Archives for category: Home Schooling

Governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation that will offer public money for the schooling of every student in the state, with no income limits. The state will pay tuition for private schools, religious schools, homeschooling or any other variety of schooling. Critics warned that this bill would be devastating for the state’s public schools. Voucher schools are completely unregulated. The students are not required to take state tests; the schools are not required to hire certified educators. Anything goes. Florida has tough accountability for public schools, but no accountability for voucher schools.

The Orlando Sentinel reported:

At a bill signing ceremony at a private boys high school in Miami, DeSantis described the legislation as “the largest expansion of education choice not only in the history of this state but in the history of these United States. That is a big deal.”

The controversial bill was celebrated by GOP leaders and parents who currently use the scholarships, but it also faces fierce criticism from those who say its price tag — estimates range from $210 million to $4 billion in the first year — will devastate public schools, which educate about 87% of Florida’s students.

Critics also argue an expansion will mean more public money spent on private, mostly religious, schools that operate without state oversight. Some of the schools hire teachers without college degrees and deny admission to certain children — most often those who don’t speak English fluently, have disabilities or are gay.

“Funneling this much in taxpayer dollars to private schools with no parameters to ensure accountability for student success is fiscally irresponsible and puts at risk the families and communities who utilize our state’s public schools and the services they provide,” said Sadaf Knight, CEO of the Florida Policy Institute, in a statement.
The think-tank opposes the expansion of Florida’s voucher programs and estimated the $4 billion hit to public schools.

Through its voucher programs, Florida currently provides scholarships to more than 252,000 children with disabilities or from low-income families.

Under the new law, the income guidelines are wiped out, though preference will be given to those from low and middle-income backgrounds. The result of the universal voucher law is that all of the 2.9 million public school-age children in Florida could opt for an “education savings account,” if they left public schools, and those already homeschooled or in private school could seek the money, too.

In 2017, the Orlando Sentinel published a prize-winning investigation of Florida’s voucher schools called “Schools Without Rules.” The series has been repeatedly updated. It’s worth subscribing to the newspaper to read the series.

Under legislation endorsed today by the Republican supermajority in the Florida legislature, the state will underwrite vouchers for every student in the state, regardless of income. Students in private schools, students who never attended public schools will get a subsidy from the state.

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Senate gave final approval Thursday to a bill creating universal school vouchers, and sent it to Gov. Ron DeSantis for his expected approval.

The Senate voted 26-12 along party lines to approve the bill (HB 1).

Republican state lawmakers, who hold a supermajority in the Legislature, want to open state voucher programs that currently provide scholarships to more than 252,000 children with disabilities or from low-income families to all of the 2.9 million school-age children in Florida, with an estimated cost ranging from $210 million to $4 billion in the first year.

Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples called it “one of the most transformative bills the Legislature has ever dealt with….”

But opponents raised concerns about sweeping money out of the public school system and subsidizing private education, in some cases for children of wealthy parents.

“There is no money following the child like we hear over and over again because they were never in public school,” said Sen. Tracie Davis, D-Jacksonville. “You can’t ever follow something that was never in public school.”

Private schools don’t follow the same academic standards as public schools and can set their own curriculum, they said, pointing out that they could be teaching neo-Nazism and the state couldn’t do anything to stop them.

Nor do they have to meet the same safety requirements as charter and public schools must do.

The state does not generally regulate private schools, so there are no requirements that teachers have college degrees or for standardized testing to grade the quality of the schools.

Private schools also don’t have to follow the same safety requirements as charter and public schools.
Democrats also objected to taxpayer dollars being sent to religious schools. About three out of four schools that receive vouchers are religious in nature.

“House Bill 1 further erodes the separation of church and state. Taxpayers are paying for Floridians to discriminate,” the League of Women Voters of Florida tweeted.

The Kansas Reflector reported that the state legislature plans to enact voucher legislation that will defund public schools. The pro-voucher legislators spout on about “parental rights,” but their real enemy is public school teachers. They accuse teachers of promoting a radical “woke” agenda and pushing sexual deviance on their students.

