It’s a Great Year for School Choice

The school choice movement has been gaining serious traction over the past three years, and if the momentum holds, America might soon see most states funding students instead of systems. The idea that parents should decide where and how their children are educated has been the subject of debate for decades. But now that conversation is intensifying.

School choice was catapulted onto the national stage amid the COVID-19 lockdown when parents discovered what their children’s schools were teaching them. When it became apparent that many of these institutions were indoctrinating students with far-leftist views on race, sexuality, and gender identity, the predictable backlash ensued, with people showing up to school board meetings to protest the problematic material.

States Embracing School Choice

In 2023, several states are set to pass comprehensive school choice legislation that would make it easier for parents to send their kids to private and charter schools. Those who choose to homeschool will have a smoother experience as well if these bills pass.

One of the most highly touted educational measures being considered in many states would create education savings accounts (ESAs), similar to the laws passed in Arizona last year. ESAs are “state-funded accounts for parents who are looking for alternative education options for children besides their local public school,” according to The Hill.

The state would deposit a specific sum of money into the account every year to help parents pay for educational expenses such as private school tuition, tutors, homeschooling resources, and more. Each state pays a different amount. In Arizona, for example, pupils receive up to $7,000 annually. Currently, more than 15 states are considering proposals that would create ESA programs for students, among other provisions designed to help parents exercise more educational options.

After years of trying, Iowa became the first state this year to pass sweeping school choice legislation. In January, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law a series of measures, one of which is the establishment of an ESA program that provides funding that can be used for private school tuition. Reynolds, along with Republicans in the state legislature, tried and failed twice to pass this type of legislation. But the third time was the charm. Next up was Utah, the second state to enact a universal school choice program shortly after Iowa. Republican Gov. Spencer Cox signed the new legislation, which created a state-funded scholarship program that will grant $8,000 to each student that can be used toward education-related expenses outside of public schools.

Texas, similar to Iowa, has not had an easy time enacting school choice legislation. But now signs are   promising. With the current hubbub over education, parents in Texas are demanding better options for their children. GOP Gov. Greg Abbott has expressed support for such laws in the past, and Republicans in the state legislature are working feverishly during the current legislative session to craft a bill that will get enough support. However, they will face tough opposition from Democrats and Republican lawmakers representing rural areas of the state.

Arkansas, Nevada, and Oklahoma are looking to adopt ESA programs later this year as well, meaning that a significant number of states will be allowing parents to have more of a choice in their children’s education.

More Choices, Better Outcomes?

GettyImages-1243599296 students

(Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)

Naturally, those on the left are none too happy about the new developments in the world of education. Indeed, Democrats have tried everything from claiming school choice is racist to attempting to get the Justice Department to label parents protesting critical race theory as “domestic terrorists.”

This is not shocking given the fact that school choice is likely the best weapon against the effort to indoctrinate children. Passing laws barring the teaching of critical race theory can only do so much to address the issue. Indeed, some teachers have already found ways to work around these bans. Moreover, some school districts are enacting policies that allow for the grooming of children into transgender ideology and even in helping kids “transition” to the opposite sex.

But if parents are able to pick which schools their children attend – or to pull them out of schools altogether – progressives will have fewer kids to indoctrinate. This does not mean they will stop trying – but more educational options will go a long way toward protecting children from being propagandized.


Read More From Jeff Charles

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Loathsome “Teacher” Says Good Grammar is “White Supremacist”

A California English teacher with tenure says grammar and essay writing standards are part of “white supremacy culture.”

This loathsome “educator” is no less a racist than the most fearsome Klansman. Why? Because she’s clearly implying that nonwhite people are incapable of learning proper grammar. And she’s using grammar in expressing her denial of grammar’s moral legitimacy.

The evil of our era is not that there are people depraved enough to say such things. The evil is that the majority of us who KNOW it’s depraved are too scared to say so. If we let dimwit twits like this government-subsidized “teacher” intimidate us into silence, we truly are doomed.

Michael J. Hurd, Daily Dose of Reason

Happy Un-woke Year !

