Friday, July 02, 2021

Education is not a political process - Do School Districts & Boards destroy it by making it into one?

There's a serious problem with trying to fight CRT (Critical Race Theory), on the basis of what its proponents define it as being (which I'll be diving more in depth into in the coming weeks), and the problem is that whatever definition it is that you're given, is too easily loopholed and jargoned around, to be able to agree upon what it is that you disagree about. If you've tried, responses like these may seem familiar:
  • "Marxist? Karl Marx's theories are not even mentioned in our curriculum", or
  • "CRT? That's a legal theory, we don't teach legal theory", or
  • "CRT curriculum? No curriculum of ours is sold as CRT."
And so on. And not only will your objections be dodged, but if enough people make the same objections, then being the top-notch corporate salesmen that the curriculum peddlers are, they'll soon be incorporated as 'features!', not bugs, in the curriculum which they'll continue to sell to you:
  • "As you can see this curriculum makes no mention of CRT, but it does promote Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, which everyone agrees is sooper swell..."
If you're not sure what I mean, recall that there was an uproar over OBE (Outcome Based Education) in the late 80's, over it having more to do with
"... quasi-political and ideologically correct positions — rather than knowledge, skills, and other cognitive academic outcomes..."
, than with education. As parents and conservatives won the day and congratulated themselves on having stopped OBE, the educationistas simply morphed the material around the objections given to it, and recompiled the results into SEL (Social Emotional Learning). That SEL, which still claims to be,
"... an integral part of education and human development. SEL is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities..."
, (pity those poor souls growing up SEL-deprived before the 90's) was quickly, and repeatedly codified into numerous federal, state, and local laws, such as No Child Left Behind (NCLB), Race to the Top (RttT)/Common Core, and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which now, coincidentally (not), forms a suitably muddy foundation for CRT to thrive in. If you want to go beyond battling a disagreeable curriculum, to banning it, my guess is that you can expect double the difficulty and far worse unforeseen consequences, as the necessarily precise legal definitions of it will also be too easily loophooled and jargoned around, in what will very likely become a painful process of trading one acronym, for an even worse one.

With that in mind, IMHO, rather than waste time and energy going after yet another acronym, go after your woke educators unstated convictions by exposing what it is that they are consciously using their means of mass instruction to undermine and destroy. For instance, when you've voiced your concerns about CRT to your teacher, principal, administrator(s) or school board, and they've dismissed your objections with the assertion that they do not teach CRT, don't argue with them on that ground which they've prepared for you to fight them on, but pull them over onto the more favorable ground that you're standing on, by replying something to the effect of:
"Good to hear, so you'll have no reservations in declaring here and now that America is not a racist nation, that all lives matter, that 'whiteness' is a racist concept, and that all forms of Marxism are fundamentally anti-American, right?... right?"
Sure, more than likely their reply will range from dissembling aversions of " above my pay grade blah blah blah...", to a deafening silence - but I'll bet you they won't be able to remain still as they listen to your statement, and their eye-rolls, smirks and head-shaking count, will likely be high enough to speak volumes all their own.

The point of the statement above is not the reply that they're unlikely to give, but to allow their hesitancy, mockery and evasiveness, to demonstrate that they do entirely disagree with that once unifying and commonly understood sentiment. And the lesson to learn from that, is that *they*(teachers, administrators, bureaucrats) will continue to do whatever they can to teach as much of SEL & CRT as they can, because they want to, and they want to because they believe in it, and they believe in it because they disagree with everything in the statement above. Whether or not they are actively teaching what is technically defined as being CRT (see James Lindsay's "Five Ugly Truths About Critical Race Theory"), does little to hinder their divisive teaching of what CRT is.

And that is the core of the problem that I wish more people would come around to seeing.

We can prohibit and ban CRT, SEL, Common Core, all we'd like, but what our educational establishment, public and most private (including church schools - they all graduate through the same Teachers Colleges) schools want to teach, is the very thing which will have them rolling their eyes at statements such as the one above. And so after making whatever assurances you might manage to get from them, just as has been the case for well over a century, they will continue to instill their preferred ideological beliefs into every lesson plan they teach - 'for the good of the kids', of course - and they will do so whether the curriculum being used is filled with lesson plans on the republicanism of John Adams, or the wokene$$ of Ibrahim X. Kendi. If you doubt that's the case, have a listen to the delightful teacher in this video, or take note of the other four thousand plus educators across the nation who've publicly pledged to continue teaching CRT no matter what laws legislators legislate against it.

Systemic Wokeism
The 'Why' of this is not so obvious, and although many are deserving of blame, they are less to blame than the fact that school districts and school boards exist! The situation we are facing, is what results, and is ultimately what must result from, placing the concept of Education - that process by which a person is led out of a state of ignorance and popular illusions by knowledge of what is wise and true - under the control of those who stand to gain influence and power through larger numbers of people holding those very beliefs which an actual Education would free them of. Just as bad money drives out good, the pursuit of power drives out the pursuit of knowledge, along with the wisdom and virtue which it becomes meaningless without.

Until recently the nature of what is being taught in our schools may have been better concealed behind less overtly threatening phrases of 'civics', 'inclusion' and 'diversity', but the truth is that its central 'principles' in the pursuit of power, have been present from our very first mandatory public school system in the 1830's. Only three years after Massachusetts created that first school board as an entity with the political power to 'oversee' their already existing system of public education, state representatives like Allan W. Dodge began to realize the danger that had been done, saw where it was leading to, and attempted to put an end to it. If only some of this seems familiar, you have some catching up to do:
"...After all that has been said about the French and Prussian systems, they appear to your Committee to be much more admirable, as a means of political influence, and of strengthening the hands of the government, than as a mere means for the diffusion of knowledge. For the latter purpose, the system of public Common Schools, under the control of persons most interested in their flourishing condition, who pay taxes to support them, appears to your Committee much superior. The establishment of the Board of Education seems to be the commencement of a system of centralization and of monopoly of power in a few hands, contrary, in every respect, to the true spirit of our democratical institutions; and which, unless speedily checked, may lead to unlooked-for and dangerous results..."[emphasis added]
Sadly, they failed to extract that experimental German import of politicizing public education, and naturally it is exponentially worse today. I highly recommend reading his full report "Report on the expediency of abolishing the Board of Education and the Normal Schools".