These ideas have not a scintilla of evidence behind them. They are smears. Plain and simple. How Kansas parents can listen to this extremist claptrap without demanding the recall of these extremists is a mystery.

TOPEKA — Between voucher programs and new parental rights legislation, education officials say public schools are having a rough time.

During a recording of the Kansas Reflector podcast, Marcus Baltzell, director of communications for the Kansas National Education Association, and Leah Fliter, Kansas Association of School Boards assistant executive director of advocacy, discussed the state of K-12 education, along with recent legislation that would take away funding from public schools.

Voucher bills

Baltzell said recently proposed voucher programs were blatant power grabs, including House Bill 2218, which would become the “sunflower education equity act” if passed. The bill passed out of committee Wednesday in a modified form.

While full implementation wouldn’t happen until four years after the legislation is passed, the program would allow parents to set aside a portion of public school funding — about $5,000 per student — for use at private or home schools, including unregulated, unaccredited schools.

HB2218 would also set up a 10-member board to manage the program, which would receive compensation. Critics have said the board would be slanted in favor of Republicans because of member requirements, and also might have too broad an influence on K-12 education in the state.

“If you wanted to set up a kind of a shadow board of education, if you wanted to completely circumnavigate the Constitution and the constitutional authority of the State Board of Education, this is how you would do it,” Baltzell said. “You would set up this group, you would tie it to legislation around a voucher scheme, you would then set up this board that has essentially decision-making authority over all aspects of this.”

Baltzell and Fliter also discussed House Bill 2048, which would expand a tax credit that allows taxpayers to write off up to $500,000 worth of scholarships they provide for private schools.

Another bill, Senate Bill 128, would give taxpayers a refundable income tax credit for K-12 children not enrolled in public schools. The bill stipulates that taxpayers who have a student enrolled in an accredited nonpublic school or a nonaccredited school registered with the Kansas State Department of Education are eligible. The tax credit would be given to Kansans starting in fiscal year 2024, as long as their student isn’t included in the enrollment of a public school district.

Fliter said legislation like this is meant to draw students and funding away from public schools by giving financial incentives for parents to switch to private education. She said lawmakers were framing the legislation as a way to give parents more educational freedom in order to popularize the idea.

“They know that the voucher thing is not popular,” Fliter said. “And so to cast it as a parent’s right over their child is another tactic. Kansas parents have many, many, many legal rights over their children. Children are minors until they turn 18. That means their parent or guardian has legal rights over their education, over everything they do. And so it’s just a somewhat cynical ploy to try to make a voucher seem more palatable.”

Rhetoric around teachers

The two said rhetoric surrounding public school and public school teachers also served to lure parents away from public education. Lawmakers have discussed a new form of parental rights legislation and accused teachers of being too radical.

Under House Bill 2236, parents could object to any educational materials or activities they believe would harm the student’s or parents’ beliefs, values or principles. Educational materials would include reading material, websites, videos and textbooks. Parents could withdraw their children from courses they find objectionable without harm to the student’s academic records. Critics of the bill say the legislation is overbroad.

During the bill hearing, Rep. Owen Donohue, a Shawnee Republican, said he thought it would be embarrassing to be a teacher, especially because they were teaching materials such as critical race theory. Donohoe said he was glad parents had the option of scholarships and homeschooling.

“If you look at history, it’s just an abysmal record,” Donohoe said. “It’s embarrassing to say, I would think, that I’m a teacher, when we’re getting the kind of results, or have been, in this state.”

Republicans in the House and Senate have made fighting a so-called “sexualized woke agenda” a legislative priority this session, with some arguing that Kansas students are struggling with mental health as a result of being taught an unnecessary and radical curriculum in public schools.

A former teacher of the year who appeared before lawmakers to urge them to stop using harmful rhetoric about public educators was told that people like her were the real deterrent.

Who are these people? Why do they hate teachers? What’s wrong with them? Did they get low grades? Were they the class clowns?