Watching teachers unions, government school honchos, the media, etc., deny that Critical Race Theory (which makes race the prism through which its proponents analyze all aspects of American life, categorizing individuals into groups of oppressors and victims) is taught in our schools reminds me of that memorable scene from an otherwise forgettable movie, A Guide for the Married ManA husband gets caught by his wife in bed with another woman, and he simply denies it. And he does so, vociferously and repetitiously to the point that his wife actually starts to believe him.

A typical example of this gaslighting is “Who is Behind the Attacks on Educators and Public Schools?,” posted earlier this month by the National Education Association on its website. The union claims, “Small groups of radicalized adults, egged on by…bad actors, have been whipped into a furor over…the false notion that children are being taught ‘critical race theory.’” At the same time that NEA is denying that CRT is taught, the union published its Racial Justice in Education Resource Guide, in which teachers are advised how to directly address issues such as white supremacy, implicit bias and acknowledging how race influences their work.

In November, an American Enterprise Institute report definitively showed “how legacy and education media refuse to acknowledge the hard evidence — numerous clear examples of CRT curriculum taught to students, a CRT pledge on a state website, and the political implications of parents speaking out about CRT at school boards.” And just last week, John Murawski at RealClearInvestigations gave us abundant evidence that CRT does indeed exist in our schools. One of the myriad examples he gives is Manuel Rustin, a high school history teacher, who helped oversee the drafting of California’s Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum. He discloses “Ethnic studies without Critical Race Theory is not ethnic studies. It would be like a science class without the scientific method. There is no critical analysis of systems of power and experiences of these marginalized groups without Critical Race Theory.”

And then there is Lucy Calkins’ Units of Study which thousands of American educators use to teach children to read. As reported by Daniel Buck and James Fury in City Journal, one part of Calkins’ Critical Literacy: Unlocking Contemporary Fiction, which is geared to middle school students, discloses that the unit will delve into “the politics of race, class, and gender.” The authors explain, “One activity asks students to break down ‘hegemonic masculinity’ in the books they’re reading. Another builds ‘identity lenses’ through which students can analyze various texts, including ‘critical race theories’ and ‘gender theories.’ References to identity pervade nearly every page of the unit. Accompanying materials declare that the curriculum is ‘dedicated’ to teaching ‘critical literacies’ that will ‘help readers investigate power.’”

In Los Angeles, the school district’s Office of Human Relations, Diversity & Equity released a PowerPoint presentation which explained that critical race theory isn’t being taught in schools. But at the same time, the district made presentations which did precisely that. L.A. Unified also mandated that teachers take an antiracism course taught by a known critical race theorist who told them to “challenge whiteness.”

Anti-CRT activist Christopher Rufo quotes Detroit school superintendent Nikolai Vitti: “Our curriculum is deeply using critical race theory, especially in social studies, but you’ll find it in English language arts and the other disciplines. We were very intentional about … embedding critical race theory within our curriculum.”

In Seattle, the school district’s “Department of Racial Equity Advancement” employs critical race theorists who apply the controversial concept to school policies and practices as part of the district’s efforts to embed it in elementary schools.

Campbell Union High School District in California’s Silicon Valley has become downright religious on the issue. One of its “equity resources” includes a document that teaches students how to put a curse on those who say “all lives matter.” One section titled “Hex” asserts, “Hexing people is an important way to get out anger and frustration.” And it instructs students to make a list of specific people who have been agents of police terror or global brutality.

The “hexers” are on to something. CRT is, more than anything, a religion. In fact, Columbia University professor John McWhorter has based his new book on the subject. Woke Racism: How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America makes the case that, “It is not ‘like’ a religion…rather, it is what any anthropologist would recognize as one, with its own superstitions, rituals, clergy, and judgment day.” He adds that despite its worshippers’ best intentions, “the religion offers an oversimplified sense of what racism is and what one does about it.” He also maintains that CRT’s adherents, whom he calls “the Elect,” are “content to harm black people in the name of what we can only term dogma.”

Religion or not, how do we put an end to it? The answer actually comes from Theresa Montaño, a professional CRT coach and professor of Chicana and Chicano studies at California State University, who coached teachers during a November webinar. She advises her acolytes, “Don’t say critical race theory, just teach its precepts.” She adds, “What they did is they took those tenets of critical race theory, the pedagogy, or the methodology, and create[d] pedagogical models. You’re going to see how classroom teachers apply some of these pedagogical models in ways where they don’t even mention the words critical race theory but are doing anti-racist work.”

