Public School Advocate Attacks Charter, Private Schools, Compares Them To Terrorist Training Centers

Writing in the Charleston Gazette, a retired teacher and former mentor of West Virginia’s only PBS News Hour Student Reporting Lab slammed charter and private schools, comparing them to Islamic schools from whence the terrorists who attacked America on 9/11 came.

In a piece titled, “Charter schools, vouchers will erode what unites us,” Susan Johnson lauds public schools, writing, “The American public school is where we learn to be Americans.”

In May 2020, Education Next reported that some public schools across the nation were adopting the 1619 project into their curriculum, noting, “Schools or school districts in Chicago; Newark, N.J.; Buffalo, N.Y., and Washington, D.C. all announced 1619 Project-related events. The Pulitzer Center’s annual report says more than 3,500 classrooms used the materials.”

The 1619 project has been harshly criticized by prominent historians for its inaccurate depiction of American history.

Citing the diversity among homecoming kings and queens across America, Johnson posited, “This speaks to the fact that our culture is not tribal. It is not based on religious doctrine. American high school ceremonies have their roots in Greek culture, not Judeo-Christian culture. … Our American education system is based on reason.”

“It is in public school where our children learn the basics of civic government, science and history,” Johnson claimed. “It is where they unlearn the prejudices and discriminations of their respective ‘tribes.’”

After saying her father “threw a fit when I was assigned two Black roommates from inner cities at a student government seminar I attended in Washington, D.C.,” then citing teachers who taught about racial discrimination, Johnson lectured, “In public schools, the public decides the curriculum. The public votes to elect school boards who decide the facts our children will be taught.”

Then she turned to attacking charter and public schools:

In charter schools, a private board decides the curriculum. Same for private schools. One board might teach that the earth is flat. Another might teach that the pope is infallible; another might teach he is the anti-Christ. Many children are homeschooled using private instructional programs — some that are online — that are marketed for particular religious and political persuasions.

Johnson issued her dire warning:

We have seen where this leads. In some Middle Eastern cultures, private schools called madrassas have been known to engage in religious and political indoctrination beginning at a very young age, even including combat training with military weapons. These are the people who brought down the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Based on the rhetoric we are hearing from certain domestic terrorists, are we very far away from schools like that in America? Proud Boy Academy? Boogaloo Boot Camp?

She also condemned her state for “lurching” toward more charter schools:

With West Virginia continuing its lurch toward more charter schools and broader vouchers, prepare for a further weakening of public schools and common curricula. Get ready for cuts in teacher positions, salaries and benefits. 

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