Commentary: Veteran Teacher Explains What’s Wrong with Traditional Schooling

Classroom Work

For 19 years, I was a master of time. Down to the minute, I controlled time for others and used it to meet my and others’ ends, irrespective of the desires of those in front of me. In short, I was a public-school teacher, and controlling time was my talent. Although I and other adults often talked about helping students reach their potential and grow as learners, what we really did each day was control their time and force upon them ideas and subjects in which most of them had little to no interest.

What if there were a better way? A way to help each student learn the way he or she learns best, develop autonomy, explore passions, and take control of his or her own time? Thankfully, that way does exist in the form of alternative schools and learning programs that continue to increase in number each day.

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Commentary: School Choice’s Rapid Post-Pandemic Expansion Sets Up a Big Pass/Fail Test for Education

A growing number of states are adopting a comprehensive new type of school choice program that would pose a threat to public schools if many students were to leave them for a private education. 

Eight states – including Arizona, Florida, Indiana, and West Virginia – have approved “universal” or near-universal school choice laws since 2021. They open the door completely to school choice by making all students, including those already in private schools and from wealthy families, eligible for about $7,000 to $10,000 in state funding each year for their education. 

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Pennsylvania Charter School Enrollment Up 12 Percent, Public Enrollment Down Three Percent

Since the pandemic began, Pennsylvania’s public charter schools enrollment has gone up by almost 12% as parents have chosen to take their children out of traditional public schools.

According to a new report from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools,  the change isn’t unique to Pennsylvania. Since the 2019-20 school year, the 41 states examined in the report with charter systems had a 7% increase in charter school enrollment and about a 3.5% decrease in public school enrollment.

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Commentary: Trust Teachers to Make Their Own Decisions Regarding Union Membership

American’s respect for teachers is high coming out of the pandemic, according to a new EdChoice poll — placing them among doctors and members of the military as some of the most respected professionals in the country.

A whopping 70 percent of Americans respect the men and women who teach our children — yet across the nation, teachers are prevented from making their own decisions when it comes to key aspects of their job: their membership in a teachers’ union.

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Barriers Mean Pennsylvania Parents Can’t Easily Switch from One Public School to Another

In Pennsylvania, like much of America, parents will struggle if they want to transfer their children from one public school to another.

In a new policy brief, the Reason Foundation found that only 11 states have mandatory open enrollment laws to let parents transfer children to another public school. Furthermore, if families do switch schools, 26 states let public schools charge tuition for transfer students, making it harder for poorer families to choose a different school.

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Pennsylvania Public School Finance Director Gets 14 Months for Stealing $100,000

A Philadelphia-area public school finance director was sentenced to more than a year in prison after he embezzled $100,000 from a school district over a seven-year period.

Christopher Gehris, an employee in the Phoenixville Area School District and its finance director since 2018, stole $94,613 from the district, according to a press release from the Department of Justice.

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Commentary: Racially Sensitive ‘Restorative’ School Discipline Isn’t Behaving Very Well

Students in shop class at school with safety goggles on

The fight outside North High School in Denver was about to turn more violent as one girl wrapped a bike chain around her fist to strike the other. Just before the attacker used the weapon, school staff arrived and restrained her, ending the fight but not the story.

Most high schools would have referred the chain-wielding girl to the police. But North High brought the two girls together to resolve the conflict through conversation. They discovered that a boy was playing them off each other. Feeling less hostile after figuring out the backstory, the girls did not fight again.

This alternative method of discipline, called “restorative practices,” is spreading across the country – and being put to the test. Many schools are enduring sharp increases in violence following the return of students from COVID lockdowns, making this softer approach a higher-stakes experiment in student safety.

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Commentary: Revitalizing K-12 Education with 10,000 New Charter Schools

The American K-12 education system has been failing too many students for too long. And the problem has only gotten worse amid pandemic-era school closures and remote learning.

Increasingly, parents are venting their frustration at local government bureaucracies and teachers’ unions that they believe have too often failed to put the interests of kids first — and some are voting with their feet.

Throughout Covid-19, traditional public school enrollment has dropped by 3.3% (1.45 million students) while charter school enrollment has increased by 7.1% year over year (237,000 students). Families are increasingly taking advantage of other non-traditional schooling options as well: according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the rate of homeschooling nationwide increased by 5.6 percentage points between April and October 2020.

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Commentary: Democrats Want to Destroy Your Children

No, this is not another Qanon or Pizzagate conspiracy theory. It’s a sober recitation of the facts and incidents that can support no other conclusion.

Let’s start with one important stage-setting fact: According to OpenSecrets.org two organizations account for practically all of the contributions made by teachers unions: The National Education Association (about $20 million in 2016) and the American Federation of Teachers (almost $12 million). Both groups — which compete for members, but also collaborate with each other through the NEA-AFT Partnership — are consistently among the organizations that contribute the most money to candidates and political groups. From 2004 to 2016, their donations grew from $4.3 million to more than $32 million — an all-time high.

Even more than most labor unions, they have little use for Republicans, giving Democrats at least 94 percent of the funds they contributed to candidates and parties since as far back as 1990, where the Open Secrets’ data begins. Go here for a detailed breakdown of teachers union political giving.

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Commentary: Educational Elites Have Awakened a Sleeping Tiger

Perhaps predictably, many public schools kicked off 2022 by switching back to remote learning — or canceling classes altogether — leaving frustrated parents across the country frantically searching for more consistent schooling options.

