Skip to main content



‘CRT is a lie’: American parents debate public education issues

Dec 21, 2023


America is home to some of the best universities in the world, and U.S. college graduates regularly compete for elite positions worldwide. Yet the K-12 American public education system lags far behind this performance, contributing to divisions within American society and jeopardizing the academic potential of America’s younger generations.

In this 30-minute episode of America Speaks, political analyst and pollster Dr. Frank Luntz asks American parents for their observations on K-12 public school funding, curriculum, student support, overcrowding, and active shooter events.

I’ve heard it said that there’s nothing wrong with America that can’t be fixed by what’s right with America. Well, the same thing can be said about education. We fix the schools in America, and we fix so many of the problems facing the country. But the question is, how do we make our public education system as good as it can be, or more accurately, as good as it needs to be?
So he turned to a panel of parents nationwide, to hear from their perspective, and they didn’t disappoint. So if you want to know where your educational dollars going, and what’s really happening in your children’s schools, from teaching the basics, to teaching critical race theory, you’re gonna love the next 30 minutes.
It may not be an issue in the news. But every time I talk to moms and dads, they tell me how frightened they are, whether their children are learning and understanding what they need to know, for college, career and life.
And there’s tremendous concern that the quality of education in America is not what it should be for too many children that we’re going to discuss here. So let’s first start, in a sense, you could send a message to America about the quality of your own child’s education, what would you tell them? Rob, I’m going to start with you.
I’ve seen the quality go down from the time I’m by my kids are in the same school system that I grew up in. So I have, you know, a good analog to see what I went through 30 years ago, or two years, 35 years ago, and what my kids are going through and I’ve seen a degradation i It used to cater to all students in different ways. Now it’s catering to sort of the middle. So it’s you don’t have as much support for the high achieving students, and you have better support for the low achieving students. Alex, in a sentence, what are your own children experiencing in education right now?
Yeah, I think similarly, I would say compared to when I was growing up, the the quality has gone down. I think there are less teachers, more students. And
I think that the the, what they’re learning is kind of shifting toward first off kind of changed. Since since I was growing up and also changing toward more opinion of teachers versus factual learning. I’m going to speak plainly to you in the high school, but they attend. It’s so overcrowded, that some of the classes are conducted in trailers. Does that make sense to you? Madeline, you’re in North Carolina. What would be your sense to tell America about the experience you’re having? So I would say it’s scary. I’m on this week, Thursday, my son, who was in ninth grade, they experienced a lot.
When I asked him that afternoon, how that was for him. He said it was scary because they told them, This is not a drill. This is real. So imagine a ninth grader just a freshman just going to the school. And he experienced his first lockdown. I’m freaking out. Because I don’t know what’s going on. I found out about the lockdown. Because my neighborhood we have a Facebook room. And someone said that the school was on lockdown, and it wasn’t a feature. So as a scary break, education is all about you get what you pay for my kids that transition from public school to private school, and it’s worth the money
Miko from New York, I would say that we’re actually paying more but getting less they’re spending less time on the core subjects and too much time on social issues.
Eugene from Virginia.
Hey, thanks, Frank in Virginia, how my kids school neotame. We don’t have those issues. We have great parents participating, if we but the problem lies is we need to pay teachers more. And we need to be in that school and work along with those teachers to ensure that our kids get to get the right education we cannot rely on on teachers to raise our kids and teach our kids. We have to be a part of that. Thank you heard from Colorado.
Yeah, I think it’s very biased. I don’t live in a very privileged prestigious school district and neighborhood and for the middle class. It’s gone down and it really stinks.
And a native from Texas.
Hi, Frank. How are you?
Our school right now is getting budget cuts because of a 35 million recapture fee and we’re out
actually an excellent school district, but our entire school is, school district is experienced a lot of cuts right now. And it’s in. It’s scary. It’s scary from that. It’s scary from the police. We just had somebody,
one of our officers had to shoot somebody and killed them on a private or I’m sorry, at an elementary school two days ago. So I say it’s scary and cuts.
There, but David from California, in the Los Angeles Unified School District here in LA,
