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During the week of February 4-8, thousands of educators in public school districts across the nation celebrated “Black Lives Matter at School Week” with the students under their charge. Organized by a radical coalition of teachers, parents, and community organizers and promoted by EdJustice.org, a far-left group within the National Education Association (NEA), the week is endorsed by teachers unions in urban areas including Washington, DC, Chicago, Milwaukee and Seattle.
This week of special instruction and activities is billed as a complement to “Black History Month” which is recognized in February. But in reality the Black Lives Matter at School week has a much more insidious purpose—to indoctrinate students in radical leftist concepts including “restorative justice,” “transgender and queer affirming,” and “collective value.”
The initiative is inspired by the national Black Lives Matter movement which characterizes America as awash in racism and bigotry and denigrates law enforcement as racist. Demonstrators at Black Lives Matter events across the nation have been known to call for the death of police officers.
The “National Black Lives Matter in School Week of Action Starter Kit,” an online guide intended for educators, provides a telling glimpse at the sort of radical propaganda being taught to our students under the guise of diversity.
The curriculum taught during the week of action is meant to correspond to “the thirteen guiding principles of Black Lives Matter” which are listed and defined in the “action starter kit.”
These principles include:
- Restorative Justice is the commitment to build a beloved and loving community that is sustainable and growing.
- Diversity is the celebration and acknowledgment of differences and commonalities across cultures.
- Globalism is our ability to see how we are impacted or privileged within the Black global family that exists across the world in different regions.
- Transgender Affirming is the commitment to continue to make space for our trans brothers and sisters by encouraging leadership and recognizing trans-antagonistic violence.
- Queer Affirming is working towards a queer-affirming network where heteronormative thinking no longer exists.
- Collective Value means that all Black lives, regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status or location matter.
- Black Villages is the disruption of Western nuclear family dynamics and a return to the “collective village” that takes care of each other. Black Women is the building of women-centered spaces free from sexism, misogyny, and male-centeredness.
The ideological slant of many of these goals is undeniable. Take for instance, the principle of “queer affirming” which is defined as “working towards a queer-affirming network where heteronormative thinking no longer exists.” The principle of “restorative justice” is defined here as “the commitment to build a beloved and loving community that is sustainable and growing,” but it is more commonly viewed as a leftist alternative to traditional policing and courts. “Black Villages” seeks “the disruption of Western nuclear family dynamics” in favor of “a return to the collective village.” These are political goals, but they are being taught to children in public K-12 classrooms as objective lessons in racial awareness and harmony.
The key movement goals of the Black Lives Matter in School Week are also telling.
1. End “zero tolerance” discipline, and implement restorative justice
2. Hire more black teachers
3. Mandate black history and ethnic studies in K-12 curriculum
4. Fund counselors not cops
Many of America’s inner-city schools are inundated by crime and disruption from unruly students who hinder their classmates from receiving even a basic education. The percentages of students who are ranked as “proficient” in math and English in these districts is dismal. Yet the organizers of Black Lives Matter in School believe that reducing discipline and funding counselors will somehow counteract a climate in which learning is already all-but-impossible? Not to mention the wisdom of expanding the focus on black history and ethnic studies when students can barely read.
Ironically, the demand to “hire more black teachers” blames the dearth of such teachers in part on “biased skills exams [which] eliminate Black and Brown teaching candidates.” In the topsy-turvy world of leftist victimspeak, the administration of a skills exam to future teachers is not an objective measure to weed out unqualified candidates, but is instead an expression of racism. These are the principles being taught by Black Lives Matter in School.
The online guide abounds with suggested lesson plans and recommended resources for educating students about the demands and the principles of the Black Lives Matter at School movement. One suggested book is Teaching for Black Lives, a collection of essays which includes sections on “Rethinking Islamophobia: Combating bigotry by raising the voices of Black Muslims,” “Plotting Inequalities, Building Resistance ,” and “Racial Justice Is Not a Choice: White supremacy, high-stakes testing, and the punishment of Black and Brown students.”
One suggested lesson recommends that students examine “Economic Injustice through the exploration of credit card debt” using math skills. The lesson asks that students “Read and analyze an article by The Root (a Black news source) that explains how credit card debt is worse for the Black community.”
A proposed science lesson would have students examine “Environmental Justice in the Context of Fresh Drinking Water.” The teacher’s packet explains, “The goal of this lesson is to initiate the conversation around the meaning and urgency of Environmental Justice…The goal of Environmental Justice is to establish a spectrum of lenses that will provide our students the vision towards which the equitable distribution of resources and human rights issues are addressed… It addresses the scientific roots of climate-induced injustices found in society and it provides social justice based solutions to these problems.”
A lesson recommended by the D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice focuses on the “Introduction of Transgender and Nonbinary Identities with I Am Jazz.” The lesson is intended for students from pre-kindergarten to second grade. The goal of the lesson is for these young students to be able to “define the words ‘transgender’ and ‘nonbinary’ and give examples of ways to support people of all gender identities.”
The lesson plan recommends screening a video of a transgender girl reading her autobiography titled “I am Jazz.” But in another nod to absurdity, the lesson plan instructs “When Jazz says, ‘I have a boy body but a girl brain’ I would recommend stopping the video and reminding kids that there’s no such things as ‘boy bodies’ but instead that the doctors thought she was a boy by using what they could see.” Apparently even a transgender activist can’t be trusted to accurately describe the lack of a gender binary.
The Black Lives Matter in School movement is growing. It is clear from the principles, goals and curriculum resources provided, that the overwhelming purpose of this movement is to facilitate the indoctrination of K-12 students into the progressive cult of economic, racial, and social justice. This highly politicized curriculum is a celebration of leftist groupthink, not racial diversity. It does not belong in America’s public schools.