To say that 2020 marked a challenging year for the education of our students is a profound understatement. Public schools were shuttered month after month by state and local governments due to Covid-19. Virtual instruction over the Internet was difficult, with some students lacking suitable computer equipment, Internet access, or family or environmental conditions conducive to learning. Charter schools generally came closer to meeting this ongoing challenge, but it has not been optimal for them either, especially for those under the public umbrella forced in some states to close their school premises.
On top of pandemic-related problems, teachers and students were subjected to the controversy surrounding the 1619 Project’s impending indoctrination of the impressionable minds of school children, followed by the recent abolishment of the President’s 1776 Advisory Commission established by President Trump to promote American Founding values.
The 1776 Advisory Commission
The 1776 Report issued by the Commission was released just before the transition in January of 2021, and is posted on the Atlantic Legal Foundation’s website for your consideration. We commend that Report for those of our dear readers and supporters who as patriotic Americans, care, as we do, about the effective and unbiased education of our school children. We believe that education should reflect realistically on American history balanced by the ‘’national renewal’’ of education to teach our students, and also legal immigrants who apply for U.S. citizenship, the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution upon which this Republic is founded and, however flawed, has become a paragon of greatness for the world.
“Neither America nor any other nation has perfectly lived up to the universal truths of equality, liberty, justice and government by consent. But no nation before America ever dared state those truths as the formal basis for its politics, and none has strived harder, or done more, to achieve them.”1776 Report
As the 1776 Report reflects: “Neither America nor any other nation has perfectly lived up to the universal truths of equality, liberty, justice and government by consent. But no nation before America ever dared state those truths as the formal basis for its politics, and none has strived harder, or done more, to achieve them.” The Report warns that our colleges and universities have become “hot beds of anti-Americanism, libel, and censorship,” with intent to “manipulate opinions more than educate minds.” Our students should not be prevented from seeing the humanity, goodness, and benevolence in America’s historical figures.* According to the Report, young readers are instead being presented with a distorted version of U.S. history. “Historical revisionism that tramples honest scholarship and historical truth, shames Americans by highlighting only the sins of their ancestors, and teaches claims of systemic racism that can only be eliminated by more discrimination, is an ideology intended to manipulate opinions more than educate minds.”
The 1776 Report was abruptly and unjustifiably removed from the White House website following the presidential transition. As noted above, it can be found on the Atlantic Legal Foundation’s website: The 1776 Report.
For years—and now moving forward from pandemic-related challenges— education reformers have championed charter schools as a way to close education gaps for those with promising potential, challenged by race or income related constraints. With bipartisan support under the Obama Administration and an abundance of research pointing to their success, the case for expanded charter school education is compelling. After Obama’s term ended, unfortunately, the Democrat party soured on charter schools. Senators Warren and Sanders disparaged charter schools and school choice during the 2020 Democrat primaries. Even then-candidate Biden, who directly observed the success of charter schools under President Obama’s watch, stated on the campaign trail that charter schools “siphon off money for our public schools, which are already in enough trouble.” This does not compute. Hopefully, President Biden will change his mind now that he’s in office. New U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona is reported to be a moderate on charter schools. As the Connecticut Commissioner of Education, he served as a charter school authorizer, typical of many local and state education leaders. Publicly, Cardona has not expressed pro or anti charter positions. This may be an indication that Biden will at least not dismantle, if not promote, charter schools while in office.
An apathetic approach to charter schools, tragically however, would blindly overlook a clear-cut and evidence-based solution to advancing the stated bipartisan goals of ensuring more effective education of our young students. With strong support for charter schools, the new Administration has the opportunity to overcome the worst failures of an education system that systematically disadvantages some of the most vulnerable, yet capable, members of our society. To break through the cycle of generational poverty and increase wealth for racial minorities and low-income families, charter schools are a proven move in the right direction.
