A is for Activist 9

If you are White, you must feel ashamed. If you are Black, you must feel aggrieved.

That is what rising generations are being taught in The Land of the Free.

It is an orthodoxy that is being instilled into children from Kindergarten to 12th grade, and then cemented in young adults in the universities.

Here’s (most of) an article  from the Weekly Standard, by Katherine Kersten, reporting and commenting on “social justice” schools in Minneapolis:

For decades, the public schools of Edina, Minnesota, were the gold standard among the state’s school districts. Edina is an upscale suburb of Minneapolis, but virtually overnight, its reputation has changed. Academic rigor is unraveling, high school reading and math test scores are sliding, and students increasingly fear bullying and persecution.

The shift began in 2013, when Edina school leaders adopted the “All for All” strategic plan — a sweeping initiative that reordered the district’s mission from academic excellence for all students to “racial equity”.

“Equity” in this context does not mean “equality” or “fairness”.  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”. 

The Edina school district’s All for All plan mandated that henceforth “all teaching and learning experiences” would be viewed through the “lens of racial equity”, and that only “racially conscious” teachers and administrators should be hired. District leaders assured parents this would reduce Edina’s racial achievement gap, which they attributed to “barriers rooted in racial constructs and cultural misunderstandings“.

You see? Those “racial constructs” and “cultural misunderstandings” cause Black students to score lower grades than White students. So,”construct” race differently (in words), and clear up the “cultural misunderstandings”,  and lo! the “racial achievement gap” will disappear.

As a result, the 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”.)

At Edina High School, the equity agenda is the leading edge of a full-scale ideological reeducation campaign. A course description of an 11th-grade U.S. Literature and Composition course puts it this way: By the end of the year, you will have … learned how to apply marxist [sic], feminist, post-colonial [and] psychoanalytical … lenses to literature.

And to history, geography, and even mathematics. (Go here to read about “social justice mathematics”.)

That is the skill you need as an adult in the West in the 21st century. Apply those lenses, and you will find – eureka! – the distilled essence of long-accumulated human knowledge and wisdom; the inheritance that must be handed down from generation to generation to ensure that they live long, happy, healthy, productive lives.  

The primary vehicle in the indoctrination effort is a year-long English course — required of all 10th-graders — that centers, not on reading literature and enhancing writing skills, but on the politicized themes of “Colonization”, “Immigration” and “Social Constructions of Race, Class and Gender”. 

One student …

… as yet insufficiently educated in the doctrine …

… characterized the course this way on the “Rate My Teachers” website: “This class should be renamed . . . ‘Why white males are bad, and how oppressive they are’.”  (The negative review has since been deleted from Edina High’s “Rate My Teachers” page; but this is a screenshot from before it was memory-holed.

… Like Edina students, the district’s faculty and staff must submit to racial equity re-education.

One such mandatory session for school bus drivers is illustrative. …

The training session was entitled Edina School District Equity and Racial Justice Training: Moving from a Diversity to a Social Justice Lens. In it, trainers instructed bus drivers that “dismantling white privilege” is “the core of our work as white folks”, and that working for the Edina schools requires “a major paradigm shift in the thinking of white people”. Drivers were exhorted to confess their racial guilt, and embrace the district’s “equity” ideology.

The result of all of this? Four years into the Edina schools’ equity crusade, black students’ test scores continue to disappoint. There’s been a single positive point of data: Black students’ reading scores — all ages, all grades — have slightly increased, from 45.5 percent proficiency in 2014 to 46.4 percent proficiency in 2017.

But other than that, the news is all bad. Black students “on track for success” in reading decreased from 48.1 percent in 2014 to 44.9 percent in 2017. Math scores decreased from 49.6 percent proficiency in 2014 to 47.4 percent in 2017. Black students “on track for success” in math decreased from 51.4 percent in 2014 to 44.7 percent in 2017.

The drop was most notable at the high school level. Math scores for black students in 11th grade at Edina Senior High dropped from 31 percent proficiency in 2014 to 14.6 percent in 2017. In reading, scores for black students in 10th grade at Edina Senior High dropped from 51.7 percent proficiency in 2014 to 40 percent in 2017.

Recently, conservative students at Edina High School filed a federal lawsuit, claiming the district has violated its members’ rights of free speech and association.

The suit grew out of events following a Veteran’s Day assembly in the high school gym on November 9, 2017. There, a group of veterans spoke about their military service, and the school band played the National Anthem and Taps. During the music, some black students “protested” by refusing to stand, slouching by the bleachers, talking loudly, and blaring music on their cell phones.

