It’s not about ‘parental rights,’ it’s about greed

By Mike McGann, Editor, the Times @mikemcgannpa

You’ve probably heard a lot about “woke” “CRT” and “DEI” relating to public schools. And like most people, you may not be entirely sure what these terms mean and how they might impact your kids.

And maybe this might be a good time to offer a primer on what these terms mean, as it seems increasingly likely they will be thrown around a lot during this year’s local school board races in Chester County.

“Woke” is probably the simplest one to define, despite some on the right being reduced to stammering when asked to define it. “Woke” comes the black community referring to those who are aware of systematic racism and its overall impact on society. If you deny that there still remains systematic racial discrimination — despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary from pay disparities to real estate to policing — you probably want to stop reading this now, as “woke” basically calls you out for either turning a blind eye to racial discrimination, or worse.

CRT, or critical race theory, is not taught at the K-12 level, despite false claims to the contrary. It does address the impact of structural racism in the legal world and elsewhere and is usually something taught at the college graduate level, although it is addressed in some undergrad classes. Again, this seems like the kind of thing people can only get angry about if they deny the existence of structural racism in our society.

DEI stands for Diversity, Equality and Inclusion.

America — maybe unlike any country in the world — is diverse by its nature and has been for more than a century, maybe since the before the birth of the country, as settlers from various European nations came to these shores. In the 1840s, there was a mass migration of Irish, followed a few decades later by Italians and eastern Europeans. Additionally, after pogroms, many Jewish people came. Asians came here as well in the 1800s. And obviously, let us not forget the many Africans who came — many against their will. By 1900, the U.S. was a pretty diverse place — as it remains still. Sadly, some of the people complaining about this can trace their roots to immigrants who helped build that diversity.

Equality is pretty self explanatory. It is nothing less than the founding principle of this country — albeit one we have struggled to achieve since these words were written in 1776 in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Inclusion is exactly what it sounds like: giving everyone the opportunity to be part of our culture. I guess if you have a problem with that concept, you wish to exclude people by race, gender, religion or sexual identity, then maybe that’s an issue for you. Maybe it’s just me, but people wanting to exclude people from society seems pretty un-American to me.

The way I see it, if you are against DEI, you’re basically against the founding and bedrock principles of the United States. DEI is literally what America can be at its best, as Ronald Reagan put it, “a shining city on a hill.”

So, after this primer, you be might asking why people are using these terms to go after public schools.

It’s about money, not some great moral crusade.

Groups like Moms4Liberty (one of the more ironic group names, by the way) are funded by billionaires like Jeffrey Yass and are screaming about books, rainbow flags and so called “parental rights.” It isn’t really about those issues, it is about eroding our public school system in order to boost for-profit private schools. In essence, they’re trying to make you so angry you don’t notice they’re stealing from you.

It’s about greed, pure and simple.

I’m not sure how you feel, but having oligarchs cook up a scheme to deprive your kid of decent public schools (unless you pony up for private or charter schools) has a terrible ripple effect on society, just to stuff more cash into the pocket of some fat cat.

Consider this: worse schools = lower property values. Lower property values mean either service cuts at the municipal and county level or higher taxes (probably both). This starts a death spiral — low property values, combined with high taxes and poor services and schools lead to people leaving, further lowering tax revenue and the whole cycle repeats endlessly until schools, municipalities and counties face bankruptcy. This isn’t a theory — we’ve seen this cycle happen in Pennsylvania’s small cities for nearly two decades. Now, they want to bring it to the suburbs.

Meanwhile, the fat cats stuff their cash — basically stolen from you and your kids — into some tax shelter in the Cayman Islands, taking even more money out the economy.

This isn’t about “school choice” or “parental rights.” It’s grabbing your money and taking away your right to supervise local education — you elect a local board of education – and running “for profit, underperforming charter schools” that you have no say about, even when using tax money. It is literally “taxation without representation.”

Yes, book bans are reprehensible. Cruelity against LGBTQ kids and staff is horrific. But it is important to understand what is really happening and why. You’re getting conned.

You have a right to know.

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