When students and parents were kept home due to the COVID pandemic, many parents got a more detailed glimpse of the education their children were receiving. Subsequently, there has been a rise in parents speaking out over input into what their children learn as well as advocating for school choice.
This argument came to a head in October when Democrat Terry McAuliffe said he didn’t “think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
Moshe Krakowski, a professional educator and college professor on education, offered his perspective and support for parents and school choice advocates. Krakowski stated that educators may be professionals in the art and science of teaching, but that doesn’t mean they should decide what is taught. Furthermore, Krakowski says education itself doesn’t imply what is taught, rather, what is taught are values that society has controlled and prioritized as it has evolved.
Krakowski suggests that when educators have had exclusive control over education with the authority of the law, extreme cultural genocides have occurred, such as the attempts to Westernize Native Americans and thereby stripping them of their culture and language.
Moshe Krakowski of the Quillette Writes:
Pundits and politicians who don’t think parents should have a say in what children are taught are actually attempting to prescribe, in a homogenized, top-down way, a model of life that worked for them, as they skillfully and successfully navigated the hidden curriculum of their own environments. But this success, and in particular the explicit curriculum that accompanied it, is not intrinsically better or more valuable than any other, and indeed, we know that it has failed countless students across the country. Their appeal to the authority of education researchers is simply a mechanism to entrench a system that validates their life choices and values, but those with other values, interests, and intellectual inclinations will be ill-served by the very same system.
This is not specifically an anti-CRT argument. CRT happens to represent the present values of a small segment of mostly upper-class urban elites, but any set of values, when uniformly imposed top-down, will harm children and communities who see the world very differently. The trick these policymakers play is to pretend that their conception of education is not just one choice among many, but is the default baseline, from which anything else is a deviation.
The model of life they imagine is based on the myth of an all-purpose education designed by experts to allow every child to choose any future they like. But this has produced an educational system that has left many students with no future; it’s been a failure for all but a select few, precisely because it doesn’t prepare students for all possibilities (an impossibility), but actually reflects the concerns and interests of a small minority of education experts. The idea that those experts, and only those experts, can opine on what to teach and how to teach it is self-serving. Parents sense this and respond accordingly.
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