The Future of Education in the Midst of Election Uncertainty & COVID-19
To say that our education system has been in chaos during the year 2020 is an understatement. As of November, most students are learning remotely if at all, and an ever-changing status is commonplace for those who are in the classroom. But while the COVID-19 pandemic has cast a long and troubling shadow over education, it pales in comparison to what we face if Democrat Joe Biden assumes the presidency in January.
Under the Trump Administration, the future of education seemed at last to be showing promise for parents who want more choices for their children and more control over their education tax dollars. As a candidate, the president made a great many promises to the American people that he kept. Regarding education, he focused primarily on his belief in local control, with less power and fewer education dollars at the Federal level. Through his Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the president made good on his promise to scale back the Department of Education by making budget cuts and instituting a hiring freeze.
Another education promise Trump made (and kept) was to boost funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which he did to the tune of 13 percent during his first few months in office. Predictably, the president was demonized and castigated by the liberal establishment and the teachers unions for cutting the education budget, and he received no credit from these same groups for his aid to black colleges. Fortunately, it was not lost on the many African-American citizens who took note and supported the president’s re-election bid.
But President Trump and Secretary DeVos did not stop there. The many education initiatives they have put in place and/or supported over the past four years include:
- Applying the brakes to the disastrous Common Core program by supporting the Every Student Succeeds Act (although CC still exists in many places under different names).
- Creating awareness among state education officials about the extent of China’s propagandist influence in U.S. education.
- Advancing efforts to expand school choice through scholarship programs and tax credits that redirect education dollars to schools chosen by parents. This has actually happened in some states.
- Reforming the tax code so parents can use tax-preferred savings accounts for K-12 education expenses.
- Urging Congress to end education earmarks in the Federal budget by consolidating nearly all Federal K-12 programs into one block grant with fewer Federal strings attached.
- Supporting existing charter schools and the creation of new charter schools, especially in lower-income neighborhoods.
- Expanding religious freedom in schools and universities so students on campus can organize their faith-based clubs as they see fit.
Additionally, the Trump administration has supported the reopening of schools to all students with both in-class and distance learning options despite the pandemic. The only caveat is that parents rather than government should make the determination of whether children attend classes remotely or in person.
Teachers Supporting a Biden Presidency
Many public school teachers are reportedly cheering what they have been told by mainstream media is a Biden win in the November 3rd presidential election. Words like “ecstatic” and “overjoyed” have been used in media accounts of teachers celebrating around the country. Teachers allegedly are thrilled because Jill Biden is an NEA member, and the union leadership worked tirelessly on her husband’s behalf as they have for decades on behalf of every Democrat presidential candidate. A November 14 article in the Philadelphia Inquirer quoted the New Jersey Education Association President as saying that the election of Joe Biden “is going to be a world of difference.” And indeed it will, but not in ways many already disillusioned parents might wish.
As with nearly all other aspects of the Trump presidency, the complicit media assisted the Democrats by misstating the administration’s positions on education, and Secretary DeVos was relentlessly attacked. She was, for example, accused of favoring less Federal involvement in “enforcing civil rights issues in classrooms.” What she (and her boss) actually wanted, however, was less Federal involvement in the classroom and more power transferred back to the states with all its inherent responsibilities, including the fair resolution of civil rights issues at the local level.
The Trump Education Department was further accused of “hampering efforts” to deal with COVID-19, even while school districts were receiving millions of Federal dollars for virus-related protective equipment. Philadelphia School District Superintendent William R. Hite Jr., reportedly a candidate for Education Secretary under a Biden administration, told the Inquirer: “I feel like there will be a renewed energy to ensure that districts … have the necessary resources and guidance in order to not just navigate through the pandemic but come out on the other side with the structures and supports to get children back on track.” In other words, the teachers unions advocated for schools to remain closed despite safety measures that were in place or readily available in order to influence the election for Joe Biden.
Education Under a Biden Presidency: Money, Money, Money
During his campaign, Biden promised to triple spending for the Title 1 Federal program that funds schools with mostly low-income students, which means pouring more dollars into failing schools rather than providing education options to parents, such as scholarships or vouchers for enrolling their children in private schools. Biden also wants to increase teacher salaries and help teachers pay off their student loans, while failing to give vouchers a second glance. As Jennifer Stefano, vice president of the Commonwealth Foundation based in Harrisburg, PA, commented in the Inquirer: “I’m very bullish on school-choice initiatives,” but conceded there won’t be any Federal support from a Biden White House. “Sadly,” she admitted, “I fear President-elect Biden will take his cues from the teachers’ unions.”
The Biden campaign further pledged to “start investing in our children at birth,” a euphemism for cradle-to-grave government meddling. This “investing” would include expanded home visitation; i.e. spying on parents in their own homes to discover such things as whether they own guns or eat too much junk food.
