Cox is a businessman, 2018 Republican nominee for governor of California and chairman of the Rescue California Education Foundation. He lives in Rancho Santa Fe.
America needs better leadership. Positive, dependable solutions that can be trusted.
Possible? Or just an exercise in futility? Election cycles are here again, featuring partisan polls, platitudes, promises and pandering that increasingly fall on deaf ears. The marketing overload will get heavier, too.
The results are the same. Political parties, politicians, bureaucrats and special interests win. The people lose, except when getting bought with occasional “gifts”: rebates and relief money said to be from government, but paid by taxes from the people, just in time to buy votes. Redistribution in its purest form.
Why does this keep happening? Because the deck is stacked. With lightning speed, assisted by rampant government power grabs during the seasons of COVID-19 and the growth of blatantly biased activist media, many Americans have become numb. Not just apathetic, but resigned to the idea that nothing they do changes much of anything.
America’s education establishment is part of the problem. It’s more clear that many in our next generation have been marinating in radical policy and focusing on trivial social experiments rather than learning to understand our nation’s history, and a government by and for the people.
Education is the key to most ills of society and, frankly, our success as a nation. It’s not only the gateway to opportunity, but a prime element of a better life and the advancement of our nation’s standard of living.
Education is also necessary in order to keep up with worldwide competition, as other nations such as China, South Korea and countries in Europe mobilize to pass us as the leading economy and power in the world. That’s going to seriously affect our future.
There are some bright spots, though. In several states, increasing numbers of parents are asserting their rights and bringing about positive results. In Virginia, such actions brought on a new governor and big legislative changes, with major focus on parental involvement in education. All in a place where political pundits assumed it just “couldn’t be done,” because the state had gone so far left that the right could never win again.
In California, it’s going to take more work. Teachers unions have spent more than $300 million (and counting) over recent years. Not for education and the children, but for political advertising, lobbying and increased union power.
Meanwhile, politicians from both parties like to sensationalize issues, which has no place in our education system. This breeds history-erasing “cancel culture” moves. Today’s rhetoric about “book bans” are a prime example, with some leaders suggesting that keeping a book about sex out of the hands of an 8-year-old is somehow a “ban” while they endorse a drag queen show for an elementary school. And it’s considered controversial to fire ill-performing instructors. In no other service or industry does management put up with bad performers. But in our politically controlled education bureaucracy, evaluation based upon merit doesn’t happen.
During the pandemic, students suffered through endless masking, remote classes and other experiments, impacting overall learning and adding psychological problems. The bonus to power brokers was seeing how people became more fearful, afraid to make a move without the government’s OK.
The citizens are simply chess pieces on the board, there to be used in each “crisis” or election cycle.
This is not how America is supposed to work. Elected officials and special interest are not a royal ruling class. Leaders are the people, not the “pros.”
Meanwhile, new alarm bells ring every day: The debt ceiling (signaling a dangerous national debt load), inflation, migrant surges at our borders, fentanyl, homelessness, crime and national security. We’re at a crisis level, and instead of true debates and long-form discussions of the things that matter most, it’s all about perception, image building and often flat-out lies and character assassination, watered down to 30 seconds or shorter ads.
The current system is not working. It’s beyond time to get money and partisan politics out of our education process. Let’s agree that parents are more important to a child’s education than teacher unions or the politicians they control. It’s time to change this before citizens are left in the dustbin of history for all time.
Let’s build innovative community solutions that dramatically change the balance of power and give it back to the people — before it’s too late.