Many conservatives have argued that until we fully privatize the K-12 education system in the United States, the teachers unions and state bureaucrats will continue to control what children are taught. While teachers unions do have a lot of political power, the fact is that they don’t have a lot of control over what is being taught on a daily basis in the classroom by the teacher. State bureaucrats, school boards, and other elected and unelected officials have more of an impact over what is being taught, but as we have discussed previously in our article, Common Misconceptions About “Curriculum” and The Power of the Teacher, the teacher is the one in control of how and what students will learn in their classroom. (Our article, Advice For Conservative Teachers, explains how this is done as well.) Still, the question that remains is who would control the private education system that so many claim is the only answer to our nation’s educational woes?
There are two easy ways to figure out this answer: The first is to look at who currently controls the private college institutions across the United States. Out of the nearly 4,000 colleges and universities across the United States (that grant degrees), 2,357 of them are private colleges. This means that if privatization is a pathway to stopping extreme leftists from controlling the educational system, conservatives should already be commanding the educational space in a majority of their own private colleges. This logic would dictate that the remaining 1,625 public colleges and universities that are controlled by the states would be the ones overrun with leftist ideologies, and the private ones would be bastions of free thinking. While this is a hopeful scenario, reality is far different. Some private university and colleges that are known for their extreme leftist bias include Harvard University (the birthplace of CRT), Stanford University, Yale University, Columbia University, Princeton University, NYU, University of Pennsylvania, The University of Chicago, Brown University, Duke University, University of Southern California, Dartmouth College, Georgetown University, Boston University, and The George Washington University. Even local private religious colleges can still lean left, mostly because of the large leftist faculty filling their classrooms. This same scenario applies to school choice, a movement that has already been infiltrated by the radical left. Private K-12 institutions that currently exist are not immune from radical lefitist ideology. In fact, some of the largest charter school systems and private K-12 schools employ the most radical lefitst educators.
The second way to find out who would end up controlling the private education system is by looking into who has been investing in education the most, who has the most to invest, and who has the most to gain by privatizing education in the United States. When looking into who has invested the most in charter schools, who has invested the most in educational companies and organizations, and who has the most to gain from privatizing education there is one obvious answer: “Big Tech”. The “Big Tech” companies and CEOs who are extremely “woke” and leftist are actually some of the leaders of the charter school movement. They also are some of the biggest investors in companies that train teachers and develop educational resources.
Take for example Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, who in 2020 bought a 2,100 acre ranch which he is turning into a “luxury retreat for teachers” where they will be trained. Also, according to the NYT’s, Hastings was “championing a popular math-teaching program.” He even donated 11 million dollars to a charter school system so that they could buy a particular learning program. Another example would be Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and Founder of Facebook, who gave Newark 100 million dollars to improve their schools. Zuckerberg and his wife have donated and invested hundreds of millions of dollars into the educational field, and Facebook is always looking for another industry to enter.
Finally, what about Google and Amazon? They too are heavily invested in education. Google Classroom is nearly universally used in schools across America, as are Chromebooks and Android tablets which come with preloaded apps. Amazon similarly recently got into the education game when they announced that they would now be selling lesson plans and other educational materials on their Amazon Ignite. If you think that “Big Tech” taking control of the education system is not a likely scenario, you probably did not think that Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos would be the leaders of space travel either. In January 2021, Amazon announced the launch of Amazon Academy. The director of education at Amazon India stated, “Amazon Academy aims to bring high quality, affordable education to all.” While this program is currently only available in India, it shows Amazon’s immense interest to get involved in education, not just in the U.S., but across the globe.
Oddly enough, many of the conservative think tanks that have been claiming the answer to our education issues is the privatization of the educational system are largely funded by “Big Tech” themselves.
While we at The Locke Society support private schooling, school choice and other conservative measures in the educational reform movement, we know that without conservatives and moderates becoming teachers, all other solutions will fail. Private colleges and K-12 schools across the country are not immune to extreme leftist ideology. In fact, some of these private institutions are among the most radical educational organizations. Some are even breeding grounds of far leftist ideologies such as Critical Race Theory. In order for privatization of the educational system in the United States to not be controlled by far leftist ideologies, non-leftists must be present in every classroom across the country. There must also be an immense amount of investment for schools to be built, which would also take years. Currently, many private and charter schools have waitlists for students who want to attend their schools. With these institutions at capacity, new schools must be built, and who is to say that the teachers they hire are not well-groomed radical leftists.
The same extreme leftist teachers are still flooding the market, and will be just as radical in a public school as they would be in a private school. Of course, they could put on a show when they are observed if the institution claims to be conservative, but once the door closes and they use 21st century teaching techniques, the classroom can be turned into whatever the teacher wants because most of what is being said comes from the students, not the teacher. Some are declaring that they will teach like it’s the good old days, the way students were taught in the year 1735, but do you really want your child to enter a job market with 18th century skills as opposed to 21st century skills?
Some have even argued that eliminating teacher certification is the way to go, but if you had to choose to send your child to be in the care of a teacher who has gone through extensive training at the highest standard for certification or one who has not, which one would you choose? Lowering our standards would cause us to lose even more than we already have lost regarding the education of our children. We must maintain the highest integrity possible to compete with the teachers who are making the most impact on our students and our country. Private schools must maintain the highest standards for teachers and curriculum if they want to be taken seriously.
Privatization, without the proper preparations by conservatives, could end up making classrooms across the nation even further left. Many will claim that in a privatized K-12 education system, with the money following the child, that parents will be able to choose the non-leftist school. These are the same parents who currently choose to work for, and buy from, extreme leftist “woke” corporations. These “woke” corporations will ensure their schools (and do not think for a second they won’t have their own schools) will have the best teachers with the best technology and the best of everything their endless coffers can buy. When most parents see what the big corporations’ schools have, they will immediately register their child to be indoctrinated at a “woke big tech academy.”