Courtesy of Mayor de Blasio, the nation’s largest public school system, in which fewer than half of third-through-eighth graders can read or do math at grade level, is giving all kids get-out-of-school-free cards Friday to attend a protest against climate change.
Selectively excusing students when they participate in rallies for favored progressive political causes — last March, the city did the same for a walkout to protest gun violence — is a perversion of the education system’s highest responsibility. It might pain teachers, administrators and politicians to hear this, but schools are not for incubating an army of activists. They’re for learning.
Yes, we know. You can learn a thing or two or three at a protest. But protests happen on weekends too.
More importantly, political gatherings come in every imaginable flavor. Would de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza similarly license youngsters who sought to skip school to attend the annual March for Life in Washington, or a rally against presidential impeachment, or a NYCHA resident protest lambasting de Blasio for his indisputably inept management? Stop laughing.
Climate change is a clear and present threat, one whose consequences the next generation will bear. Kids should be learning about the crisis and new energy technologies in science class, discussing political solutions in civics (where and when they still teach that) and so on.
The next generation doesn’t just need people flooding the streets to rally for causes. It needs people with the brains and the skills to pioneer solutions. Stay in school.
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