The pandemic affords us a long-overdue examination of our schools.
The coronavirus has disrupted many institutions central to our daily lives, perhaps none more so than our schools. As we speak, the debate rages as to whether or not students should physically return to campuses this fall.
Since that debate is now front and center, and since the core mechanisms for delivering education are undergoing intense examination, now is an excellent time to examine the core curriculum while we’re at it.
This summer’s civil unrest, the extreme polarization of the electorate, the precipitous decline in the respect we have for our basic institutions and the now insufferable dishonesty of the “mainstream media;” all combine to strongly suggest that such an examination is long overdue.
We are living with the product of a transformation of American public education that began in the 1960s and the results are not pretty.
It is now undeniably obvious that a high percentage of our population has been taught in school that America is irredeemably flawed from its very founding. Untold millions of school children have been taught that the institution of slavery – that the American colonists inherited from Europe – constitutes original sin for which there can never be adequate penance.
Millions of nominally well-educated people have been taught that our free-market, capitalist economic system is fundamentally unfair in that it preys upon the poor for the benefit of the rich.
Those same people believe that five centuries of advances and accomplishments in the areas of art, music, literature, physics, astronomy, life sciences, law, government and medicine brought about by people of western European descent are all illegitimate because of “white privilege.”
These misconceptions abound in our schools for the simple reason that education in America has, to a large degree, been hijacked by leftists.
Here’s what those leftists don’t teach.
They don’t teach that Great Britain’s record on slavery is orders of magnitude worse than that of the United States. They don’t teach that America ended slavery within one human lifetime of its founding even as slavery continues to this day in many corners of the world.
They don’t teach that free market capitalism has lifted more people out of poverty than any other economic system ever devised. Nor do they teach that socialism has failed every time it has been tried.
The leftists that run too many of our schools never acknowledge that many of the institutions of Western culture that they so loudly decry have been enthusiastically embraced and emulated by societies of every race on every continent on the planet.
And they certainly don’t teach that America has freed more people from oppression and bondage than any nation in history. They never teach that no nation in history has ever amassed more power than America and yet been so restrained in its use.
It’s clear that we have public education problem. So, since we’re looking so closely at how kids should go to school this fall, perhaps it’s time to drill deep into what they’ll learn when they get there.
It is long past time to break the teachers unions and remind the local boards that they work for the taxpayers
Awesome article Mr. Gleiser — teachers should take note and teach the truth about our great country to young students who are not being taught the most important things that make America AMERICA.
When I was in public school, EVERYDAY began with The Pledge of Allegiance to The FLAG of The United States of America. SO important to respect our Flag and ALL the ideals it embodies to be taught to young students. And EVERY public school football game began with the Invocation, then the National Anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner.
Facts, such as in math and science are important, but NOTHING is more important than knowing about the great heritage of our American Founding  upon FREEDOM and GOODNESS under GOD.
As well, as you correctly pointed out, no other nation has achieved more economic and military power, but has chosen a path from the beginning to use our unique American Exceptionalism for good and not for evil. We are the only country to liberate, not subjugate, so many people around the world, as we put our trust in GOD and govern ourselves “We The People” in FREEDOM. We have a proud tradition, if not a joyful duty, to show others the unparalleled value and benefit of economic freedom found only in capitalism.
To be a socialist/marxist is to destroy lives and property, whereas to be a capitalist is to create abundance and pursue happiness in freedom. . Over the last number of months, we’ve been seeing the true nature of the BLM/Antifa communist fascist marxist groups, which are all about hurting and destroying, NOT helping and building. These groups are EVIL and no good is found in them. Teachers and instructors, please point these facts out to your impressionable students as these are facts not propaganda.
I have many fond memories during my public schools days. Perhaps one on the very top was my casting my first vote in a presidential election for Ronald Reagan. That, like voting for Donald Trump were the easiest voting decisions I’ve ever made. And I’m doing it again on November 3rd for DJT with the same positive outlook and happy enthusiasm. Indeed, “the best is yet to come!”
