Sadiqa N. Reynolds
“You see other nations surpassing us in education, investment and innovation. Not only have skills needs changed dramatically, but we now have a globally competitive economy, a flat world. It’s no longer Iowa vs. Indiana vs. Montana for jobs, we’re competing with India and China and Singapore and everywhere else. This is the world our children – my children – are going to grow up in, and we are never going to go back in the opposite direction. It will only accelerate. At no level – early childhood, K-12, higher education – are we even in the international top 10. And that should scare us. It’s scary and doesn’t bode well for the future. – Arne Duncan
Smart US lawmakers who care about America’s position in the world would use known data to support increased investment in our education systems. Legislators concerned with the intellectual capacity of the generation that will follow them would encourage the teaching and promotion of all critical thinking. After all, there are wars at either end of our world, and we need thoughtful tomorrow’s leaders to solve today’s problems.
Perhaps it is the lack of critical thinking that caused so much blood to be shed. Perhaps it is the inability to consider how the systems and institutions perpetuate the pain that prohibits Republican leaders from doing anything other than stoking the fears that lead to inciting riots and attempts to overthrow a government created for it. the people, by the people. Really, even the most basic education should have empowered the January 6 insurgents to do what we ask children to do, “use your words” instead of beating law enforcement officers with their bare hands to death. .
Republican lawmakers say education critical race theory will favor division. They are wrong. In fact, it is ignorance that promotes division. It is dishonesty that leads to resentment. Teaching that racism exists doesn’t hurt; the fact that racism exists is evil.
No one is suggesting that educators teach that one race is superior to another. In fact, that’s exactly what black and brown communities have been saying for years. Stop teaching our children that black people presented themselves to the planet as slaves, saved from themselves by white saviors. Stop pretending that Native Americans had nothing to offer the world until the pilgrims arrived. Teach the accomplishments of all people, white, black and everyone else. Teach how America was born and continues to exist and how intentional our founders were in their refusal to recognize the humanity of some. Teach how successful we have been in perfecting the union and the current impact of systems and structures based on race and gender.
Teach our students to consider the circumstances of their existence and the impact of their decisions. Teach them to think about the systems they live, work and grow in and how this affects them based on who they are and how or not they are valued. This fear of lawmakers that white students are too tender to know the truth and understand and examine the impact and intersection of systems is insulting to these students and involves the lowest level of fragility.
Instead of focusing on the needs of our underfunded education systems, Republican lawmakers across the country are waging a war on education, on ideas.A war against critical thinking. They oppose the idea that students are armed with facts and empowered to deduce critically for themselves. And because many Kentucky lawmakers are only concerned with raising children as average as themselves, Rep. Joe Fischer, a Republican from Fort Thomas, is the first to wage war in Kentucky. This is insane, and if he and his colleagues win this battle, Kentucky and America will lose.
Indeed, Kentucky is already losing. Our elected officials do not even seek excellence in education. According to a study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Kentucky’s Support Education Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK) funding for 2019 was 13% less per student than in 2008, making Kentucky the fourth worst in the country for funding cuts. This was even after protests from teachers across our Commonwealth highlighted some of the inequalities in our funding systems. So, it is laughable that lawmakers who do not fund critical math and reading are opposed to critical thinking. Honestly, they shouldn’t care because our schools don’t have the money to teach it.
Mitch McConnell:The government shouldn’t dictate how to teach race issues
This whole debate is a distraction and a diversion from the real problem. No, no racism. It exists. They know. They don’t have a problem with that. For Republican lawmakers, the problem is a deep desire to control our thinking and our ability to see beyond themselves and their limited social constructs. They must continue to deceive the poor into believing that they represent their interests. Don’t have an abortion, but don’t expect us to educate your children. And I’m not talking about black kids, because even white kids fail in Kentucky. Most of these Republican leaders care as much about trailer parks as they do about urban communities. They don’t. It’s not that Representative Fischer and his colleagues don’t want us to teach critical race theory, it’s that they don’t want us to think critically.
Kentucky Republican lawmakers need to stop diversionary tactics and gambling and focus on funding things like high-quality universal preschool. First, because it leads to better outcomes for our children, and second, because parents who have quality child care are free to contribute more to the labor market.
According to a 2019 report by the Kentucky Council on Post-Secondary Higher Education, Kentucky is one of 11 states where public funds for higher education have not rebounded to pre-recession levels; in other words, after adjusting for inflation, funding per student is lower today than in 2012. In fact, over the past decade, Kentucky’s public institutions have lost over a third state financial support per student. So if Representative Fischer and other lawmakers care about the education of Kentuckians, there is no evidence in their budget to support it, and they are wasting our time and our taxes.
Classrooms are where aspiring nurses, firefighters, and even lawmakers begin their journey, but Kentucky students climb with Republican stones in their backpacks, dragging them down and preventing them from reaching their homes. Goals.
With a new legislative session around the corner, it’s time for Kentucky lawmakers to get their priorities straight. Fully fund our education needs. Give students, teachers, and administrators the support they need. Poor white children should have access to the same supports that the children of lawmakers can access, just like blacks and browns. Focus on the metrics that really drive success in a world where businesses are global and universities are universal.
Finally, and it’s really not that important, thank you in advance to all the lawmakers who support the plan to increase SEEK’s funding by 1% in fiscal year 2022. This equates to roughly $ 40 per student. and will not even cover the inflation rate. You are currently critically unnecessary, and that’s not a theory. Do better. We will judge you by your vote
Sadiqa N. Reynolds, Esq., Is the President and CEO of Louisville Urban League.