by Mark Tapson
On Monday, May 6 at the Luxe Hotel in Los Angeles, the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors are co-hosting a symposium and panel discussion entitled “Schools for Subversion: How Public Education Lays the Groundwork for University Radicalism.” The panel will feature FrontPage Magazine’s own classics professor Bruce Thornton, retired educator Larry Sand, “Dissident Prof” Mary Grabar, and Kyle Olson.
Olson is the publisher of EAGnews.org, a news service dedicated to education reform and school spending research, reporting, analysis and commentary. It is the flagship website of the Education Action Group Foundation. The author of Indoctrination: How ‘Useful Idiots’ Are Using Our Schools to Subvert American Exceptionalism, Olson has appeared on Fox News, the Fox Business Network, NPR and MSNBC, as well as scores of talk radio programs from coast to coast. His work has been cited by the Drudge Report, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck.
Mark Tapson: You recently appeared in a Fox & Friends segment called “The Trouble with Schools.” Briefly, what is the trouble with schools?
Kyle Olson: We have a government education system that is turning out students that are unprepared for life. It’s broken academically and financially. It is the playground for left-wing activists to push their personal political agenda in the classroom under the guise of education.
MT: The event on May 6 is entitled, “Schools for Subversion,” and the subtitle of your book refers to the subversion of American exceptionalism. FrontPage readers are well aware of the leftist indoctrination common to universities, but how are our K-12 schools contributing to that as well?
KO: The indoctrination in K-12 schools was spawned from the universities. Activists like Bill Ayers knew that to change the students, they had to change what and how they were taught. In order to do that, they moved upstream to teacher colleges. With an emphasis on things such as “social justice math” and “cultural sensitivity” teacher educators are giving young teachers the tools to use in the K-12 classroom.
Across the country, we see a hostility towards the free market system, the 2nd Amendment and the individual. There is a huge emphasis on the “collective” at the expense of individual rights and parental control.
MT: What does your organization, EAGnews, do to combat education problems?
KO: We expose the problems in the system, as well as solutions that are working. We produce research, analysis and videos that get people thinking in a different way about exactly what is going on in the education system. We actively get our work into the media, both traditional and new, to reach a broader audience.
Our school spending research is frequently featured on local TV news broadcasts while our videos and other research is regularly on Fox News, The Blaze and other high-profile outlets.
KO: Big Labor implements its agenda in the classroom. Case in point: May is Labor History Month in California’s schools.
It has created a system that treats – and rewards – teachers equally, regardless of performance. It prevents rewarding good teachers. It has successfully made the focus on adult issues – pay, benefits, work rules. Look at what the fights are always about: those things, not improving education outcomes for students.
Just look at the recent strike in Chicago. In a district that has a 54% graduation rate and 20% proficiency rate in reading and math, the teachers went on strike over more pay and against a longer school day.
MT: What is Common Core and what does it mean for the future of American education?
KO: Common Core is the federal takeover of the education system. It is a national standard, and when you have one set of standards, sooner or later, you’ll have one set of curricula. That’s the problem. Oh, and why does the government need to know our students’ religion and blood type? Or when they’re picked up by the bus? That’s the type of information that will be in the Common Core database being implemented. It is federal control of education realized.
MT: You mentioned “solutions that are working.” What solutions are working? Taking back our education system from the grip of left-wing activists seems like a daunting task – are you optimistic or pessimistic that it can be done?
KO: School choice is working. It’s the ultimate reform. It’s the silver bullet. Not a single form of choice but all of them. Instead of tinkering with the jalopy by spending more, passing meager tenure reform or implementing evaluation systems that can be killed in the courts by unions, create choice in the system and let students escape all of that. School choice is the Ferrari. The education blob – made up of Democrats and Republicans – want to keep people trapped driving in the jalopy.
If parents and taxpayers rise up, education can be taken back. Let the radicals keep the system. Create choice to let parents and students escape it. When that happens, the system will collapse under the weight of poor results and fiscal mismanagement.
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