Public school teachers assemble very little of their own curriculum, leaving an opening leftist activists use to sneak in woke doctrine.
Frequently, educators adopt a ready-made package from textbook publishers or content providers, which may even save taxpayer money. But when oversight fails and transparency is lacking, any number of questionable agendas creep in.
The constellation of nonprofits, foundations, and agenda-driven activist groups swirling in the educational firmament rivals the fullness of a night sky far from city lights. Each of these are competing for access to the nearly endless fount of taxpayer cash known as a public school district.
Many of these organizations and foundations are established and run by the individual school districts themselves, blurring the lines between government and private funding and oversight. While there is no definitive registry of education foundations of this sort, AASA, the School Superintendent’s Association, estimates the number at well over 3,000.
They all boast an online presence, generally used to keep their learning worldview in front of current and prospective customers. Within this sphere we find proudly displayed much of what ails public education in America.
There are websites for every niche learning method, trendy instructional technique, and yes, even blunt force indoctrination strategies used to inculcate a left-wing mindset among America’s youth. Like viral videos on social media, these initiatives sweep through school systems, planting flags in every academic subject until they are replaced by the “next-big-thing,” all reliably leftist and counter-cultural.
Along with lesson plans, textbooks and activity media, school district employees are encouraged to participate in ongoing “professional development” offerings, generally characterized as voluntary by the content providers, but quite often deemed mandatory by district or union officials.
Increasingly, training materials and other educational ephemera refer to parents by the generic term “caregiver,” treating the unique relationship between children and the parents who love them as no more consequential than that of a babysitter. This is not mere happenstance, but rather a necessary reframing of the role of the family in determining how America’s children are raised.
Sadly, under increasingly burdensome economic realities, many parents are only too willing to hand their children over to “experts” who boast near-magical skills far exceeding that of harried moms and dads.
A particularly virulent example of this phenomenon is the gender ideology movement in schools, which has gone from fringe to sacrosanct in less than a decade, despite much of what it advocates being illegal in most states when applied to children.
Whether the advocacy group bothers to couch agenda-driven content in academic robes or defiantly pledges to install their agenda over the objections of parents, both are declaring ownership over our children.
Programs for which taxpayers would never knowingly pay are implemented under the radar as bequests from foundations, dutifully administered by one of their countless allied non-profit organizations. Once the program is fully ingrained into a district, it is later sustained in future public-school budgets as a cost-sharing “partnership,” keeping our schools moving forward at a bargain price.
The public school system of today is arranged to facilitate this dynamic, and it occurs hundreds of thousands of times, across tens of thousands of schools.
Major philanthropic foundations often bundle together tremendous sums to support grand initiatives for public schools. Those vast amounts are then spread out among countless smaller groups, many of which are founded solely for the purpose of acquiring and administering these funds.
Sensing opportunity, school districts and individual schools apply for this money reflexively, hoping to fill the void between existing funding and the budgets of their dreams.
But big money comes with strings attached, and this is certainly true in education. The nexus between private funding and public-school curricula forms the hub around which the entire transformative enterprise revolves.
There are few, if any, restrictions on public school districts, or individual schools, accepting in-kind donations, and even direct monetary “supplemental funding” from helpful organizations.
Some foundations genuinely serve their local city or region, but often foundation activity is wholly dedicated to a particular worldview, educational methodology, or social justice goal.
This in itself is not particularly problematic, as a free society relies on competing visions to renew and grow. It’s when school boards conspire to shut out certain narratives for purely political or ideological reasons, we find ourselves battling behemoth organizations – using our own tax money – for control over the minds (and bodies!) of our kids.