Politicized education explains steep academic declines and wide achievement gaps in California


Public education in California has reached a critical point. While it’s true that the Golden State has historically lagged other states in standardized test scores, the latest results for 2022 from the national newsletter show further declines in reading and math scores for fourth and eighth graders.

In 2022, California Mark 230.36, 214.39, 269.81, and 258.79 in fourth-grade math, fourth-grade reading, eighth-grade math, and eighth-grade reading, respectively. Well below the national average in every category, these results also represent declines from 2019.

Source: Author’s compilation based on NAEP 2022 results.

This dark picture of regression is also true in what is revealed by the state standardized test Smarter and Balanced Assessments of English Language Arts and Mathematics. The California Department of Education (CDE) released the results on October 24.e, documenting a 3.81% drop between 2019 and 2022 in the number of students meeting or exceeding the standard in English and a 6.35% drop in math. In other words, only four out of ten California students in grades 3-8 and 11e grade can read at grade level, while only three in ten can do math proficiently.

Woke up politicians and actors to blame

Contrary to the propagandist idea that progressive education policies can produce better and fairer outcomes, our next generation in America’s most progressive and diverse state is worse off academically than it was three years ago. years and than his peers elsewhere. So what happened?

Over the past three years, California schools have embarked on a pilgrimage lead the nation to adopt the ideological dogmas of the extreme left. In 2021, it became the first state in America to mandate ethnic studies for high school graduation. The finalized state curriculum remains contains key elements of critical pedagogy that emphasize racialized identities, collective struggles and victimization, while a more radical version called Liberated Ethnic Studies is make inroads in many local school districts.

The California State Board of Education envisions a math revolution frame for its K-12 public schools. Instead of focusing on upskilling, the new framework touts anti-racism and whiteness-shifting as laudable goals on the one hand, and proposes eliminating gifted programs and advanced tracking in the name of whiteness. ‘equity.

In addition to championing woke curricular changes, California schools have also pursued the fashionable political trend of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). A plethora of school boards voted to approve “Board Policy 0415 – Equity», pledging to dismantle « a history of exclusion, discrimination and segregation ».

My group, Californians for Equal Rights Foundation (CFER), undertook a pioneering research project that examined the prevalence of thought indoctrination in 44 California school districts. Our empirical study, examining board policies, school district developments, and board meeting minutes, found that 24 of these districts, including 10 elementary school districts, have official DEI policies and 30 have spent public education funds on paid DEI training such as professional development sessions and curriculum development.

Indeed, radical ideologues and education bureaucrats, driven by political agendas, money, and a desire to protect the status quo, should be largely responsible for the abysmal state of public education in California. . But at the institutional level, teachers’ unions are the biggest culprits. Not only do they have paid massive funds to support partisan candidates at the national and state levels, unions are now putting a thumbs up on the ladder in local school board races.

The last research pilot of my group discovered that more than $600,000 has been pumped into a handful of school board campaigns in San Diego as of October 27, 2022. Traditionally, school board candidates spent $5,000 or less in their campaigns. But in the San Diego Unified School District, the San Diego Education Association PAC invested more than $150,000 to help two of its hand-picked candidates and $91,000 to oppose a pro-education candidate.

Disastrous outcomes hurt the underprivileged disproportionately

Enlightenment advocates pride themselves on being the arbiters of love, tolerance, and truth. But the reality shows a stark contrast. Deteriorating educational outcomes hurt vulnerable students the most. According to both nation’s bulletin and CDEs Balanced smarter results, the learning gaps affecting low-income students, English language learners, and “students of color” have widened. According Ibram X. Kendi, “If discrimination creates fairness, then it is anti-racism. If discrimination creates inequalities, then it is racist. According to this standard, policies that contribute to the growing achievement gap must be the opposite of “anti-racism” and a sign of discrimination.

Source: Authors’ compilation based on NAEP 2022 results
Source: Author’s compilation based on 2022 California Smarter Balanced Results

Something is clearly wrong with our public education system. The state spent nearly $25,000 per K-12 student, and yet we’re ranked 40th nationally. Politicized, agenda-driven education has victimized countless California students, and teachers’ unions are eclipsing education policy-making processes from Sacramento down to local communities.

Nothing changes if nothing changes. Let’s hope California parents and voters want enough change to revolt against the woke establishment at the polls in this next election.

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