Following Montaño’s lead, states and school districts that want to halt the spread of CRT should do so by not using the term. Instead, the Heritage Foundation has solid model wording which avoids any mention of the noxious theory:

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 very simply “outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, and later sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Following that line of thinking, the North Carolina legislature recently passed HB 324, which lays out rules that educators must follow. Schools are not allowed to teach that one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex, that an individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by his or her race or sex, that an individual, solely by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, etc. But Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed it anyway, saying, “The legislature should be focused on supporting teachers, helping students recover lost learning, and investing in our public schools. Instead, this bill pushes calculated, conspiracy-laden politics into public education.”

This bill is pushing “calculated, conspiracy-laden politics into public education?” With Cooper’s (intentionally?) warped inversion of reality, it sounds as if a political sequel to A Guide for the Married Man is in the works.

*   *   *Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers and the general public with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues. The views presented here are strictly his own.

This is Harvard Today

Once upon a time when I was young, Harvard was a prestigious university where a determined student could get a good education.

But education was not the real attraction of the university. It was Harvard’s network that was valuable. Of course, to get in you had to have a network, that is, you had to be someone in addition to academic capability. Harvard was a place like Yale and Princeton for maintaining elite networks from which America’s political and business leaders arose, people some of whom were capable of putting the pubic interest ahead of their own.

Harvard was mainly reserved for the northeast prep school graduates and sons of alumni, but on occasion would take a promising applicant from the South, Midwest, and West Coast. Harvard was always interested in enlarging its network.

Jews were distrusted and kept away. It was the days of WASP rule. Harvard refused employment to Paul Samuelson, a Jew and the dean of American economists during the last half of the 20th century. Samuelson had to find employment at MIT.

But the WASPs, undermined by self-criticism, lost confidence and power. Harvard and the Ivy League came under Jewish domination, and now the Jews have lost power, and Harvard is dominated by black, feminist, and transgender interests. Harvard’s Jewish president, Larry Summers, was driven out of office by feminists, and now feminists are shoved aside by transgendered and blacks.

Harvard, which formerly produced American leaders, now produces crazy people filled with notions of their entitlement as “the oppressed.”

The old entitlement was different. They had entitlement to lead. The new entitlement is entitlement to denounce and accuse those who led.

Harvard, and the rest of the Ivy League, have gone from upholding and leading the country to denouncing the country and handing over leadership to those least capable. The decision has been made to elevate equity over merit. Thus, America is doomed.

This change doesn’t seem promising for Harvard’s future or for the country’s, but for the present time it is working for Harvard. Harvard’s graduates have convinced US corporations to be “woke” and to impose on their white employees racial and gender sensitivity training, to accept that racist whites should step aside for blacks and accept reverse discrimination, and to accept rewrites of their country’s history that elevate blacks and demean whites.

We see the results everywhere. Whites have disappeared from TV ads, from Hollywood movies, from TV sitcoms. James Bond is now a black woman as are the Jedi knights in Star Wars. White people are being disappeared in their own country. Only it is no longer their country. It belongs to those due restitution having suffered white oppression.

Think about this for a moment. How does a country erased in this way stand up to Russia, China, and Iran who dispute that the US is the exceptional, indispensable country? Americans might still see themselves as a “superpower,” but the rest of the world sees us differently.

Snow White is, of course, white, but Disney is now making a film in which Snow White is black. How can the story still be Snow White? Is Disney going to call the movie Snow Black?

Cultural destruction does not raise up anyone we would want raised up. Does anyone think that powerful NATIONS, not Towers of Babel like the US and Europe, are going to take the US and its decadent puppet empire seriously?

What is going to happen the next time, or the time after, when the dumbshit illegitimate fool in the Oval Office lectures Russia, China, or Iran and issues more threats? Is Washington going to disappear under a nuclear cloud? Washington has zero capability of preventing its evaporation.

