A recent viral video from the YouTube channel Fleccas Talks showed several man-on-the-street interviews testing young people in New York City on their knowledge of basic facts. Some of the questions focused on American history and civics, while others were simple, numerical-based ones. The results were depressing, as the following samples demonstrate:Read More
At its founding, American K-12 public education was meant to prepare young people to be active participants in our democratic republic. That should still be its highest purpose, especially when it comes to teaching civics.
Historically, public schools held fast to the principle that effective education must be non-partisan. Knowing they had great power to influence young minds, teachers used to be careful to choose content and pedagogies that restricted their ability to impose their personal political views on schoolchildren.
Today, maintaining non-partisanship is more important than ever in classrooms. Sadly, it’s increasingly dishonored. Civics has become a hot-button issue of late, particularly after remote learning allowed more parents to see what their children were actually being taught. Many were not happy with what they saw, and the debate over civics education is symptomatic of the larger divide that has become such a looming threat to American society.Read More
Sometimes we need time to pass and distance to extend to gain fuller perspective on what we did not see contemporaneously from too close. Indeed, G-d tells Moses that no person can see His face (which I teach as meaning an up-close encounter) and live, but people can see the back of G-d’s head (which I teach as meaning a more distant previous encounter, growing ever more distant). See Exodus 33:18-23.
In their October 22, 2012, debate, Obama mocked GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney for expressing concern about Russia and Vladimir Putin:
Gov. Romney, I’m glad that you recognize that al Qaeda is a threat because a few months ago when you were asked what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia. The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.Read More
Schools throughout the country are experiencing teacher shortages due to several factors. In some states, legislatures have responded by lowering substitute teaching standards. In others, schools are calling on parents to fill the gap or are simply closing schools because they don’t have enough staff.
School choice advocates say it’s time to start funding students instead of government-run public school systems.
Nationwide, according to Burbio.com’s school closure tracker, 7,164 schools were “actively disrupted (not offering in-person learning) on one or more days during the week beginning January 10th.” Accompanying the tracker is a map, which shows which schools nationwide are closed or are providing no in-person instruction by day and week. The site, an industry leader in aggregating school, government, library and community information, tracks school closures and mask policies.Read More
A growing number of teachers across the state of Ohio have signed a pledge to continue to teach Critical Race Theory (CRT), even if the decision violates the law.
A petition published by the Zinn Education Project has collected over 5,000 signatures from teachers who commit to “teach the truth.”Read More
American public education is so hard to reform because of its great size. The economy of K-12 education here is bigger than some countries, and we’re not talking rinky-dink countries either.
“Federal, state, and local governments spend $720.9 billion, or $14,840 per pupil, to fund K-12 public education,” reports the website Education Data.
By contrast, the annual gross domestic product of oil giant Saudi Arabia in 2017 was only $687 billion, according to World Bank statistics. That same year, Switzerland, with its banks, watches, cheese, and army knives, raked in only $679 billion.Read More
It’s hard to imagine a worse time for public education in America. The COVID-19 pandemic has cost millions of K-12 students a year of education, and Joe Biden has been elected president. At a time when innovation in public education is needed more than ever, Biden has appointed Miguel Cardona to serve as Secretary of Education.
To understand why Cardona, who previously served as Connecticut’s education commissioner, is not going to improve schooling in America, just consider the endorsements he’s received.Read More
Many families took one look at their school district’s remote or hybrid learning offerings this fall and said “no, thank you.” That’s the message gleaned from national and state-specific data on the surging number of homeschooled students this academic year.Read More
A Pennsylvania high school student who claims she was sent home for wearing pro-Trump clothing filed a lawsuit against her school district in Federal court on Tuesday, accusing the district of violating her free speech rights, PennLive reported.
On October 1, the school district issued a new policy on clothing which banned students from wearing anything that contained political messaging.Read More
I read an advice article at Slate recently where a mom of a nearly five-year-old daughter wrote in to express concern that her child hasn’t seen any friends in five months, since COVID-19 lockdowns began.Read More
Teachers unions throughout the US claim to be looking out for the best interests of teachers and students, but they are deeply political organizations with significant influence over what, how, where, and with whom most children learn.
