The Public Schools’ Crisis of Legitimacy

by James A. Bacon

Virginia public schools are facing a crisis in legitimacy. Never in recent history have parents been so up in arms. This morning I published three columns submitted by readers, all on the subject of the dismaying disconnect between educators and parents in K-12 schools. I did not solicit them. Readers sent them in. The educational melt-down is not just on my mind, it’s on their minds.

The column by Arthur Purves below sums it up well. It’s one thing to soak taxpayers to support public schools. It’s another thing to tax them for inadequate student achievement. It’s another thing yet again to increase taxes on middle- class families to indoctrinate their children with antithetical values.

Not all school districts are equally contemptuous of middle-class values. Schools in Northern Virginia and Virginia’s other major metros are the worst. But they are cheered on by a state educational apparatus in Richmond that seems intent upon using schools to implement a social revolution that portrays “whiteness” as a form of oppression and promotes offensive sexual values.
People can put up with a lot when taxes are the only issue at stake. But they don’t like to see the education system transformed into indoctrination camps with the mission of advancing “social justice” rather than preparing children for the world of work and civil society. And they really don’t like to see their values spit upon.

Reform seems hopeless. Virginia’s teacher colleges are increasingly dedicated to churning out social warriors, not teachers. Charter schools are probably infected by the same madness, and there are too few of them anyway. Only a fraction of the population can afford private school, and relatively few can can afford to keep a parent at home to home-school.

Where else does one turn? To politics. I haven’t seen this level of middle-class outrage since the Tea Party. I’ll be astonished if there isn’t an electoral upheaval this fall.