David McIntosh: Parents sick of critical race theory and more need alternatives – here's an easy solution
There is a way to solve this problem for parents who need to stay in the public school system
Many parents are sick of the indoctrination occurring in our public schools but don't have the resources to send their children elsewhere. There is an easy solution to this problem: redirect taxpayer dollars to enable parents to seek educational alternatives when schools become ideological boot camps. Families should be able to direct education funding toward public schools, private schools, homeschool, or for tutors or technology.
The ideological capture of public school districts nationwide is only possible because there is a public monopoly on education that doesn’t allow for robust parental choice. Economic research shows that providing private education costs less and produces better results than public education. The problem is that parents have to pay twice for private education because their tax dollars already fund public schools. Parental choice gives parents flexibility while forcing public schools to listen to families.
In a disturbing example of political correctness run amok, Oregon math teachers were recently urged to sign up for the "Pathway to Math Equity Micro-Course," by the Oregon Department of Education. The creators of the course argue that "White supremacy culture infiltrates math classrooms" because students are "required to 'show their work' in standardized, prescribed ways," and the "focus is only on getting the right answer."
The absurdity of this thinking and training is just one egregious example of how state and federal education officials are injecting critical race theory ideology into America's schools. Critical race theory is predicated on viewing virtually every issue taught in school - from mathematics to history - through a radical, racial lens.
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Parental concerns about our public education system are becoming more pronounced because the Biden administration is launching a top-down effort to fund critical race theory. A recently proposed rule by the Department of Education will channel millions in federal dollars to schools that "Incorporate Racially, Ethnically, Culturally, and Linguistically Diverse Perspectives into Teaching and Learning." The administration's rule references the thought leaders of critical race theory like the 1619 Project and Ibram X. Kendi as the program's inspiration. If this relatively small program goes unchallenged, the administration will likely push for billions in additional funding.
At its core, critical race theory promulgates a distorted view of history. Everything has to do with race and racism, even when it clearly doesn't. For example, the 1619 Project makes a number of claims that have been rejected by many historians, including the outrageously false claim that the Founding Fathers fought the American Revolution primarily to protect slavery. In a tacit acknowledgment of error, the New York Times substantially edited the 1619 Project without explanation.
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When opponents point out these blatant falsehoods, they are usually called racist because they aren't advancing what passes for an anti-racist agenda. In one instance. a Massachusetts football coach was fired for opposing the implementation of critical race theory in his daughter's classroom. Likewise, a group of parents in Loudoun County, Virginia faced harassment because they opposed the baseless theory. Kendi, whom the Biden administration sees as a guiding voice, argues for the creation of a Department of Anti-racism with the frightening power to discipline public officials who violate his beliefs.
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Most parents aren’t comfortable with the extremes critical race theorists embrace. Polling finds 69% of Americans reject the notion that schools should teach that America is structurally racist and 74% don’t want schools to teach that white privilege exists.
Robust parental choice would allow parents who aren’t comfortable with what is being taught in their school district to send their children to a different school.
Schools that continue pushing critical race theory even though most families reject it can expect to see a mass exodus of children. Parents will no longer feel trapped sending their children to schools violating their beliefs, and evidence shows that parents who use parental choice programs are more satisfied with their schools.
This policy is not only the right thing to do, but it is also very popular with families. A Real Clear Politics survey commissioned by the American Federation for Children demonstrated that an overwhelming 73% of Americans supported parental choice last year.
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Parents from all walks of life are eager for their children to receive the best educational opportunities possible. Empirical research has shown that school choice leads to better educational outcomes for students. Just like in any other area of life, from grocery shopping to searching for a used car, increasing competition leads to more and better options.
Every child deserves an education that prepares them for success, not one that attempts to ensure they vote a particular way their whole life. Parental choice allows parents to chart the path that is best for their family while avoiding the pitfalls of a public education system that has picked critical race theory and political indoctrination at the expense of America’s children.