Chicago Teacher's Union, chrome books, communist propaganda, Covid-19, Critical Race theory, education fads, flyover country, joe biden, K-12 education, Kamala Harris, Kung Flu, math is racist, online learning, School Discipline, The Odyssey
The Covid-19 virus is quite real. The political response to it has been a self-serving, politically inspired disaster, and nowhere has it been more harmful than in denying America’s children a year–perhaps more—of a K-12 education. Now we know school lockouts, masks, all the trappings of Kung Flu virus political theater, do not prevent infection, rather, they have exacted an enormous personal and national cost, including making possible the fraudulent outcome of the 2020 presidential, and surely, the Georgia senatorial elections. As a public service, gentle readers, I’ll explain what has been happening, and what we can expect for the remainder of the 2020-2021 non-school year.
As regular readers know, American education has, more and more, fled from what might be called “traditional” methods in favor of destructive fads, which more and more revolve around leftist political indoctrination. The more likely a given school district is to be unionized, or to be located in a D/S/C ruled city and/or state, the worse and more destructive these tendencies have become.
Even in school districts that take their responsibility to provide the best educational opportunity possible seriously, the Covid hoax was extraordinarily damaging. Schools began shutting down in early 2020, and by Spring Break, virtually every school across the nation was closed. The responses to these shutdowns varied widely, but one thing remained the same: every rational educator knew “online” or “distance” learning would be a disaster, and no to very little learning would take place. And so it has come to pass.
In rational schools, where administrators, principals and teachers all focused on actually holding school, adults being in charge, and did not fall for fads, the distress was greatest. They knew nothing replaces classroom instruction conducted by dedicated, competent and inspirational teachers. They knew unless adults were unquestionably in charge, unless students knew they had to behave and produce, learning would be difficult at best. And they knew no matter what they did, trying to teach online in the K-12 setting would ensure most of their students learned little or nothing.
Those schools with the resources loaned “Chromebooks,” small, inexpensive laptops, to students. This has proved a generally futile gesture, particularly so for kids without Internet access at home. Unless kids are in properly disciplined classrooms run by professionals, and understand there are real consequences for misbehavior and non-performance, a substantial number will not do any schoolwork. How many? Easily 30-50%. About 30% will do some work, about 10% will do most, and about 5-10% are those kids that are truly academically oriented and self-motivated. They’ll learn even if they have poor teachers, but as always, good teachers bring out the best in all students
Anyone telling you “distance/online” lessons are as good as competent classroom instruction is badly informed, stupid, lying to you, or all three. Or, they’re selling those lessons and “Chromebook”-type laptops. When kids no longer have to look a teacher in the eye and explain why they’re not doing their work, a far great number aren’t going to do it.
This, gentle readers, is human nature. This is why fads promising to revolutionize education actually do no more than recycle old, failed concepts with new packaging, terms and acronyms. They not only fail again, but are actively damaging to kids. Times change, but human nature does not. We learn, circa 2021, precisely as people in Aristotle’s time did. Ignoring human nature always leads to failure.
Educrats are admitting an unacceptable number of kids are failing. They admit to as much as a 30% failure rate. They’re lying to you. That 30% failure rate is a result of grading standards so emasculated they make pajama boys look butch. Many school districts abolished grades. They required teachers to pass kids if they turned in anything, even a single assignment out of a semester. They had to. If they kept normal standards, 80%+ would be failing, and they absolutely weren’t going to admit that. Some districts even eliminated pass/fail standards and passed every kid just for remaining on the official role.
Part of the problem was those districts caught up in fads rather than education absolutely would not abandon those fads. When it was clear to every sentient being it was absolutely necessary to focus on the basics of every discipline if kids were to have the opportunity to learn anything, they kept to the fiction their fads were what really mattered, and in those districts, kids had even less opportunity. This is largely true because the implementation of those fads requires in-class instruction. Kids, being smarter than educrats, almost entirely ignored them when they were in school. Imagine how much effort they provided when they were no longer in school.
Imagine, gentle readers, what kind of learning opportunity kids in districts obsessed with critical race theory and general leftist indoctrination have had?
