Banning ideas in school is not enough, parents must be active citizens

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The Florida Board of Education recently voted unanimously to ban critical race theory in public schools, in an effort to prevent biased narratives that could allow teachers with political goals to “”[teach] children to hate their country, ”according to Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantis Florida Governor, Trump Playbook Follower, CDC Cannot Regulate Cruises: Former Florida Governor Judge Calls for Investigation of State’s “Inordinate Role” in Riot of 6 January MORE. This effort, while well-intentioned, is not enough.

Make no mistake, I find Critical Race Theory insidious. I don’t want my kids to learn a divisive framework that rejects merit and forces them to focus on racial differences. Rather than inspiring students to pursue the American dream, it leads them to believe that America was and is a nightmare.

Fortunately, many parents do not buy into the theory. In Loudoun County, Va., Parents launched a recall effort in March against school board members for making program changes during the COVID-19 pandemic while approval protocols were pending. (The district has denied using critical race theory in its curriculum and the training of its employees.)

Parents and students in a suburb of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania compete for diversity and equity education. Some parents believe that inclusion training is linked to the idea that white supremacy influences American society and institutions, but the chairman of the North Allegheny Schools Board of Trustees has said such training is taking place. directed to “a specific group of faculty and the board” to deliver “consistent messages” – which appears to be a way of trying to control dissent among faculty and administrators.

The Oregon Department of Education pushed teachers to take so-called “ethnomathematics” training to learn how white supremacy “infiltrates math classrooms” by forcing students to focus on getting correct answer and asking them to show their work. In “fair math,” supporters say, there is no right or wrong – they see objectivity as a tool of racism. Try to explain this to an engineer or an architect.

The purpose of sending children to school is to teach them how to think, not just what to think, to prepare them to become engaged citizens who advance a free and civil society. Yet today’s progressive activists seem to want schools to be little more than indoctrination camps, and they want school administrations to urge our children to engage in leftist narratives as early as possible.

Even so, the outright ban on critical race theory at the state level – as Florida and others on the right have suggested – is not the answer many. conservatives hope. This is probably legal, it can reassure supporters of a ban, and it can slow the spread of progressive ideals in schools for a while, but we need to do more. What makes America exceptional is our ability to maintain our way of life, our republic, by speaking freely to each other. The simple act of banning certain ideas ironically subscribes to the belief that government solves our problems for us, and it runs the risk of individuals and communities becoming complacent.

Instead, we need those who still believe in America to leave the internet and get involved in their communities. Run for school boards and pay attention to what schools teach children. Fight for local and state laws that place educational power in the hands of parents, rather than bureaucrats and teachers’ unions. Make sure that the tax money goes with students to the public or private schools that best represent your values ​​and the educational needs of your children.

In Pennsylvania, the power of these solutions is illustrated.

Frustrated that her school district closed schools during the pandemic, listened only to the teachers’ union, and implemented policies contrary to her values, Clarice Schillinger created a political action committee with other parents in the county. by Montgomery. Their Keep the Kids in School PAC supported 91 candidates for the Southeastern Pennsylvania school board, and 86 of them won the May primary election.

Meanwhile, Harrisburg lawmakers are introducing a bill, Excellence in Education for All, that would expand access to school choice options, such as tax credit scholarships. If enacted, the bill will give parents the ability to choose where their children go to school and, therefore, what they might learn.

For America to remain a free country, the power to defend our society and improve the education of our children must be in our hands, not the politicians. By choosing to be active citizens and parents in our local communities, we would not need the government to solve our problems for us.

Jennifer Stefano is vice president and chief strategist of the Commonwealth Foundation, Pennsylvania’s free market think tank. Follow her on Twitter @JenniferStefano.



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