Most people who know me would say I’m a pretty jaded person. They’d be right. As an autodidactic historian it comes with the territory. I’m rarely surprised or genuinely outraged at a story. That vast majority of what I write about, given my low opinion of human nature and especially of politics and government, strikes me as meh. But this FNC report by Eli Steele is the real thing. It makes my blood boil. Take a gander.

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Steele: “While I was shooting B-roll footage on the South Side of Chicago, a young man approached and asked what I was doing. I explained I was gathering footage for a short documentary on the new ‘Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards’ that the Illinois Board of Education had approved and was on the verge of being ratified by the Illinois General Assembly. He boiled it down to, ‘A documentary on education?’ He then told me that he had been kicked out of two high schools and never graduated. His mother worked two jobs to provide for him and his sister and he never learned how to read.

As a parent of two children, I asked him how this was possible. Didn’t his teachers in the Chicago Public School system know that he couldn’t read? He shrugged and asked me if I had any work to give him. He was in his mid-20s, looking for work in the middle of an icy, sunny day. I told him I was sorry and that I was leaving for the airport in two hours. Used to these kinds of turn-downs, he grinned and said it was all right. He then pointed to a mural on the side of an abandoned building and said that would be a good shot…

When he had initially revealed his illiteracy, there was a sense of shame in his expression. If he felt shame, where was the shame of the many teachers and administrators that looked the other way as he moved up from grade to grade? The saddest part is that he is far from alone. In 2019, only 37% of third-graders in Illinois demonstrated grade-level proficiency in English-language arts, and when it came to math only 41% could demonstrate grade-level proficiency. Why would the state of Illinois consider new standards when it failed to uphold the most basic and universal of education standards?” 37 percent. The Chicago school system is intentionally promoting illiteracy. How can this be America happening in America?