An Illinois state representative is calling for the removal of history from the pubic school curriculum, because… guess why?…… It is racist. I know this sounds preposterous, but just look around and observe how we have devolved from the days when Mr. Anderson and many of us attended public schools. Graduates today cannot read or recite the Pledge of Allegiance, but they can regurgitate every syllable and note of the latest music. It is overdue to not only eliminate history from public schools, but to eliminate these failed enterprises completely. Let the allocated tax follow the student to whatever school that is succeeding in teaching, and that the parents choose for their children. It is time to inject a little free enterprise into public education. Many of these ignoramuses who continue to condemn this country need to be educated about the many countries in the world that still practice slavery, including their very own ancestors. Why in the world would so many people from every corner of the world risk life and limb to come to such a terrible place? If they hate this country so much, I have a very simple solution: “Delta is Ready When You Are”……..they could be in Zimbabwe by tomorrow, and get a real education!
As a long-ago high school English teacher, I’ll red-pen-circle an anachronism: Your use above of “mainstream media” is obsolete.
Your point is more accurately stated as “legacy media;” such as newspapers-with-less-news after brutal corporate cost cuts, or news-U-can-choose as cable channels do their daily dance of affirmation of viewers’ predispositions.
By the numbers: With a quarter BILLION wireless phones in the USA — capable of transmitting live video, instantly, worldwide — We The People are now “mainstream media.” George Floyd’s killing was captured by a bystander.
Accordingly, yes-you-can exploit this deadly pandemic to dust-off grievances about curriculum. And that gauzy shot of The Pledge of Allegiance is straight out of “Leave it to Beaver.”
But diverting attention in that fashion doesn’t address the dilemma you’re leveraging: Open schools? Or not?
As, increasingly, We The Unedited People depend on each other to know what’s happening, Trust is fundamental.
The very device you’re reading this on is already part of the Distance Learning alternative NOBODY prefers. Why use it to distract from RESOLVING the school-opening conundrum?
Suggesting that Coronavirus transmission mitigation AND curriculum revolution are critical-path to getting kiddos back in the classroom abuses the potential of this forum.
Talk about missing the point.
You CAN’T be saying that — in-addition-to resolving COVID transmission protocols — let’s hold-off opening schools until curriculum meets your approval.
I am saying that an examination of HOW we operate schools should serve as a catalyst for also examining WHAT HAPPENS INSIDE THEM.
The very clear thrust of the piece is that American public schools have been hijacked by the left. It is time and past time to address that problem.
If your resume has subjected you to the “management training” rituals mine has, you know the exercise:
Understand the difference between “what’s urgent” and “what’s important.”
However important your concerns are, what’s urgent is reopening schools safely.
Said-another-way: Let’s argue with the pilot AFTER the plane lands.
Might this be a productive forum for exploring what’s-urgent in this case? Light, not heat.
Good gosh, re-read the piece! It isn’t about whether or not to re-open the schools!!! That’s a topic for a separate essay.
The piece is about the leftist takeover of American education.
Wow is right! You wonder if this ex-English teacher even read or understood your thesis! Sure thankful he did not wield the red pencil in judgement of my high school English compositions! However, his verbose wording and juvenile emphasis do explain a lot. I must have missed the irrelevant links?
So NOBODY here has anything to offer about actually opening schools?
As I say, a separate essay. But yes, I have an opinion on opening schools. They need to do so. I have seen in my own household the deficits attendant to “distance learning” and my daughter is a college student. My wife teaches college and can similarly attest.
As you move down in age, those deficits expand. By the time you have moved down to second grade, first grade and kindergarten, the deficits expand exponentially.
Young children need what they need when they need it. There is no entirely satisfying answer available. Suffice that the risks attendant to opening schools are greatly outweighed by the risks attendant to NOT opening schools.
To me, Mr. Gleiser, your point is clear. OPEN the schools. And FIX the schools, as public schools today are very lacking in their curriculum. The leftest propaganda needs to be be tossed, NOW, as it has been masquerading as essential learning for far too long. Instead, students need to know about the FOUNDING and the HERITAGE of our country, that is imperative, if our Constitutional Republic is to endure for future generations.
I thought that “while we’re at it” meant “while we’re at it.”
If a degree in high school education does not include a straw man argument, please consider the following: If you have a valid point to counter an essay, address the point of the essay. If you would like any credibility, do not contradict a point that is not being made. In other words, read and understand what is being stated, then if you disagree, make the counterargument. In other, other words, do not be a straw man person!