The real question is: would real Americans, not the East and West cost anti-Americans, cheer their liberation from their corrupt anti-American government in Washington, a government that only serves interest groups and sends the bill to taxpayers?

How many Americans would sign up to go to war against those countries that liberated them by obliterating Washington?

The American elites have got ahead of themselves. They are accustomed to running the show and overlooked that when they discredit their own country they have eliminated their own legitimacy.

Why Johnny Can’t Think

If it seems that young people these days believe absurd things, that they utterly lack both the ability and the inclination to reason logically—well, it’s not your imagination. Today’s college graduates can’t think, or at least don’t think, because they’re not being taught to.

This sad reality, though long suspected, became clear in 2011, with the publication of Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, by scholars Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa. After a four-year study of more than 2300 undergraduates at selective universities across the country, they concluded that a sizeable percentage of them improved little if at all as critical thinkers.

Since then, numerous studies and surveys by organizations like Noel-Levitz, the Association of American Colleges and Universities,The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Payscale have confirmed Arum’s and Roksa’s thesis. Employers consistently report that new hires fare poorly in writing and critical thinking—essentially, two sides of the same coin.

Meanwhile, colleges and universities not only claim to be teaching critical thinking; they shout it from the rooftops—even as the end users of their “products,” employers, complain that skill is in short supply. Why the disconnect?

The answer, I believe (and as I argue in my bookThink Better, Write Better) is that what institutions of higher learning are teaching these days under the banner of “critical thinking” really isn’t—or at least it isn’t what employers mean when they use the term. Organizations want people who can be objective and analytical, using logic and reason to solve problems. That’s what the term “critical thinking” means to them, and what it has meant to most of us for decades. It’s certainly what I was taught in college.

Today, however, that is not at all what colleges and universities mean—or perhaps I should say, what most professors mean. “Critical thinking,” for them, is a Marxist exercise in “critique,” what Marx himself called “the ruthless criticism of all that exists.” It seeks not to solve problems but to break down, or “deconstruct,” all aspects of society, beginning with but not limited to language.

The shift began in the 1980s, as a new form of literary criticism knows as “deconstructionism” caught on in English departments across the country. Inspired by the Frankfort School of Marxist thought and popularized by far-left philosophers like Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida, deconstructionism posited that language has no inherent meaning; thus, literature can be understood only in the context of the reader’s experiences. In other words, it is impossible to ultimately interpret a literary work. It means whatever the reader thinks it means.

That is, perhaps, at least a mildly interesting literary theory. It may even contain some truth, since everyone does experience a work differently, and no two people can agree fully what it means (which is not the same as saying it doesn’t mean anything). If nothing else, deconstructing provides an amusing way for otherwise nonproductive eggheads to spend their days debating semantics.

The problems began when the theory infected other disciplines, starting in the 1990s–first the social sciences and ultimately (as we see today) the hard sciences. It’s one thing to deconstruct a poem, quite another to deconstruct human biology. It’s fine for literary scholars to argue about what a novel means, but engineers should probably know how to calculate the strength of a structure. The latter has a definite answer; it should not be subject to “deconstruction.”

And yet that is exactly what we are seeing today, with all this talk about gender (actually, sex) being “fluid,” cries that math is racist, and the push for affirmative action in medicine and other scientific fields.

Remember that deconstruction, as the name implies, is not about building up; it’s about tearing down. It not about “criticism,” in the sense of objectively evaluating the good and bad; it’s about “critique,” which focuses solely on the bad. It’s not about solving problems; it’s about complaining about them and blaming others for them.

It also, of necessity, privileges emotion over reason. Something is bad because someone thinks it’s bad—or, more to the point, theyfeelit’s bad. They don’t like it. It offends them in some way, perhaps because it doesn’t seem fair or equitable. Math is certainly like that. Not everyone is good at it, and those who are possess certain advantages over their math-challenged fellows. That’s bad because it’s not fair. And so math must be critiqued. It must be deconstructed.

The same is true of biology. Men have certain inherent physical advantages over women? That’s not fair! It makes some people feel bad. Gender must therefore be deconstructed. Little do they realize that, in tearing down the edifice of biological sex, they are destroying the very foundations of civilized society—marriage, family, child-rearing, the transmission of time-tested traditions. They don’t think that way, because they don’t think at all. They merely emote.

