By Larry Sand
“We acknowledge that we meet on stolen land.”
The above quote kicks off a contemptible “White Privilege” PowerPoint presentation that the San Diego Unified School District is forcing its teachers to watch. Authored by Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi, two high-profile race hustlers, all the usual victimology blather is in full bloom – you know, whites by virtue of their skin color are advantaged, white fragility is a real problem, etc., ad nauseum. Unacknowledged, of course, is that this is being subsidized by taxpayers — fragile white ones and otherwise. As if the above were not despicable enough, because too many black students are failing in San Diego schools, the district will no longer let late work or bad behavior affect a child’s grade. Yes, the soft bigotry of low expectations is in full bloom in “America’s Finest City.”
It is far more than a San Diego problem, however; much education throughout the country has gone “woke.” But just how far have we gone? The EdWeek Research Center finds that 81 percent of the nation’s teachers, principals and district leaders support the Marxist Black Lives Matter movement. Many of America’s miseducated children are now going through an anti-American indoctrination that would have Mao Zedong beaming. In Los Angeles, a middle school math coach created a map of police shootings for “a lesson on proportionality and graphing.” In coastal Maine, a school district superintendent maintains that we must “grieve for all of the Black lives taken by white supremacy” and “reconcile the intentional barriers white people have built to harm Black people.” In Colorado, the director of Denver schools assures us that “every Republican is a racist.”
At the same time educators have gone woke, between one-third and just over half of teachers grades k-12 have not received any training on civic education, and just one in five social studies teachers in U.S. public schools feels prepared to teach civics, according to a recent Rand Corporation study. Our subpar schools of education are clearly living down to their reputation.
Additionally, a just-released study by UCLA and UC Riverside finds that “civic and democratic goals are marginal to districts’ missions, civic and democratic commitments are absent from districts’ accountability plans, and there are little staffing and infrastructure that supports this civic agenda.” As such, it is hardly surprising that just 24 percent of American students perform at or above the proficiency level in civics. Additionally, an Annenberg Public Policy Center survey finds that only 39 percent of American adults could name the three branches of U.S. government, and less than one-quarter know that Congress has to muster a two-thirds vote to override a presidential veto. The results are in line with a study by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation which revealed that more than half of those polled do not know we have nine Supreme Court justices. Sixty percent didn’t know which countries we fought in WWII.
While the nation’s teachers unions are mum on the civics illiteracy problem, they heartily support the radical racial agenda. The National Education Association, has a load of BLM teaching resources on its website. NEA’s largest state affiliate, the California Teachers Association, is touting “Black Lives Matter at School: An Uprising for Educational Justice” on its website.
The good news is that some Americans are fighting back. “What they are learning dot com” bills itself as a “Woke-e-Leaks” website, and a “parent-powered, K-12 transparency community to blow the whistle on what’s happening in schools.” It also asserts, “School districts know that using taxpayer money for political activism is wrong; they do it because they think no one’s watching. But you send your loved ones to school for education, not indoctrination.”
On the college level, the Washington Free Beacon has a website it calls “This Week in Campus Insanity.” There you can get a good grasp on the lunacy that passes for education on our college campuses. For example, the student government at Santa Rosa Junior College in California discussed changing the name of Thanksgiving to “Thanks-taking” or “Thanks-killing because those names would be more “honest, and less dangerous and offensive.” Additionally, in a moment befitting the satirical Babylon Bee, the English department at Rutgers declared that proper English grammar is racist.
Also, the David Horowitz Freedom Center has started to out “America-Hating Professors to Students and Alumni.” Its website advises us that James Thomas, a tenured professor at the University of Mississippi, has described “MAGA teens” as “modern day Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth).” The etiquette-challenged Thomas has also called for his fellow leftists to interrupt Republicans at dinner and “put your whole damn fingers in their salads because they don’t deserve your civility.”
The recently deceased American scholar, writer, and economics professor Walter Williams wrote a piece just before his death a couple of weeks ago in which he reports, “Several years ago, Project Baltimore began an investigation of Baltimore’s (primarily black) school system. What it found was an utter disgrace. In 19 of Baltimore’s 39 high schools, out of 3,804 students, only 14 of them, or less than 1%, were proficient in math. In 13 of Baltimore’s high schools, not a single student scored proficient in math. In five Baltimore City high schools, not a single student scored proficient in math or reading.”
Unless we start teaching the ABCs as opposed to BLM, American students will continue their descent into the dumbed-down, hate-filled hellhole that has been carved out for them by radical activists. And, ironically and infuriatingly, hardworking mainstream American taxpayers are subsidizing the revolution. This is simply outrageous.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.
Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers and the general public with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues. The views presented here are strictly his own.