His thoughts — Modern education misses mark

Published 12:00 pm Friday, May 27, 2022

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All of us can look back and recall the great teachers we had growing up. The teachers who inspired us and encouraged us to reach further than we often thought we were capable.

I give that as a backdrop to where we are in education.

Virginia and America have a long and rich history of providing education to our young people. There are buildings all over our region of where one- and two-room schools were used to educate our youth.

Growing up in Bedford County, I fondly remember the fourth grade in which we were taught in the two-room school that my father was taught in many years before. The years before and after were taught in newer classrooms, but none compared to that year. The teacher was the important factor in making that a good and productive year.

Things have changed since those days. Then, we all attended church on Sunday. Then, we were taught right and wrong at home and at church. The school’s role was to teach us to read and learn the skills we needed in mathematics (which we called arithmetic) and how to write and spell properly. Later, our reading skills were used to teach us such things as history. Learning our history gave us pride in our nation and respect for our founding fathers.

More recently, for whatever reason, the focus of our public schools has moved to social issues. There was never one day that a change was made. It happened over a period of time.

Some of that was based on those who saw a vacuum in households where proper behavior was not provided. Some came about because government at the state and federal level believed they knew better than parents. The end result is that we have a system that is no longer able to focus on the basics of education.


A perfect example of the current problem is the number of parents who have become upset with Critical Race Theory (CRT). Rather than teaching history, bureaucrats have pushed teachers to teach not only history but also incorporate the idea that today’s children are responsible for the wrongs of past generations.

When challenged, they have lied to us and tried to assure parents that it simply doesn’t exist. When pushed, the education bureaucrats tried to explain away CRT, saying that it only exists in college courses and that it is nothing new. They added that it has been in colleges since the 1980s.

The problem that they seem to miss is pretty clear. Every teacher has gone to college. Many were taught the CRT agenda without understanding that some were attempting to indoctrinate them.

Understanding this, we now have many teachers who are unwittingly allowing this thought process in far too many classrooms.


Most parents did not understand that any of this was occurring until parents were forced to stay at home because of COVID. With their children attending school by Zoom, parents saw many things in which they were uncomfortable. When some of those parents tried to question what and how things were being taught, some teachers and administrators tried to brush them aside. When those same parents went to school board meetings, they were ignored or belittled. In some cases, they were even arrested.

Homeschooling and private schools

All this leads us to the dilemma that we now have. Many families have lost confidence in our education bureaucracy. This has led to private schools that currently are filled to capacity. Other parents have chosen instead to teach their children at home.

Frank Ruff Jr. represents Charlotte in the state Senate. His email address is Sen.Ruff@verizon.net.