While the nation’s largest teachers unions have long been deeply connected to the Democratic Party and left-wing ideology, this political affiliation has become increasingly apparent in recent months. From hinging their support for reopening schools on outrageous policy demands to launching court battles, threatening strikes, and openly supporting disturbing actions during recent protests, today’s teachers unions are more powerful and dangerous than many parents may realize.Read More
The state’s largest school district has struck a deal with the Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT) union to return 51,000 students to school safely.
The four-page agreement lays out safety precautions for face-to-face instruction at the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD), including a 20-person cap on classes and desks separated by six feet.Read More
Results of a new Gallup poll released this week may give us the sharpest look yet at how the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted American education and what may lie ahead. According to the poll, parents’ overall satisfaction with their child’s education dropped 10 percent over last year, while at the same time the number of parents saying they will choose homeschooling doubled in 2020 to 10 percent.Read More
Normally when a business shuts its doors, it doesn’t still get to charge its customers for a product they can no longer access. It certainly doesn’t get to charge its customers twice for the privilege.
Yet, that’s exactly what we’re seeing from some public school districts. They refuse to open their doors for in-person learning—citing safety risks—but they are able to open these same school buildings to charge overworked and tired parents for day care.Read More
An assignment given to students at a Texas school included a political cartoon comparing police officers to slave owners and Klu Klux Klan members, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
The cartoon reportedly depicted five scenes, allegedly starting with a slave ship officer who was kneeling on a black man’s neck and ended with a police officer kneeling on a black man’s neck with text saying “I can’t breathe,” the Star-tribune reported.Read More
Over 20 percent of college students may defer the upcoming academic year, according to a recent Axios poll.
The deferment data comes as prominent universities across the country move from in-person to online classes in response to campus-wide outbreaks of the coronavirus. Of the 21% of students who may not return, most are working full-time in the interim, Axios reported. The statistic comes as 27% of students lost their summer internship, according to the poll.Read More
Peter Vlaming has two great passions—teaching and French.
But a Virginia school district stripped the French teacher of the ability to impart these passions in high school classrooms when it fired him for not using pronouns preferred by a transgender student.Read More
Many public school districts across the country have shifted from offering some in-person learning options for students to offering only remote learning at the start of the school year.
The change in plans sent many working parents rushing to find either a place for their kids to go while they work or to find a caregiver they could pay to supervise remote learning at home. Either option could end up costing parents thousands of dollars.Read More
At a forum held at the White House Wednesday, the Trump administration said it is calling on Congress to authorize another $105 billion in funding to help states reopen schools.
“We believe many school districts can now reopen safely, provided they implement mitigation measures and health protocols to protect families, protect teachers, and to protect students,” President Donald Trump said.Read More
As states and school districts continue to change their back-to-school policies due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the national debate rages over in-person or virtual learning for instruction, some parents have taken their children’s education into their own hands.
A new form of quasi-homeschooling, called micro-schooling, is emerging. In this not-so-new format, neighboring families have decided to educate their children in a modern version of the 19th century era one-room schoolhouse.Read More
by Daniel J. Mitchell The coronavirus has been horrible news, most obviously because of death and suffering. But the disease has also wreaked havoc with the economy and given politicians an excuse to push counterproductive policies. But if you want to find a silver lining to that dark cloud, the virus may be putting…Read More
Several reports and national surveys indicate that private and charter schools provided more meaningful educational services during state shutdowns than public schools did, and more parents are choosing nontraditional educational options this fall.
A nationally representative survey conducted by Education Next found that while there was “a lot of lost ground on learning” during coronavirus shutdowns in the spring semester, there was “a more robust response in the charter school sector and in the private school sector” among respondents.Read More
The United States is gradually grinding to an educational collapse as the giant bureaucracies and extraordinarily powerful teachers’ unions ignore children and education in pursuit of power.
