Biden's Backwards Education Policies Are Hurting Our Children

As parents, Susan and I were insistent that our son, Nick, got a high-quality education.  It was the foundation upon which he was able to build his life.  So I was understandably heartbroken and angry when the National Assessment of Educational Progress, commonly known as the Nation’s Report Card (NRC), published its analysis of the state of American education this week.  The report was much anticipated, for it is the first such assessment to be made that captures the true effects of the pandemic lockdown measures on our children’s education.  With the numbers in, we can now confirm what many of us, including myself, have argued all along: The pandemic school lockdown policies deserve a failing grade.

Compared to pre-pandemic levels, the decline in national average scores in mathematics was the largest ever recorded.  Two decades of rising scores were wiped out in just two years.  The reading numbers were not much better.  Progressives and the teachers’ unions kept our kids locked out of school; and when parents wanted to go to school board meetings to express their dissatisfaction with these lockdowns or the woke curriculum, these same forces wanted them branded as “domestic terrorists.” Progressives and teachers’ unions turned our children’s education into a political weapon, and the NRC lays bare what a disaster this has been.

Now, this likely comes as no surprise to parents across the country who, throughout the pandemic, were called on to become de facto, emergency teachers when school was forcibly moved from the classroom to the kitchen table.  If Biden had listened to these parents, instead of unions, activists, and radicals, our children would be much better off.  Unfortunately, that did not happen.  In fact, it seems that this Administration is committed to pursuing even more heavy-handed policies.

President Biden’s Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona called the NRC report a “moment of truth for education.” But the Biden Administration has not learned its lesson.  Reports indicate that since 2020, over 2 million students have left public schools, with parents opting instead for homeschooling, private, or charter schools.  But instead of having funding follow the child, the Biden Administration is doubling down on failed big-government solutions.  Biden’s proposed 2023 budget sets aside $468 million for “community schools.” What exactly is a community school? According to the Administration’s grant requirements, it is a program that provides for the “social, emotional, physical and mental health, and academic needs” of the students who attend it.  In effect, the Biden Administration is embracing a school model that supplants the family in favor of the government.  This is in line with Team Biden’s other anti-family policies, which I wrote about here recently. This should terrify us all.

We all know the Biden Administration’s education priorities, and real education isn’t one of them.  Earlier this year, it published its requirements for schools hoping to receive some of that $468 million; nowhere can one find any stipulation that a school seeking funding must demonstrate it can, or will, actually meet high standards of academic excellence.  Determining those standards is left up to the unions and activists that control the Biden White House.  Instead of relying on results and merit, the Administration will rely on other factors to determine funding and grants.  For example, it will rely on its proposed priorities for American History and Civics Education, which the Department published in April this year.  These priorities begin with a proposal titled, “Projects That Incorporate Racially, Ethnically, Culturally, and Linguistically Diverse Perspectives into Teaching and Learning.”  The entire focus of our children’s education threatens to shift under President Biden: away from academic excellence, and toward wokeness.

We have to fight back.  For though these shifts happen in the classroom, they spread outward to the rest of our country.  So many of our nation’s problems – from wokeness in our military, to failing public trust in a mainstream media that prioritizes politics over truth, to a seriously divided political culture – can be traced back to the degradation of our educational system at all levels.  We have to teach our children, our younger generations, so that they grow to be exceptional stewards of America and all that it stands for, not seek to tear it down.  And parents should be able to make choices about where their children will receive the best education.

This needs to be the guiding vision for conservatives in our approach to education.  To execute, we must continue to empower parents in their efforts to roll back wokeness in our nation’s schools.  And we must seize our opportunity to course-correct this November.  If we elect the right leaders, Congress can hold the Biden Administration accountable by preventing it from using the budget to corrupt and destroy our children’s education.