Friday, July 31, 2020

Is the tyranny of public education about to end?



Parents across the country are coming to grips with what the upcoming school year will be like for their children. Will schools be open? Closed? Will children have to wear masks? Will classes be staggered? Will distance learning be the only option?

Questions questions questions.

Whatever your views on public education – and mine are unspeakably dim – the fact remains parents need answers and children need structure.

The vast majority of school districts are wrestling with coronavirus mandates and social distancing requirements. The health of the students, teachers, administrators and parents must all be factored in.

But not everyone cares about students. I refer specifically to the Los Angeles Teachers Union, which is engaged in nothing short of extortion.

Not the teachers, mind you; the unions. It often appears teachers are unaware of what their union representatives are doing on their behalf.

A July 14 article entitled "Los Angeles Teachers Union says public schools should not reopen unless their demands are met" notes: "The Los Angeles Teacher's Union is one of the largest in the state, and the United Teachers Los Angeles say public schools should not reopen unless their demands are met. Their demands include implementing a moratorium on private schools, defunding the police, increasing taxes on the wealthy, implementing Medicare for all, and passing the HEROES Act, which allocated and additional $116 billion in federal education funding to the states. The union's demands also took aim at charter schools. The United Teachers Los Angeles union says these policies must be implemented on both the state and national level before reopening schools." [Emphasis added.]

Did you hear that, folks? The biggest school district in California is holding parents and students hostage until their insane leftist demands are met on the national level.

Understand, these demands have nothing whatever to do with health considerations. Other school districts refusing to reopen at least use COVID-19 as an excuse. But in Los Angeles? Nope. They're blatant about their political agenda.

And who is hurt the most by these demands? Low-income families and working parents, of course. "Ironically, public schools have essentially ditched lower-income families almost completely even though school district bureaucrats have long based the political legitimacy of public schools on the idea that they are an essential resource for low-income students," notes Ryan McMaken at the Mises Institute.

"The union, like city councils that are defunding police, are taking a political stance that will hurt millions of Americans," observes Bryan Preston with PJ Media. "The union's actions amount to an illegal strike, and they should be fired and the union forced to disband. But no Democrat politician in California dares take them on. The teachers union is the most powerful lobby in the formerly Golden State. Democrats own California, and the teachers union owns the Democrats."

During the nationwide school shutdowns last spring, parents saw firsthand the kind of "education" their kids are getting. Many were horrified at the blatant indoctrination being pushed on their kids. Others, looking ahead, don't want their children to have to submit to the dystopian safety guidelines issues by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and which are being implemented in many schools. And some parents are simply revolted by the extortion demands by the unions.

So parents all over the country, being resourceful, are addressing the educational needs of their children in a wide variety of ways, all exciting.

Many parents will opt to homeschool. In fact, interest in homeschooling has exploded. In North Carolina alone, so many parents were withdrawing their children from the system to homeschool that the government website crashed.

Some parents are "microschooling," a home-based option in which several families share the responsibilities of teaching their multi-aged children.

Some parents are banding into "pods" and pooling their resources to hire a teacher. It's the modern-day version of a one-room school house, with complete parental control over the curricula.

To the absolute horror of educational unions, parents are being championed in the highest quarters as President Trump pushes school choice solutions by – get this – attaching funding to the parents, not the schools. "If schools do not reopen, the funding should go to parents to send their child to public, private, charter, religious or home school of their choice – the key word being choice," said the president.

"The best way out of this mess: fund students, not the education bureaucracy," wrote Larry Sand in American Greatness. "If a school district or the state decides not to hold classes, parents should be able to use education dollars to pay for their child's education elsewhere."

This is HUGE, folks. Just huge – and long overdue. It's not exactly defunding public education (yet), but it's a start. It's also a blow to the unmitigated arrogance of the teachers' unions.

(Remember the list of demands by the United Teachers Los Angeles, which includes a moratorium on private schools and charter schools. All teachers' unions are violently opposed to parental control of their children's educational choices.)

School choice is supported by 75 percent of Republicans and 59 percent of Democrats. Those are enormous numbers, but "while some on the left have been coming around to parental choice, teacher unions and their camp followers aren't budging." What a surprise.

Attaching funding to the child, not the school, would shatter the government monopoly and encourage schools to compete for students. It would break the groupthink one-size-fits-all stranglehold of the viciously hostile teachers' unions. At a stroke, it would go a long way toward curing the majority of educational problems in our nation.

"If people got to choose their kids' school, education options would be endless," writes John Stossel in his excellent book "Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity." "There could soon be technology schools, cheap Walmart-like schools, virtual schools where you learn at home on your computer, sports schools, music schools, schools that go all year, schools with uniforms, schools that open early and keep kids later, and, who knows? If there were competition all kind of new ideas would bloom."

But until that happens, parents are at last seizing the opportunity to take back the education of their children. In short, there may be a very powerful silver lining to this nationwide disruption: More children will be freed from the tyranny of public education. It's about time.

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