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Op-Ed

Cal Thomas: Public Education Is Past Its Expiration Date

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A New Jersey school district has voted to eliminate “the names of all religious and secular holidays from the school calendar … opting for the more generic description ‘Day Off.’” You can guess the reason. They used those increasingly popular words — “inclusive” and “equitable.”

No more Christmas, Hanukkah, Memorial Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day or even Indigenous Peoples Day (formerly known as Columbus Day). Maybe they should keep April Fools’ Day because that accurately reflects their decision. Or, since they have chosen “Day Off,” they could name them after the film character Ferris Bueller.

New Jersey state Sen. Anthony M. Bucco tells me, “We’re getting to a point where it’s becoming acceptable to sanitize American history and our shared, diverse culture to please a small politically correct minority. Americans should stand up to this nonsense when it comes to their communities and fight back.”

In Fairfax County, Virginia, the country’s 10th largest school district, school board member Abrar Omeish was invited to deliver the commencement address to Justice High School, formerly known as J.E.B. Stuart High School. The name was changed as part of the continuing effort to eradicate anything related to slavery and the Confederacy. Stuart was an officer in the Confederate Army.

Omeish was a co-chair of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in Virginia. She is also a spokeswoman for the group “No Muslim Ban Ever.”

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Before her speech, RedState reports, a student recited the Pledge of Allegiance, but not the one we are used to: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. And to the republic for which it stands, one nation under Allah, indivisible, and with liberty and justice for all.”

Under Allah?

Omeish said the U.S. was guilty of stealing land from Native Americans. She also denounced “extreme capitalism, individualism [and] white supremacy.” She has previously made remarks that the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington has said “target and marginalize Jewish students and their families.”

These and other incidents and decisions made by school boards across the country have raised the ire of many parents. Some have shown up at public board meetings, denouncing members. Others are engaged in recall efforts.

Do you think public education is broken?

The question is whether any of their replacements will be better than the current ones and whether they would also give in to pressure from various groups that want to “fundamentally transform America,” as former President Obama pledged to do?

This summer offers a unique opportunity for parents and their children. After more than a year of distance learning that has left some students behind, especially those in marginalized communities, now is an excellent time to rethink our entire education system. Public education, established three centuries ago with values that are in sharp contrast to what is taught today, has long exceeded its expiration date.

Parents should take advantage of school choice in states that allow them to choose the schools — public, private, religious or home school — which best teach subjects that matter and at a minimum do not undermine the country, its history (good and bad), their faith and societal values.

The pandemic has allowed many parents to see the contrast between what many public schools have become — “missionaries” for a far-left and secular agenda — and what they were taught as students in an altogether different country.

Whatever school board changes might occur, parents have it in their hands to make a lasting difference by depriving the system of raw material — their children — who in many cases are being indoctrinated with secular progressive ideas. President Biden wants to begin molding young minds even earlier. He has proposed free pre-K classes.

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An admonition by the late first lady Barbara Bush seems even more important today: “Your success as a family, our success as a society, depends not on what happens in the White House, but on what happens inside your house.”

And in schools.

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Cal Thomas is one of the most widely syndicated political columnists in America. He is the author most recently of "America's Expiration Date: The Fall of Empires and Superpowers ... and the Future of the United States" (Zondervan, 2020).




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