Should taxpayer money fund teacher protests? In this conclusion of her interview, guest Shelly Norden shares with Melvin the harm of teacher and student protests during instruction hours—a previously unheard-of occurrence. They also discuss difficulties teachers face in disciplining students in a system designed to reward, not punish, misbehavior.
Did you miss last week’s episode introducing Shelly? Catch up here.
Today, Shelly continues to share her experience uncovering the disturbing education changes in her supposedly conservative county in Virginia over the last five years. Here are a few of the topics covered in today’s episode:
- “Woke” training has been creeping in nationwide for years. The big push began in Virginia in 2017. Shelly noticed it after her school’s superintendent returned from his superintendent association training. Teachers in other states report that it came to their states earlier.
- What are your kids bringing home? You can ask your child’s teacher about any concerning assignments, then escalate to the principal if they can’t help.
- School board members are all trained by the school board association lobby (such as the VSBA in Virginia) and taught to fall in step with superintendent. This training often leaves taxpayers out of the loop and leads to conservative school board members being underresourced and bullied into compliance.
- Activism has overtaken the instructional day: “…another thing that I saw with equity was the end goal was basically for [students] to become social justice warriors. Prior to 2018, I had never seen a student protest during the instructional day,” Shelly reports. “In 2018, our superintendent actually helped organize a protest—a student walkout….That following year in 2019, he took 200 teachers to Richmond to protest….But [the school district] paid for subs. Then again, it was during the instructional day, not in [the teachers’] own time. So it’s one thing if you want to do that on your own time….But that’s taxpayer money that they’re sending them down there with on buses. We’re paying for that.”
- Passive Behavior Intervention Strategy (PBIS) – Shelly saw her school system adopt PBIS, which is essentially bargaining with kids to abstain from negative behavior by rewarding them with free time rather than punishing them for disruptions. PBIS is leading to more discipline problems because there are no negative consequences to misbehavior. At its root, Shelly says, it is connected to the ideology of Critical Race theory. (See recommended resources below for video link.)
- School board members need to be communicating internal issues to constituents to bring light to educational problems. “For so long things have just kind of flown under the radar because people that are in these elected positions—once they get into their spots, there’s no communication,” Shelly says. “There’s no two way conversation with their constituents.”
- Taxpayers need to write letters to the editor for local newspapers.
- In Virginia, the local Board of Supervisors needs to start requiring transparency into the specifics of a school board’s budget proposal rather than just approving general budget categories. (The same concept would apply to states with city councils.) The public should have access to the data after the fact to see how money was allocated.