The solution, of course, is for colleges, universities, and even high schools to go back to teaching classical critical thinking skills: logic, reason, dispassionate observation, hypothesizing, experimentation. But that is probably not going to happen anytime soon.

Meanwhile, as a parent, you should look for private schools, at all levels, that do teach those skills—like Hillsdale College and New Saint Andrews College in Idaho. I’m sure there are others. You can also talk with your kids regularly about what they’re learning, do your best to counter the Marxist nonsense, and try to model effective critical thinking in both word and deed. You can also share books like Jordan Peterson’s12 Rules for Lifeand Scott Newstock’sHow to Think Like Shakespeare. Read them together and talk about them afterward.

Because, if there’s one upside to the fact that most young people can’t think, it is this: If your son or daughter does learn to think, there’s a good chance they’ll be running things one day, once this rudderless airplane that is deconstructionism finally careens into the mountainside of reality.

Rob Jenkins,

Motivating a Child is a Wise Investment

People often tell me that they don’t feel motivated to do something because they lack the conviction that they have a good reason to do it. In other words, that reason must be connected to one’s self-interest.

If your child needs something, you’re motivated to help because it serves your interest to help someone you love. Or, if your car has a flat tire, you’re motivated to fix it because you want to drive.

Motivation is a psychological concept that arrives in the form of an emotion. Since we are both mental and physical beings, motivation manifests itself physically as well. If a child is unmotivated in school, he’ll be unable to concentrate because he finds the material (or its presentation) uninteresting or unimportant. Correct or incorrect, conscious or subconscious, these are value judgments on the part of the child. Value judgments are also experienced in the form of emotions, and poor concentration can be a physical byproduct of those emotions. But that same child will leave school, go home and play a video game with an energy and focus that Einstein would envy. The child sees no tangible, self-interested reason to focus in school, but the video game provides interest and motivation with clearly defined goals.

The emotional state of students “diagnosed” with now-finally-being-debunked “attention deficit disorder” is, “Schooling is not important. What purpose does it serve?” It’s as if they’re depressed about what they encounter in the classroom. Most kids aren’t lazy. They’re often delighted to think and discuss, but many feel no incentive to do so in school. Good teachers tell me that the biggest challenge is to motivate a child to learn. Unfortunately, some teachers and schools mask their inability to teach and motivate behind wholesale diagnoses of “ADHD” and “ADD;” self-importantly recommending that the kids pop a few Ritalins to at least quiet them down.

The same applies to adults who are unchallenged by certain aspects of their workplace. But they go home and pursue hobbies or a side business with full vigor and enthusiasm.

Physical problems can sometimes hinder concentration. For example, some people ignore the effects of a cold and continue their work, while others just can’t get anything done when they’re sick. To some extent, the underlying motivation depends upon the nature of the work (e.g., do you interact with other people, or do you work in isolation on the computer?). Pre-existing circumstances also play a part: If it’s in your financial self-interest to meet a deadline, you’ll be less likely to be hampered by minor physical symptoms.

The best way to feel motivated is to live life directed by your rational self-interest. Rely on logic and facts, not gut feelings, unfounded beliefs, or pressure based upon tradition, society or other people. Challenge unearned guilt. Live the life you want to live, and ignore others’ attempts to intimidate you with, “Don’t be selfish!” or “Go along to get along!” These issues are deeply ingrained, but the more aggressively you address them, the more confident you’ll become.

With kids, point out how a particular activity (like learning) serves the child’s self-interest in both the long run (how school can lead to making money to buy things they like) and in the here-and-now (“If you want to go out and play, you must study first”). Parents should raise their children intellectually through informal home schooling, family reading time and regular discussions about real-life problems. TV should be limited to agreed-upon shows. Storytelling and imaginative games that require abstract thinking are infinitely better than passive reaction to mindless garbage on a TV screen.

Parents often tell me that they just don’t have the time for this. I ask them if they will have time to attend the teacher-parent meetings about their child’s purported “attention deficit disorder” (or whatever). Or if they’re ready to deal with changes in personality when the kids are loaded up on the latest pills for their “disorders.” Time spent on a child’s intellectual growth isn’t a matter of choice. It’s actually the best investment a parent can ever make.

