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Apologies to readers for the delayed post. After a long but productive week and a drive to Athens—not to mention a late-night dose of NyQuil—I’m getting a late start on this post.
Education is a field that tends towards authoritarianism and centralization, especially when faced with a major problem outside of its usual scope. The field’s emphasis on safety—understandable given that teachers and administrators work with children—can become, in certain circumstances, pathological.
Schools, especially public schools, sit at the uncomfortable nexus of politics, liability, and conformity. Various political schemes to improve education often backfire, instead creating onerous additional tasks that rank-and-file faculty shoulder. Centralization of control at the State and federal levels, rather than aid classroom teaching, often merely force conformity on the profession, while creating unrealistic “benchmarks” that don’t align with local conditions or needs.
The ever-present fear of lawsuits reduces administrators to whimpering toadies, themselves often filled with silly pedagogical theories from bogus education programs. Educational dogma is fully onboard with social justice foolishness, and education programs are excellent at producing dedicated Cultural Marxists and “activists,” all eager to indoctrinate students into the prevailing cult of groupthink.
Within this milieu is the tendency for professional educators to possess a bit of an authoritarian streak. There are plenty of good teachers with an authoritative approach to both their subject matter and classroom management (the buzzword for “discipline” or control of the classroom), but some teachers and administrators relish control over their tiny little domains. Small people ruling small fiefdoms tend to possess rather inflated senses of their own rightness and righteousness.
The Age of The Virus, then, provided the perfect conditions for justifying all manner of policies and procedures that do little to help children learn, but do a great deal to empower administrators, district offices, and the like with the pretexts for depriving students, employees, and parents of any modicum of personal and academic freedom. The very same forces that would hawk abortions with the rallying cry of “my body, my choice” also gleefully mandate experimental mRNA vaccination regimens and literal muzzles—even for vaccinated employees!
Locally, the Darlington County School District has tied vaccination to COVID leave, an invention of the federal government that allows teachers quarantined or sick due to The Virus to receive paid COVID leave in lieu of their regular sick leave. Per the article at the News & Press (emphasis added), “‘Some people may think this is controversial,’ Education Superintendent Tim Newman said. ‘Sometimes, you just have to take a stand for what you think is right.'”