May 18, 2022

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: With Plunging Enrollment, a ‘Seismic Hit’ to Public Schools: The pandemic has supercharged the decline in the nation’s public school system in ways that experts say will not easily be reversed. “All together, America’s public schools have lost at least 1.2 million students since 2020, according to a recently published national survey. State enrollment figures show no sign of a rebound to the previous national levels any time soon.” And this is only the beginning.

That’s because parents have realized — it was made very clear — that teachers’ unions and administrators don’t care about the wellbeing of their kids, and are moving their kids to places where the attitudes are different. This is as it should be, and I hope all the current apparatchiks wind up flipping burgers, or engaged in some other useful work, for a change.

And even NYT readers agree. This was the top-rated comment:

Can’t speak for the other cities here, but Oakland’s problem is deep seated. It has been a perpetual downward spiral for the last 12 years. I sent both my kids to public schools, but by next year both will be in private school. There are so many problems that seem intractable. Indeed, some under-enrolled schools need to close, because the overhead is too high for the number of students attending. Parents anger over the situation doesn’t change the math.

On the other side of the coin, we have a school district that refuses to downsize its administrative staff to compensate for its shrinking budget. Oakland has one of the highest administrator to teacher ratios in the state, if not the country. Personally, I’d rather see a huge increase in pay for the teachers that remain and far fewer administrators.

On top of this, many parents are frustrated with the pursuit of equity above academics. Yes, schools should make sure they provide an environment where kids from all backgrounds receive the resources they need to learn effectively. However, in practice, the district has chosen to lower standards to achieve equity rather than meet kids where they are and bring them to their highest possible level. Parents see this, but would never say it out loud because the social blowback of voicing this opinion swift and brutal. Still, kids (and most adults) should be pushed to reach their potential. This is different for everyone and underserves the majority by setting the bar so low.

Remember, the term “equity” was chosen because it sounds like “equality,” which Americans like, but it’s used to cover for policies that are the exact opposite of equality, and that Americans hate. “Social blowback” is the way of disciplining the wants of the majority using a loud and vicious minority.

And another top comment: “The teachers unions destroyed the public school system in states led by Democrats. That is the obvious conclusion from the single most important paragraph in this article: that public school enrollment did not decline in states like Florida that kept schools open. Europe never closed its schools for extended periods because there, teachers do believe in the importance of teaching.”

All is proceeding as I have foreseen.

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