by Tina Blum Cohen
The recent Supreme Court ruling regarding college admissions has once again thrust America’s educational system into the spotlight. A major question that has come from this ruling is whether America’s children are being intellectually and academically prepared to even enter or succeed in these colleges and universities. The tragic answer is that America’s public education system is failing to equip our youth with the tools necessary to succeed in higher education and in their future professional lives. We are failing America’s most valuable asset—our children.
According to the Department of Education’s own report on the state of education in America, we are experiencing what is essentially an educational crisis. Scores in every subject and grade level have been declining over the years. While illogical and unscientific Covid policies certainly worsened the crisis to a point that lawmakers can no longer ignore the problem, the situation has actually been declining for years. Especially concerning are scores in reading and mathematics, with close to one third of students in elementary school behind in grade-level reading and only about a third of fourth graders able to perform grade-level math.
Earlier this year, the nation was shocked to hear that 55 Chicago schools reported zero proficiency in math or reading despite billions of dollars of federal funding for the schools. But this crisis is not unique to Chicago. In my own Houston community, the Texas Education Agency has had to intervene in the leadership of the state’s largest public school district after years of failing to adequately educate our community’s children.
Unfortunately for America’s youth and the future of our nation, public schools have put core educational instruction on the back burner, instead prioritizing culturally sensational philosophies. We now see schools artificially inflating grades in order to ‘pass’ students who do not have the educational tools necessary to succeed in higher grades. While this is done under the guise of “equity,” it is unfortunately setting kids up for future failure when they find themselves unprepared for the next steps in their education, and ultimately, for adulthood and success in society.
Likewise, we see schools ditching the concepts of expectations and consequences, both educational and behavioral, including things like homework deadlines. Besides the negative effect this has on mastering educational principles that will be used to learn more difficult concepts later, this lack of personal accountability and consequences has our youth growing accustomed to an unrealistically lenient reality which does not exist in our society. We do our children a disservice when we do not intellectually and emotionally prepare them to deal with reality, including things like personal consequences or meeting deadlines. Imagine their shock when their first employer sets a hard deadline for a project, and they have no experience with being required to meet a deadline. They will have been set up for anxiety and potential failure rather than confidence and success.
Beyond these misguided but culturally relevant philosophies that are failing to prepare our students for success, core educational instruction also has been eclipsed by ideological indoctrination. Instead of focusing time and attention on improving reading and mathematics, or even introducing practical principles of finance and economics, teachers and administrations prioritize the woke Marxist principles of social-emotional learning. Even as their students are unable to adequately read and write, teachers give classroom time and attention to discussing gender and sexuality, often behind the backs of parents who they know would not appreciate public school teachers having such discussions with their children.
Even after-school clubs for practical skills or intellectual enrichment are being replaced by secret gender identity clubs, while activist educators go out of their way to entice vulnerable students to join and even encourage them to lie to their parents about their participation. These radical gender ideologies endanger both the minds and bodies of impressionable and developing youth, and yet parents who object are either vilified or kept in the dark entirely. In an effort to undermine parental rights and advance woke social agendas, schools go so far as to implement policies to keep secrets from parents, who are primarily responsible for the health and development of their children.
The rising generation is America’s most valuable asset. They will carry on the legacy of the freest and greatest nation in the world, both enjoying and safeguarding our rights and liberties as they make valuable contributions to society. But this can only happen if parents, neighbors, and lawmakers come together to acknowledge and address the potentially catastrophic educational crisis which is already having a negative impact on America’s youth and their future. We must take the steps necessary to restore practical education to our public schools. We must protect the rights and facilitate the involvement of parents in every aspect of their children’s development and education rather than allowing public schools to go behind their backs. Now is the time to stand together in defense of our children and our nation.
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Tina Blum Cohen is a Republican running for Congress in Texas District 7. She is a graduate of Boston University. Education is a top priority for Cohen, a married mother of three.