Amid a growing chorus of parents expressing concerns about academic declines and exposing children to objectionable gender and race indoctrination comes an insider’s view that explains a lot.

A former Blue Valley substitute teacher shared her frustration with The Sentinel today in response to my Letter to the Editor in the Wall Street Journal.

“My grown children were brought up in Blue Valley schools when they were excellent and so child-centered. We loved the value placed on the child and the community feeling. I have substituted in Blue Valley for 20 years until I could no longer support what I was asked to do.

“Discipline and accountability went out the window. We spent more time on fluff and less on academics. Students worked when and if they wanted to. The support from the administration disappeared. More kids were on behavior plans than ever before and we rewarded them if they did what was expected.

“I was asked to come to an area Catholic school to work. Their expectations were much higher. I guess to me it felt normal. Kids were respectful and more accountable. It renewed my faith in children and education in general. I think you are on target with your article. Think of how things could be if the next generation really became prepared for life.

“Thank you so much for saying what you did. There was a day in the past when Blue Valley was always striving for excellence. Sadly, that is gone from education now.”

It’s hard for many people to believe that academic achievement has deteriorated to the point where Kansas has more high school students below grade level than are proficient.  Four Johnson County districts – Olathe, Shawnee Mission, Gardner-Edgerton, and Spring Hill – have more high school students below grade in math than are proficient.

Now here’s the good news.  Some states have abandoned the status quo and are implementing choice, transparency, and accountability measures that are producing remarkable results.  This short documentary, entitled Giving Kids a Fighting Chance, tells how Florida went from one of the worst in the nation to one of the best.

Kansas students can have the same opportunities if parents and community leaders convince enough legislators to expand school choice.

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