Two of my then, 12 year old nephews, in Florida public schools are being steered toward indoctrination into the Democratic Party. By their own words when they came home one day and said (paraphrasing here) “We are Democrats”. My mother-n-law said, “Oh yeah, who told you that?” Response, “The teacher.” Now one has that in his 13 year old head and stands by it. Other one does not care about anything other than his X-box and I-pad; which in this case is a good thang! Shouldn’t kids be allowed to be kids and taught reading, writing, and math? God only knows what would have happened to that teacher if they came home and said, Hey we are Republicans! We know the answer to that; an immediate termination and news cycle story on all the leftist channels and social media.
Is our Red Rooster from Rhode Island, RRRI, (as a true follower of the corrupt media that he constantly echoes) apparently obsessed with keeping the schools CLOSED??? as the Leftist Teachers Unions in many states are demanding? My homework assignment for RRRI (to prepare for Paul’s later essay) is to learn that ALL unbiased medical evidence shows infinitesimal contagiousness between and among young students and teachers throughout the world with a death rate at near zero when compared with ordinary seasonal flu. The current Left-wing scare tactics to keep the schools closed is driven by the Trump Derangement Syndrome (suffered by the mindless Left) in spite of the serious social developmental harm being done to our children by being isolated from the in-person class rooms and being cooped up at home with parents under extreme stress. It should be obvious to all intelligent Americans (NOT Leftist cult followers) that this COVID-19 so-called pandemic is being exploited to an unjustified, astronomical degree to keep our society in a near economic depression to gain maximum advantage against, and for political damage to, Trump’s reelection campaign. As I have said before, the lust for power of the LEFT and respect for LIFE are opposite concepts, like oil and water they don’t ever mix.
My information sources are revealing a frightening and accelerating penetration of the Leftist Heretical Propaganda Protocol (LHPP) into the public and PRIVATE educational curriculum at all levels, even to kindergarten. This LHPP is designed to destroy ALL elements of the fundamental beliefs, rights, and advantages of Western Civilization for which much blood has been shed in order to form the foundation of our Free Republic based on Righteous principles of Liberty: “one Nation under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.”
Give it 6 weeks.
Schools often rush to build expensive buildings to replace old buildings with no plan to change what happens in those classrooms. I certainly agree with the sentiments above. Social studies has taken on the meaning of many things it was not intended to be. When educators were determining what the curriculum should be from about 1900-1920 it was clear that funding for education was justified by teaching about citizenship. (See Committee of 10 and Committee of 20) Civics and history not minor studies, women’s studies, nor gender preference studies were to be the focus. I am not arguing that these have to be omitted but that they should be electives rather than required subjects.
As a former Deputy Director of one of the ten federal labs, with a doctorate in curriculum I suggest that the foundation of curriculum is based on what people need. People fulfill many roles in life: members of families, employees, citizens, consumers, and as individuals, etc what do people need? In all roles they need critical thinking, decision making, and problems solving skills. These need to be integrated in all subjects and they can and need to be taught directly, not left as a hope they will be developed. When I listen to interviews its clear that too many of our young people do not know how to formulate or critique and argument. The basis for these skills can be taught to young children and developed in middle school and high school students. With out these skills many of our citizens follow the narrative and emotional rhetoric of the liberal left. As Postman and Weingartner argued in Teaching as a Subversive Activity, students need a built-in, shock proof crap detector. Too many university professors shovel it daily and use their position to push their liberal beliefs,
You hit the nail squarely on the head. As a hiring supervisor, I was surprised and concerned with the inability of approximately 90% of my applicant pools to simply convey to me their past experience. Never mind an interview pool of 4 to 8 people, who were suppose to have at a minimum a High School education; or in some instances a bachelor’s degree. I would tell those struggling to answer my questions to simply imagine yourself doing “the” job and tell me how you would do it. Seems easy enough. Nah, maybe .05% could do it and they were generally the one’s who were awarded the job. In some cases I would close the job and start all over. Even went so far to contact a number of local High Schools and suggest they install a class on filling out an application and interviewing for a job. Response was the “State’s” requirements would not allow that. OMG, your kidding me!?! Nope.
For poops and giggles I went to work for Walmart because I wanted to see exactly how that operation really worked. What absolutely blew my mind was the number of employee’s that had to 100% of the time depend on the register to calculate the correct change for cash paying customers. They, the customer and employees were amazed and befuddled I had knowledge of doing this in my head. Never mind asking someone to give you a nickel or another odd amount of change so you could give them back a one or five dollar bill. It confused them. I love doing this at Micky D’s and other fast food establishments just to test the knowledge waters of those taking my money.
