Editor’s note: The same “progressives” who have made American higher education into indoctrination chambers for cultural Marxism, identity racism and other anti-American ideas are now targeting our K-12 public schools. For instance:
- At the Edina School District in Edina, Minnesota, all employees, even bus drivers, must take “Equity and Racial Justice Training” instructing them that “dismantling white privilege” is at the core of the district’s mission. They must acknowledge their racial guilt, and embrace the district’s “equity” ideology.
- To enhance “cultural diversity,” students at Maryland’s La Plata High School were ordered to copy the Islamic creed “Shahada” which states in part, “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” One worksheet distributed by the school states, “Most Muslims’ faith is stronger than the average Christian.”
- As part of transgender instruction in Rocklin Academy in Rocklin, California, a male kindergartener was reintroduced to classmates as a girl. A first grader at the school was sent to the principal’s office after she called the student by his given name on the playground – apparently unaware that the five year old had changed gender.
These horror stories are not exceptions to the rule. As our important new pamphlet (co-authored by Sara Dogan and Peter Collier), Leftist Indoctrinati
To purchase the pamphlet, $3 each or $1 for orders of 25 or more, click here.
To learn more about the Freedom Center’s Stop K-12 Indoctrination campaign, click here.
One of the most dangerous developments of the last few decades has been the subversion of our universities by radicals who in the 1960s first tried to burn them down and then, after this strategy of destruction failed, decided to get on the tenure track to take them over. Their generational long march succeeded, possibly beyond their wildest expectations. With the exception of a few rear guard actions by brave conservative students, American higher education is now an indoctrination center for cultural Marxism, identity racism and other anti-American ideas.
But the left’s demolition project is not yet complete. To make the victory complete, it must take over all of American education, including the schooling of our youngest and most vulnerable students. This effort is now well advanced as radical leftists use their control of the university Ed schools and the teacher unions as a base to extend their ideological campaigns into the K-12 system. Their shock troops include teachers, administrators and textbook publishers and feature “theorists” such as former Weatherman Bill Ayers (who reinvented himself as an eminent Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Illinois when his days as a terrorist had ended) who provide the manuals on “teaching for social justice” that target teacher training programs and ultimately children as early as kindergarten for radical indoctrination.
The effects of this systematic effort to radicalize K-12 education are being felt in school districts all over the country. No corner of the classroom is immune from indoctrination. Young students learning arithmetic are given thought problems involving homelessness and the percentage of “undocumented workers” subjected to heartless deportation proceedings. Social studies is now a race, gender and climate change-obsessed curriculum designed to frighten rather than educate. In the hands of leftist teachers, America is a nation of victims rather than a nation of immigrants.
Some concerned parents and educators appalled by this new regime have reported educational horror stories that should concern every citizen. The following give a sense of the scope and intensity of the onslaught our youngest and most vulnerable students face after the school bell has sounded.
Indoctrination on Race and “Social Justice”
*On February 1, 2018, Vermont’s Montpelier High School flew the Black Lives Matter flag for the month of February to mark Black History Month in response to pressure from the Racial Justice Alliance, a student group at the school where 18 of 350 students are African American.
*A teacher at Norman North High School in Oklahoma was recorded by a student stating in class, “To be white is racist, period.” The teacher who made the comment was white. Despite being part-Hispanic, the student who taped the teacher and her family took offense at the comments. “Why is it ok to demonize one race to children that you’re supposed to be teaching a curriculum?” her father wondered.
*Students in a literature composition class at Aloha High School in Aloha, Oregon were given a “White Privilege Survey” to complete as homework. The assignment included such questions as “I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed” and “I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the newspaper and see people of my race widely and positively represented.” A school district spokeswoman attempted to excuse the exercise by stating that the class covers current issues including race and that the goal is for students to “gain empathy, understanding and to build bridges,” but the father of one student in the class stated, “The way this survey is read, it almost wants to like, shame you for being white.”
