Democrats Have Shown Their True Colors on Education
As Maya Angelou said, ‘When people show you who they are, believe them.’ The Democrats have shown me who they are. They are the party that doesn’t care about children or public education.
As Maya Angelou said, “When people show you who they are, believe them.” These days, this advice has been given so often that it’s become a bit of a cliché. But that doesn’t mean it’s not good advice.
The Democrats have shown me who they are. They are the party that doesn’t care about children or public education.
They can hem and haw and say “oh that’s not true” but, to use another cliché, actions speak louder than words. And their actions have spoken. They have shown me who they are. And I believe them.
The New York Times reported on the recently released “Nation’s Report Card” on the state of education with the headline: “The Pandemic Erased Two Decades of Progress in Math and Reading.”
Poor and minority children, those already at significant disadvantage, were impacted the most, increasing overall inequality.
But the pandemic didn’t erase two decades of progress with the steepest drop in test scores in over 30 years, as the Times claims. School closures did it.
And it was Democrats who caused this devastating generational harm. It was Democrats who refused to open public schools for over a year.
And it was Democrats that then inflicted another year of restricted school, with frequent closures due to unnecessary quarantines, on these same children who had already missed over a year of their education.
The more Democratic the state or city, the longer the schools were shuttered and the more the politicians, public health bureaucrats and educational leaders insisted: “Nah, there’s no such thing as learning loss. The children are fine. They’re resilient!”
When the former president of the San Francisco school board, Gabriela López, said: “They are learning more about their families and their culture, spending more time with each other. They’re just having different learning experiences than the ones we currently measure,” it came across as so obtuse that it was worthy of recalling her from her elected post.
And then she was indeed recalled.
NPR reporter Anya Kamenetz is the author of “The Stolen Year,” an empathetic and beautifully drawn account of what actually happened to children during the years that were stolen from them. She argues effectively that these years weren’t lost, they were stolen. But she falls short of identifying the thief.
Ms. Kamenetz also wrote a piece last week in the Washington Post entitled “The GOP Wants to be the Education Party. Democrats Have to Fight Back.” I’ll adjust the headline. “The GOP IS the Education Party. The Democrats Have a Long Way to Go if They Want to Claim This Mantle.”
Ms. Kamenetz writes “Republicans might have claimed the headlines on education, but in the long term, Democrats have the right priorities.”
Really? Nothing in their actions would suggest that this is the case. Even after schools opened in fall 2021, children in blue cities were forced to eat lunch outside, even in the rain and freezing cold weather.
They were also forcibly masked and subjected to tyrannical rules that interfered with learning and many were barred from sports because they were not vaccinated.
On September 6, Jill Filipovic, in an opinion piece for CNN, said “Democrats need to respond with their own clear message: That education is a right, and is among one of the most formative and valuable tools we give our children.”
This isn’t a messaging problem. This is an action problem. For over two years Democrats signaled in every way possible that education is not a right, and that it is not a valuable tool.
And it is far from over for children in Democratic strongholds. Unvaccinated students in New York City public schools still can’t participate in sports or after-school activities. Toddlers in Head Start programs continue to be muzzled with masks, just when they are learning to talk.
By contrast, in June 2020, Governor DeSantis announced that all schools would open in the fall. By August 31, 2020, public schools in Florida were required to open. “We spent months saying that there were certain things that were essential,” he said. “If fast food and Walmart and Home Depot [are] essential, then educating our kids is absolutely essential.”
I was a progressive Democrat for my entire voting life, just like Ms. Kamenetz and Ms. Filipovic, I imagine. I’m not anymore. I’m not a Republican either.
Yet, as Maya Angelou said, when people show you who they are, believe them. No amount of burnishing the Democrats’ message before the November election will convince me that they care about children and public schools.
I believe Democrats. They’ve shown me who they are.