Michael J. Hurd, Daily Dose of Reason

Separate School and State

For the life of me, I just cannot understand why so many Americans favor public (i.e., government) schooling. Everyone knows that government produces the worst of everything and that the free market produces the best of everything. So, why leave something as important as the education of one’s child in the hands of the government? 

It’s not a matter of whether public schoolteachers and administrators are dedicated, competent, and passionate about their work. It’s about a bad system. When you have a bad system and good teachers, the bad system is ultimately going to win out. 

It is impossible to measure the damage that is done to children’s minds in public schooling. Every child from birth to six years of age has an instinctive desire to learn. Children have a natural awe of the universe, looking around wide-eyed and absorbing everything they see or hear. 

That comes to a halt when children enter the public-schooling system. That’s because the system slowly but surely smashes it out of them. A natural desire to learn is replaced by a mindset of regimentation, obedience to orders and commands, and deference to authority. By the time children graduate high school, they hate school and can’t wait to get out. 

The state’s education system is really army-lite. The system is based on conscription, in that parents are forced to submit their children to it. Sure, some people can afford private schools, but oftentimes such schools are simply a privatized version of public schooling, especially since they have to maintain a state license to stay in existence. Homeschooling is an option for some parents but even they oftentimes have to get their teaching approved by state officials. Most parents default to the public-school system.

Some children manifest a natural revulsion against the system. State officials diagnose them with attention deficit disorder and prescribe drugs. Unfortunately, characterized by the deference to authority mindset that was inculcated in them by their public schools, many parents go along with this. The child becomes a drugged automaton who gradually gets his mind “straight.”

How can parents do this to their children? I find it totally befuddling. It’s got to be that they just don’t realize what is happening, That’s because they themselves are products of the system.

None of this should surprise anyone. Public schooling is one gigantic socialist system, and everyone knows the type of shoddy products and services that socialism produces. Like other socialist systems, the state centrally plans the education of hundreds, thousands, or millions of people. Central planning is a core feature of socialism. It produces what Ludwig von Mises called “planned chaos.” What better term to describe public schooling?

The textbooks, curriculum, and class schedule are selected by the government. The government determines when the bells are going to ring, signaling that it’s now time to change classes. Woe to the student who fails to comply.

Funding of public schooling is through the coercive apparatus of taxation. How good can a system be when people have to be forced to fund it? 

Genuine education is a seeking process. People become passionate about something and they devote their efforts to learning about it. In the process, they become exposed to other things. Public schooling, on the other hand, is a cramming and memorization process. Students quickly learn that what matters are grades, not learning. 

In a free-market educational system, entrepreneurs would be competing against each other to provide the best educational vehicles for children. Parents would have an array of constantly improving educational products and services from which to choose. Parents would be free to treat each child as a unique individual and tailor his education accordingly. 

A free, independent-thinking, and educated society necessarily depends on the separation of school and state, just as our ancestors separated church and state. A free-market educational system would be the best thing that could ever happen to us.

This post was written by: Jacob G. Hornberger

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at and from Full Context. Send him email.

The University Dilemma

American universities have become completely leftist in outlook, something that is depriving students of both knowledge and wisdom. Moreover, they intend to stay that way, as demonstrated by a single question they ask applicants seeking teaching positions, a question that will stop the process dead in its tracks when the applicant is a conservative.

In 2006, I moved to Europe to become a university lecturer. I was one of three co-founders and the chair of the art department at a school for game developers in the Netherlands. In that role, I hired and supervised our teachers, developed the curriculum, helped promote the school publicly, and most importantly, taught a lot of classes (computer graphics, anatomy, and research writing, among others).

My first rule was “never lie to the students.” This rule had four practical components:

(1) The curriculum had to be practical in the context of helping the students become working professionals.

(2) Teachers would never pretend to know something they didn’t.

(3) Teachers would grade without bias (positive or negative).

(4) Any failures or omissions would be corrected as soon as they were discovered.

The school did well. We quickly earned many awards, international recognition, and our graduates went on to work in good positions at prominent companies around the world.

