At This Rate, Let’s Just Skip The Foreplay And Legally End Public Education

At This Rate, Let’s Just Skip The Foreplay And Legally End Public EducationIf you’ve been paying attention to the legal interventions in education reform floating around the US, you know that things have been looking a little… odd. With Florida’s recent decision to refuse books because they may include what historians refer to as “close friendship,” scholastic practice has been a lot more Scarlet Letter than it has been Pedagogy for the Oppressed. No seriously, you can’t even donate dictionaries to Florida schools anymore. And while most of the thought policing done by people who’ve had a history of wanting a small government has been aimed toward truncating history and literature for fear that it gives children the big sad, it ain’t stopping there. Science could be next.

[Mark] Robinson said he’d work to keep history, science and a number of other subjects out of first through fifth grade curricula and instead prioritize reading, writing and math.

“In those grades, we don’t need to be teaching social studies,” he writes. “We don’t need to be teaching science. We surely don’t need to be talking about equity and social justice.”

Robinson also reaffirms personal views on climate change that became a major issue in the 2020 election. “Guess what? Most of the people of North Carolina know global warming is junk science,” he writes.

As lieutenant governor, Robinson is a voting member on the State Board of Education. He nonetheless says he’d like to eliminate the department if he could.

“I would get rid of it,” Robinson writes. “We need to have one entity, one person, where the buck stops. Right now we have at least three: the school boards, the state superintendent of education and the local school systems—and none are truly answerable to the others. We need one entity to be in charge of education in the state so that when the legislature has questions and concerns, they can go to that single institution and expect to influence the way education is done.”

Admittedly, it may seem like a bit of a bait and switch to start with Florida and draw attention to a memoir from some dude in North Carolina — what’s the connection? Fair question. I think that there is a general push against trusting experts and the law is being used to do so. Take climate change for example. Pretty much the only people that doubt that humans have had a clear impact on climate change are people who wear tinfoil hats and the disgraced Jungian psychoanalyst who keeps making that weird philologic argument literally no one is buying.

How far removed from this, really, is this drivel from Georgia’s Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker trying to dunk on climate change data because we have enough trees. Should these be the scholars and lawmakers shaping policies that impact the minds of children?

Just like anti-CRT started small and spread outward, anti-science sentiments will likely do the same in your children’s classrooms. Last week, I gave Florida a bit of flack for being the third least literate state in the union. I’m not recanting that — I’m just repeating it again to hammer on how ridiculous it is that they’re turning away books. But the rest of us aren’t in the best position either. Glancing globally, the US ranks 28th when you look at 4-year-olds enrolled in early education and 14th when you look at 25-34-year-olds with higher levels of education. With markets rapidly globalizing and technology developing, how can I say this — we need to make sure that our kids can have good thinky thoughts. Call me a kook, but I get the feeling that the continued passing of laws that literally prevent them from learning the arts and sciences will not help us in the long run. Maybe we stop voting for people who run on platforms that encourage stupefaction? With these reading levels, law schools are having a hard enough time of getting new students as is.

In memoir, NC Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson Mulls 2024 Run, Calls For Taking Science, History Out Of Elementary Schools [WRAL]

Chris Williams became a social media manager and assistant editor for Above the Law in June 2021. Prior to joining the staff, he moonlighted as a minor Memelord™ in the Facebook group Law School Memes for Edgy T14s.  He endured Missouri long enough to graduate from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. He is a former boatbuilder who cannot swim, a published author on critical race theory, philosophy, and humor, and has a love for cycling that occasionally annoys his peers. You can reach him by email at [email protected] and by tweet at @WritesForRent.