This op-ed by Patrick Hughes was published September 9, 2023 on

There’s no question students face mounting challenges as they head back to classrooms across the country this month. But are COVID-era school closures solely to blame?

The answer is a resounding no.

The lagging test scores and reading delays that have been widely reported over the past few months stem from much more than simply misguided COVID policies.

A new report from the National Opportunity Project reveals that school districts across America – in red and blue states alike  – are now considering teachers’ social and political views alongside instructional qualifications during the hiring process.

This means that if the teacher at the head of your kid’s classroom was hired in recent years, there’s a strong chance he or she was chosen not for their credentials —  but because they passed an ideological litmus test. 

The National Opportunity Project surveyed more than 70 school districts across America over the past year about their hiring protocols.

They also reviewed district hiring documents such as applications, interview questions, and candidate evaluation rubrics.