Have the wokesters finally reached a tipping point?
Leftists of multiple stripes have been making public schools horrible places, and now students are bolting.
In California, that’s making news. According to the Associated Press:
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California public schools have experienced a sharp decline in enrollment this year as the pandemic forced millions into online school, according to data made public Thursday.
The drop came as the state’s school districts dawdled in bringing children back to the classroom, making California one of the slowest in the country to reopen schools.
The California Department of Education data shows that the number of students at K-12 schools dropped by more than 160,000 this academic year, most of them at the K-6 level, to a total of 6 million.
The drop is by far the biggest decline in years and represents the clearest picture yet of the pandemic’s devastating toll on California public schools.
“The annual snapshot of fall enrollment shows a sharp one-year decline as the state and nation grappled with a deadly pandemic that disrupted all aspects of public education,” the education department said in a statement.
But it’s actually happening all over. Detroit, New York City, Baltimore, D.C., Austin, Tucson, Minneapolis, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Janesville, Wisconsin, Chautauqua County, upstate New York, plus the entire states of New Jersey, Iowa, Vermont, Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Hawaii, North Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Washington, Virginia, and quite likely all of the others are reporting public school enrollment drops. I didn’t have time to finish going through the list.
In California, it’s white students who are bolting most. The AP reports that they constitute 22% of school enrollment but account for half of the exits. They’re moving on to private schools, whose enrollments are up, or to homeschooling, which is available to anyone with a literate and motivated parent. Or else just moving to a better state. It suggests that poor black and Latino kids, who form far larger demographic groups within the California districts, might just be not bolting because economically, they can’t. They may have a parent who has to work in a low-salary service industry job or else live in a household with no literacy skills to facilitate homeschooling from the adults. Based on other factors, to be cited below, they’d get out if they could, too.
And that’s, according to press reports, all because of the pandemic — which is bee ess right there.
Far from this being the pandemic, which, scientifically speaking, affected children very little, it’s the ruling elites’ barbaric response to the pandemic. That was visible enough in the state-imposed lockdowns on the public schools, and in the outrageous behavior of the rabidly left-wing teachers’ unions and the campaign cash-fattened politicians who love them.
Lockdowns themselves were terrible. Besides being unscientific — recall this little incident, cited by Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen:
[H]is handpicked director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rochelle Walensky, said last week that “schools can safely reopen” and “vaccination of teachers is not a prerequisite for the safe reopening of schools,” the Biden White House slapped her down, with press secretary Jen Psaki insisting that Walensky was speaking in her “personal capacity.”
No, she wasn’t. Walensky was speaking in her capacity as a government scientist during an official briefing of the White House covid response team. And her comments came just days after a team of CDC scientists published a review in the Journal of the American Medical Association of numerous studies which show “there has been little evidence that schools have contributed meaningfully to increased community transmission.”
…they were also terrible for kids. Kids’ grades plummeted, and many never showed up for the online Zoom sessions at all. Worse still, mental health problems rose, and children became depressed, unable to perform the vital task for them of making friends. For kids, that’s a positively critical need, as children are biologically wired at that age with an openness to making friends, quite unlike older people. Child depression rose; child suicides soared. The lockdowns were also exceptionally hard on parents.
The highest declines in enrollments, across all states, and certainly in California, were among the youngest children. Very young children are unusually unsuited to online learning, and anyone who’s ever taught them (and I have) knows they need to physically interact: to touch, to see, to pass around, to feel, to hear, to sing, to smell, to speak, to raise hands, to dance, to participate, to mush clay, to paint, to move — it’s how they naturally are. They don’t do virtual, and they don’t like concept stuff. (It’s why they’re so wonderful.)
That’s just the lockdowns alone. Parents tried to complain, parents tried to say something, but they always got ignored.
To add insult to injury, there were also the teachers’ unions and the school boards in their pocket, which had to be the last straw for a lot of parents.
Remember these charmers?
Ever wonder what school board members are saying in private about parents with kids in schools unhappy about the forever-COVID school closings?
An unwitting Zoom recording from the Oakley School Board of Contra Costa County, in the eastern San Francisco Bay Area, cleared the air on that: …
Wow. Just wow. They not only mocked parents behind their backs, but seemed to bond together as they did it.
That repugnant group was just the start.
The unions themselves were beyond-vile in their behavior, as RedState contributor Jennifer Oliver O’Connell, in an excellent piece, noted here:
This is a nice way of saying that the California Teachers Unions held parents and students hostage while they made demands for social justice contingent on their return. Demands like funding BLM, and Defunding the Police. While doing this, they still collected bonuses for teaching 45-minute Zoom classes, and maligned parents who wanted their children to actually be taught in person.
