Schools should focus on education and leave politics to the parents and other family members. Here in Virginia, the Fairfax County School Board has other plans. At least one board member of Virginia’s largest school district wants to allow junior high students to engage in political activities during the school day. That makes as much sense as a trap door on a canoe. And a trap it is; for the children.
My parents secretly hoped I stayed away from politics. I say secretly because they never really pressured, or persuaded me, to do anything with my life except be out of the house, permanently, before the age of 20. You see my parents and grandparents were exiled to the United States from Communist Cuba. So when they came to America the little free time they had was devoted to learning English and making a living. After what had happened to them in socialist Cuba, politics and politicians were the enemies. They lost it all in Cuba because of corrupt politics, politicians, and overbearing governments.
Born and raised in the United States, as far as my parents were concerned, my mission was one: get an education, a job or both. End of story. Politics was not a profession or skill taught in schools. Politics was, and remains, a can of worms and, as far as my ancestors were concerned, best left for others with a lot more free time on their hands than schoolteachers. Schools were for ABCs and 123s. Yet growing up in a Diaspora of anti-statists who harbored a grudge better than just about anyone I know, even to this day, avoiding politics was a challenge. And that was a good thing, or so I thought.
I was always fascinated by the political world even at a very young age, but the school was learning important skills needed for whatever it was that the student was planning to do with the rest of his or her life. I participated in my youth in a likely inordinate amount of what Fairfax County is calling “civic engagement activities.” However, it was done after school, during vacation breaks during the spring and the summer. Frankly, I more than dabbled in it and a lot of my extracurricular time was spent either working or politics. I enjoyed every minute of it. Yet my grades suffered.
Over at the Bacon’s Rebellion blog, James Bacon, correctly, says our schools, not just Virginia schools but all public schools in the nation, are becoming “political indoctrination camps.” Rather than teach the ABCs and 123s, they also add an inordinate amount of sex, politics, and other topics best left to parents, not bureaucrats. Be sure to read Bacon’s post on this latest round of Fairfax County antics. Schools have become a combination of a learning center and a social re-engineering experience. As Bacon says, indoctrination camps. This must change.
As I shared with former Virginia state Senator David Ramadan via Twitter when I learned about the Fairfax County proposal to allow students to protest during school hours, there are many other reforms needed in the way America educates the future generations; however, so long as conservatives are allowed to freely express their views about any subject, this could also be an opportunity to challenge our colleagues on the left.
I admit I have a visceral reaction to any proposal that politicizes the youth. And parents should keep a very close watch on anything a government does that involves children. It is usually not good. Families, not governments, should mold a child. Think about what happened to my parents in socialist Cuba. After the 1959 communist takeover, the regime targeted the schools and children for a reason. They needed to create a divide between the traditional family and the state.
My mom was a young teen during the socialist revolution and was taken, by force, to an indoctrination camp masquerading as a school. My grandparents would not have it. Talking about politics in school was one bridge too far. After the religious schools and replaced with public schools, or indoctrination centers, my family knew it was time to go.
The Communist Party of Cuba continues to sow family division; they are experts in the indoctrination process because, without it, the regime would crumble. Socialists need to destroy the old order in order to build a new path to their ultimate goal: a communist utopia. Obstacles on this path are many, including the nuclear family. One of the many ways socialist destroy the family is via the school system.
America has plenty of politicos. So does Virginia. What the nation, and Virginia, needs are legions of highly educated students prepared to tackle the rigors of life. The majority of political skills can’t be taught in junior high or high school; they’re learned through experiences outside the classroom. Policymakers have a full slate of more pressing issues such as expanding school choice via tax credits or other tools that allow parents greater control over education costs. How about taking concrete and verifiable steps to close the education gap? Virginia schools should focus on education, and improving how its delivered, not indoctrination.