Monday, March 8, 2021

Education as Anti-racist Therapy

While many of America’s teachers’ unions, in connivance with the Biden administration, are doing their best to deprive America’s schoolchildren of an education by keeping them closed, private schools continue to function.

Then again, in a place like New York City, home to many of the nation’s elite private schools, “function” is not quite the right word. If the Dalton School is an indication, they have become indoctrination mills, propagating critical race theory. One should not have to mention it, but this teaching will render children permanently dysfunctional, unable to do any serious job in the new tech economy. In truth, it will make them incapable of doing any serious work-- except perhaps burning down police stations and ruining the minds of schoolchildren, just as theirs were ruined.

Today’s column, from the Wall Street Journal, comes to us from one Bion Bartning. He is a person of color. His children attend a toney private school called the Riverdale Country School. This year, the school has given itself over to race-based consciousness raising. And to telling children to police the actions of classmates to see who has stepped over the line. If it sounds like totalitarian mind control that’s because it is totalitarian mind control, with a heady mixture of brainwashing.

He opens his essay thusly:

My awakening to the new orthodoxy began during this past summer of discontent. In mid-June, a few weeks after the George Floyd protests began, the head of Riverdale Country School, the New York City private school my wife and I entrusted with the education of our two young children, sent a memo apologizing for unspecified past wrongs. “We have the responsibility to use our privilege to fight for change,” he explained. “We are also free to shift some aspects of our culture more quickly than other institutions and organizations.”

To begin this trip into moral and mental destitution, the school began by banning patriotism. That is, by banning the Pledge of Allegiance and the song, “America the Beautiful.”

In September, at the first assembly of the year, instead of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and singing “America the Beautiful”—longstanding school traditions—the head of the lower school announced that the “theme” for the year would be “allyship.” 

The school is encouraging children to police the thoughts, words and deeds of their classmates. They are very young children:

He then played a video in which the school mascot told students, ages 5 through 11, to “check each other’s words and actions.” The lower-school head had earlier written that “it is essential that parents/caregivers and educators acknowledge racial differences (as opposed to a ‘colorblind’ stance)” and offered reading recommendations such as Robin DiAngelo’s “White Fragility.” Families at Riverdale are encouraged to join school-sponsored “affinity” groups to bond with people from their ethnicity or skin color. One is called simply “the POC,” short for “parents of color.”

Bartning’s wife came to the United States as a refugee. The new American totalitarianism has a very familiar ring to her:

My wife came to the U.S. as a refugee from the former Soviet Union. She spent the first five years of her life in an intolerant society where her “group identity” as a Jew was stamped in her passport. In school she was taught to keep tabs on friends and family, and after one particularly effective lesson, she was inspired to turn in her own father to the local police for “crimes against the state.” Fortunately, no harm came of it. But suffice it to say we are both allergic to forced conformity, especially when young, impressionable children are trained to obsess over “racial differences” and be on the lookout for deviations from orthodoxy.

The school is no longer interested in educating children. It is interested in turning them into activists. In principle, this means, as we have seen in other school districts, that the way to close the performance gap between white and minority children will be to dumb down the curriculum, even to the point of ending Advanced Placement courses:

After confirming that the curriculum, obtained from a nonprofit called Pollyanna Inc., was “one of many resources” the school was using, I became concerned by the emphasis on grievance over gratitude and by the stated goal of turning young children into committed activists. “By the end of the unit,” one section of the curriculum explains, “students will set commitments for rectifying current social ills, such as learning and planning how to carry out anti-racist activism and/or social advocacy in their communities.”

And, of course, the story does not stop at Riverdale or at Dalton. Better yet, this new effort to destroy children’s minds is now being promoted as therapy:

The real story here isn’t about Riverdale. My kids’ school is one tiny data point. This backward belief system is capturing public and private schools across the country. City Journal’s Christopher Rufo reports that a public school in Cupertino, Calif., forced third-graders to rank themselves according to their “power and privilege,” and the San Diego Unified School District held a training in which white teachers were told that they “spirit murder” black children and should undergo “antiracist therapy.” There are hundreds of examples, and countless others that haven’t been reported. Millions of American children are being taught to see the world in this reductionist way.


Sam L. said...

"The school is no longer interested in educating children. It is interested in turning them into activists." Or as Rush Limbaugh used to say, "mind-numbed robots".

Anonymous said...

Rush Limbaugh loved himself some "mind-numbed robots" long time.