What’s more, they not only made strange hostage demands, as well as called for more money, but extended and extended, and extended the lockdowns, as they drew higher pay and worked fewer hours, and Zoomed the bunny-slipper commute, as AT’s Andrea Widburg put it. They’ve made some final blackmail payout demands as the governor of California is facing a political recall over the closures of public schools. Reason magazine has them here.
And they had slimey Joe Biden behind them, touting teachers’ unions and proudly holding out his low-achieving wife Jill as a public school teacher now living in the White House. That had to make parents feel powerless.
For Joe, it was more than shilling for this blackmailing bunch; it was moving the goalposts as their puppet. As I noted here:
To the extent that Joe Biden drew votes, a very big reason was the expectation from parents and students that he would re-open the public schools, currently on extended shutdown over COVID concerns. That was his promise, that was a signature issue, with many pixels spilled in multiple spots on Biden’s campaign website supporting the claim that he was serious about re-opening schools.
Now that he’s in office, too bad for those who actually believed him.
Instead of re-opening the schools, Biden’s re-drawn himself a goal line for school re-opening so pathetic, so wretched, so insignificant that it’s actually lower than what’s already going on now in school reopenings.
School re-openings, it seems, no longer mean school re-openings the way normal people see them. In Bidenland, school re-openings mean lots and lots more Zoom school, with just lip service, a little grope maybe, to the idea of re-opening.
Now he’s busy imposing Critical Race Theory on all public schools nationally — that’s the stuff that tells whitey he’s the bad guy, or needs to “try to act less white,” even if he’s just four years old. That likely accounts for at least some of the white exodus from public schools. (Remember: much of California still votes Republican even if Republicans don’t win). It’s a phony education that wrecks some kids’ self-esteem, makes other kids hate their neighbors or think they’re victims, and amounts to propaganda at the expense of education. Who’d want that?
Nice going, Joe. Now that you’ve elevated teachers’ unions, you’ve got declining enrollment. Heckuva Job, Bidie.
But let’s get back to California:
Besides lockdowns and teachers’ union blackmail, California’s schools are turning into outrageous dumps of junk thought, and hellish conditions quite independently of Biden’s White House.
California is the one that introduced Aztec worship chants for the little ones to pledge fealty to, in a naked violation of the separation of church and state.
California is also a big-time supporter of males engaging on equal footing in women’s sports, pretty well telling the female athletes that they can play sports, but they aren’t going to win.
According to a 2019 Los Angeles Unified School District Policy Bulletin:
Participation in competitive athletics, intramural sports, athletic teams, competitions and contact sports shall be facilitated in a manner consistent with the student’s gender identity and in accordance with the California Interscholastic Federation constitution and bylaws. Students who identify as nonbinary should be granted the opportunity to participate in athletic activities they find best align with their gender identity.
A third big one, and it’s been boiling for a while, is the leftist bid to shut down charter schools, which are particularly prized by minority students who would otherwise be stuck in failing public schools.
Who’d Joe Biden appoint to his Department of Education? A creature from the San Diego public school bureaucracy named Cindy Marten, whose signature issue is crushing charter schools. Her nomination was opposed by the San Diego–area NAACP, which broke with its national organization on this ground, because, well, they were hearing from people. According to EdWeek, a trade publication:
The San Diego NAACP, which criticized Marten, notably broke from the national NAACP in 2019 when it opposed a national call for a moratorium on charter schools. Several 2020 Democratic presidential candidates cited that national NAACP position when they called for new limits on charter schools.
The national NAACP has also split with its San Diego branch on Marten’s nomination.
That might explain why, as I argued earlier, a lot of minority kids would also like out and simply can’t get out at this point.
Bottom line here is that parents and kids are bailing. Public schools are getting fewer takers despite being “free.”
Leftists have been so “high on their own supply” for so long in this age of the pandemic, which benefits them amazingly, that they’ve failed to realize that people are voting with their feet. They are scrapping for other alternatives, given the public schools’ failures to reflect their values and to care for the mental health of their children and to actually educate. That’s another thing: the failing public schools’ failure to teach is an ongoing problem. Who needs this?
Parents and students bailing out on them is an appropriate ending for this selfish, self-absorbed, child-hating bunch. California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom is attempting to keep school funding at the current levels, despite the drop in enrollment, to shield these perpetrators from any consequences for their atrocious actions, but he’s up for recall now for this awfulness. He knows it. For him, the writing’s on the wall.
It’s also on the wall for these public schools, whether they know it or not.
Monica Showalter, American Thinker