Recently Freedom Center founder David Horowitz – having pinpointed the locus of all our current societal ills in “the indoctrination of our educated classes” – posted at FrontPage Mag a call to de-fund the universities. “Curing this cancer in our midst is essential to restoring the constitutional republic that America once was by reviving the principles and values that made it a beacon to the world,” Horowitz wrote. He continued:
The path to achieving this result begins with recognizing that our premier universities have in their liberal arts programs become one-party states ruled by ignorance and bigotry, and thus breeding grounds for civic and racial hatreds and lawlessness. To remedy this state of affairs Americans must press for the de-funding of these institutions, withholding the federal and state monies that help to spread their hatreds until such time as their faculties represent the true intellectual diversity of America, and eliminate one-sided political indoctrination courses from their curricula.
Hear, hear! But the intellectual rot goes much deeper than just our institutions of higher indoctrination. The educational subversion that Horowitz identified as the fons et origo of our current social chaos begins as early now as pre-kindergarten, with the cultural Marxist indoctrination of children whose minds are blank slates upon which social justice activists eagerly imprint their radical agenda. And it courses from there all the way through every grade of public (and probably most private) schools to mold our youth well before they ever step foot onto a university campus.
Stark evidence of that was presented in a recently-released report from the Manhattan Institute think tank titled, “School Choice Is Not Enough: The Impact of Critical Social Justice Ideology in American Education.” Based on the results of a survey of more than 1,500 Americans aged 18 to 20, the report demonstrates just how widespread and corrosive is the Marxist indoctrination of American students – an indoctrination the Left denies and dismisses as just another vast right-wing conspiracy theory.
It will come as no surprise that the report warns, “schools are a powerful force for ideological indoctrination in the United States.” But it may shock many just how powerful schools’ influence is. The teaching of cultural Marxist concepts such as Critical Race Theory (CRT) and gender ideology, which the Manhattan Institute labels together as Critical Social Justice (CSJ), is “endemic” in American schools: “Ninety-three percent of 18-to-20-year-old Americans say that they have been taught, or have heard about from an adult at school, one or more Critical Social Justice (CSJ) concepts.” [Emphasis added] Those concepts included “white privilege,” “systemic racism,” and the idea that gender is a choice unrelated to biological sex.
Even more damning evidence that these concepts are propaganda, not legitimate fields of study, is that “7 out of 10 respondents who reported being taught at least one CSJ concept stated that these ideas were taught as truth – as the only respectable approach to the phenomena they implicate, rather than as theories that are disputed by equally valid alternative views.” [Emphasis added]
And that propaganda is working. The report determined that CSJ instruction
appears to profoundly influence the beliefs and attitudes of young Americans about race and gender. Those who reported being taught CSJ concepts in class were anywhere from 14 to 29 points more likely to endorse them. More alarmingly, for respondents of all racial/ethnic backgrounds, each additional CRT-related concept taught increased the likelihood of blaming white people for racial inequality and endorsing negative generalizations of white people as “racist.”
Additionally, white respondents who were exposed to all the CRT concepts were nearly 20 points more likely than non-exposed respondents to express feelings of race-based guilt over racial inequality.
The report made the following conclusions (it’s worth quoting it here at length to get the full impact of the findings):
CSJ appears to have a significant impact in shifting children to the political left.
Those students exposed to no CSJ concepts break 27% to 20% for the Republican Party, while those who have been taught the maximum of eight CSJ concepts lean a whopping 53% to 7% toward the Democratic Party. In strongly Republican counties, young people taught no CSJ concepts lean Republican 38% to 20%, whereas in the same counties, those taught the maximum number of CSJ concepts lean Democratic by a stunning 46% to 14%.
CSJ is not being taught as one theory among others but rather, in 7 out of 10 cases, as “truth.”
These concepts are introduced as the only respectable approach to race, gender, and sexuality in American society. This has significant consequences for the policy preferences of young people (and, thus, for future policy). For instance, support for preferential hiring and promotion of black people increases from 17% among those exposed to no CRT in school to 44% among those exposed to the maximum of five CRT concepts…
[T]hose taught these concepts are 15 points more likely to agree that “being white is one of the most important sources of privilege in America,” 23 points more likely to agree that “white people have unconscious biases that negatively affect nonwhite people,” and 29 points more likely to agree that “America is built on stolen land.”
CSJ increases fear among students.
Thirty-eight percent of those who were not taught CSJ reported that they were afraid of being punished, shamed, or expelled for voicing opinions on controversial subjects, rising to between 62% and 68% among those taught at least two CSJ concepts. Among Republican young people, fear levels jump from 31% to 74% after exposure to CSJ. As a likely consequence of this fear, those exposed to CRT become less willing to criticize a black schoolmate, preventing black pupils from hearing useful feedback from classmates.
CSJ is taught in all types of schools.
The survey found 73% of parochial schoolers, 82% of non-religious private schoolers, and 83% of homeschoolers report being taught at least one CSJ term. Public schools do teach more radical gender theory, with 56% of those who attended one being taught at least one radical gender concept. This figure is somewhat lower among non-religious private schoolers, parochial students, and homeschooled children, but gender theory is present in all forms of school.
“This is a disaster for those who endorse classical liberal ideals such as color-blindness, equal treatment, the scientific method of discovery, and free speech,” the Manhattan Institute concludes. “These results represent a major defeat for those who believe it is important to cultivate pride in American achievements and attachment to American national identity.”
For conservatives who think that a mass exodus from the public school system will shield their children from CSJ concepts, the findings also suggest that homeschooling, parochial schooling, and (non-religious) private schooling “are only minimally effective in preventing CSJ from being taught… [partly because] only a small number of parents have the political awareness to be able to limit the impact of progressive ideology in schools and prevent leftward socialization.” A better use of conservative political energy, the report argues, “is to focus on regulating or banning the teaching of CSJ in schools and teacher training while pushing for curriculum transparency.”
The report makes a number of interventionist recommendations to address this problem, including banning the teaching of CRT and gender theory as truth, clamping down on political indoctrination, and introducing more content on the excesses of left-wing utopianism and non-European civilizations in history, in order to give some context to American history and help students understand that America’s sins are less exceptional than its achievements.
It also recommends that public schools adopt political impartiality requirements – perhaps something along the lines of David Horowitz’s proposed Code of Ethics for K-12 educators, which bans political bias (Left or Right) in the classroom.
But nothing quite spurs change like putting the brakes on the gravy train. It’s time to get deadly serious about rescuing our youth from the vampiric evil of the far-Left radicals who have dominated our educational system for a half century and corroded it from within.
So in the spirit of David Horowitz’s call to de-fund higher education, it’s time also to call for politicians who care about preserving our Union and our civilization to pursue measures to withhold federal and state monies from our failed K-12 schools until the social justice indoctrination is eradicated.
This will no doubt send leftist educators and teachers unions into apoplexy, like the meltdown union president Randi Weingarten had outside the Supreme Court this week. But it’s long past time to root out the cultural Marxist educators and curricula that have sown so much division and hatred in America. It’s time to take back our children and our country.
Originally posted at Culture Warrior.