Florida’s K–12 public education system is among the best in the country, and it has become better over the past four years. Elsewhere in the country, the education system emphasizes concepts of diversity and equity while compromising on excellence and even competence.
In Florida, those governing the education system have attempted to rid schools of radical ideologies that compromise educational rigor. Instead, they seek an educational system promoting competence and a reasonable patriotism while allowing space for continued improvements. Idaho should too. Although Idaho has shown some interest in reforming the education system, the state’s efforts pale in comparison to the bold actions of Florida. Other states have much to learn from Florida public officials who are restoring a traditional education model of objective truth and human dignity and reinstating the inalienable authority of parents in family life to direct their children’s education and care.
Across the nation, K-12 schools have changed drastically over the past fifty years. Teachers and administrators have adopted ideologies hostile to the American experience and to traditional family values. These new ideologies come under a variety of names, but all of them are dedicated to promoting left-wing political activism and to rejecting the principles of American society. We call this new ideological bent Critical Social Justice (CSJ).The term CSJ describes the academic work stemming from critical theory. While critical race theory is the most famous example of CSJ, critical theorists also analyze subjects like homosexuality through the lens of queer theory or gender theory, and subjects like obesity in fat studies. CSJ is a much broader term than critical race theory. All CSJ approaches identify a problem and propose a solution. The supposed problem is that American society is made up of an intersection of oppressive structures. According to CSJ ideologues, America is racist, sexist, misogynist, intolerant, ableist, cisgendered, and homophobic.
The privileged have built structures like the education system to keep the disadvantaged groups weak, unequal, and scattered. CSJ adherents believe a transformed K–12 education can solve this problem. Instead of imparting truth to children or emphasizing skills or literacy, K–12 schools will teach oppressors to dismantle the oppressive structures and then to identify with the plight of the supposedly oppressed. Schools will cultivate feelings of shame among the supposed oppressors for their whiteness or their “toxic masculinity” so they become allies in dismantling the old structures. On the whole, the new education encourages conflict and change-oriented (or revolutionary) values at the expense of assimilation into the old American society.
Advocates for CSJ sow confusion by using seemingly innocent terms like culturally responsive teaching, antiracism, implicit bias, and equity. Old words no longer mean what they used to mean, so citizens are easily duped into thinking that the education system is the same as it has always been.
But as the IFF’s Center for American repeatedly shows, the system has in fact changed. CSJ is bad for America and therefore for Idaho. CSJ ideology cannot organize a just society or deliver a workable education.
To counteract CSJ ideology in the education system, public officials should pursue The Florida Model.
Establishing universal education savings accounts (ESAs) for all K–12 students
Prohibit the indoctrination of students in transgender ideology, racial scapegoating and race essentialism
Protect parental rights to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children
Adopt academically rigorous standards that emphasize American liberty, individualism, republican self-government, the country’s founding ideals, and religious freedom while discouraging progressive education trends such as service learning and activism.
Ensure that books brought into school libraries are free of pornographic material and appropriate for the age-groups the library serves.
Require teachers unions to represent at least 60 percent of employees, rather than the 50 percent. Allow state investigations into unions suspected of fraud, waste, or abuse and requires annual audits and financial disclosures for unions. End mandatory bargaining between teachers unions and school boards.
Click here to read the full report on Florida’s K-12 education system co-sponsored by the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s Center for American Education and the Claremont Institute’s Center for the American Way of Life.
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