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Seldom do I read a piece about the state of education in this country without remarking to myself and my husband how glad I am to be homeschooling. There’s a remarkable piece in The Atlantic by George Packer this month about one father’s journey through New York City’s public schools that made me do it again. What’s remarkable is how clearly the author illustrates how everyone in the public school system in New York, from teachers up to the Mayor himself, have made a conscious decision to sacrifice education on the altar of Progressivism. Here’s a sampling:
I wanted the plan to succeed, but I had serious doubts. It came festooned with all the authoritarian excess of the new progressivism. It called for the creation of a new diversity bureaucracy, and its relentless jargon squashed my hope that the authors knew how to achieve an excellent education for all. Instead of teaching civics that faced the complex truths of American democracy, “the curriculum will highlight the vast historical contributions of non-white groups & seek to dispel the many non-truths/lies related to American & World History.”
Packer’s experience mirrored my own in New York City public school. I attended a charter school on the Upper West Side my last year of high school that later became famous for illegal trips to Cuba to learn about the revolution. No, I am not kidding. Math and science took a backseat to a progressive view of English and history (where entire semesters about the prison system and Howard Zinn were taught).
Now in my early 30s, the most jarring thing as a parent has been to witness how mainstream that education has become, to see how many of my radical classmates became teachers themselves. This isn’t just a problem for New York City’s teachers; it is endemic across the education system. After college, graduate school and paying union dues, it’s the rare teacher who comes out without a heavy dose of indoctrination. Even among my classmates from the rural Upstate New York town I spent most of my childhood in, the teachers emerged speaking fluent Woke Progressive.
That might not be an issue for some parents, as long as their kids are getting a good enough education. But unfortunately, juggling indoctrination and basic instruction is proving challenging for many teachers in school districts across the country; not just in New York City. And that’s the ultimate cruelty of the breakdown of the school system: those who can afford to leave the public system will. And those without the means to flee will left will be left without a basic grasp of English, math or science. That’s the future and will be the legacy of the progressive takeover of our schools.