Members of the school’s unofficial Young Conservatives Club (YCC) responded by criticizing the protesters’ behavior, at school and on social media. In response, the protesters and their allies harassed the conservative students, with groups “as large as 30 students . . . daily surrounding club members and threatening to injure them if they did not change their political views”, according to the lawsuit complaint. In addition, a group styling itself the “Edina High School Anti-Fascists” posted a threatening YouTube video aimed at the YCC, which declared, “We will not stop until every tentacle of your evil monstrosity is sliced off at the nerve.”

Lack of education in the use of metaphor showing there, but at least it was written and the spelling was correct. Perhaps because  Spellcheck functioned well for once. But maybe the correct spelling will be a sad sign to the teachers that White culture has not yet been sufficiently eradicated.

When the conservative students complained, the school’s principal “responded to their security concerns by saying that [they had] brought it upon themselves by criticizing the protests” at the Veterans Day program, according to the complaint.

The principal disbanded the YCC after pressuring its president to show him texts its members had sent one another about these incidents on the club’s private GroupMe. Yet school authorities apparently took no disciplinary action against the protesters and other students who had threatened and harassed YCC members.

The Edina Public Schools’ policies suggest that “all are welcome here” … but what [they] really mean is that “all are welcome except conservatives”.

The Edina school district is just one example of the ideological hijacking of legitimate academic instruction in the name of racial equity. There’s more to come. Last October, the Star Tribune …

… the largest circulation newspaper  in Minnesota …

… ran an op-ed that praised the Edina schools’ racial equity crusade, and condemned what the author described as America’s vicious history of violence and oppression — evidenced today by “Eurocentric curricula”, “hypersegregated schools”, and “biased standardized tests”. Our nation’s “racist practices”, she wrote, are what “allowed this country to expand geographically and to amass its great fortune”.  White students, she asserted, must become “racially conscious” to learn “how their own worldviews are limited by whiteness”.

The writer was Dr. Annie Mogush Mason, program director of elementary teacher education at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where the next generation of Minnesota’s teachers are being formed.

What outcome is to be expected from this agenda – to inculcate millions of American children with the ideas that Whites are the ancestral oppressors of Blacks and must be punished for it by Blacks, and that men are the historical oppressors of women and must be punished for it?

In crystal minds, not crystal balls, may be discerned a shadowy picture of predictable events.

Will it be race war?

Or the dwindling away of the White race because it has lost the will to reproduce and survive?

And what becomes of those who do survive? Will they have long, happy, healthy, productive lives? Will the light of science shine in their eyes? Will their innovative skills advance technologies for the betterment of the human race?

Or will they find themselves collectivized, ignorant, poor? Their lives nasty and short?

Posted under education, Leftism, United States by Jillian Becker on Sunday, March 4, 2018

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The puritan Church of Sustainability 5

In  higher education today, sustainability is an ideology — not a proposition to be discussed, but a baseline assumption to be taken on authority. Dissent is harshly suppressed. Scientists who question climate change, for example, are branded 21st-century heretics. In the classroom, this doctrinaire approach undermines open inquiry and rational debate — the heart of liberal education’s mission.

We quote from an important article by Katherine Kersten at the Center of American Experiment. (We found it via PowerLine, where it is reproduced in full by Scott Johnson.)

Campus Sustainability: Going Green is Just Part of the Plot

It’s the new religion, and it’s the new home of the entire liberal agenda.

Sustainability now permeates campuses from the classroom to the dorm, dining hall, faculty lounge, physical plant and alumni office. …

Sustainability, it turns out, is the new battle cry in an old war. It’s a wraparound concept that links the old, familiar liberal causes of environmental activism, animosity toward free markets, and a progressive take on “social justice”.

But it repackages them and lends them urgency by maintaining that embrace of its ideological agenda is imperative to avoid a looming ecological and social catastrophe.

The campus sustainability movement’s mission is to transform our fundamental social, economic and political institutions, and to do so by manipulating, cajoling and browbeating a generation of college students into accepting the movement’s worldview and cultural norms. …

Sustainability is not an academic discipline but an ideological “lens” through which to view all of life, as the report makes clear. Today, 475 colleges in 65 states or Canadian provinces offer a total of 1,436 degree or certificate programs in sustainability, according to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. In addition, there are countless elective classes. Cornell University offers more than 400, ranging from “The Ethics of Eating” (“defend” or change your eating habits) to “Magnifying Small Spaces Studio,” where students learn to make do living in tiny spaces.

Beyond the classroom, students are pressured — often by paid student “eco-reps” — to conform the smallest details of their daily lives to the movement’s norms. This can mean tray-less cafeteria dining; shorter showers; “Meatless Mondays”; lectures on fossil fuel divestment; and films like “Food, Inc.” or “The Story of Bottled Water”, which depict the American economy as a tool of greedy, ruthless capitalists.

How is the sustainability movement playing out on Minnesota campuses? St. John’s University in Collegeville offers an example. SJU is committed to “incorporating the goals of sustainability into every aspect of life” and focusing students’ attention on the “triple bottom line: equity, economy and the environment.”

