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Policymakers | Indoctrination

The Political Indoctrination at NYC’s Dalton School Is Not What American K-12 Education Should Be About

REALCLEAR EDUCATION   |  April 9, 2021 by Samuel J. Abrams

Events surrounding the teaching and curriculum of the Dalton School in New York City have captured national attention over woke demands such as “requiring courses focusing on “Black liberation” and “challenges to white supremacy” and “abolishing high-level academic courses by 2023 if the performance of black students is not on par with non-blacks.” Many parents are now “terrified of running afoul of the new orthodoxy in their children’s private schools” and having their reputations and careers potentially “canceled.”

The extreme progressive impulses infecting higher education in the United States have moved from campus quads and dormitories into our nation’s middle and high schools and even kindergartens.

Despite the impression that an anti-liberal, totalitarian state has seized the world of education, I have some positive news about the wave of politically correct speech and progressive ideas pervading our educational institutions: Majorities of citizens want viewpoint diversity in our K-12 world and reject these progressive ideas and behaviors.  

According to a new survey from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni of 800 Illinois residents – a diverse state resembling much of the nation demographically and economically – the growth of woke culture in our education system is not popular.

Respondents were asked to choose between which statement was closest to their own view:  

K-12 teachers should work to expose students to a variety of perspectives about the country’s founding and history, and to equip them to think critically about its successes and failures.

Or

K-12 teachers should embrace progressive viewpoints and perspectives when teaching US history, to encourage students to advocate for social justice causes.

Sixty-two percent said viewpoint diversity and critical thinking are a must in our general education system. Just 23% hold that rallying behind social justice causes via a progressive lens is preferred. The responses here are unambiguous – less than a quarter of the respondents- are supportive of woke ideas and the progressive pedagogy being pushed by loud, well-organized factions that are unrepresentative of the masses.

It is important to note what happens to the data when these attitudes toward leftist imperialism are broken down further. When race and ethnicity are considered, no racial group supports this progressive agenda. When the embracing progressive viewpoints and perspectives version is offered, just 20% of whites and a third of Hispanics (33%) selected this option. Only 29% of blacks supported this progressive view, while 44% opted for exposing students to a variety of perspectives. Racial minorities who are theoretically the beneficiaries of these progressive initiatives are not supportive of them in the schools whatsoever.

Looking at responses by education level, we may expect more formally educated respondents to adopt more liberal policy stances, but not in this case. Three-quarters of those with post-graduate degrees (73%) chose to expose students to a variety of perspectives rather than accept the progressive vision (18%). 63% of college graduates support viewpoint diversity, compared to just 25% who selected the progressive approach. As for those who are not college graduates, 58% fall on the viewpoint diversity side and just 25% on the progressive side. In each case, a clear majority of each group supported an open, deliberative vision of the classroom. Even the more educated who tend to align with liberal and progressive views held firm about the import of discourse and debate as the cornerstone of our nation’s education system.

There are significant differences when ideology is considered, but even the majority of liberals fall to the side of viewpoint diversity over a progressive monoculture. 82% of conservatives support viewpoint diversity, compared to just 9% who embrace progressive viewpoints. Moderates are a bit less interested in diverse viewpoints, with 63% wanting a variety of perspectives, compared to 23% who fall in the progressive column. Looking at liberals, 52% support exposing students to a variety of perspectives, while a third (35%) support the progressive waves hitting so many schools. Despite differences in overall intensity of support, most liberals and conservatives agree that exposing kids to a diversity of ideas is critical in our schools.

Collectively, these new data show that public opinion does not sync up with the overwhelming liberal push in our K-12 institutions. Liberal Americans would rather see more viewpoint diversity as opposed to the critical race theory and other such forms of left-wing extremism pervading into the walls of our nation’s schools.

Our K-12 experiences shape values, ideas about citizenship and community, and teach our youth about how to think and engage with ideas, making a diversity of ideas critical. Parents, teachers, policymakers, and other stakeholders must make it clear that the hard-left turn happening at Dalton is not supported by the majority of Americans, regardless of their political beliefs. We want our kids to be educated, not indoctrinated.

The original source can be found here»

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