Many of the wealthiest school systems have decided that they simply will not go back to school this fall. They will offer virtual classes even though the evidence is overwhelming that for younger children virtual classes are dramatically less effective than in person instruction.Read More
The nation’s largest teachers unions filed a lawsuit Monday against the State of Florida over a department of education emergency order, which demanded schools reopen in August.
The Florida Education Association was joined by the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association in suing Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and Richard Corcoran, commissioner of the Florida Department of Education, according to a press release. DeSantis’ emergency order, issued on July 6 by the department of education, ordered all brick and mortar schools to open at least five days a week in August.Read More
Our late friend Phyllis Schlafly, the First Lady of the Conservative Movement, was fond of saying that the most important election wasn’t President, it was Republican Precinct Committeeman, because that was the gateway to the Republican Party organization, and through it the ability to endorse candidates and set the GOP Platform.Read More
Health professionals nationwide released statements in a Tea Party Patriots Action Second Opinion Project email on Thursday that they believe schools should reopen and that it is the safest option for kids.
The consensus among the physicians, that kids would benefit academically, socially, and health-wise from schools reopening this fall, echoes a statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released on July 10 addressing the issue of schools reopening in the fall.Read More
School districts around the country have been announcing reopening possibilities for the upcoming school year. The options often include full-time virtual learning, two or three in-person days at school, or a combination of the two.
In a few districts, I’ve seen four or five suggestions.Read More
A new TV ad campaign seeks to overturn a key reform of the Trump administration. In the name of veterans, the campaign attempts to lure President Trump into breaking his word, endangering educational institutions in a difficult time.
In an ad by “Veterans Education Success,” we see servicemembers in uniform, overseas, and hugging their children, and shaking hands with President Trump. The images remind me of the strong support the President has had among active and retired military, who voted for him by 60-34 percent in 2016.Read More
When schools reopen in the US amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they will be even more restrictive than they already were. Schools have long controlled students’ movements and imposed constraints on where they can go, when, and with whom. With virus concerns, those controls will increase in quantity and intensity.
NPR recently proclaimed that “disruption from the pandemic constitutes an ‘adverse childhood experience’ for every American child.” While many children are sad to be away from their friends and activities, being home with their family members for a prolonged period of time is hardly an “adverse childhood experience” for most American children. Returning to schools with extreme virus control and social distancing measures, however, could very well be traumatic for many kids.Read More
A new RealClear Opinion Research poll of 2,122 registered voters found that a strong majority surveyed support school choice and 40 percent are more likely to pursue homeschooling opportunities after COVID-19 restrictions end.
Slightly more than 40 percent polled said they are more likely to home school or virtual school after lockdowns. Before the coronavirus shutdown, roughly 4 percent of K-12 students were in home education settings.Read More
The editors at Harvard Review must be surprised at the reaction they provoked with their magazine’s recent article, “The Risks of Homeschooling.” For an issue that concerns “roughly 3 percent to 4 percent of school-age children,” the great profusion of responses from every corner of the internet would convince a person that it is really 96 percent to 97 percent who are homeschoolers—which might currently be the case since nearly every school has closed down for the year to prevent the spread of the Wuhan virus.Read More
arents the world over are dealing with massive adjustments in their children’s education that they could not have anticipated just three months ago. To one degree or another, pandemic-induced school closures are creating the “mass homeschooling” that FEE’s senior education fellow Kerry McDonald predicted two months ago. Who knows, with millions of youngsters absent from government school classrooms, maybe education will become as good as it was before the government ever got involved.Read More
As a Harvard alum, longtime donor, education researcher, and homeschooling mother of four children in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I was shocked to read the article, “The Risks of Homeschooling,” by Erin O’Donnell in Harvard Magazine’s new May-June 2020 issue. Aside from its biting, one-sided portrayal of homeschooling families that mischaracterizes the vast majority of today’s homeschoolers, it is filled with misinformation and incorrect data. Here are five key points that challenge the article’s primary claim that the alleged “risks for children—and society—in homeschooling” necessitate a “presumptive ban on the practice”:Read More