The pandemic has wreaked havoc on American families, especially low-income families, including some racial minorities. For those children losing advancement in education, enrollment in a successful charter school would help reverse this loss. A 2015 Center for Research on Education Outcomes study found that urban charter schools provide their students with the equivalent of 40 additional school days of learning in math and 28 additional days of learning in reading per year. A Princeton/Brookings study found that attending some high-performing urban charter schools for only three years can produce test score gains “equivalent to the size of the US black-white achievement gap.”
The economic cost of America’s race and income-based achievement gaps is staggering, both as to private income and Gross Domestic Product (GDP). A 2009 McKinsey report estimates that if the U.S. racial achievement gap had been closed by 1998, the U.S. GDP a decade later would have been $525 billion higher and aggregate earnings would have been $160 billion higher. The same report estimates that if the achievement gap between low and high income students had been closed by 1998, the 2008 U.S. GDP would have been $670 billion higher. Compare student achievement levels in other leading economies in our competitive global world and ask: How will America bode if remedial action through fostering the charter school movement falters?
The new Administration’s website states: “There’s no greater economic engine in the world than the hard work and ingenuity of the American people.” Charter schools are a proven way to build the economy through a more educated workforce while closing the devastating achievement gaps that have widened even more during the pandemic.
To accomplish its lofty goals, the Administration should consider allocating a larger portion of its budget to the federal Charter Schools Program, which currently receives less than 1% of all federal K-12 spending, even though 6.5% of children attend public charter schools. The Administration can also push cities to lift caps restricting charter enrollment and use grants and incentive programs to encourage charter school openings and growth across the country. This would help the more than 5 million American children currently on waiting lists for charter schools.
To accomplish its lofty goals, the Administration should consider allocating a larger portion of its budget to the federal Charter Schools Program, which currently receives less than 1% of all federal K-12 spending, even though 6.5% of children attend public charter schools.
This is not the time to adopt a neutral approach to charter schools. The Atlantic Legal Foundation supports this extraordinary education solution, one that would help achieve some of the Biden Administration’s most important bipartisan goals, elevate educational achievements and reduce race and income-related education gaps. By investing in America’s charter schools, we can boost our economy and enhance the future for all Americans, while assuring greater adherence to accurate, albeit candid, teaching of American history and values.
In a related subject … according to the Trending News published on February 10, 2021 by the We the People Daily:
- Democrat President Joe Biden has reportedly canceled a plan put in place by the Trump administration that would track the rising influence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the U.S. education system.
- “Around 500 K-12 schools and 65 colleges in the U.S. have partnerships with the Confucius Institute U.S. Center, a U.S.-based affiliate of the Beijing-based Confucius Institute Headquarters. The institute, also known as Hanban, is affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of Education,” the Daily Caller News Foundation reported. “Many of Hanban’s directors are members of the Chinese Communist Party or have close ties to the organization.”…
- “A report from the Senate’s Permanent Select Committee on Investigations found that nearly 70% of schools receiving more than $250,000 from organizations related to the Chinese government did not report the funding as legally required.” [Source: Daily Wire]
- Numerous American public schools are partnered with the Confucius Institute, a group run by the Chinese Ministry of Education. That means the communist Chinese government has a say in what American children are learning.
As scary as that sounds, it is even more alarming when you realize just how common communist Chinese influence is in American institutions. They have their fingers in Hollywood, the mainstream media, colleges and universities, think tanks, and corporations… and, as stated, our education system.
Chinese communists have tremendous sway over American companies, teachers, leaders, and scientists. All because they dump billions into their organizations.
Trump wanted public schools to disclose just how much money they are receiving from China. Even though it was illegal not to, few actually complied.
With ongoing enforcement, the rule would have kept these schools accountable and would have allowed the federal government and the public insights into just how much influence the CCP has over what our children are learning.
President Biden killed that rule. Many may ask…should we not know how much an apparently or perceived evil and corrupt adversarial nation is influencing our future generations?
Or, should we simply suit our students up with red jumpsuits and require them to learn Mandarin?
Is it not ironic that, just as many of our schools propagate curricula that slander our nation’s history and heritage, we turn a blind eye to apparent Chinese propaganda filling our children’s heads. Coincidence? Obviously not.