As the Fall of 2020 rolled around, in much of Flyover Country, schools gave kids the opportunity to attend classes in person, or to experience the joys of “online” learning. Attendance rates varied, but those students choosing “online” learning were held to far lower standards—usually none—and many didn’t do anything. Some schools, trying to be consistent, established the same low—or essentially non-existent—standards for both groups of kids.
In blue states, and particularly those whose schools are ruled by teacher’s unions, schools were closed, and many districts barely pretended to engage in “online” learning. As I’m sure you know, unions absolutely resisted any return to classroom instruction. The Chicago teacher’s union called anyone suggesting kids ought to be in school racist and various other ists and isms. When the Chicago schools finally more or less reopened at the beginning of 2021, some 40% of unionized teachers refused to return to work.
School districts took a variety of approaches to informing parents of real, rather than manufactured, reality. Some few were honest and kept the public fully informed. They knew whatever they did would be far less effective than in-class instruction, and told the public—their employers and bosses—what they were doing with instruction, grades, and why that was necessary. Most were less honest.
Real reality is those kids returning to school in January of 2021 lost a semester, or in many cases, an entire year of their K-12 educational opportunity. This sounds plenty bad, but it’s worse than it sounds. Losing a year of school is losing a year of intellectual, social and emotional growth. Kids aren’t computer hard drives. One can’t just download data they missed at a later time and call it even. Properly given lessons build on each other. Mastering one concept builds neural connections that allow the next concept to be mastered. Constant practice at reading, comprehension, doing math, and other disciplines builds the brain and contributes mightily to social and emotional growth. There is, for most kids, no way to make up this deficit. Even in professional schools that actually hold school, kids will graduate with at best, an imperfect 11th grade education. They’ll be even less ready for college—such as it is—or the workplace.
But can’t schools essentially hold kids back a semester or year, bring them up to speed? Oh, it’s absolutely possible to do that, but it’s never going to happen. The dishonest school districts would have to admit what they’ve lied about, and once they start that, people might come to expect honesty, and if that starts, who knows where it might lead? Even the honest districts would find it very difficult to conduct remedial school for a semester or a year. Our entire society is built around school schedules and expectations. While it’s possible, it’s not at all easy, and probably, sadly, impractical.
And here, gentle readers, is what parents have to look forward to in school districts obsessed with leftist politics, courtesy of John Hinderaker at Powerline: One would think schools, understanding real reality, would focus entirely on teaching their myriad disciplines as effectively as possibly. They’d do away with fads, and certainly wouldn’t waste any time on political indoctrination of any kind. But of course, that’s not the case. I know I’m old fashioned, but I couldn’t justify spending my ever-dwindling and always precious class time on anything but teaching English.
What all need to understand is leftist-oriented schools also tend to be very fad oriented, but even more or less politically neutral schools in Flyover Country can be entirely consumed with faddish non-instruction. The damage tends to be worse where both fetishes are in evidence. I’ve often written about how such schools intertwine leftist propaganda into every discipline, claiming, for example, math is racist.
Such places also excise all manner of “classical” literature, substituting instead contemporary “authors of color,” many focused on critical race theory, which basically teaches America is evil, white people are evil, everything and everyone in America is racist—except them, of course—and it’s about time all the progress of the Civil Rights movement was completely undone. Some schools are bragging about eliminating, among other classics, The Odyssey. This, I suppose, makes a sort of deranged sense. If you’re not going to give kids the opportunity to develop their brains, substituting instead racism disguised as virtue, combined with communist propaganda, you’re not going to have time to teach significant literature, and the kids wouldn’t be able to understand it anyway.
These insane trends—and more–are surely going to be federally mandated in the very near future. What more can we expect of a temporary president who thinks America “systemically racist?” When Kamala Harris takes over, it will be worse. The Covid political hoax has done great damage to American education, and many unions, local and federal educrats and other vermin are not going to let that crisis/opportunity go to waste.
Hopefully, gentle readers, you now have some idea of what has been going on in K-12 education over the last year. If you see any of their pathologies—or all of them—in your local schools, you know what needs to be fixed if the kids of your community—and our nation—are to have any chance.