As some pray for a better nation, we must also pray and transform a collection of public education systems that perpetuate educational neglect and malpractice against our children.

I will not pretend to be an expert on teaching, but as a school board member I confess to deep and continuous agita over the the system’s inability to do the right thing; rather, its amazing ability to deny reality, which is the prime directive for institutional entropy. (It is not just the reality of good research that is ignored, it’s the reality of crumbling schools and generations of untaught children.)… I have watched American educators do somersaults to avoid the obvious need for rigorous, fact-based curricula. In fact, the two denials—the effectiveness of direct instruction and the value of content knowledge—go hand in hand and together probably account for most of the national educational malaise. You name it—Clark et al say it goes under various names, “including discovery learning, problem-based learning, inquiry learning, experiential learning, and constructivist learning”—our educators are locked on to bad ideas and ineffective pedagogies like cruise missiles to their preprogrammed targets. “Each new set of advocates for unguided approaches seemed unaware of, or uninterested in,” write Clark et al, “previous evidence that unguided approaches had not been validated.”

Fordham Institute’s Peter Meyer, noting the unwillingness of many education traditionalists to accept the reality of a failed system.

While I agree social cohesion is an essential component of a healthy democracy, denying low-income and immigrant parents the freedom and resources to select their child’s school will weaken our common bonds, not strengthen them. But I acknowledge Geiger’s views have deep historical roots.

In the 1830s, state governments, which were controlled by Protestants, started assuming greater control of publicly-funded education in response to the influx of Catholic immigrants into Catholic schools. The goal of these mid-19th century Protestants wasn’t the nurturing of religious pluralism. They wanted to diminish Catholicism while enhancing their power and influence…. It culminated with a Ku Klux Klan sponsored referendum in Oregon in 1922, requiring all children to attend government (i.e., Protestant) schools. This referendum was overturned by the 1925 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Pierce v. Society of Sisters, which is why parents today have a constitutional right to send their children to a non-government school, provided they can pay for it.

While I’m sure Geiger shares my abhorrence of everything the KKK stands for, its 1922 proposal treated all parents equally, which is fairer than what Geiger is proposing. She wants to maintain school choice for those who can afford private school tuition (or homes in middle-class and upper-class neighborhoods), but deny it for those who can’t. Denying freedom and equal opportunity to immigrants as a means of teaching them about American values seems counterintuitive… We can successfully manage the strengths and challenges inherent in our country’s extraordinary diversity and pluralism without unduly limiting the freedoms and opportunities of our least powerful families.

RedefineEd’s Doug Tuthill, explaining why opposing school choice essentially perpetuates two centuries of state-sponsored religious and political bigotry that has also ended up damaging poor and minority families.

In districts with the highest suspension rates in the state, just under a quarter of the entire student body –nearly one of every four students of all races and ages – received at least one suspension that school year. These districts had not only the highest district wide rates for all students, but often very large differences in the risk for suspension between different racial groups, with Black students suspended on average at a rate that was a full 20 percentage points higher than White students… the issue here is not whether students should ever be suspended, but rather whether the frequent use of out-of-school suspension is effective in helping schools provide a safe and productive educational environment—and the evidence clearly indicates this is not the case. Not only is it counterintuitive to punish a disengaged student by giving them a day off school, but research also suggests that such suspensions do not even act as a deterrent to future misbehavior. Indeed, there is some evidence that suspension may actually increase incidents of misbehavior, effectively making the environment even less productive. Researchers have found that students suspended early in middle school are more likely to receive suspensions by eighth grade, suggesting an increase as opposed to an overall decrease in misbehavior. Furthermore, as the American Academy of Pediatrics pointed out, suspensions are not an effective means of engaging parents…

Daniel Losen and his team at the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, explaining in its latest report why the overuse of harsh school discipline is often disproportionate and does little to keep kids on the path to lifelong success.

Apologists for the Los Angeles Unified School District management’s failure to follow existing law to protect students from abuse have introduced three measures that would punish all educators by undermining their due process rights…. Remember, although the Committee members may not be your legislator, their decision to support this attack on teachers affects every teacher in California and you felt this Member needed to hear from you.

California’s National Education Association affiliate, the California Teachers Association, essentially defending the criminally abusive behavior of some of its members (even if it finds their actions repugnant) by pushing against two proposed Golden State laws that would make it easier to remove those who don’t belong in classrooms or around children.