Education Is Important

The future literally depends on it

Jeremy Zerby
5 min readFeb 14, 2023

It seems like a never-ending saga: Ron Desantis against education. Or, more broadly, Conservatives against education. Some would say that I am painting with too broad of strokes, that not all conservatives are opposed to education. But look at what has happened since we reopened the doors to our schools after the pandemic shutdowns. It has not been liberals who have been sending death threats to school board members and administrators.

So Desantis’ attacks on, particularly, advanced level education is not surprising. What is surprising, though, is the blatancy with which he is waging this war.

In his most recent move, he is dropping hints about ditching The College Board’s AP courses in Florida. Why? Because they expressed criticism of him. At a news conference, he stated,

This College Board, like, nobody elected them to anything…They are just kind of there, and they provide a service, and so you can either utilize those services or not…there are probably other vendors who may be able to do that job as good or maybe even a lot better.

For starters, he shows here that he is clueless about what he is even talking about. He does not even know whether or not there are other advanced placement offerings out there. “There are probably other vendors” (emphasis mine). He is willing to potentially put the education of his state’s brightest students on the line because someone was critical of him.

He did the same with Disney. They refused to cave to his brand of politics and now they are his enemy.

But this is not about Desantis.

This is about something far larger.

This is about our children and their education.

We need to be paying very close attention to what goes on in these kinds of places and battles. We need to be listening to what these sorts of people are saying. These kinds of policies and ideas spread, and they have a dangerous impact on the education of our children.

One could argue that if you want your child to learn certain things, then you should pull them from public school and home-school them or place them in a private school. This is a legitimate choice, and one that, particularly, conservative Christians have championed for a long time, but it is not a viable option for everyone. Some people cannot afford the fees associated with sending their child to a private school. And even if they live in a place where they accept vouchers, allowing you to take the dollars you would send to a public school and divert it to a private school, this still has a negative impact on those children who maybe do not have this option.

Depending on where you live, there may not be a bus to take your child to school at all, much less a swanky private school across town. So these children are sort of stuck with the school around the corner, even if it happens to be one of the worst ones in the community. These kids may also be living in less-than-ideal home situations. Advanced placement programs may be these children’s only ticket out of the cycle of poverty that their family has been trapped in for generations.

As I have stated in this blog, and on my podcast, numerous times, we need to support of schools and our teachers. We need to be making every effort to make their jobs easier, not harder. But we are consistently driving teachers away. My own daughter tells me stories about how some of the kids behave for the teachers. And there was a news story in the past couple of weeks about a 6-year-old boy who brought a gun to school and shot his teacher.

We need to support our teachers.

Once the COVID emergency is fully lifted, schools all across the nation are going to lose a chunk of extra funding they have been receiving that has been going toward, in part, student mental health services. This at a time when, according to Axios,

[P]arents and legislatures are increasingly recognizing the responsibility schools have in addressing mental health concerns.

We want our schools to take care of our kids, but we do not want to give them the necessary resources to do so.

These are children being raised on TikTok and YouTube, the very places where misinformation and disinformation flourish. And by not setting them up for success in school, we are not setting them up for success anywhere.

I am not saying that everyone needs to go to college. That is a whole different conversation and carries with it a whole different set of dynamics. But just as we adults spend more time at work than we do at home typically, our children are doing the same with school. So we need to be making an effort to make schools a place where they can thrive.

Instead, parents, and men like Ron Desantis, are gutting our schools of the very resources that can make thriving possible. They want to remove AP courses, discussions on race, social-emotional learning curriculum, and the like. All things that prepare children to be upstanding participants in a diverse society.

It can be argued, I guess, that those things are a parent’s role to teach, that schools should not be the place where children learn about sexuality, gender identity, or race relations…the problem is, if schools are teaching them, that means that there is observable evidence that children are actually not learning about these things accurately at home, if at all.

Home is a social bubble. A child is going to be raised around people who are like their parents. So they are going to be raised around a group where everyone is basically the same. School is much different than that. People there are different.

All kinds of different.

So school is the place where children learn to interact with people who are not like them.

School is vitally important, and that is not something that a large swath of the modern conservative movement seems to understand. Either that, or what we have are competing ideologies about what education actually is. If the latter is the case, we need to be opening lines of communication between each other and figuring it out. We need to learn each other’s language, so to speak.

Our children need us. Our schools need us. Our children’s teachers need us. The future depends on it.



Jeremy Zerby

Hermeneutics, religion, pop psychology, self-help, and culture. They are all connected, and I am here to explain how.