the lack of quality education is due to overcrowding, and just massive amount of students in each room like double what when I when I was in public schools, so that’s to me, that just significantly depreciates through a quality education when you have like, wave 5060 students, in some classrooms. It’s ridiculous and out of control.
The Biden administration is spending billions and billions and billions of dollars more money than any administration in history, and education. There’s more money from states to education than there has ever been. So why do we have a funding crisis? When there are more dollars going into education than ever before? Somebody please explain. Distribution, massive be lacking, right? A correct distribution. They need to decide better, where exactly this money should go, to maintain high standards of curriculum, and to make our children to learn more. Because that’s that’s the key. That’s the gist of the problems. That’s how I look at it, Michael, I’ve seen the numbers. It truly is out of control. How can you be telling me there’s not enough money?
When we’re, it’s flooding into education institutions? Yes, I would say that it’s it’s not a lack of money. It’s the administrative costs of schools have gone through the roof. There’s more money being spent out of the classroom and in the teachers, they should make good money. You have to have assistant superintendents, and you know, and all this other staff that they never, we never had that density of overhead that we have now. And I think we need school choice so that they compete. So they don’t take your money for granted. Right now schools. The school budget always gets passed. And we don’t we don’t get to control where it goes, Eugene, we’re talking 10s of billions of dollars.
That there’s not money to help.
Yeah, I fully understand it. But I still think that the funding that should be going towards the teachers, and we need to take politics out of school. Once we take politics out of school, pay teachers more, more more parents and get involved in education, that will solve the problem. Rob, go ahead.
It takes time for that. So you have the current administration that’s spending now the dividends are going to be down the road, but they do have to be spent. I agree with what people said before that they have to be spent on the proper choices, not overhead. I agree. Teachers need to be paid more. They need to be back, you know, there’s certain things that that money will need to be spent on and I hope that that it that it dribbles down and works out right. And states and school systems do the right thing with that federal funding. While we it takes it takes many years if we’re not going to see the dividends of this for four or five, six years.
So yes, yeah, we’re the money and neither where’s the money? Critical Race Theory, teachers unions. I mean, it’s it’s ridiculous. It’s this money. What was it? Five billion went to critical race theory. I mean, come on. We’re spending we’re spending way too much money on on things that don’t matter. I send my kid to school to learn math, reading social studies. I don’t send him there for this woke ideal lism that’s going on. It needs to stop and we need to put the money where it needs to go. Right? Schools they’re in Texas. Pardon me they couldn’t do it does not exist. I don’t know why. People going out this critical way stupid crap. It does not exist on the way we’ve got to be paying with existing your own government in your military.
I didn’t cut you off. Let me finish the critical way stuff start
with Aaron Pryor in Loudoun County, in the whole premises behind that was the fact that we had this guy who was pretending to be a female going into bathrooms, and he raped a couple of girls. And then he turned around. And when you saw those people protesting, they were testing against transgender, but they stuck all these signs called critical race theory in the lot so when the cameras and consumed conservative media came to town, he saw all these signs of critical race theory. It doesn’t exist that’s a great theory.
It does not fantastic theory that you just what you what you found. What you find hard to accept is sometime when teachers want to teach black history and you feel so threatened by Black History Month, we teach it in every school across the nation.
dedicated to that, you have white if you haven’t every minute, my bread is one month, what is one month 28 days and you happy Greenleaf has given us too much. We built this country
our vision that doesn’t need to die.
Do not assume my my blackness for anti white it’s not? If the truth, you have to tell the truth. You have to tell the truth. They don’t
offer anything. Let me tell you, Governor Younkin Governor Yonkers did the same crap. In Virginia, he went to when he got elected, he signed a fake glow into the sign of pig lung
Lartey. There was CRTs never taught in Virginia. I’m from Virginia, I’m born and raised. I went to high school, college, everything in Virginia, my kids are in Virginia, in Virginia Public Schools critical way Sue is not being a being taught at all, it is a lie, so that it can get get certain people stirred up about
