The toxic Black Lives Matter narrative is continuing to infiltrate our mainstream culture. It is even finding its way into our public schools. Case in point is the plan by about 1000 teachers in the Seattle public school system, with the strong backing of the school system administration, to wear "Black Lives Matter" T-shirts this week. Some of the educators’ t-shirts include a raised fist, not exactly a symbol of racial harmony and peaceful dialogue.
The participants in this solidarity “wear-in” also want a school curriculum that indoctrinates students to counter what one Black Lives Matter activist and Seattle high school teacher, Jesse Hagopian, called “institutional racism”and the “multiple oppressions that our kids face.” Hagopian opposes standardized testing as an example of such institutional racism.
The Seattle Education Association (SEA) Representative Assembly passed a resolution unanimously supporting the Black Lives Matter initiative. The SEA is a public teachers’ special interest organization. Its resolution stated that SEA will “endorse and participate in an action wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 with the intent of showing solidarity, promoting anti-racist practices in our schools, and creating dialogue in our schools and communities.”
The superintendent of schools also supports the demonstration of solidarity with Black Lives Matter on school premises.
The Seattle school system is not the bastion of “institutional racism” that Black Lives Matter and its supporters are making it out to be. Seattle is one of the most progressive cities in the nation. Its school district had passed a landmark “Ensuring Educational and Racial Equity Policy” in August of 2012, which called for the elimination of “the racial predictability and disproportionality in all aspects of education and its administration.” It also mandated the use of a Racial Equity Tool to ensure that “race be clearly called out and institutional and structural racism be addressed within our own organization.” The intent was to devise policies and curricula that close the “opportunity gap” holding students of color back.
The Black Lives Matter movement has its own agenda, however, which has little to do with advancing educational opportunities for children of color in the inner city schools of Seattle or the nation at large. For example, charter schools work. Many parents in African American communities support them. In answering the question whether charter schools are good for education, a New York Times analysis concluded, “Rigorous research suggests that the answer is yes for an important, underserved group: low-income, nonwhite students in urban areas.” However, the radical Black Lives movement demands an end to what they call “the privatization of education.”
The Black Lives Matter leaders are not interested in actually helping African-American children succeed with better performing schools in their neighborhoods. Instead, they claim that “privatization strips Black people of the right to self-determine the kind of education their children receive.” Then, weaving a conspiracy theory, they allege that a “systematic attack” on this right is being “coordinated by an international education privatization agenda, bankrolled by billionaire philanthropists such as Bill and Melinda Gates, the Walton Family, and Eli and Edythe Broad, and aided by the departments of Education at the federal, state, and local level.”
Black Lives Matter is getting help from the Washington state supreme court with its effort to do away with charter schools. Despite voter approval of charter schools in 2012, the Washington state court ruled that charter schools were unconstitutional and ineligible to receive any public funding. The Washington legislature amended the charter school law to address the issues raised by the court. However, allies of the Black Lives movement such as El Centro De La Raza, along with Washington's teachers union, have gone to court to again challenge the constitutionality of the Washington state charter school law as amended. This time, charter school families are coming forward to file their own court papers in support of charter schools.
The Black Lives movement leaders are not only willing to sacrifice quality education with their opposition to charter schools. They are willing to risk the lives of black children in crime-infested public schools by demanding removal of police from the schools and placing “a moratorium on all out-of-school suspensions” of even the most disruptive and dangerous delinquents.
The Black Lives Matter folks have their own ideas about what a suitable school curriculum should look like. For example, Black Lives Matter supporter and Washington state educator Wayne Au has suggested a teaching activity called ‘What We Want, What We Believe’: Teaching with the Black Panthers’ Ten Point Program. Au said he “taught about the Panthers in the context of a high school African Studies class in Seattle that focused on African history and the experience of the Diaspora.”
The Black Panthers’ program included this nugget: “We want an end to the robbery by the capitalists of the black community.” Another nugget: “We want all black men immediately released from federal, state, county, city jails and penitentiaries.” The Black Panthers’ program also referred to police as “pigs,” along with a chilling warning that “tonight's pig is tomorrow mornings bacon.” A variation of the pig to bacon catchphrase became decades later a war cry of Black Lives Matter marchers, who chanted over and over again: “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon.”
Some parents in Seattle are understandably upset with the Seattle schools’ embrace of Black Lives Matter and the “solidarity” event planned this week. One person commented: “All parents of Seattle School children should keep their kids home that day. having a public institution promote a racist organization without covering all sides is the neoleftist fascism that is rampant in Seattle.”
Another wrote: “The fact that seattle public schools allow this but no religion in school is hypocritical and shows just how ignorant it is. All lives matter, and promoting one race increases the achievement gap that they speak of.”
Wearing t-shirts in a show of “solidarity” with the police-hating Black Lives Matter movement, and mouthing slogans about “white privilege” and “institutional racism,” will not solve a thing. Black Lives Matter does not want better education for children trapped in failing inner city public schools. If so, they would not be so intent on shutting down charter schools, which have worked in the inner cities and which parents of African-American students so desperately want for their children.