The university — which boasts of becoming “carbon-neutral” by 2035 by conserving, changing energy sources, and investing in alternative energy and carbon offsets — offers courses like “Food, Gender and Environment”; has two “eco-houses” for student living; distributes the “SJU Green Guide,” and employs 10 full-time equivalents for diversity and equity coordination.

SJU’s sustainability push begins at freshman orientation, where students use “corn utensils and recyclable plates” during meals. All freshmen and seniors take a Sustainability Literacy Assessment, so the school can measure how effectively its saturation campaign is changing students’ beliefs and attitudes.

The University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus also bombards students with preachy exhortations on the gospel of sustainability. These include politically correct invocations about biking, transit, recycling and composting, and a “Welcome Week” during which every student has “the chance to engage with … hands-on learning activities and … to win prizes all while learning about sustainability.”

The U earns special “points” from a national sustainability rating organization because it provides “gender neutral housing” for “transgender and transitioning students” … as well as single-race housing for black men, Hmong students and other minorities.

The university’s Sustainability Studies office emphasizes the “heavy intersection” between “the issues of race relations and sustainability”. During last year’s riots in Ferguson, Mo., the office posted online resources demonstrating how “white folk can show support against police brutality,” and encouraged students to donate to “The Organization for Black Struggle” — fighting “the racist police state in Ferguson” — to help protesters with “basic needs, including food, water, gas masks and school supplies.” …

“Sustainability” is a doctrine – apodictic, unquestionable, like the doctrines of all religions:

In teaching and scientific research, it “shuts out certain questions and locks in certain answers”, as the NAS puts it. In decisionmaking about energy use and physical plant, it discourages honest analysis of costs and benefits.

In at least one university, devotees have to swear allegiance to the church and its teaching:

The movement’s “salute-and-shut-up” mind-set is reflected in the sustainability oath that students and employees at the University of Virginia are asked to take on matriculation and at graduation:

“I pledge to consider the social, economic and environmental impacts of my habits and to explore ways to foster a sustainable environment during my time here at U.Va. and beyond.”

The authoritarian impulse is also evident in the movement’s public-policy agenda. Its leaders call for vastly increasing state control over people and resources, and conferring power on government planners to distribute wealth and opportunity on the basis of skin color and socioeconomic status.

This sacrifice of individual economic, political and intellectual liberty is regarded as “the price that must be paid now to ensure the welfare of future generations”, as the NAS [National Association of Scholars] observes.

Why are students attracted to the sustainability movement?

Answer: Romanticism: the fear of reality that sustains religious faith and all utopian dreams of transforming the world nearer to the dreamer’s desire:

Its appeal springs, in large measure, from its quasi-religious nature and message. In our increasingly secular age, a focus on transcendent meaning has largely vanished from campus. Sustainability can fill the resulting vacuum by offering young people a sense of purpose and meaning.

“Like its predecessor movements that excited student passions,” sustainability “invokes moralistic duties to repair and restructure the Earth”,  explains the NAS. It “rewards its followers with a sense of belonging to a community of the enlightened few, and endows the smallest actions with meaning and significance”. Recycling a plastic cup, for example, becomes “a noble sacrifice rewarded with laurels” that “contributes inexorably” toward saving the planet.

The Church of Sustainability derives many of its major themes from Judeo-Christianity. It teaches that the Earth — once a pristine Eden — is now fallen and polluted because of human sinfulness, and that an apocalyptic Judgment Day looms unless mankind repents. Absolution and salvation are possible if humans heed the enlightened saints and prophets who warn us of impending doom.

It is a fast growing religion:

As sustainability spreads beyond the campus, we increasingly see it touted in coffee shops, celebrated by major corporations and embraced by urban planners. For example, it’s the ideology driving “Thrive MSP 2040″, the Metropolitan Council’s new 30-year plan for development in the Twin Cities region, with its pervasive themes of top-down planning and rule by “experts”.

“Experts” are the new priesthood.

It’s ironic that college campuses are home base for the sustainability movement. For higher education is among the least sustainable of our contemporary institutions. Colleges and universities are caught in a death spiral of rising costs and declining benefits. Nevertheless, they obsess about recyclable napkins, solar panels and fossil-fuel divestment, and pour $3.2 billion annually — frequently without assessing effectiveness — into achieving their dreams of sustainability, according to the NAS.

Today, colleges and universities are charging students huge, unsustainable sums — often upward of $50,000 a year — for the privilege of (among other things) living out an elite, politically correct fad. Many emerge with a crushing load of debt, at a time when, as the NAS points out, more than 50 percent of recent graduates are either unemployed or underemployed.

For these young people, there’s no better guarantee of an unsustainable future.