Sunday, October 10, 2021

Mothers against School Boards and Teachers' Unions

Mothers across America are up in arms. They are outraged at the failures of America’s teachers, America’s teachers unions and America’s school administrators.

Ostensibly, the problem lies in the simple fact that far too many teachers have decided to turn their classrooms into indoctrination mills, where critical race theory and other leftist ideology has taken the place of math and science, to say nothing of language studies. 

As you know, the Biden administration, led by its highly compromised attorney general, has chosen to fight the problem by sending the FBI out to investigate mothers who speak out at school board meetings. The fact that the attorney general’s son-in-law sells critical race theory materials to school seems not to have registered with the mainstream media.

The Biden administration has now labelled these suburban mothers domestic terrorists, all the while excusing the riotous insurrections that befell America’s blue cities last year, as protests. 

As David Harsanyi wrote (via Maggie’s Farm):

By escalating this to a national “crisis,” the Biden administration is helping the teachers unions’ to intimidate parents that dare object to policies with which they disagree. Argue with a school board member at a meeting, as is your right, and you may get a visit from the feds. Usually the hypocrisy isn’t quite so frightening.

One suspects that the administration is going to get some very serious push back on this. One hopes that the pushback will manifest itself at the ballot box next year. 

And yet, the teachers’ unions and their Democratic enablers have much more to answer for. They lobbied successfully to shut down schools across the country last year, and now they should be forced to reap the whirlwind. One notes that nations across the world did not subject children to such destructive measures. For having destroyed the educational opportunities of large numbers of American school children, the heads of these unions should be in jail. 

If you think that the American educational system is going to produce a high tech workforce that can compete against Asia, you have been smoking the wrong kind of cigarettes. Even today, companies that want to get more deeply into cloud computing are finding that America does not have enough capable workers to do the task. Tim Cook warned of this. Elon Musk warned of this. Anyone who says otherwise is immediately branded as anti-American.

The sad part is that the people who vote for Democratic politicians are the same people whose children are most disadvantaged over last year’s adventure in remote learning.

While teachers unions were locking down public education, they assured us that children would just need some remedial work, to be brought back up to speed. It is most likely untrue, though it is certainly convenient from people who refuse to take responsibility for the damage they have inflicted on children.

We have, on this blog, been on the alert for information that allows us to measure the damage done. It is the least we can do, but do it we shall.

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported on what was happening in one public school in Phoenix. The conclusion-- the damage done to children was much worse than expected. For example, fourth grade pupils cannot read and write:

Each fall, about five students show up to Ms. Layne’s class at Sevilla Elementary School East in Phoenix lagging far behind fourth grade-level reading skills. This year, she was stunned to find nearly half of her 25 students tested at kindergarten to first-grade reading levels.

When the pandemic disrupted schools in spring 2020, educators predicted remote learning would set up many children for failure, especially students of color and those from poor families. Test scores from the first months of remote learning showed students falling months behind in reading and math. This fall, as many students returned to classrooms for the first time after 18 months of disruptions, some teachers have found the learning loss is worse than projected.

The situation is dire in classrooms like Ms. Layne’s, located in the Alhambra Elementary School District where many parents work hourly jobs in construction, cleaning and fast-food restaurants. The district has faced a growing literacy problem over the past 15 years. But the pandemic has turned it into a crisis: A test administered this month to gauge how many students met state grade-level standards revealed that of the 422 second- through fourth-graders at Sevilla East, 58% were determined to be minimally proficient in their grade-level standards for English Language Arts—the lowest rank.

Think about it, half of her fourth graders were testing at kindergarten or first grade level. This will make it impossible for them to learn by reading books.

The same was occurring across the country:

During the 2020-21 school year, the rate at which students learned nationwide was slower across all student groups, regardless of race, ethnicity or income level, compared with historical averages before the pandemic, according to a July report by NWEA, an Oregon-based nonprofit education-services firm. Math achievement was as much as 12 percentile points lower in the spring of 2021 compared with a typical year. Reading achievement declined by as much as 6 percentile points compared with before the pandemic, among all students. The results come from about 5.5 million third- through eighth-grade students in 12,500 public schools who took the assessments in 2018-2019 and in the 2020-2021 school year.

As everyone expected children of color were more seriously impacted than were other children:

But the drop in reading scores among Black and Latino fourth-grade students was, on average, double that of white and Asian-American students. At the same time, among fourth-graders—a critical juncture in education—students from high-poverty schools experienced three times as much learning loss in reading compared with those enrolled in low-poverty schools.

The Journal continues its report:

Despite years of battling low reading scores, the educators at Sevilla East were surprised at what they saw when classrooms reopened for in-person learning this fall.

Many fourth-graders returned to school reading on the same level as they had in the second grade when the pandemic started—leaving them more than two grade levels behind now. A few have regressed, tests show. The school’s recent diagnostic test results showed there were more fourth-graders behind grade-level reading expectations than students in any other grade.

What does it all mean in the great scheme of things. It means that these children are at high risk for having their lives ruined:

Students who aren’t reading at grade level by third grade are more likely to drop out of high school and end up in prison, decades of research has shown. By fourth grade, students must be able to use their literacy skills to learn other subjects, such as math, social studies and science, educators say.

How well children are able to read in early grades is predictive of where they are going to end up later in life, said Carol Scheffner Hammer, vice dean for research and a professor at Teachers College, Columbia University who specializes in children’s language and literacy development.

As we were saying, the Biden administration is responding by criminalizing the righteous protests of suburban mothers, while it turns a blind eye to the crime wave overtaking America’s blue cities. 


IamDevo said...

It has become clear as crystal that the "incompetence/malevolence" question has been answered unequivocally by "malevolence." There is simply no way to interpret the actions of those currently holding power in DC (and by extension, everywhere the administrative state headquartered there has its members and supporters) as anything other than a willing intent to destroy the country in order to stand atop its ashes and declare victory. Hordes of native and foreign born enemies of traditional America have been enlisted as foot soldiers in this war on the rest of us. I suppose the Romans of the fourth century dimly perceived that by virtue of the decline of traditional ethnic Romans and the increasing dependence on foreigners to supply labor and membership in their legions, they were signing their own death warrant. Or perhaps they were deceived by the normality bias until the very last minute, by which time it was too late to do anything. That is the inflection point into which we have entered. Our only remaining option is to determine how we shall react to our circumstances. Patrick Henry anyone?

JPL17 said...

"Students who aren’t reading at grade level by third grade are more likely to drop out of high school and end up in prison, decades of research has shown."

This means our current crop of non-reading 4th graders will start dropping out in about 6 years. The 2028 U.S. crime statistics should be stratospheric.