Alongside my teaching duties, I earned a Ph.D. in Education at King’s College, London. Shortly after the viva (i.e., oral) exam for my doctorate, my wife prevailed upon me to return to the United States so that she could care for her elderly mother. With Ph.D. in hand and twelve years of teaching experience at a successful academy I co-founded, I assumed it would be an easy matter to secure another teaching position in America. However, I am a conservative, and that changes things considerably.

It is difficult to understate how important a university education is, not only for the knowledge and skills it can impart but for the danger it presents if that education is corrupted. Corruption can take many forms, but the most prevalent danger today is socialism. Citizens of socialist countries have all suffered from their education systems’ malevolent embrace of curricula designed to indoctrinate their subjects rather than educate them.

Why go to the trouble and expense of imprisoning your labor-ready workforce in re-education camps when you can get what you want by indoctrinating them as children instead? Doing so avoids the negative image associated with torturing your own citizens, and the “education” takes place before your citizens’ peak labor years arrive. It is a win-win situation for leaders who see their people as slave labor. Unfortunately, leftist Americans in academia have learned from this example and created similar education systems here.

The message I recall from my early school years in the 1970s was that science has proven atheism superior to any form of theistic belief. At the time, anti-American messages had only just begun and were primitive in form. The Vietnam War was a terrible mistake, I was told, but America was good before that.

One thing I didn’t notice was that by taking God out of the equation and substituting “science” in His place, every subject could be rewritten so long as a “scientific” argument could be made to support it. The good news for communists is that there is always enough disagreement among academics to find something that served their ends.

Today, schools at all levels have been saturated with socialist, atheist, and anti-scientific ideas. The entire Caucasian race, according to Critical Race Theory, is somehow guilty of racism. According to the 1619 Project, America is founded on slavery. Boys can be girls, girls can be boys, and boys can compete against girls in sports without undermining women’s rights, all thanks to the LGBTQ agenda. There are no shortages of strange examples.

The unproven Theory of Evolution, despite its scientific underpinnings being open to challenge, is taught as fact. Abortion is described as a trivial “women’s health” issue. Casual sex is encouraged but reproduction is not. The failed doctrines of communism and fascism are used to encourage criminal behavior among students in the name of the oxymoronic “peaceful protest.” America’s university environment in 2021 is unrecognizable to people from my generation and earlier, who will remember at least some efforts to educate rather than indoctrinate.

This was the environment I encountered when I started looking for a university position in New York. I wish I could give a detailed report about the many ways conservative teachers are kept out of universities but I actually never went through the whole process. Instead, the schools to which I planned to apply managed to stop my applications before I finished writing them.

After filling in basic personal information, each school had a simple but elegant “no conservatives allowed” message. The details of the messages varied from school to school but they all amounted to the same thing: a loyalty pledge to the LGBTQ movement. Applicants were required either to write a statement attesting to their support of the LGBTQ agenda or sign a similar statement loaded with legal language that the university provided.

The document is a trap for conservatives. Once signed, it gives universities an easy method to fire anyone who transgresses, even unintentionally.

In the Netherlands, shortly before I resigned to return to America, one of the teachers mentioned to me and another teacher that he had just received a directive that we had to refer to students with pronouns that matched their preferences. Within thirty minutes, I saw him refer to a boy in a dress as “he” twice, and then hurriedly “correct” himself to saying “her.” If a person who wants to follow the policy can make that mistake, imagine how difficult it would be for someone who objects.

What schools have accomplished with this simple tactic is to remove many conservatives from consideration for teaching jobs. Why should conservatives apply for a job they are unlikely to secure and from which they’re highly likely to be fired once their beliefs are known? Instead, they find some other way to make a living.

It is a shame because the students of America deserve better. However, the teachers of America deserve better protection before they can safely endeavor to correct the course of American education.

Andrew Paquette, American Thinker

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Is Social Justice Contaminating Montessori Education ?

