept parents' demands because schools and unions need to have students (customers) to survive. If the children leave, the schools will close and teachers will lose their jobs.
Parental involvement in the fight against CRT has shown both the power of civic engagement and the dangers of having local officials who advocate for and implement dangerous ideas. Even if school choice becomes widespread, increased participation of parents in school boards is necessary.
CRT needs to be eliminated completely because, if some schools still teach CRT, a chance remains that this dangerous ideology could infect America's children.
Michael B. Abramson is a practicing attorney. He is also an adviser with the National Diversity Coalition for Trump. He is the host of the "Advancing the Agenda" podcast and the author of "A Playbook for Taking Back America: Lessons from the 2012 Presidential Election." Follow him on his website and Twitter, @mbabramson. Read Michael B. Abramson's Reports — More Here.
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