The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

The Myth of ‘Good’ Public Schools

Posted on | September 18, 2022 | Comments Off on The Myth of ‘Good’ Public Schools

Most people know, although they are reluctant to acknowledge, the meaning of “good schools.” You don’t have to be Ibram X. Kendi to see the systemic racism embedded in that common bit of code-speak. When people are looking to buy a house, they’ll pay a premium for a “good school district,” by which they mean a majority-white district.

What has always struck me about this, as a longtime critic of our education system, is how little attention such parents pay to the curriculum. What upscale suburban parents seems to care about most is the relative prestige of their child’s school — is this the fashionable district? do a high percentage of students go onto college? are the SAT scores high? — and never mind what is actually being taught.

The whole question of what constitutes a good education is ignored, while parents are distracted by issues of reputation. And that lazy way of thinking was commonplace up until the moment, just recently, when parents got wise to the craziness that has taken hold in the classroom:

Administrators at Central Bucks West High School have introduced a new “Gender Identification Procedure” that many teachers say is discriminatory against LGBTQ students.
Teachers say they were told to not use a student’s preferred name or pronoun if it does not match with the information in the school’s database. They say they were told to inform school counselors about any student who requests a different name or pronoun. School counselors would then arrange a conversation with the student’s parents or guardians so they could approve their student’s name and/or pronoun change.
Administrators introduced the procedure at a faculty meeting six days into the school year; teachers said administrators cited protecting parents’ rights as the reason. Four teachers told WHYY News about the meeting and the unprecedented pushback from educators. . . .

Dana Pico at First Street Journal called attention to this controversy in a “good” suburban school district. Bucks County is 82% white, wedged between Philadelphia to the south and Trenton, N.J., on the other side of the Delaware River. Median home value is around $340,000. Among the nearly 1,500 students enrolled at Central Bucks West High School in Doylestown, there are fewer than a dozen black kids.

Parents thought they had purchased safety for their children, when they bought homes in this prosperous Philadelphia suburb, never imagining this newfangled menace of “gender theory.” And as we read through this story from WHYY-TV, we get a sense of who’s running the local schools:

“A lot of us are distraught,” said Becky Cartee-Haring, who has taught English at Central Bucks West for 16 years.
“I physically felt sick in that meeting, listening to an administrator basically argue that we were going to protect ourselves by outting children … it’s heart wrenching … It’s just cruel.”
Teachers said administrators told them they have to follow parents’ or guardians’ wishes if they differ from a student’s.
“What the children wanted was completely irrelevant,” said David Klein, who has been teaching social studies at Central Bucks West for 26 years.
Klein said he’s not going to follow the new procedure.
“There’s no way I’m hurting a kid. Hell no. I cannot be complicit in harming children,” Klein said, raising his voice. “And I said this in the meeting … this is the most at-risk marginalized group of students, they need our support more than anyone else. No! Kid says, ‘Call me Tony,’ I’m calling them Tony!”
Klein and other teachers are unwilling to “deadname” a student in front of their peers, parents, or other school staff.

Notice that both of these teachers, who profess themselves “distraught” by a policy they regard as “cruel” to “marginalized” students, have been employed a long time by Bucks County schools. We may be certain that, when Becky Cartee-Haring was hired in 2006, there were no controversies about pronouns and “gender identity” in Bucks County schools. We know this because the sudden vogue of youth transgenderism didn’t begin until about 2014, and the acceleration of this trend has been driven mainly by online social media. Yet here are teachers adamantly defending beliefs that didn’t even exist when the students at Central Bucks West High School started first grade.

More from the WHYY-TV story:

Klein said even if he faces a parent who does not want their child to be called a name that the child prefers, he will continue to prioritize the student.
“My job is to educate your kids, to prepare them for the future, to make them feel safe, period. That’s my calling. Pardon me,” Klein said, choking up. “I’m calling you Tony because you need to feel safe in my classroom. How else are you going to learn? And if they want to fire me, that’s their business.”
Cartee-Haring and education experts said students learn better when teachers show respect for who they are.
“There are very few hills that teachers are going to die on,” Cartee-Haring said. “But in this case, most of the people I talked to said, ‘I’m willing to go in the line of fire, if I have to sit in a meeting with an angry parent, I’m going to do that.’”

See this? The teachers are experts, whereas mere parents . . . Well, your opinion about your child’s education is irrelevant. And if your daughter decides she’s “Tony” because of something she saw on TikTok or Tumblr last week, these teachers in Bucks County will “respect” that.

All of this is happening, you see, in one of the most desirable public-school districts in America, a place where people move and buy high-priced homes just so their kids can go to these “good” schools.

But there are no good public schools in America anymore. The system is corrupt and the entire edifice is rotten to the core. I figured that out sometime around 1996. Some of you people are just now catching on.



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