Unfortunately, some Montessori organizations are caving in to the social justice movement.[1]  Two major Montessori organizations, Association Montessori International/USA (AMI/USA) and the American Montessori Society (AMS) have supported or sponsored conferences that featured workshops or lectures on understanding structural racism, diversity, anti-bias, LGBT students, and much more.  These conferences were put on by an organization called Montessori for Social Justice.  The website for the AMI/USA conference in 2018 states that Montessori for Social Justice is “dedicated to promoting anti-bias, anti-racist Montessori education.  They bring together Montessorians of all trainings to work towards educational equity and the success of all children.” Another Montessori organization, the Montessori Foundation, has formed a task force to address and act on several issues such as eradicating prejudices, establishing a social justice curriculum, and so on.

Well, this is news to me.  I had no idea that Montessori is a biased, racist educational system or that it isn’t for the success of all children.  I frequently get emails that mention ending systemic and internal racism.  Americans, but especially Montessorians, as educators, should recognize that the answer to ending racism is right under their noses.  Here is the explanation.

Racism claims that a person is determined by physical factors out of his control, such as skin color.  It holds that a person’s values and the content of his mind are either determined before birth or are controlled by his social group.  Racism is deterministic; it does not accept free will.  It does not recognize any ability of a person to think for himself, come to his own conclusions, and form his own character.  Racism is the lowest, crudest, and most evil form of judging and relating to others.

The antidote to racism is individualism.  Individualism is the moral stance that recognizes the moral worth of the individual.  It holds that each person develops his own character by the thinking of his own mind, not by the color of his skin or other irrelevant factors.

What can be done to end racism?  The United States has already done a massive amount to end racism, as it was founded on the principle of individual rights.  It was the first country created that recognized individual rights — that each individual has a right to pursue happiness as long as the rights of others are respected.  Yes, slavery existed in 1776, but slavery was not unique to this country.  It was worldwide at the time and, indeed, is still found in parts of the world today.  But it was the idea in the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal that led to the Civil War and ended slavery in this country.  After that, because people were allowed to associate with each other freely, it took time (as it always does), but they eventually discovered that skin color does not determine the character of a person.  This change in attitude is why this country elected a black president twice.  It is why we have a Supreme Court justice who is black.  It is why Oprah Winfrey, a black woman, is one of the richest persons in the country.  It is why we have had entertainers like Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis, and the Supremes.  It is why we have popular commentators, like Thomas Sowell, who are admired by people of all races.  And so on.

It’s decidedly instrumental in influencing children’s attitudes toward racism.  Education needs to center on developing the child as an individual.  When the child is viewed as an individual, is treated as an individual, and educated as an individual, children end up viewing each other as individuals rather than as members of certain races.  Racism ignores the fact that humans have a rational faculty.  Racism invalidates reason and choice and replaces them (as Ayn Rand said) with “chemical predestination.” 

The Montessori Method does not ignore the rational faculty.  In fact, the entire method was developed to assist the child in creating a clear, reasoning mind based on the facts of reality.  Furthermore, Maria Montessori did not think human beings are determined.  There is no doubt that she thought humans have a free will.  “Free choice is one of the highest of all mental processes.”[2]  “A child chooses what helps him to construct himself.”[3]  Based on this view of human nature, Montessori students are held responsible for their own behavior and are treated as individuals.  Since individualism is the guiding principle in Montessori, the children judge each other based on behavior and attitude rather than race.  The overall result in the children is a benevolent attitude toward their classmates.  They accept each other as individuals, each with his own personality, each with his own strengths and weaknesses.  Individualism is the norm, and they learn to value others’ differences.  Montessori education is not racist.

Eradicating racism was inspired by the Declaration of Independence.  It has been done anywhere where people judge each other as individuals with their own minds and treat each other accordingly.  It has been done in Montessori classrooms, where the child is treated as a distinct person with a free will.  There is no point in being a Montessori educator unless Maria Montessori’s principles are adhered to and supported explicitly.  Instead of workshops on social justice topics, Montessori organizations should feature seminars on the value and role of the individual in eliminating racism, and should glorify and celebrate the fact that the Montessori Method is based on individualism.

[1]  However, not every Montessori school or teacher supports the social justice movement. If you are considering sending your child to a Montessori school, investigate its position carefully.

[2] Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, (New York: Dell Publishing, 1967), p. 271.

[3] Id., p .223.

Image: jarmoluk via PixabayPixabay License.

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