Governor DeSantis is unhappy with the College Board Because it had the nerve to disagree with him. He said he might find an alternative for the Board’s products, the SAT and AP courses. The Miami Herald says that the state is in discussions with a new test vendor whose was designed for Christian schools and home schools.

As Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida Republican leaders explore alternatives to the College Board’s AP classes and tests, top state officials have been meeting with the founder of an education testing company supporters say is focused on the “great classical and Christian tradition.”

The Classic Learning Test, founded in 2015, is used primarily by private schools and home-schooling families and is rooted in the classical education model, which focuses on the “centrality of the Western tradition.”

The founder of the company, Jeremy Tate, said the test is meant to be an alternative to the College Board-administered SAT exam, which he says has become “increasingly ideological” in part because it has “censored the entire Christian-Catholic intellectual tradition” and other “thinkers in the history of Western thought.”

As DeSantis’ feud with the College Board intensified this week, Tate had several meetings in Tallahassee with Ray Rodrigues, the state university system’s chancellor, and legislators to see if the state can more broadly offer the Classic Learning Test to college-bound Florida high school students.

“We’re thrilled they like what we’re doing,” Tate said. “We’re talking to people in the administration, again, really, almost every day right now.”

Will there be another test for students who are not Christian?

Read more at:

For Immediate Release: For more information, contact: Carol Burris, NPE Executive Director, 718-577-3276,


The Network for Public Education (NPE) calls for the immediate cessation of ESA voucher payments to homeschoolers and all other non-school-based “individualized” instruction programs based on the discovery of an online homeschooling network whose primary purpose is to teach young children to be Nazis. According to the report in the Huffington Post, its numbers thus far are in the thousands, but the greater threat is how its existence exposes the dangers of publicly-subsidized vouchers designed to fund extremist beliefs.  Such programs, including so-called micro-schools, operate with almost no curricular supervision or public fiscal oversight, allowing them to legally indoctrinate children with a distorted hate-filled curriculum directly supported by public funds.

NPE President Diane Ravitch stated, “Our nation fought a World War to defeat Nazism. Public funds should not be used to propagate hatred of our fellow citizens. Public education exists to foster mutual respect among all citizens. Our public dollars should be used to teach the shared values of democracy, especially the rule of law, the equality of every person, the importance of free and fair elections, and the value of education in pursuing a life of dignity and purpose.”

Seven states now fund programs solely supervised by families with no control over whether a sound academic curriculum is taught. Eight states have introduced legislation that would either start or expand such programs. 

“These ESA voucher programs, which are mislabeled as scholarships and saving accounts, have been subject to fraud and abuse,” said Dr. Carol Burris, NPE executive director. “NPE has long held concerns that funded at-home programs might teach children misinformation or a radical curriculum of hate. This Neo-Nazi homeschool network now confirms our deepest fears.”

Many ESA voucher laws do not require the parent to present evidence that the student has learned anything to receive thousands of dollars in public funds.

In states that have adopted voucher plans, the academic results for students who left public schools are “disastrous,” says Josh Cowen, a professor at Michigan State University and a veteran voucher researcher. In addition, 75-80% of voucher funding goes to students already enrolled in private or religious schools. 

NPE also calls on every state to carefully review its homeschool laws. Eleven states do not require homeschoolers to report that their child is homeschooled, making a mockery of state compulsory education laws. No states have laws that would prevent the teaching of hate curricula.

“As more states adopt laws that fund unregulated radical schooling arrangements, we must ensure that children’s emotional and physical well-being are guarded. While we cannot protect children from those parents who would fill their minds and hearts with hate, we can at least ensure that our tax dollars are not supporting such instruction,” Burris concluded.

The use of public funds to support extremist and anti-social agendas, unfortunately, has a long track record for the privatization community, especially as today’s unpopular modern school vouchers being pushed in legislatures across the country have evolved from the segregationist reaction to the Brown v Board of Education Supreme Court ruling.

