President Trump is bringing some attention to the connections between this summer’s riots, the 63 percent of young Americans who believe America is racist, and the disaster that is civics and history instruction in U.S. public schools. He recently announced a federal commission to counter the saturation of anti-American ideology in American education institutions through “patriotic education.” He also “threatened to cut funding to schools that teach the 1619 Project.”
This is a start, but it’s going to take a lot more to address this serious problem. Significant structural changes are required, and state-level elected officials need to do most of it. Since schooling that teaches children to hate their own nation threatens its very existence, it’s past time to get serious about this.
The examples are myriad and expansive, and they are not limited to deep-blue locales (as if indoctrination is okay if local politicians approve). The College Board’s changes to its U.S. and European history Advanced Placement curriculum, which more than 800,000 American high school students take each year, are one major example.
Crazy Leftism Isn’t ‘Just’ In Higher Ed Any More
Because the College Board’s main selling point is making it possible for kids to earn college credit in high school, its courses both reflect the politicization of American academia and push that politicization into K-12. It is designed to reflect what the neo-Marxist, anti-American higher education-sphere teaches about American and world history.
Numerous K-12 school systems engineer their curricula to build up to AP classes in high school. Thus, although it is a private institution, College Board is highly, highly influential in determining what American children learn, and what it teaches is warped.
Its curriculum revamp a few years ago more deeply reflected academia’s anti-Western, anti-American bias. College Board removed Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Andrew Jackson from its curricula several years before protesters started tearing down their statues.
The bent of its curricula is to teach America’s best and brightest students to see their country and the Western heritage as racist, sexist, imperialist, and so on — as a story of oppressors and victims. It is not as blatantly offensive as critical race theory, but holds and imparts the exact same underlying anti-West, anti-American philosophy.
Obviously, such efforts to prejudice young Americans against their own country have been highly successful. We are now seeing the results on our Main Streets.
Using Public Resources to Support Anti-Americanism
This is just one prominent example of how deeply anti-Americanism is embedded in American public education. More abound, happening everywhere, all the time. It recently came out that Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia paid $20,000 to leading race-baiter Ibram X. Kendi for a one-hour webinar. Just last week in a Wisconsin school district, parents complained that their high-school son was asked in class to equate American police officers with Nazis because of George Floyd.
When the father complained of this to Superintendent Brad Saron, Saron “said he found the activity ‘rooted in our state standards,'” according to an email obtained by Empower Wisconsin. Saron banned the father from complaining to teachers about his son’s instruction, copying all the freshman teachers in the school, and the teachers of the couple’s other children in other public schools, on his reply.
Entire states like Oregon, California, and New Jersey now legally mandate racist and anti-American curricula in social studies and other domains. Oregon, for example, tells social studies teachers to undermine “Eurocentrist narratives” as part of the state’s newly mandated “ethnic studies” curricula in social studies. Teachers are now required to apply race and ethnicity tests to what they teach in social studies, to “decenter whiteness” and “center the experiences and perspectives of people of color.”
It is no wonder, then, that last year’s annual Cato poll found that 68 percent of Republican parents would prefer to enroll their children in private schools, if only they had the money. So would 59 percent of Independents, 57 percent of Latinos, 51 percent of blacks, and 55 percent of all American parents. Millions of American kids attend schools out of step with their parents’ values and desires because public financing for education is skewed towards such schools.
It’s Past Time to Stop Talking and Start Fighting
As I explain in detail in my book about Common Core, whistleblowers on the right have sounded the alarm about such endemic problems for decades, including the 1950s and 1980s flare-ups over “new math,” the 2010s battle over Common Core, and President Obama’s elimination of national civics assessments. We’ve been ignored, trivialized, and ridiculed, including by those ostensibly on our own side.
Republicans have talked a big game about school choice in response to deep constituent concerns about lack of influence over public education resources while at best creating tiny, overregulated choice programs controlled by the anti-American education establishment. Voucher school leaders will not say it openly for fear of endangering their bottom lines, but too often school choice programs enable leftist takeovers and regulatory strangulation of private education rather than opening escape hatches for families to access genuinely different and better schooling.
President Trump is the first prominent Republican elected official to boldly name and take serious action against the anti-American education establishment cultivating hatred and ignorance in the next generation of citizens. But if he’s the only or the last, America will lose this fight. Governors and state legislatures have to get their rear ends in gear and do the bulk of the work here, following his lead. It’s time for them to stop trusting the education bureaucracy and start making war on it — because it is absolutely making war on their constituents, and this situation is only one example of that.
Republicans, Repeat: Bureaucracy Is Your Enemy
As Trump has found out with federal agencies, telling bureaucrats to do something and them actually doing it are 100 percent different things. They have repeatedly defied the American people’s mandate for conservative governance time and time again over the past century, including Trump’s executive order banning critical race theory training in federal agencies.
Americans thus need Republicans at all levels of government to start openly championing their interest against the special interests. They have to stop accepting the legitimacy of the administrative state and start hacking it to pieces.
As Trump has realized, perhaps the chief way to do that is to starve these public enemies of public funds. His “Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping” is genius in that regard, for it not only yanks federal funds from all racist, sexist indoctrination sessions in federal workplaces, it also pulls them from all private organizations that have taken federal grants.
This tactic needs to be deployed everywhere possible: Against universities, against public school districts, against state education bureaucracies. It should be deployed at the state level by Republican executives and legislatures as well, against every institution that participates in “offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating,” as the order puts it.
Republicans also need to stop talking about school choice and start doing it full-blown at the state level. The lack of competition in K-12 education enables this ideological monopoly. Legislators need to give every single parent the power to control his or her children’s education dollars, and not allow bureaucrats to force recipients to conform to leftist dogma to get it. If they don’t do this, they are allowing entrenched leftists to indoctrinate the children of their own voters, thus speeding the destruction of their party and, what is far more important, of our great nation.
State-level Republicans need to slash and burn their state education departments, which function as enforcers for top-down leftist control of the nation’s schools. They need to stop requiring teachers to be indoctrinated in leftist dogma through teacher certification mandates, which research has shown do not improve teacher quality.
Stop Funding Racism and Riots
Similarly, Trump and Republicans in Congress need to eliminate the U.S Department of Education and all federal involvement in education. The smart way to do it would be by “combining” USDOE with the Census Bureau or the Bureau of Labor Statistics, folding in the few useful things USDOE does — mainly statistics collection — to these other agencies’ similar duties. Call it “government efficiency.” Then block-grant all federal education funds back to states with the A-PLUS Act.
Trump’s other job is using the bully pulpit, as he does so well, to inform the public of what is going on and to bully state-level Republicans to start fulfilling their decades of promises to deliver genuine school choice. The era of uniparty control of public education resources needs to end, and it needs to end immediately, for the sake of our great nation’s continued freedom.
When 63 percent of millennials believe their country is racist, their nation has failed in its duty to educate them. It shouldn’t take riots and the fanatical, anti-American extremism of critical race theory to get that to change. If they don’t make Republicans understand the urgency of this issue, nothing will.