School closures created a critical national need: catching up students who lost months of learning.
The data show that not only did remote “instruction” cause students to fall behind, it hit poor students the hardest. Those students continue to fall further behind their wealthier peers every day. Without intervention, we’re creating an entire generation that will be poorer, less educated, and suffer a wider income gap than adults today. President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act included $122.7 billion in “Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief” funding that can be used to remedy learning loss. The federal government usually spends $35-42 billion annually on K-12 education. So this money could, if properly managed, be a game-changer.
Unfortunately, states are wasting it.
The law required schools to set aside money to “address the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus” on high-risk groups. But instead of providing rigorous catch-up education, schools are using billions of dollars to provide woke teacher training. California, for example, is spending $1.5 billion on training resources for school staff regarding “high-need topics,” such as “implicit bias training.” New York is using the funds to force local schools to implement diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, including implicit bias training for teachers. Not to be outdone, Illinois is using the funds to expand anti-racism training. And, to be clear, “Anti-Racism” doesn’t mean “against racism.” It’s code for critical race theory.
California, New York, and Illinois are not alone. At least 10 other states are doing much the same. What do these states think is going to happen? That algebra and English composition will come naturally once students have labeled themselves victims and their classmates villains?
Stripping children of billions of dollars so that teachers can draw racial lines will be devastating. Critical race theory has no place in our elementary schools — all students deserve high expectations and the support to reach them. The surefire way to widen the gap greatly between poor, minority students and their wealthy peers is to teach them to see themselves as victims instead of focusing on reading and math. What these states are doing, empowered by the Biden administration and Congress, is worse than a waste of money — it’s tanking the future of children.