By Richard Eber
When I have referred to the current public education system in California as being “Marxist Lite,” I was sadly mistaken. In the old Soviet Union and today’s China, children spend long hours both in class and at home doing homework to further their academic achievement. Totalitarian governments know that promoting literacy is an important ingredient in building their economies.
Not so in California. Both school boards and the teachers unions are doing everything possible to sabotage students’ ability to learn and ultimately to function in the real world. These people are constantly pushing diversity, equality, social justice and various progressive ideals.
At the same time, during Covid-19, they have been insisting on remote learning that discriminates against children from low-income families. By definition, the educational system is acting in a racist manner, denying learning opportunities for the kids who need it most.
A case in point is the crazies running the public school asylum in San Francisco.
Their latest brilliant idea is to eliminate testing to gain admission to the college-prep-oriented Lowell High School. According to a committee of the school board, instituting a lottery where everyone is treated the same is the best way to screen students for entrance to this prestigious place of learning.
Apparently, bringing in kids of differing abilities is their way of leveling the playing field in preparing young people for college.
Under such a system, it will not be necessary to read, write, and have knowledge of science, math, and history to be enrolled at Lowell. Such so-called reform would destroy the proud tradition of this school. In addition to my parents and grandfather graduating from Lowell, many prominent people went there. These include:
- Albert Abraham Michelson, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics
- Famous cartoonist Rube Goldberg
- Donald Fisher, founder of The Gap
- Acclaimed Broadway star Carol Channing
- William Hewlett, cofounder of Hewlett Packard
- Former California Governor (Edmond) Pat Brown
The list goes on for this iconic institution that for more than 150 years has stood for academic excellence, associated with San Francisco in much the same way as cable cars. Such a proud legacy means nothing to the Cancel Culture-Identity Politics-oriented school board of the city by the bay. Their actions are aimed at destroying the past to create a Diversity World environment where “no child is left ahead.”
In addition to ending Lowell High School’s proud history by eliminating entrance qualifications, the board has loosed several other arrows in the direction of creating mediocrity. During the Covid-19 outbreak, when students are attending school remotely, the schools have gotten rid of “D’s” and “F’s” from report cards at all high schools.
This is part of the progressive educational philosophy that proudly proclaims, “We don’t keep score, because everyone is a winner.” San Francisco is not alone in adopting such pathetic non-standards. San Diego and Santa Barbara are in the process of eliminating low grades for students who fail to learn during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Apparently, the current trend of giving so-called participation trophies to build self-esteem is now considered a viable substitute for academic proficiency.
Those in charge of the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) will not allow themselves to be outdone in the race to destroy education. They are in the process of renaming 39 schools to comply with PC standards of leftist ideology. As it turns out, every school I went to from the first grade to college is on the chopping block.
Despite writing the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights and being the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson seems destined to be offed. George Washington High, where I attended summer school, is also FOB Sidewalk. It was not enough to eliminate an historic mural depicting slaves and Indians working in the fields. Now the father of our country will no longer have a school named after him.
Even Abraham Lincoln High, from which I graduated, is destined for the scrap heap. Apparently the bosses of Black Lives Matters (BLM) believe Lincoln, who authored the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves, did not do enough in the area of civil rights to suit their sensibilities.
Should the school board have its way, my alma mater will not only have its name changed but will likely require a new mascot. By cancel culture standards, “Mustangs” are a special breed associated with male dominance. This is considered to be sexist because females and transgender animals are excluded from their hierarchy. I would imagine Lincoln’s new mascot will be the Wokes, Tepids, Passives, Challenged, or some other name that does not offend anyone.
All of this stuff going on at the place of my birth seems crazy. To me, it is an attempt by Cancel Culture advocates to rewrite history to conform to their vision of the world. Nowhere in their list of so called nonnegotiable demands is there any consideration that by studying the individuals they deplore, we might learn valuable lessons to avoid mistakes made in the past.
What concerns me most is that by eliminating grades and lowering educational standards, we will be entrusting the future of our country to people who have not been tested and tried in the crucible of hard work and achievement.
Who will fill the high-tech jobs of tomorrow jobs tomorrow when the public education system is corrupted by the cancerous environment which exists today?
Are we to believe that any amount of free breakfasts, lunches, additional counseling, and diluted curricula could possibly be a substitute for the traditional emphasis on the three R’s that previous generations grew up with?
Will sex education starting in kindergarten be a good substitute for learning social values taught at home? By eliminating competition and awards for achievement, can this formula produce sound leaders for tomorrow? How can we expect the next generation to possess the American work ethic if we ask so little of them while they are growing up?
Of course, no matter how bad public education becomes in California, there will always be cream that rises to the top. The top 10 percent of students will be well-educated, no matter how badly the system fails them. Nonetheless, the current system of public education will end up producing unmotivated adults who will become dependent on a socialistic government for their well-being.
Perhaps I have been reading too much of my old George Orwell and Aldous Huxley novels of late. The woke education agenda seems designed to make California into a truly dystopian state as bad as Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World.
[Originally posted at California Political Review. Republished with permission.]