Part of the problem is the lack of learning interaction with a real person. Walmart and I dare say most large chain stores depend totally on computer based training. Very little interpersonal training or learning in the critical skills you mention. We need to get back to the 3R’s and Sticks and Stones learning. Ever just listen to conversations between young people? I wish I had a dollar for every time someone uses the word, “like” in a sentence in the incorrect form. I would be the richest fellow on the planet; then I could purchase all the politicians I wanted. Peace!
I LIKE, LIKE, LIKE your observation of the ad nauseam use of this substitute word for UH, Y’KNOW, UM-UM, and other ridiculous grunts while the brain is trying to catch up with a blithering mouth. Even some professional commentators have become “LIKE” users due to the constant drum beat of the meaningless use of this word. I share your disgust of those who can’t seam to utter a cogent thought and who constantly rack our brains with nonsensical words. Another couple of words I hate are NARRATIVE, SEA CHANGE, and CASES (a virus exaggeration) as popularized by the “elite” media.
Leftist bureaucracies are fundamentally a creation of the sanctimonious, tyrannical elite to absorb authority AWAY from the legitimate levels to which it belongs. Bureaucracies by definition are deliberately constructed with many overlapping, impenetrable shells of diffused and confusing authority levels in order to shield and protect their inhabitants from accountability once established.
Therefore, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that a state or nationwide EDUCATIONAL bureaucracy can do extreme harm if infested by Leftist propagandists that are determined to indoctrinate multiple generations of students to despise the history and establishment of Western Civilization while extolling the “virtues” of a Marxist/Communist ideology. Furthermore, an involuntary tax supported educational bureaucracy is like building a perpetual motion machine that can NOT be brought under control. Reform is simply out of the question when Politics and Unions hold dictatorial power.
Now that I have presented the monster that has wrecked the lives of our youth in many cases for the last 50 years, I believe we could DO NO WORSE than to make every effort to let the bureaucracy die of its own internal rot and remove this parasite from the forced tax rolls over time. In its place, we should establish SMALL, LOCAL community schools of 500 students or less that are directly responsible to the local parents that hire the teachers and the curriculum and build the LOCAL school house that covers all major age groups, K-5, 6-9, and 10-12. The elimination of the mega-campus cost of the current system could save millions of tax dollars as compared to a modest school house under local financing and control without the bureaucratic hierarchy of today’s system. The worst school systems in this nation that also spend the most per student are simply a siphon to fatten the bureaucracy, not to properly educate the student.
Do you all remember hearing about the extreme level of educational competence that students received in these local school houses of 100 years ago? This ancient system should shame the current generation when you look at the text books of that time and the tests that had to be passed before advancement to the next grade. The level of practical knowledge of the typical high school student at that time was well beyond the typical college graduate of today, particularly when considering reading, writing, arithmetic, history, science, critical thinking, and the ability to be self taught. Nothing is more important than insisting on a platinum level education for our youth and ONLY the local parents can enforce this direct outcome. If only we had the courage and conviction to overcome the educational monster that now consumes and contaminates the inherent, God-given potential of every precious child of today.
Why don’t you guys just ask to sit in on a few social studies classes to see what’s being taught?
They find it easier to exaggerate and generalize by not doing so.
Exaggerate? Really? What exactly are “they” exaggerating? Please expound on your hypothesis.
I have a long list of teachers in my family; my wife just retired from teaching after 34 years. I taught a High School science class for 14 years; granted it was an AP class but. SO PLEASE TELL “THEY”, HOW “THEY” ARE EXAGGERATING.
Why: Because there is advertising inventory in radio/TV/print/digital narrative that foments grievance and resentment.
As I have observed before, HC is an expert at deflection and distortion and you might as well be arguing with a fence post. Being a provocateur seems to be his only goal. As a sock puppet of the legacy lying media and their meaningless quoted links, HC is delusional enough to think he is making a “valid” point when nothing could be further from the truth! It is good to see, however, how the Left’s brain tries to function. It seems to be incapable of logical thought or rational discourse!
Got a ruler? How long would this thread be without me?
Yet YOU make MY point. No matter how long soreheads want to whine here, it’s not getting kiddos back-to-the-books sooner.
IF ONLY we could harness all the energy here toward IDEAS…SOLUTIONS.
Don’t think we can do that right now. Covid and all that.
Probably moot anyway. Decision-makers seem more data-driven than thinkin’ “It will just disappear.”
