Evangelicals & Educational Freedom of Choice
Like most children, my parents were fond of reciting ubitiquous statements. Parents must conspire to come up with these statements and dispense them repeatedly to their offspring. Expressions like “if ‘such and such’ jumps off the roof does that mean you will jump off the roof too” or “you do not believe fat meat is greasy.” My favorite was when my momma would say, “when you know better, then you do better.”
I readily admit I am late to the Charter School debate that is taking place in the marketplace of ideas. Not surprisingly, there is a momentous cultural divide in this country. The Republican Party, consistent with their ideology of personal responsibility and free enterprise, strongly advocate for free choice. The Democratic Party, in typical fashion, favors the old paradigm. The old paradigm of the traditional model, which has proven to be bureaucratic and wholly ineffective. It is primarily because of their beholdness to the influential National Teacher’s Union. I would submit the Democratic Party has at its chief concern everyone BUT the student.
One definition of insanity would be to continue to do the same thing yet expecting different results. I grew you under the old paradigm, and I know firsthand the ills of the old system. As a teacher, I have seen the problem only exacerbate over time. Traditional principles like respect for authority and an expectation of student responsibility are considered relics of an antiquated past.
Providentially (there is no such creature as accidents), I met a couple while out celebrating Veterans Day, and during the course of the conversation, my new friends inquired what I did for a living. After recounting I was currently teaching at the high school level, my new friends asked me to assess my school’s educational quality. Boy, did my new friends get more than they probably anticipated!
In typical Ricky Kyles’ fashion, I went into a passionate and probably longer than needed rant. I enumerated many of my concerns and complaints with the public school environment. I will not attempt to deal with all of my concerns, but I will cover one: soft bigotry.
I will admit I learned this new term [soft bigotry] by listening and being influenced by AA intellectual powerhouses like Thomas Sowell, Jason Riley & Shelby Steele. Soft bigotry is the label they attribute to Caucasian Liberals who, in their attempt to be politically correct and be racially sensitive, artificially lower their expectations for AAs and other minorities.
The decision to lower standards does much more harm to our society in the long run, especially for minorities. Life does not get easier, and technological advances require more, not less from the next generation. The acceptance of lower standards will only position American to fall further behind in the global economy. When we should be demanding more, we choose to lower the standards. This venture will not end well.
One recent example is the California Educational Elites’ decision to eliminate the SAT and ACT as a determining criterion for admission to California Colleges & Universities. Undoubtedly influenced by demands from the radical AA liberals elites, the California Educational Power Brokers have eliminated a very reliable indicator of success for the academic rigor necessary to flourish on a college campus.
Yet, what I find most hypocritical and problematic is the duplicity of the decision-makers who control how the narrative plays out in real life for the common, everyday Jane & Joe. Let us look at President Barak Obama as just one prime example. He was fortunate to have guardians who were in the position to ensure he attended the finest schools available. I do not believe Barak Obama ever set foot one day in a public school, and I state so with no malice whatsoever; I am just stating a fact. I can say the same thing regarding the educational trajectory for Michelle Obama. Her parents fought the Chicago Public School system, insisting that Michelle be allowed to be bussed, at taxpayer’s expense I might add, to a Magnet School far from the neighborhood school she was obligated to attend under the conventional educational model.
Additionally, neither of the Obama children have spent one solitary day matriculating in a public school. Why? I would submit it is because the Obamas understand the principle of education free enterprise. Faced with competing choices: public school or private school? They choose the private sector as is their right. Yet, instead of ensuring all Americans have that same opportunity, President Obama repeatedly opposed charter schools at every junction during his presidency. All subsequent Democratic Presidential candidates have followed suit to include now President-Elect Joe Biden.
Why is it that what is good for the gander is not similarly good for the geese? Why is it the very people who are making policy for the rest of us not voluntarily choosing to transverse the same contours they are prescribing for the rest of us?
Why is even though the data shows Charter Schools outperforming the public schools, our policymakers exert maximum effort to block the implementation of more charter schools? I will cede my time to the erudite economist Thomas Sowell. Sowell writes
Charter schools, and especially some particular networks of charter schools, located in low-income black and Hispanic neighborhoods have achieved educational results not only far above the levels achieved by most public schools in those neighborhoods but sometimes even higher educational results than those in most schools located in affluent white neighborhoods. No one expected that.”
I thought the noble goals of education is to prepare the next generation to enter the workforce mentally, psychologically, and socially ready to the greatest extent possible. What does the data show that gives us the best chance for our young men and women to reach the pinnacle of their ability?
I believe the data demonstrates Charter Schools give students the best opportunity. If I am wrong, then allow free enterprise to falsify my claims. Do not impede a parent’s freedom of choice. Force the Public School system to either produce or perish. Isn’t this understanding one of the basic premises of capitalism and free enterprise? If a neighborhood McDonald’s is not serving its mission, would we force McDonald’s to prop up a failing enterprise?
Yet, this is precisely what the Democrats are championing and defending to the death? My simple question is friggin “WHY?” You would have to ask the Democrats for a cogent defense, but I know it is not because it serves the child’s best interest.
The victors are the adult decision-makers, the bureaucrats, the teachers, the unions. The losers are the inner-city parents and students. The Barak Obamas of the world will do just fine. Their children will never set foot one inch in a public school. Only the poor black, brown, and white children will by compulsion attend a public school.
What is so astonishing is many of my Liberals friends; apparently, their parents did not include the expression, “when you know better, then you do better in their parental repertoire.” I was late to the game, but I made it before it was too late by God’s grace. It is too late to affect change with my three children as they are now grown and out of school, but you best believe I will be in Constance’s ear as she and her husband begin to make educational decisions for Mr. Malachi.
As always, let me know what you think. Until then, keep your hands to the plow and seek to serve for an Audience of One.