NEPC Review: Empowering Parents with School Choice Reduces Wokeism in Education (Heritage Foundation, November 2022)
A Heritage Foundation report compares the amount of “wokeness” terminology in parent/student handbooks in charter schools with the level of charter school regulation in their states, and concludes that while charters represent a safe space away from “woke indoctrination” in public schools, further deregulation and less bureaucracy will allow that sector to truly respond to parent desires to avoid “leftist” curriculum. While apparently intended to tap into current turmoil, the report has at least five significant weaknesses. It assumes that parent/student handbooks are good proxies for curriculum; it completely ignores the diversity of parents and relevant research about what large proportions of parents actually want; it conflates correlation with causation; it relies on undefined conceptions of what constitutes “wokeness;” and it possibly uses cherry-picked data and methods that suit ideological bias. These shortcomings render the report useless for understanding or developing policy.