Defund Public Schools

News: Commentary
by Kristine Christlieb  •  •  July 30, 2020   

Time for Americans to declare their independence

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President Trump is recommending that if schools don't open for in-person instruction, money should be taken from schools and instead made available for students to be homeschooled or to attend a private school.

The president shared his opinion Tuesday that funds for education should follow the student:

If schools do not reopen, the funding should go to parents to send their child to public, private, charter, religious or homeschool of their choice. ... If the school is closed, the money should follow the student so the parents and families are in control of their own decisions. So we'd like the money to go to the parents of the student. This way, they can make the decision that's best for them.

A word of advice to the American education establishment during the current crisis: You are overplaying your hand at a time when alternatives are at the ready.

Teachers Unions Are Not America's Friend

I drive by the American Federation of Teachers' (AFT) Michigan headquarters every day. One day this summer, a giant banner appeared on the front of the building. Its message will come as no surprise: Black Lives Matter.

AFT Michigan headquarters

I was stunned the teachers union was so boldly aligning itself with a socialist organization. I was also amazed they would express their special concern for a group with which they have been such a public failure. Would anyone disagree that the American education establishment has utterly failed the black community?

Black children need an education, not banners. It seemed such an empty, almost cruel, gesture on the part of the teachers union.

I called AFT headquarters and asked who was responsible for the banner and was connected to David Hecker, president of Michigan AFT and vice president of the national organization. When asked if AFT was officially identifying with the BLM organization, Hecker said the purpose of the banner was to express solidarity with black children and families.

In my conversation I learned Hecker wasn't troubled that some people might mistakenly believe AFT was supporting the BLM organization. He was okay with BLM being a socialist organization, although when asked, he wouldn't confirm his familiarity with the BLM website.

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Under socialism, "People are treated equally," Hecker told me.

The largest teachers union, the National Education Association, has discovered in the current racial crisis another opportunity to propagandize students. They are calling it Black Lives Matter at School. Look for more curriculum development, more high-paid consultants, more meetings and continued insistence for more funding.


David Hecker, president of Michigan AFT

All of this dovetails nicely with many public schools' adoption of The New York Times' 1619 Project. This initiative undertaken by the far-left newspaper "challenges us to reframe U.S. history by marking the year when the first enslaved Africans arrived on Virginia soil as our nation's foundational date." From this point forward, many American schools will be "reframing" our history around slavery.

When students return to school this fall — online or in person — they likely will get a steady diet of BLM and 1619 Project propaganda across the curriculum.

Church Militant recently reported on a poll that revealed voters are strongly opposed not necessarily to BLM, but to the organization's agenda. Americans also don't like the idea of boys being able to compete as girls in sports, they oppose minors being subjected to sex change drugs and surgery — all of these ideas are promoted by the nation's public schools and the teachers unions.

More and more black parents are realizing the public school system is not their friend. Writing for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Ben DeGrow describes the growing trend.

I was stunned the teachers union was so boldly aligning itself with a socialist organization.

"The loudest and most outspoken response to left-leaning presidential candidates attacking charters ... have come from low-income members of the African-American community," he said. Those are black lives that don't matter to the education establishment.

These families know from firsthand experience the tragic truth that in communities where public education is most needed, it is least effective.

So there is a convergence of opposition to public education — dissatisfied black parents aligning and overlapping with faithful Americans who do not want the nation's children propagandized. And this convergence of dissatisfaction comes at a time when alternatives to public education are increasingly seen as viable and public schools are refusing to open.

Rise of Education Alternatives

Church Militant has reported extensively on the rise of homeschooling during the Wuhan virus pandemic. Parents who have from time to time considered homeschooling but found the idea too daunting, ironically, have been forced by the education establishment and the Wuhan virus into trying it; and to the surprise of many, both they and their children prefer it.

In North Carolina earlier this month, so many families were registering to homeschool in the fall that they crashed the state's system.

The tide may at last be turning for school choice.

But don't make the mistake of believing families will be allowed to leave quietly. The education establishment is already preparing roadblocks.

Noted Harvard Law School professor and homeschool opponent Elizabeth Bartholet is recommending that homeschool students be required to attend public school for one or two classes.

Despite longstanding opposition, the tide may at last be turning for school choice. Access to school choice may in fact be the silver lining to all of the current chaos.

American families, rejoice! Your freedom is at hand. To quote the frequent chant of BLM founders, "You have nothing to lose but your chains."

Kristine Christlieb has lived in minority-majority neighborhoods for the last eight years in both St. Louis and Detroit. She is shame-proof.
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