race. And that’s all it is. It’s all it is. Let’s see which
I appreciate it. Thank you.
dividing us dividing us. That’s what we ask people, we need to be sticking together in getting these schools and as parents and work with these teachers. This next segment is going to be tough to watch as our parents address the fear of gun violence in and around schools.
But as America speaks has the responsibility to address all the issues. And you as viewers have the right to hear all the perspectives. We couldn’t pass it up. So let’s listen.
How many of you are afraid by show of hands of gun violence in the schools that your children attend? 123456 to half of you?
Could you explain to me how it feels as a mother or father to be afraid for their children because of gun violence? Can I get three of you to articulate that is terrifying. Um, just to know that your child can go to school and get a proper education because you have someone else says child that’s bringing a gun to school that’s going to harm them. It’s terrifying. Like what happened to why they don’t have they spent all of this money with all of this other stuff all schools should have where they have to go through that machine and see what they have in their book bags. Why all schools can have that, that safety in the school. Right? But we’re spending money on oh, we need to get a new building over here. If I see another building go up. Instead of safety in these schools. I’m going to screen like I am sick of North Carolina building school after school, but we haven’t even tackled the main things and that’s just safe.
David and Bella, it’s all about easy access. I know a lot of neglectful parents here in Los Angeles and I mean neglectful and unfortunately, if their kids want to get a gun for whatever reason, they can get one and I’ve seen it myself and it’s just it’s despicable how just the eat the whole easy access thing. And like I said the neglectful parents overall in my opinion. Bella and then Daniel. Yeah, I agree with Madeline and other people. I feel like a lot of money going towards new buildings when it should be going towards safety metal detector detectors or any kind of safety equipment to make sure our kids are safe in school is way more important than a new building. Daniel and then I need a you know, I’m gonna say something here that I think people are going to be angry about. When I was in high school.
We would have kids and pickups they would have their shotgun right
They’re in their truck.
And this is something that we have lost. We have lost the ability of parents have an interaction with the teachers, teachers having interactions with the student. It’s all gone to administrative. It needs to stop. Randi Weingarten is one of the 100 most influential people in America, because she runs the American Federation of Teachers, arguably the most powerful union in America.
So America speaks one of the parents the unprecedented opportunity to speak to Randy, to let her know what matters most to them. The comments were passionate, purposeful, and pointed.
Benny Weingarten is a friend of mine, she the head of the National teachers union, what would you want her to know, either about child or about school about?
education in general is getting too much branch on it, we our education needs to be streamlined. When I look at the statistics, and we’ve got in my state of North Dakota, somewhere around 47% of children graduating that are able to be math proficient, and language proficient. I don’t think that setting them up for a lifetime of success. I think that is driving them back to where they come from, whether that’s a small community or an impoverished community, and
it’s all wonderful that we can expand on education. But if we’re not getting the basics, right, then we’re not serving these children. Life will teach them a lot of the things that you know, what everybody is arguing about.
They’re not
getting the very basics that are going to serve them, get them into college. That is the that is the goal. And that is the job of education. You’re far, far more that we can’t fit into the head of the teachers union. Anyway.
I put your up.
Yes, I would add, I would like to ask if, if we look at graduation rates and the testing scores, that why that why are they there? So there’ll be quite low compared to historical. And if if what you’re doing isn’t working, doing more of it isn’t going to help. And we’re throwing more money at the problem? And what would you do different if you could make if she could make the decision? What would she do different to get our schools more effective?
Okay, Sam, and then Jessica, what would you tell her?
Frank, I want to I want to ask Randy, what can we do to bring up the disparity between public schools and private schools? I want to know why in Los Angeles County, I can’t send my child to a public school and feel safe, or feel that they will get quality education. Why do I have to pay $3,000 a month for private education? Because there’s nothing else that’s comparable here? Maybe somewhere else? You know, public school systems work, but definitely not in LA. So how can we bring up and make public schools on par with private schools
will be
constrained by time
by garden hours?
