The Patriot Post® · Destroying America, One Miseducated Student After Another
Last Wednesday, the Miami Herald reported that Venezuela’s inflation rate rose from an astonishing 4,966% to an almost incomprehensible 18,000% in the months of March and April alone. If the trend holds steady, the annualized rate could top 100,000%. The same day, Hillary Clinton opined that being a capitalist hurt her election chances because “41 percent of Democrats are socialists or self-described socialists.” The day before that, the National Assessment of Educational Progress’s (NAEP) 2017 test results released by the U.S. Department of Education revealed that 65% of eighth graders lacked proficiency in reading and 67% lacked proficiency in math. In short, a corrupt public school system indoctrinates semi-literate cannon fodder for a Democrat Party that now clamors for the same socialism devastating Venezuela.
How corrupt is the current system? “The atrocious NAEP performance is only a fraction of the bad news,” explains columnist Walter Williams. “Nationally, our high school graduation rate is over 80 percent. That means high school diplomas, which attest that these students can read and compute at a 12th-grade level, are conferred when 63 percent are not proficient in reading and 75 percent are not proficient in math. For blacks, the news is worse. Roughly 75 percent of black students received high school diplomas attesting that they could read and compute at the 12th-grade level. However, 83 percent could not read at that level, and 93 percent could not do math at that level.”
Such machinations are nothing less than outright fraud, which continues in large part because of collective bargaining.
Collective bargaining has recently manifested itself a series of teachers’ strikes that began in West Virginia on Feb. 22, and spread to Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona and Colorado. What are these strikes about? With the exception of Kentucky, where the primary issue was pension reform, they were about teacher pay. To be fair, teachers in Arizona, West Virginia and Oklahoma have salaries that rank near the bottom nationally, even when cost of living is factored into the equation. Yet many of those same teachers get pension benefits that dwarf comparative private-sector benefits, and many get retiree health coverage that has become virtually nonexistent in the private sector.
As American Enterprise Institute education expert Frederick Hess explains, the media would like to blame “stingy taxpayers” for stagnant teacher pay. Yet he notes per-pupil spending actually grew by 27% between 1992 and 2014. “Between 2003 and 2014, even as teacher salaries declined, per-teacher average benefits spending increased from $14,000 to $21,000 — much of which goes to paying down pension debt rather than benefits for current teachers,” Hess reveals. On top of that, there’s been a substantial increase in the number of non-instructional staff precipitating “top-heavy bureaucracies that add nothing to students’ learning, but do add to union membership rolls and make teachers’ jobs easier,” as Investor’s Business Daily puts it.
They also add to the inconvenient reality that funding the current system has pushed many states to the brink of insolvency.
Moreover, while pay raises may be the teachers’ impetus for striking, their union leaders have other ideas in mind. “What do all of these strikes and protests have in common?” asks columnist Kevin Boyd. “They are taking place in states where Democrats are either trying to make gains or consolidate their power in this fall’s elections.”
Columnist Jenni White takes this assertion further, insisting school officials used the strikes as a pretext for promoting the Democrat agenda. One parent reported that her child was required to write a paper on her feelings about the walk-out, and another student told her mother that teachers were offering pupils extra credit if they attended a student rally in support of the teacher strike.
And then there’s American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten. Last month, Weingarten made a phone call during a train ride to New York. Unfortunately for her, she was overheard plotting a teachers’ strike in Puerto Rico.
Why? Because Gov. Ricardo Rosselló signed legislation aimed at increasing the number of charter schools and voucher programs that pose the greatest threat to union hegemony. “We never use the word strike,” Weingarten said. “We are a human shield for the kids … teachers are doing this in the stead of parents and kids.” Weingarten also referenced the strikes in Oklahoma and West Virginia, saying the union’s goal should be “cloaking” their efforts. “Let everyone call in for a personal day so they can’t open schools,” she said. “Let them call in for a sick day. They’re sick to death about the schools. They’re so anxiety ridden about the schools.”
When she realized she’d been outed Weingarten remained defiant, insisting support for school choice and vouchers was tantamount to “feeding Wall Street vultures,” and a “perversion of priorities.”
Whose priorities? Charts of 2017’s eighth grade reading and math proficiency rankings in 27 large urban districts published by the DOE reveal the most successful districts sport a 41%, proficiency rate in math, and a 36% proficiency rate in reading.
In a better nation, “success” rates that condemn six in 10 children to compromised futures would be considered appalling. In this one, they are union priorities. And since Democrats are more than willing to march in lockstep with those priorities, it should surprise no one that the worst performing districts are all Democrat strongholds.
“Teachers’ unions have immense political clout, and can demonize anyone who disagrees with their agenda,” Investor’s Business Daily explains. “They’ve been tremendously successful, becoming one of largest contributors to Democratic and left-wing political candidates to get their generally hard-left union agenda past local legislatures and through our nation’s Congress.”
OpenSecrets.org, a website dedicated to tracking campaign contributions, translates that clout into monetary terms revealing that from 2004 to 2016 political donations by teachers’ unions “grew from $4.3 million to more than $32 million — an all-time high.”
Such clout has real-world consequences. A 2017 Investor’s Business Daily editorial asks if we’re becoming “too ignorant” to save our constitutional republic. A Rasmussen survey released April 30 suggests a highly disturbing answer: 46% of Americans favor government-guaranteed jobs for all.
In 2001, Venezuela was the richest county in Latin America. Seventeen years later, the nation that embraced “21st Century Socialism” stands on the brink of total collapse. The Democrat Party and its unionist education allies, “socialists or self-described socialists” as Hillary Clinton describes them, endeavor to put America on a similar path to self-destruction.
Every political war currently occurring in this nation is secondary to this one. Yet it remains the only one where only one side is doing the fighting.
If this dynamic remains unchanged, American exceptionalism will cease to exist — one mis-educated student after another.