- A recent League of Women Voters study attempts to smear private school curricula as controversial and substandard
- But traditional public schools have pushed controversial curricula on students for decades
- The League is a Soros-funded organization biased against vouchers
A recent study by the League of Women Voters reported “77 percent of private schools receiving vouchers are using curricula that do not comply with state standards, leaving many students unprepared for college-level coursework or careers in certain fields.” Results of the study were reported by the Charlotte Observer and Raleigh News and Observer.
What the press didn’t tell you is the claim is questionable for several reasons. The LWV study implies that private school curricula is unique in introducing controversial topics or subjects, and that the curricula are often less than adequate.
Let’s remember, however, that private schools have no corner on controversy. The teaching of controversial subjects has a long history in public schools. Parents and educators constantly disagree over what and how subjects should be taught and what topics should be included. The subject of evolution, race, sexual orientation, sexual health, morality, and religion — to name a few — regularly divide educators and families.
Over the last few years public schools have been roiled by the imposition of controversial Common Core State Standards where experts testified on both sides about the quality of the standards. More recently, AP history standards have been rewritten. According to many, the new standards are politicized and misrepresent the contributions of the American founders and European settlers.
Nor can we say that science has escaped such controversies. Climate change and environmental science are two areas where the big questions are far from settled, yet intense pressure continues for teachers and students to conform to prevailing viewpoints.
Voucher critics say that less than adequate curricula plague the teaching of controversial subjects in many private schools. If the claim about the curriculum is true, all students in private schools are impacted.
The LWV study is trying to create a linkage between bad science teaching in private schools and bad college preparation. The only problem is it doesn’t exist. If science teaching is a problem in private schools, it would be noticeable in test scores. Matt Ladner, a researcher with the Charles Koch Institute shows that public schools have consistently scored lower on NAEP science tests than private schools. [i]
There is no evidence that private schools fail to properly educate students in science. If critics argue private schools are bad at teaching science, why do private school students outperform public schools on NAEP tests?
Finally, there is one other problem with the LWV study; bias. Can an organization that has expressed opposition to vouchers for close to twenty years really be expected to fairly address a question on vouchers?
The LWV works hard to cultivate a nonpartisan grandmotherly image of encouraging civic involvement and good elections. The organization’s benign image does not square with reality.
LWV has been a steady supporter of Left wing causes including climate change, gun control and environmental legislation. Since Roe v. Wade was announced in 1973, LWV has been a strong advocate for pro-abortion legislation. In more recent years, LWV has come out in support of Obamacare legislation, against tougher regulation of campaign finance and efforts to require photo ID to vote and school vouchers.
The web site, Mapping the Left, confirms the picture of LWV as a liberal advocacy organization. MTL writes:
The League of Women Voters says it’s a non-partisan organization, but advocates for the most liberal election laws and against reforms that will secure our elections. The league has filed lawsuits against North Carolina in the case of the most recent NC redistricting plan and the landmark election reform legislation that was passed in 2013 that requires voters to provide photo ID’s in order to vote.
In 1999, LWV joined a legal challenge against then Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s legislation that permitted students to use state vouchers to attend private schools.
According to the web site Influence Watch, LWV is deeply involved in advocating for “big government” education policy.
On education LWVUS calls for a top-down nationalized education program through a national assessment, broad common standards, and a suggested national curriculum. The league “opposes vouchers” and opposes tax credits for private education. It demands education handouts to disadvantaged groups beginning at the prekindergarten level and argues that the federal government has the responsibility to support access to student health care and free and reduced lunch programs.
A review of funding sources supplies yet more evidence of LWV’s leftist slant. LWV’s charitable 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational arm is called the League of Women Voters Education Fund. It receives significant funding from liberal billionaire donor George Soros. Influence Watch reports that Soros has given over $3 million to LWV through his organizations Open Society Institute and the Foundation to Support an Open Society. Another major funder of liberal organizations, the Joyce Foundation, has reportedly donated over $4.2 million to LWV related entities. Last year the Capital Research Center reported that LWV garnered support from such groups as the Ford Foundation ($1,075,000 since 1999), Carnegie Corporation ($546,000 since 2000), John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation ($475,000 since 2005) and the Tides Foundation ($196,535 since 2005).[ii]
Need we say more? LWV’s credentials as an advocate for Left wing causes are well substantiated.[iii] That the Charlotte Observer and Raleigh News & Observer failed to mention these connections in their reporting is more than telling. Such developments are unsettling and offer yet another compelling reason why the LWV study should be ignored.
[i] JS Mill to Lauren Ritchie, We Don’t Need No Thought Control, blogpost by Matthew Ladner, Jay P. Greene’s blog. June 11, 2018. Available online at: https://jaypgreene.com/2018/06/11/js-mill-to-lauren-ritchie-we-dont-need-no-thought-control/
[ii] Gizzi, John. “League of Women Voters: A Legacy of Liberal Issues and Causes.” Capital Research Center, Organization Trends. November 6, 2015. Accessed November 29, 2017. Available online at: https://capitalresearch.org/article/lwv/
[iii] See League of Women Voters: A Legacy of Liberal Issues and Causes, Capital Research Center, November 6, 2015, League of Women Voters: Advocates of Public Discourse or Public Debt? Jared B. Adams in Organization Trends, Capital Research Center, March 2000. The League of Women Voters, Influence Watch web site, These Lefties aren’t your Grandmother’s League of Women Voters by Nancy Smith, Sunshine State News April 2, 2016.