I would say thank you for the services that you provide. But please keep in mind that the children it’s a business at the end of the day, and simply because it’s technically free.
It’s not something that allows you or anyone that works in the school district to control our children. So are the children are still the property, if you will, of the parents that bring them there, you’re not there to indoctrinate them, or to control anything other than all just simply present the facts of an education, teach them to read, teach them history, teacher math, whatever it is that you need to teach. But don’t indoctrinate them. Don’t try and put any, any ideas into their mind that don’t belong. That’s our job as parents to do. And when we asked to be a part of the school system, please welcome us make us feel welcome so that we can participate.
Alex, and then Rachel.
Yeah, I would have a similar message focus on the facts and the basics, but also beyond what what Ruby already said, focus on life skills. I think so often, I’m seeing a lot of kind of opinion and exploratory types of of educational approaches and people don’t know what mortgages what an interest rate is on a mortgage, things like that, how to pay bills, how to how to actually live
After after you’re out of school.
Laura, would you tell Randy,
I would just
basically say, just get back to teaching education.
I think morals,
how maybe we can interpret what’s happening in the world, etc, those sorts of things should be left to the home. And I realized that there’s some children that don’t come from homes where parents are involved, etc. But I really feel like there’s kids out there that can’t even Curt use cursive. They don’t know how to write in cursive.
They don’t know what, you know, balancing a checkbook. I mean, you know, where I don’t know, you know, this core education, core math or reading. Core math is,
like, I looked at my child, I didn’t even know how to do it. It’s, it’s not normal. It’s taking math and like, folding it upside down. So like, parents can’t even help kids in some areas with schoolwork. But I just think getting back to the basics. Alexander, what
I would say, Please don’t allow the low standards of our curriculum in school to accommodate every student in a class, because it hurts more students that helps, please don’t allow that to happen. And David, Randi, there’s billions and billions of federal dollars being poured into schools nationwide. So why can’t we use that money to raise teacher salaries across the board to make it like now like an honorable profession to become a teacher, but no one wants to be a teacher. So let’s make the pay competitive and lower class sizes? And I think I think that’s the best way to look at it right now. Is it all about money? It always is. Everything is about money.
Why do we insist that teach some teachers if they teach like kindergarten and early elementary school, but we insist that they get a masters or a doctorate? Because some I mean, they’re teaching elementary school and they’re good at it? Can’t they? Why do we have to get them overqualified for that job, and then they get feel they have to get promoted out of this classroom and become a principal to get more money? Because those are where that’s where the real, you know, the big money goes.
That’s the problem. The stigma right now with teachers is money, money, money, why can’t I see somebody say, hey, I want to teach because I want to bring the future.
It’s why are we all talking about money? I understand we have the budgets. But what about teachers that care? Where are they gone? That’s what the problem is, because we were kid, they cared. Now it’s all about the money living.
These teachers also have lied to, you got to understand they have those bills, there’s the same thing. You don’t if you haven’t been in the teachers shoes, you cannot really talk in their defense, sitting in a class dealing with your child that has behavior issues for eight hours of the day, and a lot want to teach you to take, technically, the teachers being parents of all those kids in the class. So people need to understand that also.
Money is going to solve everything. And money isn’t the only problem. It’s multi layers. So even if somebody’s getting paid a lot more money, that’s not going to create passion. The teachers that are passionate, are passionate regardless. And I know because my mom was the teacher for 25 years in the New York City public school system. So that’s not going to create passion, what should be happening is we should be rewarding the teachers that are in fact, creating generating results. Those should raise some kind of spotlight. None of them are getting any spotlight. They just are like nothing happened. Randi Weingarten should offer a program for those teachers, perhaps give them extra funding extra, like a computer or a personal laptop, something some incentive, something to bring. Yeah, my mom was a teacher too. And public school, same public school I went to and you know, it’s you’re right. There’s there’s a lost, there’s a loss of that passion for education, and you just don’t see as many people going into the profession, right. You’re you need to, you need to, I mean, not in every school system, but in a lot. You know, the entryways get a degree in education early, my elementary education are sometimes
