Friday, November 18, 2016

Education is so far left, it can’t really see the right

The past week has been extraordinary in the most literal sense. As I’ve sat on panels, talked to reporters, and huddled with folks trying to make sense of things, I’ve been struck by how differently things appear to me than to the vast majority of folks in and around education. What’s going on?

A couple things, I suspect. But the biggest one is that, when I’m trying to explain the world of education to people who don’t work in or around education, I frequently wind up telling them, “You need to understand that the center in education is two standard deviations to the left of the American public.”

I’ll say this when talking to conservatives who are confused as to why they’ve been to education meetings or seen education stories where Democrats who support tax increases, race-based affirmative action, and gun control are termed “right-wingers.” The answer: because the Democrat in question supports charter schools or differentiated pay. You should see some of the quizzical looks I get when I say that.
I then have to explain that education skews so far to the left that expressing mainstream conservative concerns about federal overreach or the problems with race-based policy can be enough to get one classified as a clueless reactionary. I’ll explain that opposition to race-based affirmative action can be enough to get one branded a racist, that rejecting federal policies which strip due process rights from students accused of sexual harassment is sufficient to be labeled a misogynist, and that even using the phrase “illegal immigrant” is grounds for being reported to a bias response team as a xenophobe.

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