Even more troubling is Biden’s plan to “double the number of psychologists, counselors, nurses, social workers, and other health professionals in the schools,” claiming that “one in five U.S. children experience mental health problems.” But parents who don’t want their child’s normal growth patterns, idiosyncrasies, and emotional maturation progress to be dissected and analyzed at every turn by “experts” without religious or moral context may not find this campaign pledge reassuring. It also presupposes that decisions will be made about students’ “gender preferences,” with “experts” ever at the ready to affirm a child’s whim when it agrees with their political agenda.
Biden also wants to “defeat the National Rifle Association in order to make schools safer.” While schools must take every precaution to keep students safe, the real goal here is to advance legislation that will impose gun control on law-abiding citizens.
Teachers Union Influence
The teachers unions are thinly disguised political entities who will undoubtedly grab more power under a Biden administration, and will likely have a green light for their ever more radical agenda. That they are foes of homeschooling and private schools is well known – they want to outlaw homeschooling and shutter private and religious schools. But charter schools are also now in their crosshairs.
Last August, the Education Intelligence Agency reported that teachers unions in California, which have enormous influence on the state’s budget, managed to limit funding to charter schools. California’s charter schools have been increasing their enrollment while public school enrollment has decreased. The unions don’t like charter schools, probably because some charters actually include a more robust curriculum that focuses on genuine learning rather than leftwing indoctrination and sex education.
Shortly before the election, a top Biden aide gave the Education Writers Association a lengthy overview of the candidate’s positions on education. The hour-long webinar contained, among other bad news, a warning shot that every charter school administrator and parent should take seriously: “As President,” the aide explained, “Biden will ban for-profit charter schools from receiving federal funding because he just fundamentally believes that if they aren’t doing right by their students, no one should be getting rich by taking advantage of our kids. He will also, for nonprofit charters, make sure that we stop funding for charter schools that don’t provide results. Biden believes we shouldn’t be wasting the scarce resources that our public schools need so badly. And we’ll require every charter school, including online schools, to be authorized and held accountable by democratically-elected bodies like school boards and also held to the same standards of transparency and accountability as all public schools.” Fat chance any charter school will be able to successfully run such a gauntlet, and in any case, should expect that the deck will be stacked against them.
Despite mainstream media proclamations, the election has not been certified, and Joe Biden is not officially the president-elect. There are overwhelming indications of fraud in all the contested states. As the well-known saying goes: “It’s not over til it’s over.”
Top 100 Trump Promises Made, Promises Kept, 2020 https://www.bookdepository.com/publishers/Skellig-America; The Philadelphia Inquirer, 11-14-20; Education Writers Association (ewa), 11-9-20; The Biden Plan for Educators, Students, and Our Future, 2019
Top-10 library book indoctrinates elementary school students in Iowa about racial injustice.
Children in the West Dubuque School District are reading a book titled Something Happened In Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice. The story is about an unarmed black man who was shot by a white policeman. A family of white children in the story are told by their parents that the shooting “was a mistake” and that the police “thought he had a gun.” But an older sibling knowingly declares: “It wasn’t a mistake. The cops shot him because he was black.” Perhaps predictably, the story turns to slavery, andmakes the point that while slavery ended, discrimination continues. The “wise” child adds that “some White [sic] people still think most Black [sic] men and boys are dangerous, even though they’re not.” When the conversation turns back to the shooting, the mother contends that although the man was shot by mistake, “it was a mistake that is part of a pattern.” She explains that the pattern is that cops are “nice to White people and mean to Black people.” Then the father declares that the white policeman who shot the black man will not go to jail. A black child in the story’s second family says that “Cops stick up for each other. And they don’t like Black men.” His younger sibling makes the point that some cops are black, but their father responds that “you can’t always count on them to do what’s right.” The father adds that the police “probably wouldn’t have even stopped the car” if the occupants had been white. Iowa parents are wondering how this type of divisive story will benefit their children or race relations. A larger fear is how soon other public school districts will put Something Happened on their library’s “Top-10 Books to Read” list. The Iowa Standard.com, 9-16-20 Top-10 Book to Read in Iowa Elementary School
The Washington, D.C. City Council wants children as young as 11 to be vaccinated without parental consent.
