Nothing says cooling temperatures, shorter days and blowing leaves more than the long yellow vehicles with flashing lights that appear on our roads each September. Virtually unchanged through their long history. Sadly, our educational institutions don’t convey the same stability. Stories from within manifest an educational attitude best described as mindboggling.

Californians celebrated the recall failure against Gov. Gavin Newsom ignoring his connection to teacher unions who have hamstrung efforts to return to schools. California currently ranks 38th in quality of education. At least some of that falls on teachers who advocate pledges to the so-called Pride flag, and one teacher caught on video boasting about how he had eight months to turn his students into revolutionaries. Teach!

A Grand Rapids, Michigan, story highlighted by the AP involves a 7-year-old who had her hair cut on one side of her head by a teacher without explanation or parental permission. Being bi-racial in a predominantly white community the subsequent lawsuit is presented as another example of racism. Without dismissing that concern what kind of teacher even thinks about such a thing as cutting a student’s hair. Teach!

A Pennsylvania teacher’s union is conducting an October Zoom conference based on a podcast called "Nice White Parents…a halfway interesting, largely self-absorbed podcast that seeks to blame rich, white New York City liberals for lagging achievement in an urban school,” said Christopher Tremoglie of the Washington Examiner. He goes on to say, “This is not isolated. President Biden’s Department of Education is funding ‘free, antiracist therapy for White educators and support staff.’”

According to the Daily Caller a Portland teacher removed the American flag from her classroom, claiming it represents ‘violence, menace and intolerance.’ She said the flag was “the most political symbol there is,’ adding ‘I know my kids, and …what’s best for them and what to do to help them feel comfortable.’” The problem is they aren’t her kids. They are on loan. And her job is to Teach!

In case you think it can’t happen here a Virginia teacher suggested appropriate classroom behavior falls under "white supremacy." In response to Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, (PBIS) a concept used in Virginia public schools ‘to support positive academic and behavioral outcomes for all students,’ the teacher asks, ‘what are those positive behaviors?’ It's…making sure you're following directions and that you're sitting quietly…in your seat…all these things come from white culture.’" How can you teach if children are bouncing about the room, chattering away. That someone could get a teaching degree without advocating following directions is itself instructive.

In higher academia the Daily Mail highlighted a Virginia Tech professor’s apology for being a straight, white woman. Thankfully students said the commentary was not appropriate or relevant. Her job is to teach not indoctrinate.

Local elections loom. Education should be foremost in our decisions from School Boards to attitudes in Richmond. Let’s get back to the job of teaching!

William Shifflett is an Edinburg resident