The largest teachers’ union in the nation, the National Education Association (NEA), committed to funding an investigation into groups that oppose the use of critical theories in K-12 education at their recent annual conference. This move was bad enough. However, the teachers’ union’s acceptance of agenda items did not end there. Indeed, it is setting up a showdown that the government system of education may not survive. At this point, it is legitimate to contemplate if perhaps it should not…
Public intellectuals like Jordan Peterson and James Lindsay have been warning about the pernicious influence of the ideas of grievance studies and post-modernism on schools of education at our universities. New Business Item 39 and statements from American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten confirm that these radical ideas have influenced the leadership of teachers’ unions. Indeed, some teachers and administrators do not hold these views, but their ability to speak up or affect the direction of these institutions will become increasingly limited.
Our universities are on a continued trajectory of decline. In the 15 years I spent hiring, training, and developing employees, a college degree became more of a screening tool than a guarantee of a well-prepared entry-level employee capable of problem solving, working in teams, and handling constructive criticism. The function of their costly education was one of selection and stamina. Employers assumed universities selected based on objective criteria of intelligence, so we hired the brightest and then took charge of training them in what they needed to know and do. Now that the admission process is increasingly about representation, it is not even clear universities serve this function.
Now, the largest teachers’ union is determined to take K-12 education down the same road, embracing a curriculum that rejects meritocracy in favor of equity. Wherever we have seen this ideology implemented, we have seen the lowering of the bar for everyone to standardize outcomes. New York City is eliminating entrance requirements at its selective public schools. The SAT is adding an adversity score to credit for economic and social disadvantages. Restorative justice programs made schools less safe for students and staff. There is also an increasing drumbeat to eliminate standardized tests broadly.