One year after the federal government pumped $100 billion into school districts, Education Secretary Arne Duncan has requested an extra $26 billion to fund teachers’ jobs. Some of you may be asking, “To what end?” And you’re certainly right. However, we should consider another important question: What exactly is your hard-earned cash paying for?
Let’s first revisit Cinco de Mayo, during which five public school students at Live Oak High School in California were asked to turn their American flag T-shirts inside-out or be sent home.
Let’s recall another recent episode involving Taryn Hathaway, the 13-year-old student at Gavilan View Middle School in California who was reprimanded in art class for drawing an American flag with the words God Bless America, because her teacher deemed it “offensive.” The teacher went on to praise another student’s drawing of Barack Obama.
Let’s remember that Sherri Davis, a science teacher at Jamie’s House Charter School in Texas, recently beat 13-year-old Isaiah Johnson in a classroom while other students watched. And then there’s the California teacher at Richard B. Haydock Intermediate School that is on paid leave as a result of allegations that two of her middle school students had oral sex in her classroom during class.
And remember the song performed by youngsters at the B. Bernice Young Elementary School in New Jersey, in which students praised Barack Obama with such lyrics as “He said red, yellow, black or white/All are equal in his sight. Barack Hussein Obama.”
Who could forget North Carolina teacher Diantha Harris, who bullied a child in the classroom for answering “McCain” when asked who she supported for President?
Is this a system you’d like to funnel an extra $26 billion into?
If the government would like to continue picking our hard-earned pockets, here are two things it may want to consider:
1. We are living in the United States of America. No amount of praise of multiculturalism or reverence for political correctness will change the fact that our country and all of the symbols that represent it—including our flag—should never take a back seat to anything. The American flag should be able to be worn, drawn, or saluted by our citizens on any day, at any time, and in any place. I’m all for American immigrants retaining a love of their individual cultures and sharing those cultures with the rest of us, but this is America.
2. Schools are meant to be forums for thought development, growth, and the acquisition of facts, so that children can form their own opinions. Students shouldn’t get what they don’t sign up for, as in Yes We Can 101, Defeat Capitalism 102, or America-Hating 103. On a positive note, the government is doing a wonderful job—by virtue of its incompetence—of promoting the blossoming home-school industry. In January of 2009, the Heritage Foundation revealed that based on the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, “approximately 1.5 million children (2.9% of school-age children) were being homeschooled in the spring of 2007, representing a 36% relative increase since 2003 and a 74% relative increase since 1999.” I guess the government can spawn innovation after all.
Until the government can prove that our educational system is capable of providing a forum for all opinions, respecting our nation, emphasizing teachers’ accountability, rejecting revisionist history, and teaching fact over opinion, it shouldn’t receive another dime of our money. I am in no way suggesting that private institutions are devoid of the same kind of brainwashing and inappropriateness. The difference is that our tax dollars don’t feed them.
Of course, it’s important to remember that there are some wonderful teachers out there in both public and private schools. But the reality is that they are becoming few and far between. And undervaluing them by granting them the same benefits and incremental salary increases as their inferior colleagues isn’t the way to thank them. (Or keep them, for that matter.)
If we don’t do something about this now, the future leaders of America will have a distaste for what we stand for and a horrific sense of entitlement. Our country’s future teachers will mimic the biased rhetoric of those who taught them.
Enough is enough. Our children—and our country—deserve better.