The Network for Public Education (NPE) was founded in 2013 by Diane Ravitch and Anthony Cody. Its mission is to protect, preserve, promote, and strengthen public schools for current and future generations of students. We share information and research on vital issues that concern the future of public education. For more information, please visit:

Christopher Mathias wrote at Huffington Post about a group called Dissident Homeschool that provides resources for parents who want to teach their children to be Nazis. Through research and inquiry, he found the names of the couple who administer the site. Many of the states enacting voucher plans include payments for homeschooling. If you live in one of those states, your tax dollars might be subsidizing the training of Nazis.

Please read the entire article. It’s too long to repost in its entirety. It is awful that parents would do this, and worse that it is subsidized by public funds in many state voucher plans.

Mathias writes:

On Nov. 5, 2021, a married couple calling themselves “Mr. and Mrs. Saxon” appeared on the neo-Nazi podcast “Achtung Amerikaner” to plug a new project: a social media channel dedicated to helping American parents home-school their children.

“We are so deeply invested into making sure that that child becomes a wonderful Nazi,” Mrs. Saxon told the podcast’s host. “And by home-schooling, we’re going to get that done.”

The Saxons said they launched the “Dissident Homeschool” channel on Telegram after years of searching for and developing “Nazi-approved material” for their own home-schooled children — material they were eager to share.

The Dissident Homeschool channel — which now has nearly 2,500 subscribers — is replete with this material, including ready-made lesson plans authored by the Saxons on various subjects, like Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee (a “grand role model for young, white men”) and Martin Luther King Jr. (“the antithesis of our civilization and our people”).

There are copywork assignments available for parents to print out, so that their children can learn cursive by writing out quotes from Adolf Hitler. There are recommended reading lists with bits of advice like “do not give them Jewish media content,” and there are tips for ensuring that home-schooling parents are in “full compliance with the law” so that “the state” doesn’t interfere.

The Saxons also frequently update their followers on their progress home-schooling their own children. In one since-deleted post to Telegram, they posted an audio message of their kids shouting “Sieg Heil” — the German phrase for “hail victory” that was used by the Nazis.

Over the past year, the Dissident Homeschool channel has become a community for like-minded fascists who see home schooling as integral to whites wresting control of America. The Saxons created this community while hiding behind a fake last name, but HuffPost has reviewed evidence indicating they are Logan and Katja Lawrence of Upper Sandusky, Ohio. Logan, until earlier this week, worked for his family’s insurance company while Katja taught the kids at home.

The Anonymous Comrades Collective, a group of anti-fascist researchers, first uncovered evidence suggesting the Lawrences are behind Dissident Homeschool. HuffPost has verified the collective’s research.

The Lawrences did not respond to repeated requests for comment made via phone calls, text messages and emails. A HuffPost reporter also left a message in the Dissident Homeschool channel asking Mr. and Mrs. Saxon for comment about the Anonymous Comrades Collective’s research. That message was immediately deleted by the channel’s administrators, who then disabled the channel’s comment and chat functions.

A short time later, Katja Lawrence deleted her Facebook page.

Although the Lawrences will now surely face some public scorn and accountability, it’s likely their neo-Nazi curriculum is legal. A concerted, decades-long campaign by right-wing Christian groups to deregulate home schooling has afforded parents wide latitude in how they teach their kids — even if that means indoctrinating them with explicit fascism.

Meanwhile major right-wing figures are increasingly promoting home schooling as a way to save children from alleged “wokeness” — or liberal ideas about race and gender — in public and private schools. As extreme as the Dissident Homeschool channel is, the propaganda it shares targeting the American education system is just a more explicit and crass articulation of talking points made by Fox News hosts or by major figures in the Republican Party.

“Without homeschooling our children,” Mrs. Saxon once wrote, “our children are left defenseless to the schools and the Gay Afro Zionist scum that run them….”

Nazi Groomers

A post from Dissident Homeschool, a channel on Telegram where neo-Nazis learn to indoctrinate their children.

Mr. and Mrs. Saxon appeared to be thrilled to see their Dissident Homeschool channel gain a larger following. When the channel reached 1,000 subscribers, Mrs. Saxon posted a Nazi-era photo from Germany of uniformed schoolchildren throwing up fascist salutes. “It fills my heart with joy to know there is such a strong base of homeschoolers and homeschool-interested national socialists,” she wrote to mark the occasion. “Hail victory.”

