For the past 20+ years school districts have been evolving. They’ve moved from teaching the 3 R’s to providing daycare, healthcare, meals, clothing and other services. They have adopted S.E.L. (Social Emotional Learning) as well as PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention Services). They have adopted stances supporting Black Lives Matter (BLM); in some cases taking positions against police and school resource officers. Some have adopted “White Fragility” and are actively teaching “systemic racism”. Districts have added more counselors to help children deal with issues at home.
What do the statistics and data about public schools tell use? https://www.edweek.org/ew/issues/education-statistics/index.html
Data suggests that ~80% of teachers and administrators in K-12 education are liberal/progressive. Given those philosophical and political bents they choose curriculum and materials that are comfortable for them and that they instill in students. Article after article in various media cite the long trend to instilling socialism ideals. Gender words. Him/Her/She. Comprehensive sex education teaching children in kindergarten about gender identify. Teaching 4th and 5th graders about sexual pleasure and consent. Unions decrying private schools and charter schools and exerting pressure for only public schools.
Equity even if it harms students. Getting rid of the “F” letter grade because it makes students feel bad. Getting rid of sports team names if someone things it’s “culturally inappropriate”. Prohibiting prayer at schools and sporting events. Blocking Christian groups from schools and facilities in some areas. Telling students that Climate Change is real and that students must go home and tell their parents to stop using fossil fuels and the planet is going to die if things don’t change.
Supporting students not attending classes to go out and protest for causes the schools think are worthy. Making suspending or expelling a student virtually impossible. Fail a grade and what happens? The student is passed on to the next grade…it’s virtually impossible hold a student back.
School Boards make changes based on public input how often? (Answer: almost never). Budgets go up and up. In the past 4+ years spending per student in Washington State has gone up nearly 50%…while test scores and other measures of performance have been flat to declining. [Perhaps if the focus was on educating students instead of layering on more and more social programs the trend could be reversed?] It’s estimated that something on the order of 30% of students graduating high school can’t adequately read. Colleges are having to provide remedial reading training. How is that possible?
Recently we ran a story about a local school district (Camas) that has embraced “White Fragility” and is training teachers in the subject. Here’s a link to that story: https://swweducation.org?p=6538 They are not alone. A member of the public in the Camas School District just shared a new Resolution (19-09) the School Board passed:
CAMAS SCHOOL DISTRICT
School Board Commitment to Equity and Anti-Racism
WHEREAS, the recent incidents of violence against Black Americans highlights the systemic bias and institutional racism in our society that has senselessly and atrociously devastated so many Black lives throughout our country’s history;
WHEREAS, as school board members we are committed to actively interrupting systemic racism and eliminating inequities in our education system and therefore are compelled to speak out;
WHEREAS, this violence, racism, and disregard of human dignity and life reflect and perpetuate a system within which students, families, and staff of color and their families are oppressed and attacked, both through explicit racist actions as well as unconscious bias and microaggressions;
WHEREAS, our community and nation’s future requires that this systemic bias and institutional racism be dismantled, to promote equity, and ensure ALL children and families are able to thrive;
WHEREAS, education is a key lever for creating this more equitable and anti-racist community, nation, and the world;
WHEREAS, our district is committed to promoting equity within and across our schools, in conversation and partnership with students, families, staff, and community stakeholders;
WHEREAS, in moving from planning to action, our district is committed to drawing on the perspective and feedback from the collection of diverse voices as outlined in our equity policy and procedures to identify concrete actions that must be taken to advance this work, and continuing to ensure that these voices are elevated in decision-making processes.
WHEREAS, as a school board and district we value each and every student, family, and staff member and are committed to creating an equitable and anti-racist system that honors and elevates all.
WHEREAS, we recognize that the experiences and outcomes in our district are not consistent for historically underserved and marginalized groups, including people of color; those experiencing poverty, homelessness, or foster/kinship care; students who identify as LGBTQ+; students receiving special education instruction; and students who are linguistically diverse.
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Board of Directors for Camas School District that:
The Camas School District Board of Directors stands in solidarity with the Black community, in our schools, district, and nation to condemn this violence and the blatant disrespect by some Americans for Black lives – we see it, we hear it, and we are committed to changing the system.
The Camas School District Board of Directors commits to its own work as individuals and our collective work overseeing the district in continuing to become equitable and anti-racist in behaviors, actions, and policies;
The Camas School District Board of Directors calls on and commits to working with our local government agencies to strengthen the collective work of diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community. This specifically includes participation in a multi-discipline inter-agency task force by one or more board member representatives.
LET IT FURTHER BE RESOLVED, that the Camas School District Board of Directors shall take specific action to revise its governance tools – goals, guardrails, procedures, and budget – to reflect this focus on equity and anti-racism:
The Camas School District Board of Directors commits to a full revision of its Board Goals as part of the current strategic planning cycle, holding diversity, equity, and inclusion at the center of this work. These revised goals will allow monitoring and transparency of progress by the Board and stakeholders.
The Camas School District Board of Directors commits to an ongoing review and revision of governance structures to ensure a focus on equity and anti-racism across all Board responsibilities.
The Camas School District Board of Directors and staff commit to a quarterly review and revision of existing policies and procedures and hold diversity, equity, and inclusion at the center of all conversations moving forward.
The Camas School District Board of Directors commits to holding these resolutions at the center when reviewing and approving the district budget to ensure adequate funding to support this work.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
- Is “systemc bias” real or manufactured and should school districts embrace and promote the concept?
- Has the Camas School District been guilty of promoting racism, inequality and ignoring dignity? By adopting this resolution isn’t that what they are saying? If so why are they suddenly compelled to correct their past errors?
- Does the Camas district view the world in colors? Why do they call out “people of color”? Isn’t white, brown, black and other skin tones all “people of color”? Aren’t they creating a racism mentality by framing “color”?
Are these the actions and learnings you want and expect public schools to pursue? Are public schools and school boards in the business of creating, forcing, teaching and promoting social change?
If you like this tell your local school board and district leadership you like it. If you believe public should not be in the business of being social change architects speak up!
Perhaps schools should focus on educating students and leave social change to the public? After all, our philosophical and political leanings guide what we teach. Those who direct education direct the path of the nation.