What’s Happening in Schools? Why We Need Educational Freedom

The Times told about a 15-year-old girl who had been identifying as a boy at school. The mom saw a boy’s name on a homework assignment: When she asked about the name, the teenager acknowledged that, at his request, teachers and administrators at his high school in Southern California had for six months been letting him use the boy’s bathroom and calling him by male pronouns. The article went on to explain that the California school “is one of many throughout the country that allow students to socially transition – change their name, pronouns, or gender expression – without parental consent.

We know that there are good teachers and good schools out there. Many teachers are Christians – they go into the profession because they love God, love children, are passionate about their subject matter and have a gift for helping children learn.

Many do excellent work, and I’m thankful for the great teachers my children had and the good schools they attended.

But at the same time, I’m very aware that our education system has serious problems. The news is filled with stories about bad things happening in public schools – and some private – across the country.

It really feels overwhelming and like we’ve reached an urgent tipping point: Parents must have educational freedom – to give their children better opportunities to learn and grow, to protect them from chaotic classroom environments and underperforming schools, and to safeguard them against radical and sexual ideologies.

Here are just a few examples of problems in education that have been reported by news outlets. They illustrate why parents need school choice and educational freedom.

Violence and Bullying

Rod Dreher, author of Live Not by Lies, recently highlighted a story from The San Francisco Chronicle. He writes:

A Ukrainian refugee girl fleeing the war in her homeland is so disturbed by violence and anarchy in her San Francisco school that she wants to go back home — to a war zone!

The Chronicle reports that the young girl, Yana, thought school in America would be like what she saw in television shows, “idyllic settings where teenage conflict and angst ironed itself out by the end.”

But when she and her mother left Ukraine, Yana was terrified by “the chaotic scenes in her middle school classrooms … the verbal abuse, hallway conflicts and classroom outbursts.” Students stole her cell phone and threatened her.

Teachers are growing concerned, and not just in San Francisco. The Chronicle reported:

Across the country, teachers say student violence overall has more than doubled since the pandemic began and that they are “increasingly the target of disruptive behavior in the classroom,” according to a survey released Thursday by education research firm EAB.

The survey also found that 84% of teachers believe current students lack the ability to self-regulate and build relationships compared with peers prior to the pandemic.

Yana’s school “offered her a security action plan to make sure she felt safe.” But she just stopped attending and is trying to transfer to a different school. “Yana just wants to go back to her hometown in central Ukraine, back to the only school she knew before the war,” the paper reported.

Lack of Transparency

The New York Times, somewhat surprisingly, recently ran a story about teachers hiding children’s “gender identity” from parents. The paper reported on parents who were upset by this, but seemed to sympathize more with school administrators and teachers.

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