These past two school years of remote and hybrid learning, forced masking, and an intensified culture of unpredictability has pushed teachers, administrators, students, and parents to very edge. What began as a temporary interruption to student learning has become a vicious cycle of confusion, inconsistency and lost educational time.

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Las Vegas Says It Will Offer Teachers up to $2,000 to Stay in the Classroom Amid COVID Surge

The school district that oversees public education in Las Vegas said it will offer teachers and other employees up to $2,000 in bonuses if they stay on amid the current COVID-19 surge and concurrent employment crisis.

Clark County School District said in a statement this week that the CCSD Board of School Trustees had “approved an agreement with all five employee bargaining units to provide eligible regular and full-time employees employed as of January 1, 2022 with a $1,000 COVID retention bonus.”

“CCSD will also pay an additional $1,000 bonus to eligible regular and full-time employees who are employed on May 25, 2022, for a total of $2,000,” the statement added.

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1619 Project Creator Says She Doesn’t ‘Understand This Idea That Parents Should Decide What’s Being Taught’ in School

The 1619 Project Creator said she doesn’t understand the argument “that parents should decide what’s being taught” to their children in school on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday.

The 1619 project was created by Nikole Hannah-Jones, a writer for The New York Times, and it promotes the idea that America’s ‘true founding’ occurred when slaves arrived in the colonies, framing the history of the country around race and slavery.

“I don’t really understand this idea that parents should decide what’s being taught,” Hannah-Jones said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I’m not a professional educator. I don’t have a degree in social studies or science,” she said.

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Commentary: The Path to ‘Racial Justice’ Runs Squarely Through Fixing Failed Schools

The Rittenhouse verdict has unleashed a torrent of stupidity and racist rhetoric from commentators across the country. The usual race peddlers seem to have kicked into high gear—even though everyone involved was a person of pallor.

But for me it only got my blood boiling. Let me explain.

In the course of my management consulting, I’ve been to some of the roughest neighborhoods in the country.

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Legislation Expands Options for Pennsylvania Home-School Students

The Pennsylvania House has advanced legislation introduced by Rep. Jesse Topper, R-Bedford, to expand educational offerings for home-school students.

House Bill 1041 amends the Public School Code of 1949 to permit home education students to take advantage of their local high school by attending up to four academic courses in a school day and participating in co-curricular activities. They also would have access to programs offered at career and technical education centers.

Pennsylvania home-school students currently are permitted to participate in extracurricular activities at the high school in their district.

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Commentary: Parent and School Board Tensions Could Be Eased by School Choice

Young girl in pink long sleeve writing

Public education has been under the microscope lately, especially since many states shut down in-person learning last year during the COVID-19 pandemic. With children learning from home via technology, many parents had the chance to hear what their children’s teachers were saying—and they didn’t always like it. In fact, many were downright disturbed by what public schools were teaching their children.

Parents should not be forced to sit by and watch as their children get indoctrinated with progressive ideas they don’t agree with. Assuming it is legitimate for the government—that is, the taxpayers—to fund education, the government should distribute those funds directly to parents in the form of vouchers and allow them to choose where to educate their children. Not only would this allow for more choice in schools, but it would also reduce much of the conflict we are seeing today between parents and school boards across the country.

A common response to voucher proposals is that they would allow parents to use taxpayer dollars to send their children to private religious schools, thus violating separation of church and state. In other words, atheists and progressives argue that they should not have to financially support schools that teach students religious worldviews.

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Ric Grenell and Gloria Romero Commentary: A Plan to Deliver Equal Opportunity to Every Student in California

Group of young students working in classroom

When students are armed with a world class education, they can break down barriers and achieve their deepest dreams. However, in America today, big government and big unions are preventing students from receiving a quality education by forcing American kids to attend the school closest to them, even when it is totally failing. There is no school competition for kids who can’t afford to opt-out of the shoddy school they are forced to attend. This policy and practice especially impacts poor and minority children. But in our home state of California, we’ve had enough of failing government monopolies. We are launching a ballot initiative that will deliver educational freedom to every child in the state, regardless of where they live or how much income their parents earn.

We have all seen government schools that transition from safe havens for learning and hope into depressing institutions that fall short of educating tomorrow’s leaders. Parents are mad, taxpayers are frustrated, and our teachers are not supported by their union bosses. Nowhere is that reality truer than in states where big unions—like the California Teachers Association—control political decision makers with massive campaign war chests seized from their members’ obligatory dues. That’s why Fix California has launched a project to put a ballot initiative in front of voters in 2022—to emancipate students from the government monopoly on education.

Currently, in California, residents are taxed exorbitantly at every turn, with the ruling party’s promise that those dollars will ostensibly be spent on improving the state. That’s a lie on many fronts, but it’s especially untrue in education where failing government schools continue to be rewarded by more tax dollars and virtually no accountability. Tax dollars are siphoned off in the form of required union dues and are funneled straight into the coffers of corrupt unions financing campaigns of politicians who ensure the gravy train keeps flowing. It is a crooked cycle that has destroyed government education across the country.

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California High School Teacher in Hot Water After Anti-Conservative Quiz Question

An unnamed social sciences teacher at a high school Sacramento-area high school is facing disciplinary action after an anti-conservative question appeared on a quiz.

The controversial question was presented in the following manner at Whitney High School:

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