Recent events illustrate that America’s public school system has taken a backward or a hard left turn, and in doing so it’s lost sight of the reason for its existence.
Education’s traditional role has been to give students the fundamentals with one ultimate goal in mind: to teach them how to think — how to make life decisions as they enter into adulthood.
That role has skewed to become one of teaching students what to think and what decisions to make.
Consider Georgia seventh grade teacher Corey Sanders, who recently gave his students a writing assignment — to draft a letter to their congressman taking a position on an issue. Not only did Sanders specify the issue to be addressed — gun control — but he gave them the opinion to take, to persuade the lawmaker to enact stricter gun laws.
William Lee, the father of one of Sanders’ students, told Fox News the experience was proof that parents need to "be vigilant" with respect to their children’s education. His problem with the assignment was its narrow focus.
"It only gave [students] one perspective from which to write," Lee said on “Fox & Friends.” “That in itself, I didn't think was appropriate.”
The writing assignment was apparently prompted by the February 14 shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school — a tragedy that led to school walkouts nationwide to protest for stricter gun control measures.
When an Ohio school participated in the anti-gun walkout, student Jacob Shoemaker declined. He also refused to join other non-participants at study hall, saying that taking his accustomed seat would be “the least intrusive of the choices I’ve been given.”
As Shoemaker reportedly explained to his father “there shouldn’t be politics in the classroom.”
Because he remained neutral he was suspended.
Sacramento, California, junior Brandon Gillespie tested his school’s tolerance for conservative values by organizing a national pro-life walkout for April 11.
He was inspired to stage the 17-minute walkout by his history teacher, Julianne Benzel.
“She’s the one who motivated me to do this because she questioned the school about whether it would give the same courtesy to a group of students that wanted to protest something else, for example, abortion,” he told Breitbart News.
From Gillespie’s social media posts, school administrators apparently gave him permission for the walkout. Benzel was another matter. She was placed on paid leave for even suggesting an anti-abortion walkout to test the school’s tolerance.
But the real point is why should we give students the right to walk out at all? Shoemaker, the Ohio student had it right — “there shouldn’t be politics in the classroom” at all.
Nonetheless, promoting a political agenda appears to be the norm in classrooms nowadays.
A Nebraska high school English teacher reportedly posted a flyer in her classroom that compared Republicans to Nazis.
A Georgia sixth grade teacher was recorded delivering a prolonged anti-President Donald Trump "Make America Great Again" tirade, declaring “America has never been great for minorities.”
A California high school teacher came under fire after going on an anti-military rant, in which he called those who serve in uniform the “lowest of the low.”
And educators are taking their agenda outside the classroom during school hours. Thousands of teachers in Arizona, California, Kentucky, and Oklahoma walked out, demanding both pay and funding increases.
Oklahoma teachers announced that they’re extending their strike through at least next week. As a result, more than 55 percent of the school districts are closed. Their legislature offered them an average $6,000 pay increase — they’re seeking $10,000.
No one is saying that teachers are overpaid or that their job is easy. But they also have benefits most of us don’t have. They get their summers off, they’re almost impossible to fire, and they enjoy generous retirement packages in most cases.
But politics has no place in the classroom, and picketing has no place as an alternative to the classroom. And students come out as the losers.
Pew Research reported the latest findings of the Programme for International Student Assessment, which is held every three years. And they weren’t pretty.
It found that U.S. students placed 38th among 71 countries in math, and 24th in science. They also scored 24th in reading comprehension. Far Eastern countries led in all categories.
We often refer to our youth as America’s future. If we don’t start getting back to basics in education, America won’t have much of a future. That bright future will be China’s, Japan’s, and Singapore’s for the taking.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He’s also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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