OK State Rep’s Education Plan Blames “Secular Progressives” for Ruining Schools June 25, 2018

OK State Rep’s Education Plan Blames “Secular Progressives” for Ruining Schools

This Tuesday, Oklahoma will hold its primaries for the upcoming election, and Chuck Strohm will be running for re-election in the state’s House of Representatives. After narrowly winning the Republican primary in 2014, he cruised to victory in 2016 and hopes to repeat that this year. That shouldn’t be too difficult coming from a deeply red district.

Still, coming from a state where public education is a hot mess, Strohm released a “blueprint” for to handle the issue over the weekend. His solutions would turn a hot mess into a flaming dumpster fire.

It would take a long time to go through the entire 48-page document and point out all the problems, but let me highlight some key concerns.

The biggest one may be that, while teachers are protesting stagnant wages and cuts to education funding, Strohm is miffed that they went on strike even after they received a raise (emphasis his).

For decades the state of Oklahoma grappled with the issue of funding for public schools. Just this spring, the legislature acted by passing a historic teacher pay raise averaging 16 percent.

Then, in proof that fact is often stranger than fiction, teachers engaged in a two-week long strike — after the pay raise was signed into law by the Governor! As a State Representative, I have never seen anything like it, and those who’ve worked at the Capitol for decades told me they had never seen anything like this…. not ever. The level of hostility, and the number of angry, disrespectful and threatening contacts was unprecedented.

He neglects to mention that teachers were upset because the raise wasn’t enough to meet their sensible demands; neither was funding for schools.

But after talking about those ungrateful teachers, he goes on to explain that the problem with public schools is that there’s not enough religion in them.

He even urged his critics not to ignore him:

If you find yourself rolling your eyes, ready to dismiss the notion of secularism affecting academics as religious hyperbole, consider the compelling conclusions of researchers at Stanford’s Graduate School of Education. This study documented that after adjusting for a variety of background factors and behaviors, “adolescents who practice religion regularly perform better in school than those adolescents who do not.” The study affirmed that increased religious atmosphere produces higher academic results.

We discussed that study on the site and Strohm’s conclusion is completely misleading. He’s citing The Federalist, whose reporter also got it wrong.

Simply put, the study only looked at students who ranged from deeply devout to apathetic to religion, and the devout kids had a higher GPA. However, students who were active atheists — people who cared about the subject of religion and rejected it — had similarly high GPAs.

As I wrote in April:

If you want to know which students are going to do well in school, find me the kids who are genuinely passionate about something, whether it’s sports or music or theater or whatever hobby they have.

If they interested in something, and willing to study it, and think critically about it, and engage with it, those are skills that are going to serve them well in their classes, too. Deeply religious students are passionate about their faith, just as atheists are passionate about not believing in a god.

So Strohm is already lying to his constituents and we’re not even in the main part of his document.

He goes on to say the Bible was part of public schools for centuries and some of the Founding Fathers spoke positively of the Bible’s impact. (He ignores everyone, like Thomas Jefferson, who rejected the supernatural aspects of it.) He even includes a dig on the previous president:

President Barak [sic] Obama made the infamous claim that America was not a Christian nation.

There’s no context to that quotation. What Obama actually said during a 2009 press conference was:

I’ve said before that one of the great strengths of the United States is — although as I mentioned we have a very large Christian population — we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.

Strohm takes that statement to somehow be anti-Christian when it was nothing of the sort.

(What does that have to do with public education? Nothing.)

After a long section in which he whined about Christian Persecution, he went off on a rant about how schools are pushing state-sponsored atheism on children. Want proof? Just look at how Oklahoma handled a challenge to evolution!

During the 2017 legislative session, the Oklahoma legislature heard a bill (SB393) that would have allowed schools to teach intelligent design alongside of evolution.

Mind you, these schools would have still been required to teach evolution, but the bill would have given public schools the opportunity to teach that there are alternative theories to how we came into being.

Intelligent Design holds “that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.”

Ironically, this bill was a critical thinking bill that would have encouraged students and teachers to approach a very contradictory subject in a way that allows students to hear various theories and then develop their own conclusion. The bill died because of those who only want one theory taught in schools.

I don’t need to tell readers of this site why Intelligent Design has no place in schools. Strohm concludes, however, that teaching science (and only science) in science class is some conspiracy against conservatives.

Later, he includes a section just for Christian teachers and administrators. (Spoiler: Everyone can see it.)

As a Christian school board member, you have an even greater responsibility — will you be able to say that you defended the gospel and pushed back against the onslaught of secularism, or were you responsible for allowing this secularist agenda to advance?

The future of our nation rests on the shoulders of our public-school administrators, teachers and school board members because the students of today will be the leaders of tomorrow. Being a Christian in the classroom means more than just being nice to your students. It means actively taking the gospel in a loving, respectful & gracious way everywhere you go, knowing that you will suffer persecution for it.

He’s basically urging them to break the law and proselytize, something he’d flip out over if a Muslim or atheist legislator ever tried doing the same thing.

Strohm concludes:

If our nation continues to replace this Biblical foundation with a secularist progressive agenda, we can expect changes in our society that we cannot imagine.

Yes, what will become of society if Christians are no longer in charge and babies aren’t being separated from their parents and locked up in government prisons…?

If this guy is representing Oklahoma in the State House, no wonder their education system is so messed up. You can’t fix a system when the people with that power only want to make everything worse.

The Democrats will have their own candidate for District 69 this week. Voters would be doing themselves a huge favor by voting for that candidate, whoever it is. Anyone is better than a legislator who thinks the biggest problem with public education is that Jews, atheists, Muslims, Hindus, and everyone else who doesn’t agree with his religious and conservative beliefs are ruining everything.

(Image via Facebook. Thanks to Shawn for the link)

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