Here is my full column that ran earlier in the week in the Washington County Daily News:
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Superintendent Jill Underly has finally found something to get vocal about. It’s not about the fact that only about 9.1% of Milwaukee government schools kids are proficient or better at math. It’s not about the fact that only 5.1% of Kenosha government schools kids are proficient or better at language arts. No, those immoral and abysmal failures escape Underly’s notice. But the fact that some kids in the Waukesha government school district are not singing “Rainbowland” by Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton has drawn her full wrath. Underly’s priorities are clear and wrong.
The root of the issue is that the Waukesha School District is policy 2240. I invite readers to go to the Waukesha School District’s website and read the actual policy. The policy is simply that controversial issues should only be addressed in an age-appropriate, educational manner. Teachers should only express opinions on controversial issues in the context of instruction and make it clear that it is their opinion. The goal of the policy is to keep classrooms focused on education and not indoctrination. Note that the policy is not specific to liberal or conservative issues, but any issue that elicits controversy. Last month, a first-grade teacher wanted her students to sing “Rainbowland” for a concert. Instead, the kids will sing “Rainbow Connection.” The district administration insisted on the change under policy 2240 because “Rainbowland” is considered to be controversial. The song was released in 2017 by Miley Cyrus, and despite being a pretty terrible song, it has become something of a symbol for the LGBTQ+ political movement. To avoid the introduction of controversial adult issues at what is supposed to be an innocuous grade school concert, the administration made the change against the teacher’s wishes.
Into this intensely local issue, state Superintendent Underly inserted herself and the full weight of the DPI. Without the courtesy of engaging in an actual discussion by calling the Waukesha superintendent, Underly sent a strongly worded letter to the district in her full capacity as state superintendent. She accused the district of “causing undue harm to students and staff” and urged the district to reverse their policy. Underly has made it clear that she wants controversial issues to be infused into every part of the school day at the arbitrary discretion of individual teachers.
Understand that if those same teachers were infusing biblical teachings or gun rights into every day, then Underly’s stance would be different. But since those teachers want to indoctrinate kids with critical race theory, gender ideology, and Marxism, Underly wants to enforce unfettered access to kids under the banner of inclusivity. Leftist activists like Underly never seem to consider how ferociously exclusive they are to people with whom they disagree.
This is the trick by which leftists have been using our schools increasingly as indoctrination centers. Through activists posing as teachers and staff, they push the latest leftist ideology into our schools through every crevasse. With flags on the walls and off-topic rants, they program kids to accept their world view as the only normal. Then, when challenged by parents who disagree, they gaslight and accuse parents of being controversial and oppressive. It is a proven tactic by leftist cry-bullies.
In Waukesha, the citizenry, through their elected school board, has decided that they want their teachers to spend their time teaching. Their policy does not prohibit the discussion of controversial subjects but relegates them to the appropriate educational context. The district’s recently approved Parental Rights and Transparency policy reaffirms this commitment to education and inclusivity and leaves the teaching of values and religion to parents.
The good folks of Waukesha are making it clear that they want their government schools to spend their valuable time teaching core subjects and skills instead of wading into the latest cultural controversy. Government schools are only required to teach 1,137 hours per school year for grades seven through 12 — less for other grades. That’s less than 13% of a child’s time. Kids can spend the other 87% of their time engaging in cultural warfare, but for that 13%, Waukesha wants their kids to learn something.
Under Superintendent Underly’s watch, like that of her predecessor, the performance of government schools to educate kids has been in decline. Our kids are falling increasingly behind and are less equipped to be successful adults than their parents were. Despite this, Underly is choosing to spend her finite time and considerable resources bullying school districts to allow leftist teachers to use their classrooms to indoctrinate the next generation.
Time is our most finite resource and the way people choose to use their time tells you everything you need to know. The Waukesha School District is using their finite classroom time to teach. Superintendent Underly is using her time for leftist activism.