An Inside Look at a Social Justice Factory
Are schools little more than indoctrination centers now? We know that colleges are, but what about public schools?
The Weekly Standard took a look at schools in Edina, Minnesota, which has openly embraced a social justice focus. The Standard found open support for Marxism there, and a record of no improvement in academic performance.
The Standard notes that the shift began in 2013, when leadership adopted a strategic plan called "All for All." The plan called for a shift in the school system's mission from academic excellence -- you know, the reason people send their kids to school -- to "racial equity."
As writer Katherine Kersten notes, "racial equity" does not mean "fairness" or "equality": "It means racial identity politics -- an ideology that blames minority students’ academic challenges on institutional racial bias, repudiates Martin Luther King, Jr.’s color-blind ideal, and focuses on uprooting 'white privilege.'"
Sounds like something that wouldn't be out of place in Berkeley, now doesn't it? The difference is Edina's social justice agenda is entirely taxpayer-supported and begins on the first day:
[T]he school system’s obsession with “white privilege” now begins in kindergarten. At Edina’s Highlands Elementary School, for example, K-2 students participate in the Melanin Project. The children trace their hands, color them to reflect their skin tone, and place the cut-outs on a poster reading, “Stop thinking your skin color is better than anyone elses! [sic] Everyone is special!”
Highlands Elementary’s new “racially conscious” elementary school principal runs a blog for the school’s community. On it, she approvingly posted pictures of Black Lives Matter propaganda and rainbow gay-pride flags -- along with a picture of protesters holding a banner proclaiming “Gay Marriage Is Our Right.” On a more age-appropriate post, she recommended an A-B-C book for small children entitled A is for Activist. (Peruse the book and you find all sorts of solid-gold: “F is for Feminist,” “C is for … Creative Counter to Corporate Vultures,” and “T is for Trans.”)
Kersten also notes that it never stops until you escape with a diploma.
For example, an 11th-grade literature class description reads, "By the end of the year, you will have ... learned how to apply marxist [sic], feminist, post-colonial [and] psychoanalytical ... lenses to literature."
Kersten reports that parents -- thank goodness -- are running for the hills.
She recounts the story of Orlando Flores, who fled Marxists in Nicaragua as a child, pulling his own kid out of Edina High School. Said Flores: "Years ago, we fled Communism to escape indoctrination, absolutist thinking and restrictions on our freedom of speech. If we see these traits in our schools in America, we must speak out and oppose it."
Flores and his son dealt with numerous examples of social justice indoctrination prior to his family's decision to pull their child out of the school.
All of this might not be so bad if things were getting better in Edina academically. However, by almost every metric, black student performance has dropped.
Social justice as a teaching strategy has failed. The high school is faced with a lawsuit filed by the school's unofficial Young Conservatives Club, which says members were threatened and bullied for criticizing other students' disrespect of veterans during a Veterans Day program.
The school's response was that the conservative students invited threats and bullying via expressing their point of view.
What we're seeing in Edina is precisely what will happen if social justice jihadis ever get their way on a national stage. They're so completely convinced about the righteousness of their cause that they can justify any evil they wish to commit against their opponents. They will create an environment where disagreement is a punishable offense.
Despite all their preening and pontificating, they're completely unable to deliver anything that remotely looks like a benefit for the "oppressed" students, who are now slipping in academic performance. The truth is that, in 2018, race itself is no longer a barrier to success, and hasn't been in decades.
But Marxism, as always, is demonstrably oppressive.