I believe in America’s public schools. I went through them, and I’ve taught in them. I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the terrible. I was once mentored by a senior teacher who allegedly retaliated against a student for refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. “The classroom is not a pulpit. It is a place of education, not indoctrination”, said one of the attorneys who settled the litigation.
That lawyer is swimming against the tide. All throughout the U.S., cancel culture partisans are taking over, from school board to school library to school classroom to teacher-led school prayer on the football field. “Following woke indoctrination in our schools, that is a road to ruin for this country,” Florida Gov. DeSantis warned. Don’t mention gay, lesbian or any sexuality in class. Don’t bring up race, except slavery wasn’t that bad. And don’t use the word “slavery” – it was involuntary relocation. Don’t allow masks. Don’t teach a distorted “woke progressive” view of separation of church and state, because history proves our godly Founding Fathers in fact expected the Christian religion to be promoted by government. It used to be that school administrators acted against bullying. Now, they are the bullies themselves.
And it used to be that teachers were critiqued based on the curriculum they failed to teach, not for the lessons they successfully deliver. All this amidst a critical teacher shortage. Teachers are demoralized, burned-out, underpaid, over-worked, and quitting in droves. “I don’t know how we’re going to continue to live in this hostile environment, how we’re going to encourage educators to enter the field and stick around,” one Florida teacher sighed.
My youngest is now in a public high school in Cobb County, Georgia. The school board that prohibits “the discussion of divisive concepts”, including that “the United States of America is fundamentally racist”. You know, the same congressional district that keeps voting for White Nationalist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. It’s the same school board that once placed stickers on biology textbooks “to foster critical thinking among students” that evolution is a theory, not a fact concerning the origin of living things. And now, new and improved – with guns!
A new policy in the Cobb County school district allows the Superintendent to authorize district employees to carry guns. Any school employee – bus drivers, cafeteria staff, janitors, librarians, guidance counselors – who passes typical gun-carry requirements can be armed. The Super reiterated that teachers would not be armed, although the written policy doesn’t say that. Ain’t nobody gonna try and filch a second apple pie at the lunch line now. Better return that overdue library book before Ms. Grump come looking for ya!
Our school district has turned a “community of learners” into an ideologically-pure armed camp. With all the stresses on high schoolers today, I can’t imagine having to concentrate on algorisms when your algebra teacher’s Glock is slung across his shoulder. Surely we as a nation can come up with a more sane approach than turning educators into gun-fighters, and schools into Ft. Apache. All I can say is that I’m glad I’m not in school anymore, either as a teacher or a student. My sophomore son gives me enough to worry about.