How 'MAGA culture warriors' have escalated 'threats against teachers and school administrators': study
On Wednesday, November 30, the University of South California, Los Angeles (UCLA) released a report that addresses the effects that MAGA Republicans are having on public education in the United States. The study, titled “Educating for a Diverse Democracy: The Chilling Role of Political Conflict in Blue, Purple, and Red Communities,” was led by UCLA professor John Rogers and University of California, Riverside professor Joseph Kahne.
Washington Post opinion columnist and Never Trumper Jennifer Rubin analyzes the study in her November 30 column, arguing that it paints a damning picture of MAGA Republicans who have been going after schoolteachers and school administrators with a vengeance.
“MAGA culture warriors have heightened their threats against teachers and school administrators,” Rubin explains. “Our public education system is now paying the price. That’s the takeaway from an alarming study from a group of researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of California at Riverside. They found that the ‘virulent stream of hyperpartisan political conflict’ has had ‘a chilling effect on high school education.’”
Rubin continues, “Teachers are seeking to avoid controversy by ‘pulling back on teaching lessons in civics, politics, and the history and experiences of America’s minority communities’; incidents of verbal harassment of LGBTQ students are on the rise; and many teachers and administrator are planning to leave their jobs.”
Gay rights and race are two of the main things that MAGA Republicans have been attacking teachers for. Any book that deals with the United States’ painful racial history is likely to be attacked as “critical race theory,” which many MAGA Republicans falsely claim is anti-white.
Rubin notes, “The authors of the report surveyed 682 public high school principals, who confirmed that organized campaigns have attempted to intimidate public schools and force changes to align with right-wing ideology.”
According to the UCLA report, “Our survey data make clear that political conflict over a set of hot button issues occurred at more than two-thirds, 69%, of public schools across the nation during the 2021-2022 school year…. Half of all principals report that parents or other community members sought to limit or challenge teaching and learning about issues of race and racism. Nearly half report challenges to school policies and practices related to LGBTQ student rights.”
Rubin notes that the report accuses far-right culture warriors of going out of their way to “spread falsehoods, deny civil liberties, and employ hostile and violent rhetoric or intimidating action.”
“The bottom line, according to the study’s authors: Right-wing advocacy organizations and media are impairing the ability of schools to uphold values of ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Rubin warns. “Teachers, principals and school officials can try to manage the swirl of political conflict and demand civility within schools. Many are encouraging students to attend school board meetings and lead their own forums to discuss these issues. But until communities as a whole defend the mission of public education and the ideals of respectful and inclusive debate, teachers and administrators will continue to abandon their profession.”
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