The council voted 12-1 in October to approve the “Minor Consent for Vaccinations Amendment Act,” which permits physicians to provide vaccines to children they deem “capable of meeting the informed consent standard” without their parents’ knowledge. The justification for the measure is measles, which has spiked in the U.S. despite its supposed eradication 20 years ago. But the measure doesn’t only include the measles vaccine. According to Business Insider, children could be given the HPV vaccine, “even if their parents object to it for religious reasons.” Quoted in the Washington Post on October 20, D.C. Council member and the bill’s sponsor, Mary Cheh, said “A child needs to be protected against the dangers of things like measles, other diseases that cause death, and the community needs to be protected so that diseases that were once thought to be eliminated are not coming back.” Council Member Trayon White was the only member to vote against the bill, affirming the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children. “Medical professionals and schools should not be permitted to coerce impressionable minors into procedures capable of causing injury or death behind their parents’ back,” White said. He emphasized that he is not against vaccines, but that it is “an issue of the council voting to circumvent the inclusion of a parent making a decision about their child.” Most parents would doubtless agree, since the new bill not only infringes on their rights but presumes that 11-year-olds are capable of making their own healthcare decisions. As this email is being finalized, the bill was approved a second time and is expected to be signed into law by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. Punching Bag Post, 11-9-20; Business Insider, 10-21-20; Washington Post, 10-20-20
Classic Books for Young Children
Joy Pullmann, Second Edition (ebook), Encounter Books, 2020
Classic Books For Young Children
Joy Pullmann has compiled a helpful list of books for parents of young children, which is available for $5.99 as an ebook or a PDF file. Pullmann’s list is valuable in that the author has waded through the many lists of children’s books currently available and made selections based on both literary and illustrative quality. She also provides a brief overview of each book so that parents can discern if the content is right for their child prior to purchase. Her list contains both newer releases and more vintage classics.
Pullmann divides her list into categories such as Music and Rhyme, Faith, Poetry, Folk Tales, Classics, Early Readers, History, and a section for older children. She includes symbols with some of the titles, to indicate books that are especially good for boys, especially good for girls, brief for short attention spans, good for home library, etc.
In years past, Education Reporter has published lists of good books for children of all ages to read. In 1988, we published then-U.S. Secretary of Education, William J. Bennett’s Reading List. (See Education Reporter, September 1988, p.4 Education Reporter. Then in 1995, Phyllis Schlafly published her own list of books for children titled A Child’s Reading List. (See Education Reporter, September 1995, p.4 Education Reporter. In 1997, Phyllis published The Ultimate Reading List: Classics That Endure which, as the title indicates, was an extensive list of the great classics of Western Civilization. (See Education Reporter, June 1997 Ultimate Reading List. All these lists were published in response to the increasingly inappropriate subject matter of the many “children’s” books being assigned in public schools and available in libraries and book stores. Then as now, co-called “children’s” books often tackle subjects including witchcraft, divorce, drug use, suicide, rape, and other gloomy, morally bankrupt subject matter.
Classic Books for Young Children provides a handy reference guide for parents, grandparents, homeschooling families, and anyone interested in good reading material for the children in their lives.
9 Ways That Socialism Will Morally Bankrupt America
The Heritage Foundation, 2019
The Heritage Foundation has created a brief but compelling overview of socialism as it is being marketed to our nation’s youth in our schools and universities, as well as by members of our government, including Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and others. In nine concise arguments with colorful graphics that help bring the text to life, this 15-page booklet explains why socialism doesn’t work. Included is a photo that glaringly depicts socialism’s frightening reality.
The narrative begins with the typical utopian description of socialism used by those who support it: “Socialism is a society whose top priority is meeting all of its people’s needs—ranging from food, shelter, and health care to art, culture, and companionship.” It quotes Bernie Sanders, who claims “socialism means that we must create an economy that works for all, not just the very wealthy,” as if our Capitalist economy has not created a large middle class of Americans, including the senator himself, who enjoy a quality of life that is the envy of the world. But socialists falsely depict capitalism to our youth as nothing more than a system of greed, exploitation and unsustainability, painting anyone who supports free enterprise as “selfish, isolated, and uncaring.” When young people are presented with only those two choices, it’s no wonder most say they prefer socialism.
After noting the pro-socialist arguments, 9 Ways proceeds to dismantle them and expose the ugly truth. The booklet points out that “[T]here is nothing kind or selfless about socialism. It doesn’t promote community, prosperity, or justice. It destroys them.” The writers then list nine major points about socialism, explaining each one briefly but clearly in easy-to-understand language. These nine points include:
- Socialism directly opposes the American Dream.
- Politicians in power make your most important decisions for you.
- Freedom of choice is severely limited or eliminated.
- All under socialism will suffer equally.
- If everyone owns the resources, nobody truly owns them.
- “Robbing Peter to pay Paul” is morally wrong.
- Power is consolidated within the government.
- Socialism creates dissent and stifles freedom of speech.
- Socialism creates dependence instead of freedom.
This booklet is a particularly helpful tool for educating high school and college students who may favor socialism as a result of exposure to biased teachers, professors, and textbooks, but could be equally valuable for anyone with an unrealistic view of socialism. Its value is that it provides a meaningful overview that is also fast and easy to read. A printable eBook is available from the Heritage Foundation: 9 Ways Socialism Will Morally Bankrupt America.