SAVING AMERICAN EDUCATION
School Choice Is A Political Mirage
Beware Political Promises
After the past two years of story after story of identity ideology run amok at both public and private schools, one thing is clear – real “school choice” does not exist. What amounts to race essentialism, identity ideology, social Marxism, CRT – whatever you want to call it, is worse at privates, and you have no protections. There are no FOIA requests, no speaking at school board meetings, no voting on representatives. One tweet, one question, one joke by our kids or by us and headmasters can kick our kids to the curb without warning and without impunity – after accepting tens of thousands of our tuition payments and more in donations.
We have seen Democrats directed by the teachers’ unions. Now we face Republicans trying to co-opt the energy of mothers – well-known fickle but powerful swing vote, by promising School Choice state by state. Beware their attempts to simplify this issue that does not lend itself to sound bites. Privates are not a viable alternative. Inconvenient to the black and white political narrative, but true.
Catch up with summaries of the battle in privates compiled by Capital Research Center and hero teacher Paul Rossi’s explanation of the National Association of Independent Schools’ campaign to hide its agenda directing private schools.
DEI Is Illusory
With faculty resigning at record rates and student morale at record lows, what evidence does NAIS have that focusing on DEI/SEL in private schools helps children? In fact, all indicators of the singular focus on making “anti-racist” schools point to an increase in polarization and division and a decrease in emotional wellbeing and knowledge. The first thing schools do when instituting DEI agenda is exclude everyone who does not agree, when real inclusion demands interdependence and mutual respect of all constituencies. DEI focuses entirely on certain groups to the exclusion of all others, when real inclusion requires focus not on exterior characteristics but on treating each person with kindness and consideration and on allowing each other grace to learn, forgiveness to make mistakes, and patience to grow. Private schools instituting DEI programs exclude parents who question what is being demagogued to our children. Refusing to include all voices and opinions is not courageous conversation, it is cowardly censorship – the type included in our enrollment contracts.
Private schools cannot forget they are inherently exclusive institutions. Proclaiming they can establish “equity” in schools where the cost for kindergarten tuition is often the median American income is embarrassingly hypocritical. Instead, schools should underscore how emphasis on merit and academic excellence lifts all children. This is particularly the case for children in lower socioeconomic groups. DEI programs do the opposite by proclaiming academic excellence and merit are aspects of white supremacist culture and cause too much stress, disintegrating the quality of education. The Andover of Mark Zuckerberg is gone. As resources and time spent on DEI (including mental and emotional “wellness”) absorb time spent on knowledge and mastery, families with means hire tutors and participate in club sports and costly extracurriculars, leaving behind families reaching to send their children to private school and children attending private schools through financial aid. The reality is, DEI is illusory.
Keep It Simple Stupid
We are cognizant that running a school, particularly these past couple of years is exhausting work, but running a school does not have to be overcomplicated. We are also cognizant that school finances have been trending down and have been buttressed by endowments thriving from good markets which will not last forever. This is further evidence that our schools need to trim the fat, cut out the socio-political propaganda, and stick to its core mission – ensuring the education of our children. For too long our schools have only asked what we can do for them without asking what they can do for us. What we want is simple: (1) we want our schools to focus on their foremost basic mission – educating our children in basic core subject matter with a focus on academic excellence; (2) we want our teachers to be provided real compensation packages and to be relieved from the constant “professional development” of struggle sessions so they simply can teach quantifiable skills unencumbered from unnecessary emotional exhaustion; and (3) we want increased transparency.
It is the integrity and differentiation of private schools that has always distinguished private education. For centuries, private schools retained their own distinct founding principles, teaching philosophies, traditions, mottos and missions. Parents could justify investing in private school education because their children would receive an excellent education. This is no longer the case. From their conference programs, professional development materials, and the countless hours of speeches, online videos and podcasts, it is clear NAIS does not have the interests of our children or our schools at heart. NAIS is stripping every member school of their unique character and independence by standardizing policies from faculty recruitment sources, trustee recruitment, professional development programs, mission statements, curricular framework and teaching philosophies, student – and even parent – discipline, and financial management practices.
NAIS envisions private schools no longer distinct and private but existing under the NAIS umbrella. NAIS President Donna Orem explained, “…we think about the differentiators for schools. I think when we think about independent schools in the future, I think we really need to think about being centers of wellbeing as being the independent school differentiator.” She further expounded private schools as places “to really center around wellbeing and to start to explore human potential from that place of feeling good about yourself, being able to relate to others and being able to leverage that, to create a better society” – not as places to acquire academic ability and knowledge. The proud proclamation by CEO Donna Orem, DEI VP Caroline Blackwell, and NAIS’ list of preferred DEI consultants of their an anti-white, anti-capitalist agenda in their work at our schools juxtaposed with the success of private schools being based considerably on capitalism reveals that NAIS is intentionally dismantling private schools to “reimagine” them. Through the accreditation process, NAIS has bloated private schools with self-perpetuating DEI consultants, who are not evaluated on any metrics, have no accountability, and whose clear agenda is to shift the focus of schools from scholarship to producing leftist activists. NAIS’ prompt responses to our Substacks and social media – censoring information, deleting portions of its website and previously available videos, and amending its own organizational descriptions after our assertions, reveal we are clearly over the target.
Enough is enough. We cannot continue to let intellectual toddlers terrorize the country. It’s time for the real adults to lead.