Mrs. Saxon does the bulk of the posting in Dissident Homeschool, and developed extensive lesson plans that other neo-Nazi parents could use for their children. These lesson plans — about Christopher Columbus, the history of Thanksgiving and German Appreciation Day, as well as a “math assignment” about “crime statistics” that is meant to teach kids which “demographics to be cautious around” — are deeply racist.

One lesson plan about Martin Luther King Jr. tells parents to teach their kids that the revered civil rights leader was “a degenerate anti-white criminal whose life’s work was to make it impossible for white communities to protect their own way of life and keep their people safe from black crime.”

“Typically speaking,” Mrs. Saxon wrote in a post, “whites build societies whereas blacks destroy them.”

Included in the lesson plan is a copywork assignment for parents to print out, so that their kids can practice cursive while writing out a racist quote by George Lincoln Rockwell, the infamous American neo-Nazi.

Writing in The Progressive, Carol Burris raised an important question: Where are the 1.3 million children who didn’t return to school after schools reopened? Burris is the executive director of the Network for Public Education.

As she points out, the lobbyists for the privatizers claim that they must be in charter schools or voucher schools, but Burris shows this is not accurate. Some may be homeschooled; but the data on the number of children being homeschooled is inadequate to know how many children are being tutored at home.

Burris writes:

Between the fall of 2019 and 2021, 1.3 million children left the American public school system, according toEducation Week. For those who care about the welfare of children, this sharp decline is worrisome. We know that enrollment declineswere the steepest in large cities, where our neediest students reside and where COVID-19 was more devastating.

How many have dropped out, working in the underground economy or languishing at home without schooling? The honest answer is that there is no comprehensive accounting of where (or if) all of those 1.3 million children are now being schooled.

However, what should be a national concern centered on the welfare of children has instead become promotional material for those who wish to eliminate public schools. The libertarian right and its allies, including the Center for Education Reform, have chalked up the decline to a story of unhappy public school parents exercising school choice. But is it?

According to a 2020 report from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS), “hundreds of thousands of families switched to charter schools during the first full school year of the pandemic.” On the surface, that is correct. But the report avoids the elephant in the room—the kinds of charter schools that gained enrollment during this period.

The 2020 charter enrollment spike that NAPCS reported was largely due to increased enrollment in low-quality online charter schools, as I detailed in an analysis for The Washington Post. Enrollment in these schools increased by 175,260 students during the 2020-2021 school year, representing more than 70 percent of the NAPCS’s reported enrollment growth.

The increase in enrollment in online charter schools that occurred during the early years of the pandemic is part of a long-term trend. In 2013, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) started tracking the online school sector. In the pre-pandemic years, between 2013 and 2020, online schools accounted for 25 percent of charter enrollment growth, according to the center’s data.

In 2022, NAPCS published another report that presented a dizzying array of data, some of which contradicted the previous year’s report, to make the case that charters had retained the students they gained in the pandemic shift.

According to that report, in fall 2021, there were only 1,436 fewer students in charters compared to 33,308 fewer students in public schools than there were in fall 2020. The most recent NCES numbers tell a different story: According to that data, charter school enrollment dropped by 5,323 students in 2021, while public school enrollment increased by 83,323 students—small shifts but nevertheless important to note.

So, did charter school enrollment go up during the pandemic? Yes. Was this a seismic shift? No….

Leaders of the anti-public school movement promote bootleg homeschools and “micro-schools” as innovative alternatives to public schools, using declines in test scores as the rationale for abandoning the public system. Ironically, however, homeschoolers are not required to provide any evidence of student learning in most states. This includes Arizona, whose ESA voucher program is taxpayer-funded with no standards. Parents can awarda high school diploma based on any criteria they want. According to Ed Choice, the average Arizona ESA account value on January 17, 2023 exceeded $15,500 per year per student. (On January 18, the site updated that figure to $11,332.)

This is akin to an insurance company giving the parent of an ill child a payout to spend on a cure—with no stipulation that the parent goes to a licensed physician or that anyone reports back on the child’s health.

