Culture War: The Struggle of a Losing Battle in American Education

Young female Asian student.

The most significant dispute between parents is often their choices for their children's future. (Image: Sarayuth Punnasuriyaporn via Dreamstime)

The most significant dispute between parents is often their choices for their children’s future, especially in education. The culture war between administrators and politicians regarding the same topic is no different. 

Education paths don’t all follow one standard or a  linear way. There are still superseding conflicts about the right direction to take regarding a child’s educational journey. 

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In general, parents only want what is best for their children. However, on educational grounds where notions such as new progressivism and meritocracy are being fostered, finding out the best decision could be a tricky thing to do. 

The intensity of such conflicts has been amplified alongside the rampancy of critical race theory (CRT). While the said theory arches over various aspects of life, it has strongly impacted education, too. 

Scholars dedicated to debunking and studying this theory in the realm of education examine certain practices and policies in the system that may be contributing to racial inequality. In turn, they also advocate and work towards devising solutions to change such rules. 

While such theories and notions have substantially impacted the education space, these are not the only views shaping American education today. Though important, the battle against racial inequality is not the focal point. For one, the historically rooted conflict known as the culture war has been raging in the system. 

The roots of the Kulturkampf can be traced to Otto von Bismarck, the German prime minister and first chancellor.

The roots of a culture war (Kulturkrieg)

The roots of the Kulturkampf, which translates to “culture struggle,” can be traced to the 1870s. The proponent of the said movement was Otto von Bismarck, the German prime minister, and first chancellor. Under his leadership, the campaign was initially launched with the end goal of reducing the power of the Roman Catholic Church over Prussia. 

While several estrangements and entanglements were at work that led to the launching of such a movement, we can infer that the roots of such conflicts were foundationally related to religion and politics.

This, in turn, makes the culture war primarily connected to the previously mentioned critical race theory that focuses more on the racial space. Hence, going back to American education, it may not be surprising why there has been a rage in conflicts regarding the right path to take. 

The culture war in American education

Though certain religions are more dominant — in terms of numbers — compared to others, religious pluralism is evident in the American landscape. Even if the Catholic Church does not have a dominant hold over the country as it had during the time of Bismarck, the said entity still has a certain degree of dominance, even in the educational space.

Just as the battle against racial inequality has been rampant in the American space, the movement toward providing secular education has been rising. In such a way, it is like the culture war is blazing and swiping through the system today. 

With the blazing of the culture war in the space of American education, the ones who would directly reap the impact of such efforts are the children.
With the blazing of the culture war in the space of American education, the ones who would directly reap the impact of such efforts are the children. (Image: Monkey Business Images via Dreamstime)

What’s in it for the children?

Even though public schools do not inadvertently patronize a particular religion over another, the Supreme Court of the United States has permitted the teaching of faith when it is done in the context of public and inclusive education. Hence, it may be safe to say that religion has played some role in the system. 

Nevertheless, with the blazing of the culture war in the space of American education, the ones who would directly reap the impact of such efforts are the children. Thus, transformation or revolution from the culture war could lead to children becoming guinea pigs of such schemes and experimental methods. 

Several developmental stages of a typical person are spent within the space and grounds of education, where minds and characters are expected to be molded.

While the immense responsibility of the decision-making falls into the hands of the parents, ultimately, the various conflicts regarding the right path to education should be spearheaded with the student’s well-being and teaching journey in mind. 

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