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Arnold Ahlert / Jul. 30, 2020

Education Pods Threaten School Union Hegemony

Unfortunately for the unions, American parents are responding by embracing innovation.

“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” —Winston Churchill

No group of Americans is more dedicated to the equal sharing of misery than the progressive Left. And no subset of the progressive Left has demonstrated more effectiveness in achieving it than the Democrat/Education Union Cartel. Thus, despite the science that supports sending children back to school, school unions have made it clear that prospect is a nonstarter. In fact, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is authorizing its members to strike if schools open without what they define as proper safety measures.

Unfortunately for the unions, American parents are responding by doing what Americans in general have done since this country began: Embracing innovation. Faced with the prospect of long-term online learning and extended time off from work to care for their children, they are forming entities known as “education pods” and “micro-schools.” In a Facebook posting that has gone viral, one mom described the phenomenon. “These are clusters of 3-6 families with similar aged (and sometimes same-school) children co-quarantined with each other, who hire one tutor for in-person support for their kids,” she explained. “Sometimes the tutor in question is full time and sometimes part time / outdoor classes, depending on the age of kids and individual circumstances.”

In other words, parents are filling a Cartel-created vacuum — and no one is more upset about it than the Cartel and its useful idiot, media handmaidens. And as one might suspect, race and class are being used as hammers to vilify such efforts. “When parents with privilege open their checkbooks and create private one-room schoolhouses for their children, they follow a long pattern of weakening the public education system they leave behind, especially in districts with predominantly black, Latinx, indigenous and low-income students,” asserts Washington Post education writer Valerie Strauss. She also likens the current effort to the “previous patterns of privileged flight” that may engender “potentially disastrous results for communities currently — and perpetually — in the crosshairs of this country’s oppression.”

Clara Totenberg Green, a “social emotional learning specialist” for Atlanta Public Schools, echoes those sentiments. “Based on what I’ve seen online, the learning pod movement appears to be led by families with means, a large portion of whom are white,” she writes. “Paradoxically, at a time when the Black Lives Matter movement has prompted a national reckoning with white supremacy, white parents are again ignoring racial and class inequality when it comes to educating their children. As a result, they are actively replicating the systems that many of them say they want to dismantle.”

Who’s kidding whom? No one has been more responsible for keeping minority children “perpetually” under-educated than the nation’s two largest school unions, the aforementioned AFT and the National Education Association (NEA), and a Democrat Party that consistently receives more than 90% of their campaign donations. In Democrat-controlled inner city after inner city, their track record of failure is indisputable: After 50 years the achievement gap between white and black students has barely narrowed, something a 2016 report on the subject labeled a “national embarrassment.”

Moreover, it’s beginning to dawn on a lot of American parents that the rank indoctrination of their children with the leftist ideology that spawns assertions about a “national reckoning with white supremacy” is precisely the kind of politically motivated drivel they don’t want force-fed to their children on a daily basis.

Green gives the game away. “Whatever parents ultimately decide, they must understand that every choice they make in their child’s education, even the seemingly benign, has the potential to perpetuate racial inequities rooted in white supremacy,” she adds. “The history of public schooling in this country is one in which white parents have repeatedly abandoned public schools, or resisted integration efforts at every turn. As a result, schools are more segregated today than during the late 1960s.”

Remarkably, no one talks about the blatant racism demonstrated by such assertions, as in the idea that schools lacking a sufficient percentage of Caucasian students are doomed to failure. In New York City, charter schools known as Success Academies, run by Cartel anti-heroine Eva Moskowitz, utterly belie that noxious assertion, as thousands of mostly low-income black and Latino students routinely outperform kids in wealthy, “privileged” suburbs.

Moreover, the notion that any parent wanting what’s best for their child should be deemed racist for refusing to keep that child in a substandard school — to serve the union-defined “greater good,” no less — is utterly preposterous.

So what’s the handwringing about education pods and micro-schools really all about? Money and competition. “As we know from the fight over charter schools and vouchers, a district loses local, state and federal funding for each child who disenrolls from the public system,” Strauss declares. “Combined with budget cuts and teacher hiring freezes, pandemic pods might exacerbate the defunding of traditional public schools.”

Jessica Calarco, an Associate Professor of Sociology at Indiana University, Bloomington, agrees: “I would urge parents who are considering forming private learning pods to redirect those efforts toward lobbying public officials for more public school funding, instead.”

Both women miss the point. Millions of parents are more than willing to defund “traditional public schools” because the dynamics of them are despicable. First, the primary job of any union is to promote and protect the interest of its members, meaning parents and students are — at best — a secondary consideration. Second, the monopolistic power demonstrated by unions in conjunction with their Democrat Party allies is indisputable in that a child’s future — or complete lack thereof — can literally be determined by that child’s zip code.

Moreover, educational alternatives have sprung up precisely because the Cartel is determined to keep schools closed. Either indefinitely, or as the United Teachers Los reveals, until a wholly non-educational political agenda — as in defunding police, placing a moratorium on charter schools, and enacting Medicare-for-All at the federal level — is realized.

The great irony here? The longer the Cartel keeps schools closed, the more opportunity parents and their children will have to find viable alternatives.

Nonetheless, the Cartel has their champion. “You’ll have an NEA member in the White House,” promised Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden, who has received millions of dollar in donations from that union since 2018.

What about minority parents and others who want an alternative to the status quo? “No privately funded, charter school would receive or private choice receive a penny of Federal money. None,” Biden added.

President Trump? “If schools do not reopen, the funding should go to parents to send their child to public, private, charter, religious, or home school of their choice,” he asserted. “The keyword being choice. If the school is closed, the money should follow the student.”

Thus, the 2020 election itself comes down to a choice between educational freedom or the continuing and equal sharing of misery.

Haven’t Americans been miserable long enough?

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