*Highlands Elementary School located in Edina, Minnesota—one of the state’s highest ranked elementary schools based on standardized tests—has instituted several initiatives on racial inequality and social justice. Kindergarten classes, for instance, spend weeks participating in the “Melanin project,” which involves, among other things, coloring images of their hands which were attached to a banner reading “Stop thinking your skin color is better than anyone else’s!” Meanwhile, first graders were to write poems about social justice and fourth and fifth graders participate in a performance project that links the anti police and racially divisive Black Lives Matter movement with peace. The principal’s page on the website of Highlands Elementary School in Edina, Minnesota, effusively praises Black Lives Matter and reproduced the entry on the BLM’s own website which states, “We are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages.’” The school principal also reported on her page that “students of color” had experienced 291 “microaggresions” in a 90 day period, meaning that they had been encouraged by the school’s racialized atmosphere to convert imagined slights all around them into instances of white racism and to inform on their fellow students.
*Teach for America is partnering with the organization EdX to craft a six-week online course for middle school teachers called “Teaching Social Justice through Secondary Mathematics.” A course overview states “This education and teacher training course will help you blend secondary math instruction with topics such as inequity, poverty, and privilege…” Ideas for sample math lessons include instruction on “Unpaid Work Hours in the Home by Gender” and “Race and Imprisonment Rates in the United States.” There is no lesson on violent crime rates by race so the inevitable conclusion is that if more blacks are incarcerated than their proportion in the population, white racism must be responsible.
*In February 2017, teachers and staff serving in the Rochester City School District in upstate New York received an email stating that February 17 would be designated “Black Lives Matter at School.” The email urged staff to purchase a “Black Lives Matter at School” T-shirt and included links to leftist websites featuring propaganda about why the phrase “all lives matter” is racist. The email explained that educational goals for students will include “Understands inequities based on race”; “Affirms that the lives of people of color matter”; and “Believes that we all have a responsibility to work for equity.” In other words the lesson is that inequalities are solely the result of racism, with differential abilities, application and individual talent playing little or no role in social outcomes.
*In January 2017 an activist group within the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers called the Caucus of Working Educators launched an optional lesson plan for the city’s kindergarten-to-12th grade students that included six days of “social justice action.” Children in lower grades were required to work on “The Revolution Is Always Now” coloring book; older students had science lessons about the biology of skin color. The focus in all classrooms was on imbuing children with a heightened awareness of “white privilege” while fostering feelings of racial resentment and guilt. Teachers were also encouraged to wear Black Lives Matter T-shirts. Some Philadelphia teachers objected to such blatant politicization in the classroom, not to mention its racist overtones. One English teacher caused controversy by stating, “I don’t think kids should be taught that Western society is perpetrating a war on black people.”
*At Highlands Elementary School in Edina, Minnesota, one of the publications principal Kate Mahoney touts for younger students in her space on the school blog is an A-B-C book titled A is for Activist. The pages feature text such as this: “A is for Activist. Are you an Activist? C is for Creative Counter to Corporate Vultures. T is for Trans. X is for Malcolm. As in Malcolm X.”
*The Edina School District’s employees must take “Edina School District Equity and Racial Justice Training: Moving from a Diversity to a Social Justice Lens.” This includes bus drivers, who are instructed that “dismantling white privilege” is “the core of our work as white folks,” and that working for the Edina schools requires “a major paradigm shift in the thinking of white people.” Drivers were exhorted to acknowledge their racial guilt, and embrace the district’s “equity” ideology.
*In October 2016 2,000 Seattle educators wore Black Lives Matter shirts at their schools in a district-wide action. The event was organized by Social Equality Educators, a group of Seattle teachers. At Chief Sealth International High School, dozens of educators and students gathered outside the building and held up banners and signs that said “Black Lives Matter” and “We Stand Together” with logos in the shape of a clenched fist.
