Students attending government schools in the Edina School District in suburban Minneapolis have been subjected to the district’s “All for All” strategic plan since 2013. The program is “a sweeping initiative that reordered the district’s mission from academic excellence for all students to ‘racial equity,’” the Weekly Standard reported in February. “The Edina school district’s All for All plan mandated that henceforth ‘all teaching and learning experiences’ would be viewed through the ‘lens of racial equity,’ and that only ‘racially conscious’ teachers and administrators should be hired.”
Kindergarten students participate in a project aimed at examining their skin color. Tenth graders are required to take a course focusing on colonization, immigration, and “Social Constructions of Race, Class and Gender.” Since the program’s implementation, black student test scores have largely decreased across the board.
‘Can’t Really Be Surprised’
Julie Gunlock, a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum, says parents are largely to blame for curricula like the Edina program becoming rampant in government schools.
“Parents need to take some of the responsibility” for the trend, Gunlock said. “After all, parents have willingly ceded many parental duties to schools and school officials. We can’t really be surprised that teachers and school administrators view it as their duty to teach a certain political ideology when they do a ton of other things for kids. Schools offer three meals a day, before- and after-care babysitting, healthcare, contraception, recreational programs to entertain our kids, daycare services for teens who have had babies. Some schools even send kids home with food over holiday breaks when the school is closed.
“The sad truth is that public schools are becoming social service hubs, so we shouldn’t be shocked when those that work in schools seek to prop up that system,” Gunlock said.
Parents Are Frequently Shut Out
Jane Robbins, a senior fellow with the American Principles Project, says schools oftentimes go to great lengths to conceal what’s going on in classrooms.
“Most schools aren’t as explicit about what they’re doing as Edina is,” Robbins said. “I was quite struck by how explicit they are, by the types of people they’re hiring and the mindsets they require before they hire certain people. That was just quite remarkable to me. But as far as other schools are concerned, this sort of thing is happening, not to that degree, but it’s coming in just through the general curricula that are being turned out by various instructional materials companies and certainly with education tech products like digital learning.
“When something is online, frequently parents can’t even see what their children are seeing at school,” Robbins said. “Sometimes they can—sometimes there’s a parent portal, but frequently there isn’t, and sometimes the children are not allowed to log in to the school materials at home. They have to do that at school, so parents are frequently shut out. They have no idea what is happening, and I can assure you that the problem isn’t that the learning materials are leaning conservative. They’re all leaning in the other direction.”
‘It Is Slow and Relentless’
Robbins says the educational elites pushing these politicized curricula are relentless and secretive in their efforts.
“They play the long game,” Robbins said. “They’ve been playing the long game for 100 years. They don’t think anything of getting struck down by a local school board. They just bide their time and work on other areas, then slowly but surely it all comes around. … So [for instance], somebody creates a digital curriculum for California, then other states start to use that curriculum, and parents don’t know it’s being used, and frequently the local and state school boards wouldn’t even know that’s in the curriculum. It is slow and relentless, like dripping water, and eventually it will erode away all of our founding values.”
Robbins says the type of instruction conducted at Edina and elsewhere will have terrible consequences for society in the long run.
“You’re are not going to have students who are well-educated,” Robbins said. “You are going to have students who are indoctrinated in certain beliefs and that sort of thing. If you are minimizing the great literature and the legitimate, objective lessons of history that students have been exposed to in the past, then you are going to have less-educated people and you’re going to have more divisiveness.”
‘Parents Need to Be More Involved’
Gunlock says parents have to pay attention to what their children are being taught and not hesitate to object.
“Parents need to be more involved,” Gunlock said. “They need to see the classroom curriculum. They should be talking regularly to their child's teacher, and they need to feel comfortable demanding changes if they disagree with what is being taught. Too often, conservative parents don't want to make a fuss or be seen as pushy or impolite. There are various civilized ways in which to make your voice heard, but conservatives shouldn’t expect this dynamic to change if they remain silent.
“There are still good people who work in public schools and respect differences of opinion, even about politics,” Gunlock said. “It’s time to engage in the process a bit more, instead of sitting idly by. Our children need us to get more involved. That’s the only way we'll reverse the disturbing trend of political activism in the classroom.”