Via Instapundit, a pretty sobering sight on Twitter:
One interpretation of education trends in the Great Awokening era is that left-liberals became frustrated with the modest, incremental gains from education reform and threw it over in favor of ... well, this:https://t.co/rYtvcSbpQK— Ross Douthat (@DouthatNYT) May 5, 2023
Who would have thought that the middle of the Trump/DeVos Dark Ages would be a high point in student knowledge of history and civics? I was assured this couldn't be so!
No doubt the pandemic had something to do with this. But it's certainly multicausal, and I'd wager that promulgation of woke indoctrination by teachers who claimed at the same time that they were "just teaching history" was another factor.
I recommend Nat Malkus's post at AEI: US History Tests Show the Falling Floor for Student Achievement for more graphs and explanation.
Also on that topic… the WSJ editorialists look at the head educrat pointing fingers: Miguel Cardona, Miseducation Secretary.
The federal Department of Education’s mission is supposed to be . . . what exactly? Apparently Education Secretary Miguel Cardona thinks it’s something other than improving educational results. New national test results this week showed eighth-grade U.S. history scores at an all-time low, and Mr. Cardona’s response was to attack the GOP.
The data released is from 2022 tests on U.S. history and civics under the National Assessment of Educational Progress, sometimes called the “nation’s report card.” The average eighth-grade history score is down five points from 2018 and nine points from 2014. It’s the lowest on record, going back to 1994. Scores dropped the most among the lower performers. Only 13% of students were deemed NAEP proficient. The civics results are similarly depressing.
This is a damning record for the educational establishment, on top of last year’s news that NAEP math scores for eighth-graders in 2022 fell to a 20-year low. For all the money the U.S. keeps pumping into education, surely somebody in authority ought to be embarrassed by these pitiful outcomes, working to reverse them, and explaining to the citizenry what is being done. Maybe that person is supposed to be the U.S. Education Secretary?
The WSJ has examples of "basic" and "proficient" questions. See how you do. My guess is that you are more knowledgable than today's average US eighth-grader.
Making sure you don't know much about history. In case you have any doubt about whether government schools prioritize indoctrination over education, Garion Frankel and Daniel Buck note a recent bit of advocacy: Progressives Push Abortion Messaging into the Classroom.
There was a time when schoolteachers — even if they broached controversial topics in class — kept their opinions private. It was a badge of honor for teachers who could lead a classroom debate and keep their students guessing as to their instructor’s opinion on the matter. Was the teacher a skilled enough rhetorician to defend a view contrary to the one that they held for the sake of their students’ intellectual growth?
Well, that time is no more. Last year, gender or critical race theory seemed like the height of advocacy in the classroom. Now, even abortion is becoming less of a taboo.
In a recent issue, the influential education magazine Rethinking Schools, whose books sell upwards of 200,000 copies and make it onto college reading lists, declared that educators must begin teaching about the benefits of abortion. The Dobbs decision, it claimed, warrants an “all-hands-on-deck response to ensure abortion for those who want and need it.” Namely, a teacher’s “most critical role is to combat the silence, shame, and misinformation around abortion” through instruction. Topics worthy of coverage include the right to an abortion, abortion stories from the advocacy group Shout Your Abortion, and literature that addresses “sex, sexual violence, pregnancy, forced pregnancy, sterilization, abortion, and miscarriage.”
As always, I offer my modest proposal: repeal compulsory school attendance laws.
Betteridge's Law of Headlines applies. Jacob Sullum wonders: Do These Seditious Conspiracy Convictions Prove the Capitol Riot 'Was Not Spontaneous'? But he doesn't wonder for long:
A federal jury yesterday convicted four Proud Boys of participating in a seditious conspiracy aimed at keeping Donald Trump in office after Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election. Those verdicts, former federal prosecutor Dennis Aftergut argues in an MSNBC opinion piece, show that the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol was "an organized, violent uprising meant to overturn the 2020 election." According to Aftergut, "It's now established beyond a reasonable doubt that the Capitol siege was not spontaneous, but rather a planned assault by force on our democracy."
There are a couple of problems with that characterization. First, the prosecutors in this case, who relied heavily on questionable inferences, never showed that the defendants explicitly planned to disrupt congressional certification of Biden's victory. Second, it seems clear that most of the Trump supporters who participated in the riot did act spontaneously, a point that Aftergut glides over.
The Proud Boys should not be proud. But they shouldn't be overcharged either.
Among the many things by which you shouldn't be fooled… Near the top of the list these days is, according to Liz Wolfe: Don't Be Fooled by Randi Weingarten's Rehabilitation Tour.
On Tuesday, the fact-checkers over at PolitiFact—which is run by the Poynter Institute, that nonprofit focused on media literacy and journalism ethics training—declared that "it's misleading to suggest that [American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten] didn't want to pursue reopening schools at all."
"As educators, parents and students struggled through the early COVID-19 pandemic to balance learning with health safety rules, teachers union president Randi Weingarten grappled, too," wrote Madison Czopek in a piece that attempts to evaluate Weingarten's truth telling before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic last week (approvingly shared on Twitter by the subject herself). Czopek proceeded to go line by line not evaluating Weingarten's numerous claims during her testimony or on her recent media tour, but rather the claims made by Twitter users who added community-sourced context to the AFT head's tweet.
Here's the tweet and the "added context".
Republicans on the House Covid subcommittee want you to think I wanted to keep schools closed. Here’s what I actually said… over & over again. pic.twitter.com/TTWuYgC5nN— Randi Weingarten 🇺🇦🇺🇸💪🏿👩🎓 (@rweingarten) April 26, 2023
Yes, Twitter users are outperforming Politifact. Which remains trash.
It's not easy to admit you were wrong. It's even less easy when the things you were wrong about caused grievous damage to the kids you thought you were trying to protect.