January 26th 2021
Hours after being sworn in as America's 46th president, Joe Biden reversed Trump's ban on using toxic Critical Race Theory in federal government diversity trainings. Doing so has reopened the floodgates for allowing anti-American identity politics in our public institutions and schools.
Corwin Press, an academic publisher that supplies books for K-12 schools, has taken advantage of Biden's new agenda by releasing a series of free teacher resources titled "Responding to Insurrection, Domestic Terrorism, and Threats to Democracy."
A quick look at these so-called teacher resources, which are linked at the top of Corwin's webpage, reveals that they are disturbingly political and agenda-driven, with a clear objective to teach children what to think and not how to think. In short, these resources fail to allow students to critically analyze current events in an accurate and balanced context. They do not offer a classic pro and con format, but are presented from a one-sided lens that makes a complex situation simplistic.
In particular, they push polarizing identity politics, based in Critical Race Theory, on children in K-12 schools. These resources do not treat students as individuals, but polarize them by race - stereotyping whites as privileged oppressors and people of color as oppressed victims. The curriculum resource titled "Let's Talk Racial Healing: If Not Us, Then Who?," by Victoria Romero and Gary Howard, is anything but healing. It indoctrinates youths with the anti-American message that the United States is founded not on the ideals of democracy and freedom, but on racism and white supremacy.
The resource begins by stating, "From the fifteenth century to the twenty-first, the genocide of Indigenous people and the enslavement of Black people, the voter suppression of the Jim Crow era to the most recent violent attempt to storm the Capitol and de-legitimize the votes of millions of Black, Brown, and Native people, a consistent through-line of our history has been white supremacy." Not exactly a skills-based curriculum, to say the least.
Another resource, titled "How to Teach Students About the Capitol Riots Using A Social Justice Framework" by Dr. Crystal Belle, begins by stating, "Drawing on the spirit of social justice and radical Black feminism, I welcome you into this written testimony of what it means to be a social justice educator after the Capitol riots that violently catapulted us into 2021." Since when are America's K-12 classrooms a platform for radical black feminism?
Corwin's so-called teaching resources also push the highly political and agenda-driven Black Lives Matter curriculum, which aims to indoctrinate children with BLM's "13 Guiding Principles," one of which is commitment to "disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure." This is puzzling, considering that 50 years of educational and sociological research shows that children who come from two-parent nuclear families do better on every academic and behavior measure than students who come from a non-nuclear family structure.
Corwin's resources also violate federal anti-discrimination laws. The link titled "A Best-of-the-Best Collection of Resources for Social Justice- and Equity-Focused Educators" contains anti-racism lessons that force students to create "identity charts" that divide children and judge them based on race, religion, gender, and sexuality and force kids to "unpack colorblind ideology," literally teaching children that judging a person by the content of his character, and not the color of his skin is wrong.
As a longtime Philadelphia public schoolteacher and certified school counselor - with an M.Ed. in multicultural education - I've launched a YouTube channel titled Inside White Fragility, which offers videos that challenge the propaganda behind Critical Race Theory. Click here to subscribe.
Perhaps the most alarming thing about Corwin's curriculum resources is that they are designed to indoctrinate, not educate. Specifically, instead of encouraging free discussion and open debate on the topics of race and violent protest, they persuade teachers to silence students who may disagree by discrediting any conversation that doesn't follow Corwin's identity politics-based agenda. For example, a lesson titled "But What About Antifa?" guides teachers to discredit or marginalize any counterpoints from students aimed to create a balance of information regarding the violence and social unrest that has plagued America since last June and beyond.
If students inquire about the murder, property destruction, and domestic terrorism being perpetrated by Antifa (which was officially designated as a domestic terror organization by the Department of Justice, by the way), or the more radical fringes of Black Lives Matter, teachers are encouraged to do a lesson on "whataboutism," explaining to students that all violence, murder, and property damage is not created equal. For example, when Antifa and Black Lives Matter rioters stormed and occupied the East Police Precinct in Seattle - taking over the entire neighborhood of Capitol Hill and holding residents and businesses hostage - that violence was different.
Four people were murdered within this so-called "autonomous zone," including a 19-year-old black American boy whose mother is now suing the City of Seattle, but this murder and violence doesn't rise to the level of so-called "white supremacy," and because it's been perpetrated by people with an agenda and political ideology favorable to Corwin, bringing up this violence is to be downplayed and labeled "whataboutism" by educators.
In July of 2016, when Black Lives Matter sympathizer Micah Xavier Johnson shot and killed five Dallas police officers during a BLM protest - publicly stating he wanted to kill white people and white officers - this is "whataboutism." When Antifa and the radical fringes of BLM destroyed federal courthouses, attacked the National Guard, and shot Las Vegas police officer Shay Mikalonis in the head last summer during a George Floyd protest - paralyzing him from the neck down and forcing him to live on a ventilator for the rest of his life - that is "whataboutism."
When Antifa and the radical elements of Black Lives Matter destroyed tens of millions of dollars in property, including many small businesses that will never recover; when they looted neighborhoods and burned cars and buildings; when they terrorized citizens and business-owners who did not openly wave BLM flags; when they ripped America in half for six straight months - bringing up these events is "whataboutism."
According to Corwin's educational resources titled "Responding to Insurrection, Domestic Terrorism, and Threats to Democracy," violence is to be talked about and processed only if it fits the leftist teacher's political agenda. If it stereotypes white America, especially those with conservative values who do not believe in indoctrinating our children in identity politics, as "white supremacists" and "domestic terrorists," then you can call it out as "real" violence.
That's how identity politics and Critical Race Theory work. Divide good people up by race, religion, sex, and sexuality, and then polarize them against each other. And the ones who share you political agenda? Gloss over all of their egregious behavior and pretend it doesn't matter. And for those who demand equal treatment and colorblindness? Brand them all as white supremacists, and discredit their worldview as evidence of domestic terrorism.
"Responding to Insurrection, Domestic Terrorism, and Threats to Democracy" is an outrageous lesson in political indoctrination, and it has no place in any classroom in America that genuinely cares about democracy, freedom, or critical thinking.
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Christopher Paslay is a Philadelphia public schoolteacher, counselor, and coach. His new book, Exploring White Fragility: Debating the Effects of Whiteness Studies on America's Schools is now available for purchase.
Image: Andy Witchger via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0.