There is no easy answer when it comes to what should happen with our schools — on the contrary, it is one of the most complex, multi-layered and now grotesquely politicized crises we have faced in a very long time. Within the educational context, it is likely the greatest challenge in modern times.
We have all heard the phrase, “never let a crisis go to waste”, and some teachers’ unions and very left leaning pro-labor groups have taken those words to a new and insidious extreme. They are planning a National Day of Resistance August 3rd and it includes their tried and true demand that families have no educational options other than their local public school and that states eliminate standardized tests that help to reveal the often massive learning gaps that consistently break down along the lines of gender, race and income level.
While families are understandably worried, anxious and even scared about how this upcoming school year will look for their children, the following well-funded and hyper-political organizations don’t care. In their minds, this is the perfect time to “resist” and hold school districts and families hostage until their demands are met.
These are not new demands—in fact, they are the same ones they push for every year. And despite their laughable claims about racial justice as a motive, their demands target and harm black and brown children most. Black and brown families make up the majority of charter school enrollment and are also the most likely to support all forms of school choice. For obvious reasons, redlining being one, residential zoning has not worked out a well for them as it has for white families yet these resisters want to keep them trapped. Standardized testing also allows parents and the public to see how black and brown boys fare in comparison with their sisters and in comparison with white and Asian students in the same grade. If we don’t have the tests, we can’t see the truth.
What is new about the demands is the timing—this resistance coalition has deliberately chosen the crisis of a pandemic as their perfect opportunity to extort school districts into compliance even if it means hurting students and families.
This is a monstrous thing to do.