Teachers Unions Have Turned Our Schools into Woke Brainwashing Camps


You have to be utterly delusional – or a member of a teacher’s union – to think that the US education system isn’t a total disaster. The most recent National Assessments of Educational Progress (NAEP, or “The Nation’s Report Card”) found barely a quarter of students are proficient in reading, geography and American history. While school lockdowns certainly accelerated decline, falling educational standards have long been observable.

In the lower grades, it’s now common to hear talk of “zombie schools”, the product of more than 20 per cent of pupils being “chronically absent”. It’s no surprise, then, that many parents and some states are looking at alternatives, notably school choice and charter schools: this year alone twenty states expanded their charter programs.

The number of publicly funded charter schools has doubled since 2005, while the student count has grown by more than threefold. That’s no surprise, considering that they have consistently outperformed their traditional public school rivals in terms of academic results.

Yet better performance seems barely a priority for those who run public schools, particularly in the deepest blue states. In California, charters are under unremitting attack: Los Angeles is working overtime to prevent the creation of new schools while harassing those that already exist. It’s a bizarre fixation considering the fact that California’s K-12 system, which serves nearly six million students, fails to educate the majority of them.

This year, notes former State Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero, the state will spend about $128 billion on K–12 public education, an amount exceeding the entire budget of all states except New York. Yet school test scores continue to disappoint, particularly for minority students.

Latino students, who constitute 56.1 per cent of California’s public-school students, are primary casualties of these achievement gaps. According to the latest California testing results, only 36.08 per cent of Latino students met or exceeded state adopted ELA proficiency. Only 22.69 per cent met or exceeded proficiency standards in Math.

A similar pattern can be seen in Illinois, whose failures under the state system rivals California. Under its clueless Governor Jay Pritzker, himself a product of expensive private schools, Illinois has dismantled much of its fledgling charter program. The Land of Lincoln boasts fifty-three schools where not one student can do grade-level math and thirty where none can achieve this in English. These schools are located overwhelmingly in Chicago, where increases in spending per student is up with little positive impact on test scores.

And to make sure students get an “authentic” Chicago experience, the district is working to replace police officers with school personnel. Young people in the area can look forward not just to a subpar education, but also an increase in the odds of getting mugged, robbed, and shot in the process.

Almost everywhere teachers’ unions and their allies in the progressive wing of the Democratic party drive these policies. These unions see the rise of charters, home school and parochial schools as a challenge to their guild’s monopoly, and often label any attempt to reform the failing system as “a war on schools.” As analyst Ruy Texiera has noted, “privileging politics over pedagogy” may have cost Democrats support among parents, but it has accelerated the merger of progressivism with the education lobby.

Read the rest of this piece at Telegraph.

Joel Kotkin is the author of The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class. He is the Roger Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and and directs the Center for Demographics and Policy there. Learn more at joelkotkin.com and follow him on Twitter @joelkotkin.

Photo: Ted Eytan, via Flickr under CC 4.0 License.