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The Unseen Enemy of Children

The Coeur d’Alene school district is not alone in failing to lead with solutions.


The Unseen Enemy of Children

The Teachers Union and the Fight for Education – Part I

By Bob Shillingstad

Alex Newman has written several books about the effects of the National Education Association and by affiliation the Idaho Education Association. His description states, “Through the deliberate dumbing down and conditioning of children in government schools, the forces of evil have radicalized youth to hate God, family and their country.” The IEA is part of the very effective education lobbying force that not only directs the legislature but also elects local school board members with the support of the main stream media. We need to be aware of what is happening nationally but the real battle is for control of our school boards and local governments. Yes, home schooling, vouchers and charter schools are available in Idaho but we still have to pay for the support of our government schools.

Do you notice that local school boards are not at all curious why they have lost students? Parents have voted with their feet and pulled their children out of the schools. The Coeur d’Alene district lost 10% of the enrollment in the fall of 2020 and more than 15% since then and they expect to lose more students this fall. Why would that be? Is it that the test scores that are abysmal? Is it a lousy curriculum that rejects American success and celebrates Critical Race Theory and DEI instead of individual achievement? Wouldn’t being a little bit curious be appropriate?

In a recent article in the Coeur d’Alene Press the following article said that, “Trustees previously expressed interest in exploring a four-day school week for cost savings. At Mondays meeting, Superintendent Shon Hocker offered another option: a four-day hybrid school year, which would provide a savings of roughly $450,000. Thats a big enough ticket item that I think it warrants a school conversation,Hocker said.This would gain an entire Monday of professional development for staff at least once a month, Hocker said, which is important as the district continues to focus on its strategic plan and professional learning communities.: Enrollment is down 462 students this year and is expected to decrease at least 300 more students next year.”

. It’s time for a reality check. Take a look at two telling statistics in Idaho. First, reading and math proficiency for Idaho 8th graders on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) were just 32% and 28%, in 2003. Nineteen years later, those same tests yielded just 32% and 32% proficiency — near zero progress. The raw numbers are startling. Any choice” beyond the public schools requires parents to pay twice: once for taxes and a second time for private tuition. That’s not freedom, that’s not true choice, it’s a scam set up to protect the public education complex. Sadly, children, and their futures, are the victims. third graders who cannot read at grade level, leaving only 7,521 who can.

The Coeur d’Alene school district is not alone in failing to lead with solutions. They had their hands full when trying to establish a dress code for students. The students weighed in saying they would dress any way they wanted and the teachers chimed in by saying they couldn’t and wouldn’t enforce a dress code. When you look at a district that has its hands full with a dress code and their best option for plummeting test scores and dropping enrollment is to go to a four day week of education. How is that for a solution?

This is happening statewide. More money for less work is spreading across the state. The Jerome School District closed recently on a Monday due to a staff shortage, after about 90 teachers took personal leave to protest a number of issues, including the school board’s wanting a four day week. Pat Charlton, Jerome’s superintendent recent decision to continue with a five-day school week rather than switch to a four-day week. said he had sensed teachers’ stress, and thought a move to a four-day week might be one possible way to improve morale. School Boards need to be more concerned about test scores than “teacher’s morale” and the dress code.

School boards need to require votes in their district to make sure the IEA truly represents the teachers in the district. If a majority of the teachers want to join a different organization they need that choice. Negotiations for a new labor agreement is just around the corner and Part Two of this analysis will include sections of local labor agreements. Prepare to be appalled.