Indoctrination About Islam
*In May 2017, the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) inaugurated an anti-Muslim bullying campaign developed in conjunction with the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR is part of the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist network and was named as an “unindicted co-conspirator” by the U.S. Department of Justice in a 2007 case brought against the Holy Land Foundation, which funneled money to Hamas. The San Diego campaign will include giving teachers and administrators new calendars showing Muslim holidays, creating “safe spaces” for Muslim students, and including lessons on Islam in the curriculum which emphasize prominent Muslims in history. No such educational programs exist to teach students about Judaism, although religious hate crimes against Jews are eight times greater than those against Muslims.
*Students at La Plata High School in Maryland were ordered to copy the Islamic creed “Shahada” which states in part, “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” Students were also made to memorize and recite the Five Pillars of Islam. Two weeks of class time were devoted to instruction in Islam while only one day was reserved for Christianity—which was portrayed in a negative light. One worksheet distributed at the school stated “Most Muslims’ faith is stronger than the average Christian.”
*Middle School students in the Maury County School District in Tennessee were ordered to copy the Five Pillars of Islam including the Islamic conversion creed, the Shahada, which states “Allah is the only god” during a unit on world history. Several weeks were spent on Islam and its doctrine compared to the much more limited and perfunctory time spent on Christianity and Judaism.
*In 2007, San Diego’s Carver Elementary School made special accommodations for 100 Somali Muslims who had transferred from a charter school that had been closed. The school rearranged recess periods to allow time for Muslim afternoon prayer, added Arabic to its curriculum, and took pork and other non-halal foods off the lunch menu. When these changes resulted in complaints from non-Muslim parents, the school removed the prayer break, but changed the lunchtime schedule so that prayer time was still accommodated.
*In 2015, a Huntington Beach, California teacher taught a class of seventh graders a song to which she had crafted lyrics supporting and romanticizing Islam. The song is set to the tune of Rachel Platten’s “This is my Fight Song.” The lyrics state: “Like how a single faith/can make a heart open/They might only have one God/But they can make an explosion.” A parent brought the song and lesson to public attention after her son came home with a notebook showing a stick figure stating “Believe in Allah! There is no other god.”
*Freshmen at Salem Junior High School in Utah were told by a teacher to get inside the mentality of a terrorist organization like ISIS. The project worksheet asked students to list “eight reasons why young Muslims join ISIS” and instructed them to create a “terrorism propaganda poster.”
*Third grade students at the Beverly J. Martin elementary school in Ithaca, New York were made to sit through a blatantly one-sided presentation featuring radical anti-Israel activists who told Hamas propaganda lies about the Israeli state. The presentation on “Palestinian human rights” was led by pro-terrorist and radical Israel-basher Bassem Tamimi who videos his own children attempting to provoke Israeli soldiers and Ariel Gold who holds “delegitimizing Zionism” as a personal goal. Full footage of the event was released only after the school district was compelled by a Freedom of Information Act request. This footage revealed that the presentation included a video made by Tamini and featuring his daughter sharing a “message for the world from the Palestinian children.” This “message” states: “We don’t like [that] Israel kill us, kill Gaza, kill Palestinian and we don’t like they to kill us [sic]” and “They [Israel] can’t be terrorists. We don’t like them to be terrorists.” After parent complaints, the full footage was released and the superintendent of the Ithaca City School district issued a Letter of Reprimand stating that the event was “politically skewed” and “inflammatory.”
Indoctrination on Gender
*Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina assigned the book “Jacob’s New Dress,” a story about a boy who prefers to dress like a girl, to all first grade classes. After a teacher launched a complaint which sparked outrage among lawmakers the decision was reversed. Instead, first graders will read “Red: A Crayon’s Story” about a red crayon who views itself as blue. The school board is now attempting to add sexual orientation and “gender identity/expression” to its diversity policy.