Certainly, there are responsible homeschoolers who have developed sound programs to educate and socialize their child. But without requirements to provide sound evidence of learning, a sudden spike in homeschooling should be a cause for alarm, not celebration.

While libertarian advocacy groups call for a “de-centralized network of schools,” to resemble what existed for American schooling in the nineteenth century, before Horace Mann, the truth is that before it became a universal system of “government funded and operated schools,” schooling in America was an uncoordinated, free-for-all that left most children undereducated, which is exactly where the contemporary school choice movement is headed.

Instead, what we should be concentrating on is locating those 1.3 million children and ensuring they are both educated and safe.

Molly Olmsted wrote in Slate about the role of Christian conservatives in promoting the home school movement. Their blunt instrument is fear. Public schools, they warn, will expose your children to all sorts of dangers: secular education, non-believers, bad children, teachers grooming your children to be gay or trans, indoctrination into radical ideas, exposure to books about racism. The list goes on and on.

It used to be considered an advantage of public schools that they introduced children to others unlike themselves. It prepares children to live in the world when they have friends who are of a different race, religion, ethnicity, or economic status. But this frightens the home schoolers.

The recent spate of school shootings gives them yet another reason to school their children at home.

She writes:

The morning after the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, the Federalist published an op-ed with the headline “Tragedies Like the Texas Shooting Make a Somber Case for Homeschooling.”

In the essay, the author immediately dismissed calls for gun control as petty and insincere, offering home-schooling as the true solution to keep children safe. “It is clear now from the long list of school shootings in recent years that families can’t trust government schools, in particular, to bring their children or teachers home safely at the end of the day,” the author wrote.

On first blush, the idea is somewhat understandable or, at least, relatable; it’s natural for parents to look for ways to protect their children. But then the author added, “The same institutions that punish students for ‘misgendering’ people and hide curriculum from parents are simply not equipped to safeguard your children from harm.”

And the “parental rights” political agenda emerged.

Many politically powerful conservatives promote home-schooling as a way to undercut or weaken the influence of public schools, and to shield their children from the liberalism they believe public schools foster. The Federalist was just one of anumber of conservative voices calling for home-schooling in the wake of the Uvalde tragedy. (And there were plenty of news stories about parents who were considering it.)

But the groundwork of the movement was laid by conservative Christians who have been working for years to siphon power from public schools, pushing both home-schooling and parental rights legislation at the state and federal level. It’s just that finally, their ideas are becoming mainstream.

As she shows, the home school movement has been building for decades, and its leaders will use any excuse to attack public schools.

There are many problems with home schooling, starting with the fact that most children will learn no more that their parents. Few parents are equipped to teach history, science, math, literature, and foreign languages. Schools have teachers who are expert in these subjects. Home schooling is a recipe for mass dumbing down. It is also a sure fire way to indoctrinate children into the religious beliefs of their families.

Several years ago, when I first wrote about a particularly noxious home school story, I was bombarded by dozens of comments from outraged home school parents. How dare I, they asked in indignation. They sincerely believe that they are right and everyone else is wrong. They are entitled to their opinion. It’s a free country.

So be it. I am not a state legislature or a federal judge. I think they are miseducating their children. That’s my opinion.

Conservatives used to be known as people resistant to radical change. In decades past, conservatives sought to conserve traditional institutions and make them better. That stance appealed to many Americans who were unsettled by radical ideas, opposed to big-box stores that would wipe out small-town America’s Main Street. Conservatives were also known for opposing government intrusion into personal decisions; what you did in your bedroom was your business, not the state’s. What you and your doctor decided was best for you was your decision, not the state’s.

Chris Rufo is the face of the New Conservatism, who wants to frighten the parents of America into tearing down traditional institutions, especially the public school that they and their family attended.

Rufo became well-known for creating a national panic about “critical race theory,” which he can’t define and doesn’t understand. But he seems to think that schools are controlled by racist pedagogues and sexual perverts. In his facile presentation at Hillsdale College, one of the most conservative institutions of higher education in the nation, he makes clear that America has fallen from its position as a great and holy nation to a slimepit of moral corruption.

