Let's start at the beginning. What do all these buzz terms mean? We now hear them tossed about all over the place: Critical Race Theory, Social Emotional Learning, Culturally Responsive Education/Teaching, Diversity/Equity/Inclusion. These are all part of a program designed to eliminate the proper education of America's youth and drive a wedge between children and their parents. The ultimate objective? The destruction of the American family and the tearing down of our representative republic.
Let's take a look at the component parts.
Critical Race Theory (CRT) is a version of critical theory, an idea which helped spawn the totalitarian ideals of Marxism and Nazism. The idea is really quite simple: all white people are white supremacists and all non-white people are victims of white supremacy. This idea represents the weaponization of the idea that systemic racism is a given which cannot be argued against. We have a whole 'nother page on the subject of CRT. Suffice it to say here that the theory is both wrong and dangerous.
Diversity Equity and Inclusion are the stated "goals" of this program. It is meant to sound quite reasonable to busy parents who don't have the time to do basic research on what's being taught. Oh, and if you raise an objection? You're a racist. Period. End of story.
Culturally Responsive Education/Teaching (CRE), we are told, involves using a student's customs, characteristics, lived experience, and perspectives as a tool for better classroom instruction. Geneva Gay (the woman who coined the term back in 2000) wrote that "when academic knowledge and skills are situated within the lived experiences and frames of reference for students, they are more personally meaningful, have higher interest appeal, and are learned more easily and thoroughly." It is the kind of teaching that will help students of color see themselves and their communities as belonging in schools and other academic spaces, which will lead to more engagement and success. Who could be against that, right?
As Erich Vieth explains in his article The Problem with "Culturally Responsive Education" (CRE) and Other Variants of Neoracism:
Despite what some of its proponents would have us believe, CRE is much more than simply a framework for student-centered learning and a celebration of different cultures and cultural ways of knowing. CRE's focus on "power dynamics," "social change," "liberation," and "equitable outcomes" plainly reveal that critical pedagogy is baked into CRE. Critical pedagogy, popularized by Paolo Freire, is the Marxism-derived school of critical theory applied to education. Thus, it designates K-12 classrooms as the place to start a revolution to dismantle the dominant power structures -- meaning our current systems of liberal democracy. Critical pedagogy is explicitly a political ideology -- similar to other illiberal ideologies that focus on "liberation" and seek equality of outcomes -- aiming to turn students into revolutionary activists.
With CRE becoming widespread, we must consider: Is there a better way to leverage student engagement for success across cultures? And, most importantly, how do we ensure that all students, regardless of their group identities, become "classroom insiders" without dehumanizing them or flattening them into stereotypes -- and without replacing learning with activism?
Stangle-Plowe offers a good analysis of Culturally Responsive Education over on the FAIR website:
Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is a "thought reform system" which targets the minds of young children, the most vulnerable and impressionable within our society. It is designed ultimately to prevent parents from having any say whatsoever over how their kids are raised and educated, thereby undermining / destroying the American family and the very fabric of American society.
SEL is about shaping, changing, and transforming the attitudes, the values, the beliefs of your children. At the outset the program was seen as innocuous, but that changed in 2020 with the introduction of a completely new brand of Social Emotional Learning called Transformative SEL.
Transformative SEL `embraces the idea of "culturally relevant/responsive" activities first introduced by professor Gloria Ladson-Billings, the same woman who brought Critical Race Theory to K-12 education.
We should also note that the Transformative brand of SEL is basically race and gender ideology embedded into what had previously been neutral student competencies. "Self-Awareness" now encompasses identity, where "identity" is now being defined through the lens of "intersectionality".
A few things to keep in mind here.
First off, building curriculum around a student's skin color, ancestry, or gender raises serious questions about the very purpose of education. Are we now to believe that school is not where kids learn to read, write, and do arithmetic? Now it's all about learning that America is bad, that everyone falls into one of the two classifications of victim or oppressor, that parents are terribly misinformed, and that there is no such thing as ojective truth.
Secondly, teaching programs like CRE which base engagement of students on race or other immutable traits? This appears on the face of it to be the epitome of racism. The idea that all people who share the same group identity would somehow also share the same interests, experiences, or beliefs? This is both reductive and demeaning. This approach fails to give proper acknowledgment to the uniqueness of every human experience.
Another consideration: SEL is effectively asking teachers to act as therapists. Provided with only a rudimentary pop-psychology introduction and perhaps a one day "professional development" session, teachers are encouraged to probe into their students' psyches in order to uncover and address "trauma". There are reasons why medical boards and the ethics they undergird prohibit people who do not have a license and are not properly trained from engaging in offering therapy. No matter what the intention, therapists need to be qualified. Period. End of story.
A side note here. School surveys have become central to the implementation of SEL. These surveys ask students highly sensitive, very personal questions about their moods, their attitudes, their beliefs, their family, and even their sexuality. Quite often parents are not made aware of the questions being posed to their children. And of course there is the issue of privacy: what assurances do students and their families have that the answers given in these surveys will remain private? In a recent incident hackers managed to steal the personal information of over 820,000 students from the public schools in New York City. It is not unreasonable for concerned parents to expect further hacks and data privacy violations, and it might be time to ask whether intrusive school surveys should be made "opt-in" rather than "opt-out"
For these and other reasons, SEL remains a bad idea. The bottom line, as explained by Dr. Lindsay:
You have to protect your kids first. I want to kind of finish with a pro-family message, because I need you to understand something very important about this. The number one thing that they need for this idiotic vision to work, or at least to attempt it, is for them to be able to destroy the relationship between you and your children. And they are working as hard as they can to sow the seeds that will cause your kids to come home and think that you're out of date, you're obsolete, you're an old fogey, you're backwards, you're bigoted, you're a fascist, or whatever it happens to be. Above all else, and especially if your kids are younger, take time and energy every single day to make sure that they know that that relationship that you have with them is number one.
Nourish and protect your families, because if they can split the family they can win, and if they can't split the family they have no hope. Everybody here who is a parent or grandparent is therefore on exactly the front line, the frontest of the front lines, the vanguard front line of what's going on here, because you have the ability to protect your kids, reach your kids, and make sure your kids have a solid grounding and solid values, that they aren't going to be swayed by this. You also have the ability to make decisions like opting out of surveys, putting pressure on school boards, putting pressure on local politicians, becoming the school board as some of your are, becoming local politicians, putting pressure on state politicians, becoming state politicians. Somebody has to do that; you're somebody.
You are on the front line, though, with your kids, and their ability to sever the relationship between you and your kids. Don't underestimate the power of this stuff to get in a kid's head, especially a teenager, and speaking as a man especially a teenage girl. Hhhh. And put a wedge between you and your daugher. Or your son. It's very very important that you nourish and protect those relationships and make sure those things are number one, and there is nothing higher, nothing more important to do than that. So nourish your families, nourish your neighborhoods, and tell your friends they need to do the same, because this is the scariest thing any generation of children in this country has ever faced, and if we are successful, maybe will ever face. And maybe we didn't want it, and maybe we have better stuff to do or like to pretend that we have better stuff to do than saving our kids and saving our country, but we don't. You don't have anything better to do. They're your kids. Either you're going to parent them, or the government is going to decide it's going to do this to them in lieu of parenting them.
SEL. Don't trust it. Fight against it. Protect your kids.