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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

The 'party of education' must value merit, get ideology out of classroom

Democrats used to be the "party of education" in voters' minds, notes Education Next. Now voters are split on who they trust most, with "the occasional poll showing Republicans nosing ahead."

Ruy Teixeira, co-author of Where Have All the Democrats Gone?, advises the Democrats to stop "letting the culture wars distract from the core mission of schools" and downplaying the importance of merit and academic achievement."

Frederick Hess and Michael McShane, co-authors of the new book Getting Education Right: A Conservative Vision for Improving Early Childhood, K–12, and College, tells Republicans to drop the platitudes and propose practical solutions. "More choice, less Washington" isn't enough.

Progressive educators claim they stand for "a modern, inclusive education that no decent, unprejudiced person should oppose," writes Teixeira. But they've promoted "anti-racist" lessons that go "way beyond benign pedagogical practices such as teaching about slavery, Jim Crow, the Tulsa Race Massacre, redlining, and so on."

"Democrats have been hurt by their increasing identification with this ideological project," he writes.

In addition, the downgrading of academic merit and standardized tests is very unpopular with parents. Many students and parents "see educational achievement as their route to upward mobility and success in life," he writes. If they can "no longer rely on hard work and objectively good academic performance to attain their goals," they feel cheated.

Voters don't want left-wing or right-wing ideology in schools, writes Teixeira.

Among his proposals for Democrats is to "widen public school choice" for children from lower-income families and "advocate replacing race-based affirmative action with class-based affirmative action."

Like Teixeira, Hess and McShane say the "party of education" should go where the voters are.

Two-thirds of Americans are "extremely" or "very" proud to be Americans, reports a recent Gallup poll, they write. Few want schools "to embrace the jaundiced, 'America the ‘Slavocracy’ view of history sketched by far-left icons such as Ibram X. Kendi and Nikole Hannah-Jones."

More than two-thirds of Americans think student-athletes should play on the team that matches their biological sex, they write. "Republicans are on principled, popular ground when they fight to allow students to play on sports teams, use locker rooms, and sleep in dormitories that reflect their biological sex."

"Promoting excellence, rigor and merit" is a political winner, Hess and McShane agree.

More than 80 percent of Americans say standardized tests such as the SAT and the ACT should factor into college admissions, and 94 percent think that hard work is important. Republicans should defend advanced instruction, gifted programs, hard work, and the importance of earned success.

Like Teixeira, they call for extending school choice. They also call for broadening pathways to employment, limiting college costs and helping families with child care. Republicans even could reach out to teachers, they write, by championing "discipline policies that keep teachers safe and classrooms manageable."

2 comentarios

28 feb

But to many, to too many, educators the core mission of schools IS cultural indoctrination.

Ann in L.A.

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Malcolm Kirkpatrick
Malcolm Kirkpatrick
28 feb

Parent Performance Contracting* would:

  1. Expand the range of education options available to parents

  2. Require no new administrative machinery

  3. Elide First Amendment "establishment" arguments

  4. Minimize the threat of government intrusion into the operations of independent and parochial schools

  5. Require no new funds

  6. Raise per-pupil budgets available to students who remain in government schools

Only the out-of classroom parasites who infest large school districts would lose.

*Seach "The Harriet Tubman Agenda, The Proposal"

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