The process of consolidating schools into school districts, and then consolidating those into ever larger school districts - for reasons of Economic efficiency, of course, were and decidedly still are a major means of politicizing Education, and that course of events was already well underway when one of its designers, Elwood P. Cubberly, cheerfully wrote of how well things were progressing in 1909, enthusing that:
“Each year the child is coming to belong more to the State and less and less to the parent.”
The districting, and school boards, and superintendent systems which Cubberly had a hand in designing, have been the chief means of separating the oh-so important pro-regressive experts at the top, from the 'deplorably ignorant' parents at the bottom, making their voices and concerns politically insignificant to the operations of the 'educators' of their districts. By consolidating schools into larger school districts, individual parents ceased to have a direct voice in their child's education, which deprived individual teachers of their greatest ally in what should be taught and why, and so they too were overpowered by the school system. School board members who are to 'represent' the interests of the parents, are rarely able or inclined to act against the will of the school district's superintendent, and the curriculum, important as it is, is only a vehicle for teaching what the 'educators' involved intend to use it to teach, and what they intend to teach is what the system desires and requires them to teach for the 'greater good', which amazingly seems to coincide with what is most politically popular for those in power. Our modern school districting system was and is a total and complete victory of Progressive Education, over the more meaningful education that America was founded from and upon, and by those means, year after year, the child has come to belong more and more to the State, and less and less to the parent.

The typical objection to that is "But because we're a democr..." - pardon me, but no, we're not a Democracy, we're a constitutional representative republic; but please, do go on - ".... we use our representatives to make political decisions for us!", which is very true - about political decisions. But we do that only in regards to political matters, which is an entirely inappropriate basis for making educational decisions. Political decisions are made in regards to issues of a public nature, and issues that are not a public concern, are inappropriate for being decided by political means. Our Bill of Rights were specifically proposed and ratified so as to remove those individual rights which are essential for us to live our lives, from the reaches of the political process. The purpose of the Bill of Rights, was and is to state that Government Shall. Make. No. Laws. concerning those fundamental individual rights. And they are off limits, because they are our individual rights, and not the matters of common convention which communities collectively come to mutual agreement upon their common civic rights (such as voting, age of consent, etc.).

Education is of the same individual nature. A child's education is the responsibility of their parent, and it is the parent's responsibility - and is not the place of, or responsibility of, the community - to choose a teacher or school which they have confidence will effectively teach their child what they think is important for them to understand, or to refuse to allow that which they believe to be inappropriate for their child, to be taught in that school. That is not a decision that is appropriate to being decided through a political process. That is one of the most decidedly personal of decisions and of the greatest import and responsibility for a parent to decide - it is and was a horrific failure of We The People, to concede that to the political process. The hard fact is that when the last state in the union signed onto mandatory schooling laws at the opening of the 20th Century, America's parents effectively signed away their parental rights to the state - the fact that the state has not yet assumed complete ownership of your child, is I'm sure more of a 'practical' economic issue, than an ethical or moral one, for them. Yes. You, We, should be scared at that, and more than a wee bit ashamed.

And no, the oldest argument for govt education, which goes back at least to Aristotle, as with this in Book 8 of his Politics,
" "...That education should be regulated by law and should be an affair of state is not to be denied, but..."
, they tend to leave out what follows that 'but', which is less supportive of what his words are typically used to support. But taken at its worse, it's no more valid a proposition than would be something like:
"What people say and do affects the peace and prosperity of the public, therefore those individual rights of freedom of speech, association, worship and the press, should be removed from what our 1st Amdt protects"
, and just as that notion is fundamentally anti-American, so is the concept of 'Public Education' as we know it today (a system which we got from the same German system which was most responsible for producing those early years of 20th Century Germany), and neither is made any more sanitary by the good intentions with which they are proposed, than the purist distillation of Marxism.

Do school districts and school boards destroy the educational process by making it into a political process? Yes.  But the school districts and their school boards are a reality, and the reality is that they are operating through the use of your money and power, so yes, you do need to be involved in opposing them, but your kids don't - get them out. What we are now seeing more clearly today than ever before, was always implicit in the nature of establishing 'public education' under political control, and now that it is so apparent, there can be no further excuse to ignore it.

Public schools are and have always been the means of exposing a child's mind to the powers of political ideology, and as such has been the inevitable means of inserting the designs of the powerful, into that space where the individual's love of truth and wisdom should have been fostered, and it cannot be otherwise - we are where we are today because nearly two hundred years ago we began embarking upon the road to hell which those good intentions put us on, and changing the road signs, changes nothing at all about the destination being closed in on.

To put it as sharply as seems necessary: You wouldn't send your child into the care of a child molester simply because he'd been told he can't molest them. Do not send your child into the care of intellectual and spiritual child molesters, no matter how reasonably they might seem to say what you want to hear. They aren't being educated by our school systems, they're being intellectually and spiritually molested.

Our nation still has a long ways to go before implementing a separation of school and state, but that needn't be the case with you and your kids - get your kids, and you, out. And if you look around, I'll bet you can help the good teachers get out as well by forming learning pods or micro schools with them and likeminded parents. But. Get. Your. Kids. Out.

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