Education vs Indoctrination
by Bridget Geegan Blanton
Back in 1992, the California Teachers Association (CTA) waged an all out war to prevent a school choice initiative from ever reaching the ballot. Among the radical measures employed by the CTA to sabotage the initiative, were tactics to front load petitions with fake names, as well as pay off a signature-collecting group to refuse the account.
There is nothing that brings education bureaucrats to the point of anger and extremism like the issue of school choice. To this day, these uncompromising bureaucrats willingly sacrifice quality as long as they can maintain control. Meanwhile, our school system is susceptible to influence from special interest groups yet remains completely unresponsive to taxpayers.
Essentially, it is the bureaucratic, centralized nature of the education system that has created the crisis in education. Sadly, it is most difficult for the poor to escape a miserably performing, government-controlled school. Yet, that tired, old mantra “for the children” is chanted incessantly by bureaucrats and politicians propped up by cash from unions and special interest groups. Solutions designed to improve educational opportunities that would grant real educational choice for all are dismissed without discussion.
Secular Progressive curriculum mandates are designed to satisfy big money special interest groups all at the expense of reading, writing and mathematical skills. Consider SB 1322, a bill authored by Democrat State Senator Alan Lowenthal and advanced by fellow socialists in the California legislature.
This latest manifestation of school-based indoctrination will ease the way for communism to be taught in a favorable light by deleting all those pesky provisions and laws that prohibit teachers from instructing students with the intent to indoctrinate. After all, it’s the politically correct thing to do…and legal, if this bill passes, to brainwash the impressionable minds of young students with propaganda. Never mind that more and more college freshman end up in remedial reading, writing and math classes. In the state controlled education system, indoctrination always trumps education.
And you wonder why hundreds of thousands of Californians want to home school their children? In light of the hostile attempt by secular progressives to eliminate this educational choice, one is forced to wonder if this attack is a result of the combination of political power from progressives and the teachers union, because both have much to gain by it. The opinion issued by the California Court of Appeal finding no legal right of parents without teaching credentials to home school their children, is a transparent attempt to push an activist agenda.
Of course, we all know that possessing teaching credentials does not guarantee that a person is any good at teaching. The fact that home-schooled kids routinely outperform kids condemned to the public school system has no merit with this activist court although it probably annoys them. The reasoning behind this mandate is statist in nature and socialist in origin. In other words, it’s all about holding onto power and control.
Like any socialist-style, big government program, the education monopoly in America is overtly bureaucratic, wasteful, over-staffed at the top, unresponsive to public demand and in midst of its collapsing infrastructure, is demanding more money while resisting reform.
It doesn’t seem to matter, that very little, actual learning is happening. As a result of a study of Chicago schools, ‘Chicago Tribune’ staff writer, Bonita Brodt came to the conclusion that inner city schools were “an institutionalized case of child neglect.” Brodt went on to say that she “saw how the racial politics of a city, the misplaced priorities of a centralized school bureaucracy, and the vested interests of a powerful teachers union had all somehow taken precedence over the needs of the very children the schools are supposed to serve.”
In consideration of the successful effort employed by the CTA to sabotage school choice in California, let’s take a look at what is fueling the fear behind their actions. They fear the loss of their self-ascribed mandate to inculcate propaganda along with the loss of their taxpayer-supported, monopolistic mega-bureaucracy. They are fully aware that present educational practices are creating a permanent underclass in our society, just as they are fully aware that school choice would provide educational opportunities unavailable in the government-controlled, school system.
Our schools have become laboratories for social engineering at the hands of the secular progressives. Concerned parents are dissatisfied with what is happening in public schools and deserve real educational choice. That choice is actually a solution in the form of educational vouchers first promoted by Economist and Nobel Laureate, Milton Friedman. In addition to the voucher, there is the education tax credit solution. Both formats offer hope to parents who want a better education for their child.
Nationwide studies have been conducted on the average cost of private school and the national average hovers between $2500 to $3000. Now, the opposition voices from deep within the education monopoly cry that school vouchers would siphon off money from public schools. A lame argument for two reasons, the first being that the national average spent per student is right around $7000 where as the cost of the voucher is $3000. The second argument centers on the issue of tax credits. In response to socialists refusing to part with a single, soon-to-be-squandered, taxpayer dollar, an education tax credit system was designed. A student could receive a scholarship valued at $3000 from a business or individual who would then claim it as a ‘tax credit’.
It is imperative to remember that as we fight for educational choice, we must resist bargaining away the independence of private schools in the process. Secular Progressives who know nothing about accountability will try and use that as a bargaining chip to get their tainted policies in the door. Private schools are already accountable. A consumer can walk away from a private school at any time; unlike kids doomed to a miserable inner city school. As for home-schooled kids, their accountability is reflected in their test scores.
A free market solution would provide a remedy to our education crisis. In response to consumer demand, entrepreneurs would open schools that provide a challenging curriculum, true academic standards and a disciplined environment. It is an absolute crime that parents whose kids are stuck in crime-ridden, drug-laden schools aren’t given the key to a better future by way of school choice because Democrats, unions and fringe special interest groups have too much at stake in the current, ineffective system. Parents must take the lead. Contact your representatives at the local, state and federal levels and demand educational choice! No child deserves to be left behind in a failing, government-controlled school.
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Whispers on the Wind
by Bridget Geegan Blanton