Suggestion to Paul, per his point that to-open-or-not-to-open is an issue separate from the above:
Make NEXT Friday’s column — or don’t wait, post it sooner — an open forum here: IDEAS for the new school year. SOLUTIONS, not speeches.
You want solutions, not speeches? Did you not see my comments at the following locations? Where is your sincerity, HC? Paul is concerned about the BIGGER problem, and that is, WHAT our children are being taught when schools ultimately open. The school opening decision is being dominated by Leftist Politics and their Teachers Unions, not accurate medical science. Don’t you get it!
#comment-152657 and #comment-152663
BE CAREFUL calling these curricular grievances “the BIGGER problem.”
Scroll up. Our host has explained that his intent here is NOT to wait reopenings until what’s-being-taught meets your approval.
Separate issues, he clarifies.
I just stumbled upon the following article from which I partially quote (I love this idea). Please see the following link:
“Families work together to recruit teachers that they pay out-of-pocket to teach small groups—“pods”—of children. It’s a way for clusters of students to receive professional instruction for several hours each day. Some parents are using their pod arrangements to hire teachers who will supplement the online classes being provided by their school districts. – – – pandemic pods are a 2020 version of the “one-room schoolhouse”, privately funded. In the case of one northern Virginia family – – – the parents pay around $500 per month to get in on an arrangement with other families in their neighborhood to share a teacher they are hiring for their pod of children.”
Hoping for more if Paul offers us the opportunity next week in that separate essay he alludes to above. It can be a forum for what-ifs, as data informs this important decision daily.
RE Solomon’s curiosity about Rhode Island, which, his tone aside, I respect, this announcement yesterday from our governor (RELIEVED to now be undistracted by questions about Veep vetting):
“Don’t let anybody scare you. We’re going to do the hard work, the painstaking work of readying our schools and buses and communities, so that when we say it’s time to go back to school, we will know it will be safe for you to go back to school. In fact, you’ll be safer in school than not being in school. We’re going to let science guide those decisions.”
Arriving late to this week’s column, I have nothing I can add to some truly excellent comments. Even Mr. Cook made sense at one point, a rare thing, when he said the “mainstream media” is these days better described as the “legacy media.” Just leave out “news” as they are no longer in that business, being now in the “tell you how you should think” business.
“Even a broken watch…” eh?
After reading this thread, it is amazing how Paul’s essay has been bastardized into a political straw man argument by a so-called provocateur. This was a great opportunity to opine about how the curriculum in our public schools has devolved over the last few decades from an educational institution into a leftist “re-education” opportunity. But no, Mr. Straw Man wants to expound on the dangers of schools opening their doors to learning, due to the China Virus. This is just another chance to create more hardship for the American family, and hopefully, hurt the Trump administration. As an ex-English teacher, I would appreciate your observations about the sorry state of our public schools, especially in the large cities. Take off your provocateur hat; I would really like to know how the professionals feel, and I think you would have a lot to contribute to the discussion.
UTTERLY unrelated, but what-the-hey, I’m accused of that aplenty here, and because this is my opportunity to ask something of KTBB listeners and Paul’s followers:
Prayers for KTBB weekend tech-talker, “Into Tomorrow” host Dave Graveline, COVID+ and severe pneumonia 3 weeks now in the hospital in Miami, now in ICU…NOT on a ventilator, and in remarkably upbeat spirits under the circumstances.
Dave’s a good friend and I’m swapping messages with him daily. It means a ton to him, in there, that we’re thinkin’ of him out here.
Holland, I know we have serious differences in political philosophy, but we are 100% in agreement about Dave. Thank you for sharing this “UTTERLY unrelated” topic, and I hope and pray for a rapid and complete recovery for your friend and my friend via listening to him on KTBB. He has a lot of good tech info that he airs on “Into Tomorrow”, and I look forward to him being behind the microphone soon.
Wow….Paul, you definitely opened “a can of worms”. Your “You Tell Me Texas” articles are right on. Keep up the good work my friend.
RE “This is just another chance to create more hardship for the American family, and hopefully, hurt the Trump administration.“
Clarify? “This” meaning OPENING or NOT-opening schools will hurt Trump administration?
Simple. Schools not open. Kids stay home. Parent must also stay home or arrange for place for kid. Parent not able to work. Hardship for parent, family, economy; therefore, hurt Trump. Clear enough? By the way, any update on Dave? Let him know he has friends pulling for him down here in the Lone Star State.