Some Help for the Woke Wars
America is emerging from one plague only to find itself in the throes of another. A dark cloud of woke has descended upon this great land and is threatening to rip asunder the fabric of our free society. Naturally, progressives are attempting to normalize radical woke concepts by indoctrinating the nation’s youth while they have them captive in schools for six or eight hours a day.
My colleague Stacey Lennox just wrote an excellent — and disturbing — column about how committed the major teachers’ unions are to making the teaching of commie critical theories almost impossible to get out of public schools. Here’s a glimpse:
The NEA is vowing to accelerate programs and ideas like this. There are reasons to believe the AFT will go down a similar road. Together they represent 4.7 million active members in thousands of school districts nationwide. Parents opposed to the ideas the teachers’ union seems determined to incorporate may need to consider the possibility that eradicating the critical theories from the K-12 classroom is not possible. Schools of education pump out these ideas with nearly every diploma and it exists in districts not represented by a teachers’ union.
My daughter has only been out of high school for five years and the landscape has changed so much for the worse in that time.
There is still a window of opportunity to fight this institutionalizing of a radical agenda but it is closing fast. The good news is that the far left isn’t very stealthy about what they’re up to anymore. Parents are becoming more and more aware of what is going on in schools. The pandemic was a blessing in disguise in that it really revealed the true nature of union teachers to people who had long bought into the myth about them all caring about truly educating children.
The good people at the Manhattan Institute recently published a lengthy article titled “Woke Schooling: A Toolkit for Concerned Parents.” It goes very deep into the problem, but, as the title states, they’re providing parents with ways to fight it.
It is very much a think tank piece. The brief also explains a lot, beginning with how to define the situation:
An appropriate name for this phenomenon has proved elusive: “wokeness,” “the successor ideology,” or “neo-racism” have all been floated. In the context of schooling, sometimes critics allude to “critical race theory” (CRT), a school of thought in law schools that has been adapted into the educational domain. But because CRT is both overinclusive (it includes concepts not used in schools) and underinclusive (not all the ideas emergent in schools come from CRT), it is not the most apt name for what’s going on.
Rather, what we are interested in here might be termed “critical pedagogy.” “Critical pedagogy” names—without exhaustively defining—the host of concepts, terms, practices, and theories that have lately taken hold in many public and private schools. This term alludes to a connection to CRT—it might be thought of as critical race theory as applied to schooling—but also to “critical studies” and “critical theory,” a broader set of contemporary philosophical ideas that have been particularly influential in certain circles of the modern Left.
There is an extensive glossary of the terms most frequently bandied about by the proponents of critical theories. They’ve also provided a PDF of the brief that parents can download for reference. It wraps up with what steps can be taken to address “critical pedagogy” in schools.
It’s not light reading, but it is a good read for anyone who wants to be well prepared to push back a little or a lot. It’s not really a “woke is evil” approach because this is, after all, the Manhattan Institute. Decorum is a priority. I’m the guy you come to if you want something more charged with emotion.
Good luck to all who are dealing with this right now.