- - Monday, February 20, 2023

Many students across America excel academically and go through school gaining meaningful and nurturing experiences, participating in an array of extracurricular activities. As the greater majority of students matriculate through school, however, they do less well each year in key academic areas, continually lagging behind their counterparts in other developed nations.

One might think that those adults charged with the education of our youngsters would be about improving poor student behavior that teaching staff find so disruptive, as well as shoring up academic deficiencies with proven instructional interventions that would bolster quality teaching and student academic performance, support first-rate teachers, cultivate an appreciation of academic rigor, and emphasize the important role that parents play in the education of their children.


But if you thought that, you’d be wrong.


Benighted lawmakers, school officials, and classroom activists posing as teachers have doubled down on their bent for dumbing down education. They’ve elected to saddle our youngsters with rampant woke indoctrination, radical gender ideology, restorative justice, critical race theory (which historians on both sides of the aisle have deemed a lie), and left-wing activism. It is a nonsensical and dangerous movement, and its claims are false.

Such divisive claptrap and the attendant identity politics are injurious to our youngsters and their families. It steals meaningful time and attention from the academic lessons students need in reading, writing, mathematics, science, history, and other academic and related arts disciplines.


In those school districts that have bowed to activist pressure, school leadership has been replaced with advocacy. They willingly sow seeds of division, and they do so with utter disregard for facts, dignity, family and country.

A current example of this poor stewardship of taxpayer dollars can be found in Howard County, Maryland, in the Baltimore-Washington corridor. Local educators recently released news of and a flyer that promotes “Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action.

According to these teaching and coaching staff professionals, “these degrading and hurtful programs follow years of incorporating left wing dogma and propaganda in our staff training that is to become part our instruction.”

As is typical of such anti-American nonsense practiced in other school districts, these educator whistleblowers describe a superintendent, board of education, and diversity, equity and inclusion staff who continue to spend taxpayer funds and time disguising the intent by carefully phrasing what is presented to the public. 

What they find galling is the school district’s portrayal of such programs as “anti-racist” so that critics of this nonsense can be depicted as unfair.

Imagine if the amount of time, energy and thought given such poisonous, divisive programs were instead spent on supporting the meaningful values that underscore successful schools, the research-based instructional best practices that propel teaching and learning, and the effective continuous improvement staff training that assists school communities in meeting instructional achievement targets.

Such a divisive philosophy as that practiced in Howard County, however, is hardly limited to that school district. It joins national, state, and other local education entities that promote division and identity politics, substituting meaningful teaching and learning for indoctrination. They do so with complete disregard for perspective, honesty, historical accuracy, rigor and merit.

Proponents of this calamitous Marxist mindset adamantly refuse to recognize that stable two-parent families, educational attainment, workforce participation and the resultant economic prosperity account for the large bulk of observed racial differences; they remain hellbent on pushing a sinister nationwide racist narrative to rationalize their own insecurity, bitterness, and lack of success.

We’re in a dark place when the worst of humanity is allowed willfully to rob our youngsters of the American dream, of personal agency, which allows youngsters to be agents of their own destiny, no matter their color.

Among the most important aspects of our constitutional republic is education — specifically, how we teach our nation’s youngsters, how we prepare the next generation to carry on the tenets of our country’s founding: equality, rights, limited government, opportunity, rule of law.

If such social engineering and politically driven curricula designed to teach children to discriminate against one another continues, we risk losing a generation of children, and we will do so at our own peril.

• Stephen Wallis is the author of “Dead Last: The Triumph of Character, Passion, and Teamwork in Education.” A retired high school English teacher and school administrator, he was co-founder and president of the proposed Business Preparatory Institute, a charter high school for urban youths.