used. It’s not required, but that expertise is no longer required. Any schmo that knows how to read and write in English can technically become a teacher. And that goes back to Randi Weingarten. Why have the standards come down? Were any
short teacher
find a job and now they’re teachers. Well, you’re a teacher.
That’s a funding.
pandemic, the pandemic came and hit everybody hard. So you got those people going in to teach, because they need a job. They can drop. It doesn’t say you don’t want it to be about money, but it’s always about
management of regardless of how you look at accountability accountable to the parents to school, instead of just sending notes. Hey, we need more money. Could you donate $5? Here, $5 there, the schools should be telling us where the money that they’re receiving is going. Each school should do that.
Earlier this conversation, God help me.
But earlier, this conversation, started talking about ethics, and morals, and values, and a concern about what schools teach or don’t teach our students. Why was that so passionate? It would seem to me that it’s the same thing as reading and writing and arithmetic. But it drove this division in you all. Why is that? Can you explain that to me? Because because you need to tell the truth. Don’t Don’t make up crazy stuff. Just like, you know, ever since, um, when he talked about
can you please let me finish talking, please? Yeah, but I’m just asking you. Everybody has a different perspective of the truth. Exactly. Exactly. But but if you let me finish and explain myself, maybe you can, you can comprehend what I’m saying. Instead of interrupting. As I was saying, just like in this conversation, I keep hearing this word, indoctrination. What is the doctrine nation when I first heard when it came to school, the first time I heard indoctrination was way back when Obama was was first got elected, and he wanted to speak to the schools. Then the conservative wing came out said indoctrination. He’s indoctrinating our kids.
I could care less about that. Let that let the man talk, talk in school. Is this type these things? These, these creative?
Things to scare people like critical race theory have adopted nation?
Violence in school? Yes, yes. Some of it exists, but majority of it don’t even exist. It just a tactic to scare people. And that’s and that’s what I don’t like.
I think we owe our children the truth.
We don’t you know, it’s up to the adults. It’s up to the education system to determine that truth. Yeah. We’re not expecting these kindergarteners, sixth graders to figure out what happened in history, we should figure that out, get the facts presented to them. And then
they won’t have history doomed to repeat itself.
We live in a conservative household, and I prefer our values over some others. And I don’t want it in my school. When I want to tell my child about something, I’ll explain it to them. I don’t appreciate seeing these little kids with these sex education classes and all this stuff being tamped down to these younger kids. I think it’s wrong.
Yeah, I agree. Totally. Agree. Totally. Yes. Yeah. I think in general, the world has gotten more polarized. And a lot of that is based on money. But it feels to me like there’s always an agenda and things like I believe the teacher’s union donated like over $20 million to political campaigns last year. And it’s things like that. That’s kind of like why we’re in I think, actually, Miss Weingarten had actually campaigned for somebody in Virginia. And those are the types of things where I want that person to be apolitical. Just like I want the head of the FBI and the head of the CIA to be apolitical. I want them make fact based decisions. Yeah. Yeah, I agree with you. 100,000. Many of you agree with what Alex just said that they should be apolitical. Yeah, of course. Yeah. I said it earlier. Okay.
I want to stop there. Because we’ve got unit, we’ve got Bremen. And I would like to end the education conversation areas on the same side. There isn’t a person watching who isn’t concerned about education. We all want great schools. But what defines a great school or how to achieve it is still the source of heated debate. As your host, I say, let’s bring it on.
But that’s all the time we have today. So until next week, I’m Dr. Frank Luntz. And this is America speaks right here on straight arrow News.

Video Library

Latest Commentary

We know it is important to hear from a diverse range of observers on the complex topics we face and believe our commentary partners will help you reach your own conclusions.

The commentaries published in this section are solely those of the contributors and do not reflect the views of Straight Arrow News.

Latest Opinions

In addition to the facts, we believe it’s vital to hear perspectives from all sides of the political spectrum. We hope these different voices will help you reach your own conclusions.

The opinions published in this section are solely those of the contributors and do not reflect the views of Straight Arrow News.

Weekly Voices

Left Opinion Right Opinion


Left Opinion Right Opinion


Left Opinion Right Opinion


Left Opinion Right Opinion