News & Politics

N.J. Schools Pushing Far-Left Indoctrination. What the Hell Is Betsy DeVos Doing?

Screenshot from Twitter

Melissa Barnett, a supervisor of English Language Arts in the Washington Township School District in New Jersey, caused outrage on Twitter by tweeting out a photo of hundreds of books in dumpsters. “This week, dumpsters were filled with books that should have left decades ago @TWPSchools and replaced with engaging, relevant, culturally diverse literature.”

Screenshot taken of Melissa Barnett’s tweet before it was deleted

This led to cries of “book burning” by critics and crowdsourcing to identify the books in the bins.

PJ Media reached out to the Washington Township School District to find out more. “I was not unaware they were cleaning out a book room,” said Steve Gregor, director of secondary education. “Many of them were in poor condition and unreadable, dating back to the 1960s or earlier. We intended to replace [relevant] books with new copies.” Among the books that were reordered are Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, 1984, by George Orwell, Slaughter House Five, by Kurt Vonnegut, Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck, Dante’s Inferno, and Night, by Elie Wiesel.

Most of the new books that were added to the classroom libraries are for independent reading time to be selected by the students. They include The Poet X, by Terreece Clarke which, according to Common Sense Media (CSM), contains sex, drinking, violence, drugs, and bad language.

It’s a coming-of-age story about a first-generation Dominican American teen, Xiomara, growing up as a thoroughly American young woman with a developed body in a deeply religious (Catholic) immigrant home. There are instances of street harassment, parental abuse, religious discussions, sexual exploration (some kissing, and one scene of heavy petting), and the revelation of a character being gay. . .her mother makes her kneel on uncooked rice and hits Xiomara, causing injury.

Other offerings are Educated, by Tara Westover, a book recommended by Michelle Obama about being abused in a homeschooling survivalist family, and The House on Mango Street, which is full of child abuse, sex, and rape that CSM  calls “gritty material.” Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah, also made the list of new books and is about growing up under apartheid in South Africa. At least this one seems interesting, but it is also awash in abuse and violence. I Am the Messenger, by Matt Berman, is “loaded with swearing and sexual references and fantasies. There are several bloody beatings, a husband rapes his wife, and characters smoke and drink to excess,” according to CSM. Bodega Dreams, by Ernesto Quinonez, seems great. Here’s an excerpt from Amazon,

Blanca wasn’t allowed to wear jeans but she made up for it by wearing tight, short skirts. She always carried a Bible with her and never talked bad about anybody and at school she only hung around with her Pentecostal friend, Lucy. Lucy was a hairy girl who never shaved her legs because it was against her religion. . .Made you want to pick up a tambourine and join her one night in her church. Make a joyful noise to the Lord so she would begin to jump up and down to all that religious salsa. And maybe you’d be lucky enough to cop a cheap feel as the Holy Ghost took over her body.

And the last “engaging, relevant and culturally diverse” book on the list is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon, that parents on Amazon describe as offensive and dark.

“What the author tries to do is obliterated by the overuse of offensive language,” wrote one parent. “An 11-year old read this book and thought it had way too many bad words. If it was not a reading assignment from school, I would not have allowed her to read it. I don’t understand how this can be a pick of any writing award group. The plot is gruesome and it is too dark of a theme for middle schoolers.”

“I did not like this book at all,” wrote another.

The theme here seems to be that culturally diverse books must have violence, sexual degeneracy, rape, and foul language. I don’t know about you, but that sure seems racist to me. Are the New Jersey “equity” educators saying that minority children only understand and relate to violence, abuse, and vulgarity? It’s sad that there are so few uplifting choices in YA literature. Instead, the genre seeks to draw its readers into the gutter to wallow in filth and degeneracy.

The school district declined to name any of the books that were removed and not replaced, but Twitter users have identified at least two. One of them seems like it would be awfully relevant to today’s youth called, The Ox-Bow Incident, by Walter Tilburg Clark, which is “a harrowing novel about ordinary people drawn into a murderous lynch-mob, exploring the nature of violence, mob mentality and the subversion of justice by supposedly good people.” This seems far more relevant to the high school experience of 2019 than the “culturally diverse” offerings the district chose.

More troubling than the book selections of a single district is the reason the changes were made in the first place. “We get our marching orders from the [New Jersey] Department of Education,” said Gregor, the Washington Township school official. And those orders included “equity training” that Gregor says he has participated in as a speaker. These trainings have led to assignments in schools like the one in North Carolina that left students in tears because they were asked to publicly declare their sexual identities in front of their peers. The assignment, which was quickly pulled after media attention, came from one of these “equity trainings” that seem to be about pushing far-left social justice onto children at the expense of taxpayer dollars. PJM’s investigation into these events uncovered that the equity office in North Carolina’s school district had partnered with the highly partisan Southern Poverty Law Center in using its website,, to push out sexual identity politics into the public school system there.

New Jersey schools are also getting their direction from these new equity projects that share the same goals of infiltrating every class in order to create “equity,” but is little more than disguised political messaging.

The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) is excited to announce its first statewide “Equity for All” conference entitled to be held July 31, 2019 at The College of New Jersey, Ewing. The conference is designed to highlight educational expertise from across the state that shares best practices and strengthens teaching, leading and learning through the lens of equity for all in education. (emphasis mine)

Both in New Jersey and North Carolina, the equity conferences were the first of their kind. These are new directives that have clearly been well-organized and planned for some time. Students and parents are reporting that these equity initiatives are being carried out in every class through reading assignments, tolerance projects, and more, all focusing on sexual identity politics or racism and social justice. These lessons also include teaching the students how to be “activists,” which is why we are seeing organized student protests pop up around the country — protests that always seem to support Democrat talking points like gun control or climate change initiatives.

A review of the group activities for the New Jersey Equity for All conference found many politically charged sessions, including one on Black Lives Matter and teaching about white privilege in class.

Screenshot from Equity for All website

Educators do not seem to understand that these talking points come directly from the Democratic Party and they are not accepted as fact by half of this country. Half of America rejects the idea that America is a racist nation or that whiteness comes with privilege. What the school systems are doing here is indoctrinating children into a political point of view. This is not education — it’s Marxist brainwashing.

Screenshot from “Equity for All” website

The materials included for use in the classroom under “LGBTQ and You” included this disturbing music video of boys and girls abusing one another for wanting to break out of gender “stereotypes.”

The New Jersey equity conference is also pushing the unscientific and false “genderbread person” baloney again. The time that has been dedicated to these conferences and integrating these things into the classrooms makes me wonder how New Jersey schools rate in reading, writing, and arithmetic.

screenshot from Equity for All website

This is indoctrination into far-left politics at very high levels. The equity mandates that are taking over public schools need to be investigated to find out who is behind them. PJM reached out to the Betsy DeVos’s Department of Education for comment.

The Department, under Sec. DeVos’ leadership, has been very careful not to wade into curriculum issues except when we are statutorily authorized to do so by Congress (e.g., when Congress creates curricular requirements for a specific type of grant funding).

In other words, parents, you’re on your own. Don’t expect the guy you voted for, who promised to roll back the creeping communist nightmare in public schools you pay for, to do anything about it. I would like to take a moment to remind the Trump administration going into re-election next year that one of the main catalysts for support for Donald Trump was the pushback against the Obama-era social justice tyranny taking over schools. To ignore this and allow our public schools to be completely taken over by the left, as we saw this week in the school walkouts indoctrination marches to support the Democrats’ “Green New Deal,” is a bad move in an election year.