Politicized Progressive Education Brings Problematic Results
It seems that radical left “Progressive” ideas are often counterproductive and make the targeted problems and issues even worse. We shall focus here on progressive education from the Left.
The Minnesota and Kentucky teachers of the year skipped a White House awards ceremony because of their disagreement with President Trump over his immigration and school choice/charter schools and alleged Islamophobic and LGBTQ philosophies. Teachers Kelly Holstine (Minnesota) and Jessica Duenas (Kentucky) were not present at the award event. The Minnesota English teacher concluded Trump and his philosophical cohorts “hate my kids (students).”
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and President Trump did meet with the appreciative state of Virginia Teacher of the Year, Rodney Robinson.
A KROC listener commented on the absentees, saying, “This is disgusting beyond words. (These AWOL teachers) should not be teaching anyone’s kids.” The listener wondered how these dissenting educators could be “picked as the best we have.”
Katherine Kersten, a lawyer, columnist, author and senior fellow at Minnesota’s Center of the American Experiment, wrote an alarming research article in the Spring 2019 issue of the periodical, Thinking Minnesota, titled “Can Edina’s Schools be Saved?”
Kersten contends the “progressive” agenda in that Minnesota school system has led to a decline in academic standards and student discipline by “sacrificing academic excellence to a (politically correct) social agenda.”
Ms. Kersten contends the problem comes from diminished standards, selective minority student-based discipline laxity, and “a social mission that requires viewing students not as individuals but as members of racial groups.” The result: parents are taking their children out of “the district’s once-fabled schools” that are now failing all of its students, as test scores indicate.
Parents have been quoted in opposition to “the liberal agenda” of continuously accusing all whites of irredeemable “racism,” lowered standards, serious classroom discipline issues, and other problems discovered when the school district finally surveyed the “outbound parents” about why they were removing their children and sending them to other alternatives because “educational needs” were not being met.
Paul Mirengoff and Steven Hayward of Minnesota’s powerlineblog.com (April 2019) reported on the leftist propensity to write anti-American history books. The latest example is written by alleged Communist sympathizer James W. Fraser and his American history textbook, By the People. Fraser’s book is used as background material for student Advanced Placement (AP) examinations.
The Powerline articles contend Fraser has written positively about the Eastern European Communist history, saying the totalitarian system was misapplied and unfairly and negatively interpreted by Western historians. Frazer’s recent U.S. history text asserts conservatives are sexists and racists, Trump is “mentally unstable,” and Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election to Trump because of voter “sexism.”
Mirengoff recommends the more positive pro-America text by Encounter Book, Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story, by Wilfred M. McClay (University of Oklahoma).
I would add to that recommendation, A Patriot’s History of The United States, by retired university Professors, Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen.
Other educational asininities: George Washington High School in California is contemplating removing two Washington murals from its walls because the tribute to the school’s namesake causes “trauma” to Native Americans and African Americans, and other community residents.
Wake Forest University in North Carolina hosted April “listening sessions” to advance “inclusion” on campus. But only “faculty and staff of color” were invited following a recent student protest alleging pervasive “white supremacy” on campus.
Politically correct discipline policies seem to have reached a zenith in California. The California State Senate expects the minority of poorly behaved minority students to continue their disruptive ways. The Senate, according to Channel 13 CBS, Sacramento, “voted to ban schools and principals from suspending students for “willful defiance” toward teachers, staff, and administrators,’’ on a 30-8 vote. The bill requires state assembly approval. Students can still be expelled for threats or acts of violence, and the use of weapons and drugs, at least for now.
The Progressive Education Beat goes on in the “Teaching and Learning” community.