We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
It's because we don't have teachers any more, instead we have educators. The old ways of doing things are no longer useful, you need the latest and greatest most hip and with it claptrap if you want to be a successful educator. Who cares if the kids are learning to read? It's not about them!
To a degree, that's actually discussed on these podcasts.
There is publisher whose work is known as "The Bible" and it is basically pushing debunked concepts on how to read. It's a complicated scenario, though.
Like anything else, it's about who wins - who makes money - who 'looks good'. There's lots of blame to go around, and I usually try to take the approach (in situations of this nature where a lot is at risk) of "who cares about who is to blame, let's just fix it and we'll settle the finger pointing later."
Over 50 years ago and as recently as 10 years ago I was horrified to see several reading series from which the kids were expected to learn to read. When I taught they gave human emotions to a Christmas tree and then told the story of when it was no longer needed for the holiday. It was set on fire and the kids read about it screaming in pain as it was consumed by fire. How sick do the writers of these series have to be to do that to a child. Grandsons reading dealt with giving cows human aspects and then suggesting the cows had eaten their friend as she was missing from a party. Why are children twisted today and if I had to read those stories I wouldn't want to learn how to read either.
Many books I learned to read with engaged anthropomorphic characterizations, or had plants with human thought/feelings. Many that I taught my kids to read with did.
The horrific nature of the storylines you describe, I'm unfamiliar with. However, while I agree an agenda is at work in schools (and I've heard this from all my cousins who are teachers and have found themselves silenced, sidelined or marginalized), the issues of reading go far deeper than that.
Heather has two mommies.
Reading is a construct of the white male patriarchy.
Love the side by side comparison video of US and CCP/PLA recruiting ads.
The dumbing down is for a reason. (control)
The reality is a harsh mistress.
Read to your children or grandchildren as soon as they are born so that by the time they get to school (pre-school or K) they are comfortable with books and reading.
They will be ahead of the game and won't need to put up with the "Why Johnny Can't Read" nonsense.