The Radical Lessons Of The School Walkout

In the Tucson Unified School District, and many other districts student walkouts were not orchestrated by students. Politicians like Board member Adelita Grijalva pushed her political agenda in violation of Arizona law.

Yesterday’s “nationwide” school walkout was shameful at best. And still, there remain a few teens from Parkland being fed lines and information — incorrect information, mostly — to regurgitate to CNN’s cameras, which remain crammed right in their faces. Well, we have taught Millennials that they should never have to work for anything they achieve nor prove themselves correct, so these kids will never question the lies. Neither will any of the kids whose teachers and principals shoved them out the door in yesterday’s ridiculous farce.

This is not education. This is not even indoctrination. This is puppeteering, and nothing more, and it further reinforces these kids’ “I don’t have to earn it” mentality.

Clearly, schools are the problem. And it is not just public schools: As James T. Harris reported on the “The Conservative Circus” on Wednesday, even some Arizona private schools played along with this garbage. The solution? Well, it is radical, but it is quite simple, really:

Pay teachers what teaching should be worth. Make teaching a career that can generate an upper-middle class living, not a lower-level job that puts its workers in a paycheck-to-paycheck hell for nine months of the year and leaves them high and dry for the remaining three.

The United States consistently ranks among the countries that spend the most on education, so this certainly is not to suggest that we inject more money into a system that is clearly failing to serve the nation’s best interest. Instead, we need to put an absolute halt to travesties such as Proposition 123 from a couple of years ago, we need to eviscerate the payrolls of school administrations, and we need to shuffle dollars where they belong: to the classroom staff.

But just moving dollars will not solve the problem, at least, not entirely. We could probably eliminate upwards of 90% of the administration in most districts and be just fine. But, as evidenced in Tucson Unified School District over the past couple of years, it is time that each district’s school board loses the ability to select a superintendent. This role requires checks and balances, as opposed to the current system that elevates school board lackeys. So here is a second radical idea: Fire all superintendents, and make them the sole choice of and report solely to the state legislature, not the school boards who continue to enable the mind-numbing idiocy we witnessed yesterday.

Then, get dead serious about performance, and about firing administrators and teachers who fail to meet performance standards. That will put the force into this new approach to making teaching great again: Educators, those who actually help students excel, will be attracted to the job because they will be able to earn a living and they will not find themselves smothered under myriad strata of middle management. Teachers who got along as low-wage warm bodies filling roles will either have to learn how to teach, or will have to find other jobs.

Well, that would imply another radical notion: that the teachers’ unions would need to disappear. How else could a superintendent—acting in the interest of the broader electorate instead of as a puppet of a sham board—fire those who need to go? So the unions are cooked: Too damn bad. Where is the union that actually stands against the perpetually-sinking standards in our educational system? Where is the union that supports the kids, not the goons who pull fire alarms to compel participation in a BS protest?

Your task today is to place some phone calls to your local schools. Leave voicemail after hours, if you must. Failing that, send emails. Whatever you have to do, do it: Let school administrators know you, your family, and your students will no longer tolerate this failing and flawed system. And share this column with everyone you know who has kids in school. Because the only way to counter this crap is to prove that the silent majority is the majority and will not remain silent. So pick up your phones and put hands to your keyboards.