He has two great Satans in his story: public schools and the Disney Corporation. The Disney Corporation, in his simple mind, is a haven for perverts and pedophiles, bent on corrupting the youth of the nation.

Rufo asserts, based on no discernible evidence, that the decline and fall of America can be traced to the failed revolution of 1968. The radicals lost, as Nixon was elected that year, but burrowed into the pedagogical and cultural institutions, quietly insinuating their sinister ideas about race and sex into the mainstream, as the nation slept. Rufo’s writings about “critical race theory,” which he claims is embedded in schools, diversity training in corporations, and everywhere else he looked, made him a star on Tucker Carlson’s show, an advisor to the Trump White House, and a fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute. Benjamin Wallace-Wells wrote a profile of Rufo in The New Yorker and identified him as the man who invented the conflict over critical race theory, which before Rufo was a topic for discussion in law schools.

Before Rufo’s demonization of CRT, it was known among legal scholars as a debate about whether racism was fading away or whether it was systemic because it was structured into law and public policy. I had the personal pleasure of discussing these ideas in the mid-1980s with Derrick Bell, who is generally recognized as the founder of CRT. Bell was then at the Harvard Law School, after working as a lawyer for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. He reached the conclusion that the Brown Decision of 1954 was inadequate to root out systematic racism.

At the time, I was a centrist in my politics and believed that racism was on its way out. Derrick disagreed. We spoke for hours, he invited me to present a paper at a conference he was organizing, which I did. Contrary to Rufo, I can attest that Derrick Bell was not a Marxist. He was not a radical. He wanted an America where people of different races and backgrounds had decent lives, unmarred by racial barriers. He was thoughtful, gentle, one of the kindest people I’ve ever known. He wanted America to be the land it professed to be. He was a great American.

Was 1968 the turning point, after which the radicals took over our culture and destroyed our founding ideals, as Rufo claims? No, it was not. I was there. He was born in 1984. He’s blowing smoke, making up a fairy-tale that he has spun into a narrative.

In 1968, I turned 30. I had very young children. I was not sympathetic to the hippies or the Weather Underground or the SDS. I hated the Vietnam War, but I was not part of any organized anti-war group. I believed in America and its institutions, and I was firmly opposed to those who wanted to tear them down, as the Left did then and as the Right does now. I worked in the Humphrey campaign in 1968 and organized an event in Manhattan—featuring John Kenneth Galbraith, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., and a long lineup of “liberals for Humphrey”— that was disrupted and ruined by pro-Vietnam Cong activists. That event, on the eve of the 1968 election, convinced me that Nixon would win. (While my event was disrupted, Nixon held a campaign rally a block away, at Madison Square Garden, that was not disrupted.)

1968 was the year that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy were assassinated. It was a horrible, depressing year. America seemed to be falling apart.

Did the Weathermen and other radicals begin a long march through the institutions and eventually capture them? That’s ridiculous. Some became professors, but none became college presidents, to my knowledge. Many were ostracized. Some went to prison for violent crimes. Those who played an active political role in 1968 are in their 80s now, if they are alive.

Rufo’s solution to what he sees as the capture of our institutions by racists and pedophiles is surpringly simple: school choice. He hopes everyone will get public money to send their children to private and religious schools, to charter schools, or to home school them. If only we can destroy public schools, he suggests, we can restore America to the values of 1776.

Good old 1776, when most black people were slaves, women had no rights, and the aristocracy made all the decisions. They even enjoyed conjugal rights to use their young female slaves. Those were the good old days, in the very simple mind of Christopher Rufo.

Turning the clock back almost 250 years! Now that’s a radical idea.

I’m posting again—this time with the link!

This interview with education journalist Jennifer Berkshire is worth reading. Good questions, sharp answers.

Shockingly, Berkshire predicts that several states will “phase out” public schools, presumably to be replaced by a smorgasbord of choices: charters, vouchers, online schooling, homeschooling, and more.

What do you think?