Posted Tuesday, February 8, 2022 | By AMAC, John Grimaldi |
WASHINGTON, DC, Feb 8 – America’s schools are failing to teach young learners the basics. Tweens and teens are failing to learn, it’s as simple and as worrisome as that. The proof is in assessments that show too many of our youngsters can’t read, do math and write. The pandemic has a lot to do with it, for sure; COVID restrictions have disrupted the education process.
But could it be that there is more to today’s education crisis than debilitating lockdowns and remote teaching? About 30 years ago, the Foundation for Economic Education published a paper with the harsh conclusion that: “By any reasonable measure, America’s monopolistic, bureaucratic, over-regulated system of public schools is woefully unprepared to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. Political, business, and education leaders continue to talk about “reforming” the current public education system. They should, instead, be discussing how to replace it.”
That may sound like a drastic measure were it not for the fact that our kids are not learning. Take Patterson High School in Baltimore, MD. A recent assessment of the teens in that school shows that a staggering 77% of them had the reading skills of elementary schoolers. According to Fox News, 204 of the 480 students who were evaluated using i-Ready Diagnostic testing were reading at kindergarten, and elementary school levels—71 of them read at kindergarten school levels, 88 at first-grade levels, and 45 at second-grade levels.
The unidentified teacher who leaked the test results to Fox said: “It’s heartbreaking to see a child that, when you talk to them outside of the classroom setting, of what are your dreams? And they have these amazing dreams and hopes for the future. But then you realize that with the skills that they have, with the level that they’re at, they’re going to have to work a thousand times harder to achieve. Our children need a future.”
The situation in our nation’s public schools has triggered a backlash among parents who have taken matters into their own hands. Many of them have taken their kids out of school and have begun to home-school them. Others are opting to take their children out of public schools and placing them in charter schools and private schools.
A U.S. Census Bureau survey shows that toward the end of the 2019-2020 school year 5.8% of households were homeschooling their youngsters and that in the 2020-2019 school year 11.1% of households opted to home school their kids.
Says the Census Bureau: “From the much-discussed ‘pandemic pods,’ (small groups of students gathering outside a formal school setting for in-person instruction) to a reported influx of parent inquiries about stand-alone virtual schools, private schools, and homeschooling organizations, American parents are increasingly open to options beyond the neighborhood school.”
Exacerbating the public school dilemma are concerns over the teaching of the so-called Critical Race Theory. Pennsylvania mom Jennifer Stefano, vice president and chief strategist at The Commonwealth Foundation, declared that she just “Might Pull My Kids From Public School This Fall For Teaching Them Racism” in a piece she wrote for the Federalist. What prompted her? She said that she was “gobsmacked” one day when her ten-year-old came home from school and asked her, “are we segregationists?”
“After confirming we all understood what a segregationist was, I realized my child had a point. Our Catholic school had unexpectedly closed down, so we enrolled the kids in the local public school, which is predominately white. I had to explain to my child that while we are decidedly not segregationists, our public education system—which divides people based on ZIP codes and district lines—is, in fact, creating de facto segregation,” Stefano explained.
She concluded her article, saying the “spirit of community and believing in one another—regardless of race—has been lost in public school. For that reason, we might not be going back.”