Academics have hijacked our universities into conformance with the Marxist view that all events involve class struggle. Every issue is seen through the lens of victims versus oppressors, and social injustice is to blame for all that is wrong. This “weltanschauung” has become totalitarian groupthink on campuses, shutting down dialogue and diversity of opinion.
Having successfully indoctrinated college students, progressives are reaching into secondary and even primary schools. Teacher training seminars inculcate postmodern/post-colonialist identity politics. Private and public schoolteachers appreciate easy access to timesaving teaching manuals, handouts and curriculum guides to help design their classes. These materials often encapsulate claims about the evils of Western colonialism, white privilege, and the oppression of “marginalized groups” within our so-called endemically racist and sexist Western culture.
College students publicize what happens on their campus and within their classrooms, unlike the inexperienced K-12 community of our most impressionable and pliable.
Race, ethnicity and gender, together with a healthy dose of anti-Americanism, are emphasized in secondary school social studies curricula. They focus on our past sins rather than recognizing and honoring the greatness of those who fought for our liberty, created our institutions of government and made possible the most prosperous and free way of life ever realized by humanity. The goal is to tear apart rather than to foster understanding, respect, confidence and civic pride.
Thanks to the few alert students who communicate with their parents, we are starting to discover what our children are exposed to daily in many schools.
In 2014, in an apparent effort to promote Islam over Christianity and Judaism, Maryland’s La Plata High School ordered students to write the Islamic creed “Shahada,” which is used for conversion and states, in part, “There is no god but Allah.” Students were given a worksheet stating, “Most Muslims’ faith is stronger than the average Christian.” This came to light only when an alert parent questioned his daughter.
In 2015, Ithaca, New York’s Beverly Martin Elementary School invited known Palestinian activists to present a blatantly one-sided program to third graders. This included a video of a Palestinian girl defaming Israelis as terrorists and saying Jews kill children like her. As a result, children expressed anger and hatred toward Israel. Similar pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel, anti-Zionist themes play out in many classrooms across the country.
In late 2016, a student recorded a teacher at Norman North High School in Oklahoma saying, “To be white is racist, period.”
To promote racial identity politics at Edina Highlands Elementary School in Minnesota, first graders, as part of a “melanin project,” were taught that their identities are tied to their skin color. Fourth and fifth-graders participated in a program characterizing the anti-police Black Lives Matter as a peace movement. Very young students were encouraged to read an alphabet book teaching that A is for Activists (Are you one?), C is for Creative Counter to Corporate Vultures, T is for Trans and X is for Malcolm X. A student in the school district’s required 10th-grade English course commented, “[This] class should be renamed … ‘Why white males are bad, and how oppressive they are.’’’
Teach for America promoted a math curriculum, “Teaching Social Justice Through Secondary Mathematics,” to advocate progressive agendas like open borders, the evils of anthropomorphic climate change and white racism. In response to criticism, it replaced “Social Justice” with “Social Issues,” softened the most radical elements and removed the section calling mathematics a white male field.
At California’s Rocklin Academy, kindergarten classes are exposed to transgender instruction without parental notification. Unaware that a male student now identified as a female, a first grader was sent to the principal for “misgendering” by using the classmate’s given name.
These exemplify a campaign of indoctrination in our grammar and high schools. Leftist activists observe no boundaries even when it involves young children. They know that, with prior exposure to progressive advocacy, students arriving at college already will see the world in terms of victimhood, grievance and oppression. It’s a slam-dunk!
When discussion of race, sex, gender and colonialism is used to promote a one-sided political agenda, American education is debased. When teachers convey their preferences and convictions to students in order to influence their behavior, education quickly becomes propaganda.
Ziva Dahl is a senior fellow with the news and public policy group Haym Salomon Center.