Interesting was the OBSERVER article on the recent Silver Creek Central School Board meeting where the district’s professional learning plan was discussed. The board was told that the plan focused on academic achievement, character development, social and emotional well-being, and family engagement.
Certainly, everyone knows that academic success fostered by family involvement is essential in the learning process. However, I have a few questions about the school’s commitment to student character development and the social and emotional well-being of students. I understand that we live in a very different world from the one in which my wife and I grew up and later raised our own children. However, are schools the right instrument to tackle these problems?
I have always thought that the job of schools was to teach students reading, writing, math, English, a foreign language, what used to be called civics, geography, history and science. I may have left out some things, but it’s still a long list and the one that has most often been seen as the main focus of our schools.
It should be noted that in studies of educational achievement around the world, the United States ranks at the bottom of the list at 20th. In another study on education, the United States ranked 25th in science, 24th in reading and 40th in math, in each case out of 70 countries surveyed. Shouldn’t a nation with the largest economy in the world, which spends huge sums on education at all levels, achieve better results? I certainly think so.
When I was in school, things like “fostering character and improving overall emotional health were left to the family. Then, in the 1960s, federal social programs instituted by the Johnson administration encouraged federal and state intrusions into family life. At the same time, there was an increase in single-parent families and also families where both parents worked. Many now believe that these factors have contributed to confusion about the role of schools in a child’s development and education, which has led to the current problems with academic achievement in the United States.
Taking advantage of this confusion over the role of the school, progressive activists in teachers’ unions, colleges, and those who developed educational policies saw a chance to take advantage of this situation as a means of increasing their influence on the society and about what and how our children were taught.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, when most school districts transitioned to remote learning, parents finally had the opportunity to see what their children were learning. In many cases, they discovered that their children were uneducated but often indoctrinated into radical and enlightened progressive ideas. What parents saw was education based on DEI – or Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Diversity in the classroom is said to develop tolerance and a sense of safety in students. Equity is defined as a level playing field with equal educational outcomes as the goal. Inclusion in education means ensuring that every child, regardless of their individual needs, has equal access to opportunities for success. Sounds pretty benign, doesn’t it?
However, much of the theory found in DEI has its origins in critical race theory developed by Marxist-leaning professors on college campuses as a race-based form of Marxism, with the oppressors and oppressed now being the white race and people of color.
Today, supporters of CRT, such as the National Association of School Psychologists, the leading organization for school psychologists in the United States, claim that CRT provides “a theoretical framework for examining American society with the belief that racism is embedded in American laws and institutions and not just the result of individual prejudice or prejudice.”
Last July, the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers’ union, approved a plan to promote critical race theory in all 50 states and 14,000 local school districts. It also approved funding for three separate items related to this issue: “increase implementation” of “critical race theory” in K-12 curricula, promoting critical race theory in local school districts and attacking opponents of critical race theory, including parent organizations and conservative research centers.
With several powerful and influential organizations in our schools advocating for CRT, I believe it is important that parents and all citizens know what and how our children are learning in our schools.
I strongly believe that children need to be educated about the evils of racism, slavery and segregation, but the problem with critical race theory is that it ignores the hundreds of thousands of lives lost in the Civil War to end slavery or the efforts of men and women. of all colors who fought in the struggles of the civil rights movement to end segregation.
Thomas Kirkpatrick Sr. is a resident of Silver Creek. Send your comments to [email protected]