Transforming entrenched systems and industries comes through disruptive innovation and entrepreneurship. Coined by Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, disruptive innovation is the process by which new ideas and inventions create value and ultimately topple existing competitors. A visionary individual or group spots opportunity and develops new solutions that meet consumer demand faster, better, and more cheaply. This innovation improves our lives through efficiency and cost-effectiveness, allowing us to keep more of our hard-earned money with better service and satisfaction.Read More
As the global coronavirus outbreak closes more schools for weeks, and sometimes months—some 300 million children are currently missing class—parents, educators, and policymakers are panicking.Read More
Leftists love to label those who favor cutting education spending as “anti-children,” “anti-public school,” and basically, “anti-education.” That’s because leftists are the ones benefiting most from the increases in education spending that have, until recently, been mandated like clockwork.Read More
As fears of coronavirus mount around the globe, cities and countries are taking action to prevent the new respiratory virus strain from spreading. While the virus has not yet hit hard in the United States, government officials and health agencies have enacted response plans, corporations are halting travel abroad, and education leaders are grappling with what a widespread domestic outbreak of the virus could mean for schoolchildren.Read More
In “Sexualization, Pornography, and Grooming in the Schools,” Amy Contrada reports on the introduction of “comprehensive sex education (CSE) into our schools. After reading her article and following some of the links, which contain graphic content, the word that first came to mind was YUCK! (Other words popped into the brain pan as well, but it’s best to not mention them.)Read More
A global research review of school-based comprehensive sex education programs found very little effectiveness from these programs and instead found increased sexual activity.Read More
I am a glass-half-full kind of person, so while we could focus on the criticisms and some of the setbacks related to expanding educational freedom to more families, there is much more to celebrate than to lament. As National School Choice Week ends, it’s a great time to spotlight the growing variety and abundance of education options available to parents and young people.Read More
Most of us have our own life experiences to draw from when thinking about school, but things have changed a little (or a lot!) since we were last in a classroom.Read More
The desire to control other people’s ideas and behaviors, particularly when they challenge widely-held beliefs and customs, is one of human nature’s most nefarious tendencies. Socrates was sentenced to death for stepping out of line; Galileo almost was. But such extreme examples are outnumbered by the many more common, pernicious acts of trying to control people by limiting their individual freedom and autonomy. Sometimes these acts target individuals who dare to be different, but often they target entire groups who simply live differently. On both the political right and left, efforts to control others emerge in different flavors of limiting freedom—often with “safety” as the rationale. Whether it’s calls for Muslim registries or homeschool registries, fear of freedom is the common denominator.Read More
Federal “Highly Qualified Teacher” mandates. Adequate Yearly Progress requirements. Smaller learning communities. Improving Teacher Quality State Grants. Reading First. Early Reading First. The dozens of other federal programs authorized via No Child Left Behind. School Improvement Grants. Race to the Top. Common Core.Read More
A Howard County, Maryland, school board voted Thursday to implement a busing initiative opposed by the vast majority of the public.Read More
Chicago’s teachers went on strike in October, suspending instruction for the city’s public school students for 11 days.Read More
School systems across the country are seeking to abolish honors classes, teach how math has been used to oppress people, and let truant students into gifted schools. Advocates say the moves are aimed at diminishing an achievement gap between demographic groups.Read More
Despite numerous monumental government efforts to improve standardized testing scores around the country, the average test scores for reading and math have remained virtually the same as they were ten years ago, according to USA Today.Read More
The Chicago Public School system’s 361,314 registered students are starting their tenth day at home this morning, as their teachers union strikes for its fourteenth cumulative day. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have publicly supported the 32,000 teachers and school staff (represented by the Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU, respectively) on the picket line – but there are five reasons people of faith should not join them.Read More
Luke Rosiak’s revelation of the Soros connection in local school board elections and policy making in the Daily Caller reminds us that school boards are not the Soros network’s first foray into obscure local political campaigns and local government policymaking.Read More
hen it comes to education, the word voucher tends to elicit strong reactions in three broad public opinion camps. First, there are those who feel strongly that vouchers can expand education options for families by allowing children to attend a private school using some or all of the per-pupil spending amount allocated to the local district school.Read More