*New health and physical education standards created by the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) became part of the curriculum for students from kindergarten through high school in the 2017-2018 school year. It required the teaching of “gender identity” and “gender expression.” Its goals were summarized as follows: Beginning in Kindergarten, students will be taught about the many ways to express gender. Gender expression education will include information about the manifestations of traits that are typically associated with one gender. Cross dressing is one form of gender expression. (One of the books kindergarteners read is “Introducing Teddy.” In it Errol, a friend of a bear named Thomas, asks why he is sad and Thomas says, “I’m a girl teddy, not a boy teddy” and asks to be called Tilly instead.) Third graders will be introduced to the concept of gender identity. These children will be taught that they can choose their own gender. Fourth graders will be expected to “define sexual orientation” and taught that they can choose their own. Fifth graders will learn about the relativity of gender roles and why such roles are “social constructs” not inherently related to who we are as male or female human beings, a fundamentally anti-scientific view that ignores the biological fact is that gender is not a choice but genetically determined. Seventh graders will be expected to “distinguish between biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.” High school students will critically “evaluate how culture, media, society, and other people influence our perceptions of gender roles, sexuality, relationships, and sexual orientation.”
*Sixth graders at Fox Chapel Middle School in Spring Hill, Florida were given a survey by their teacher that included explicit questions on sexuality and race. Students were supposed to read each of these statements and indicate how comfortable they were with the situation described:
“A friend invites you to go to a gay bar.”
“You go to the gay bar and a person of the same sex invites you to dance.”
“You discover that the cute young man/woman that you are attracted to is actually a woman/man.”
“You discover your teenage brother kissing a male friend.”
“Your two next door neighbors in your hall are lesbian/gay.”
“Your mother ‘comes out’ to you.”
When some of the children proposed bringing the survey home, the teacher told them not to show it to their parents.
*A kindergarten class in Rocklin Academy, a prestigious school in Rocklin, California was exposed to transgender instruction without parental notification. Two children’s books espousing transgender ideology were read to the class. Also a male kindergartener was reintroduced to his classmates as a girl. Later on, a first grader at the charter school was sent to the principal’s office after a girl accidentally “misgendered” the classmate in what administrators called a “pronoun mishap.” The girl called the student by his given name – apparently unaware that the boy now identified as a girl.
*Before the 2016 election, a teacher in an advanced placement history class at Minnesota’s Edina High School demanded that students known to be Trump supporters explain to the rest of the class why they shouldn’t be considered racist. The day after the election, many of the teachers at the school were in tears, one telling her students, “Today is worse than 9/11 or Columbine.”
*After the 2016 election, Chicago Public Schools sent students home with a letter bashing Illinois’ Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and President Trump. The letter stated, “Dear Families, Governor Bruce Rauner, just like President Trump, has decided to attack those who need the most help. Governor Rauner and President Trump regularly attack Chicago because they hope to score political points. It is shameful.”
*Brainerd High School, a public school in Minnesota, published a 2017 yearbook containing violent and derogatory quotes from students about President Trump. One student stated, “I would like to behead him.” Another commented, “I feel like Donald is very racist and sexist and doesn’t care to give people a chance before knowing them.” Yet another stated, “I don’t like the way he comes off, he seems really rude.”
*The Wall Township Public Schools in New Jersey ordered a school yearbook to be reissued after at least three photos of students wearing clothing with logos supporting Trump were intentionally altered. Grant Bernardo, a school junior, wore a “Make America Great Again” shirt in his school photo, but the image that appeared in the yearbook was digitally altered to show him in a black T-shirt instead. A photo of a student wearing a Trump logo on his sweater vest was also cropped to erase the logo. And a quote from Trump sent in by the freshman class president to appear on her page also did not appear in the yearbook, although it was confirmed that it was received before the deadline.
*A teacher of sixth-grade English at Paulo Intermediate School in Staten Island, New York assigned students to complete a vocabulary assignment that forced them to insert words in sentences disparaging President Donald Trump. Among the phrases students were asked to complete were the following:
“President Trump speaks in a very superior and _________ manner insulting many people. He needs to be more ________.
“Barack Obama set a ________ when he became the first African American president.”
The teacher was looking for students to insert the words “haughty” and “humble” in the one question and “precedent” in the other. When the father of an eleven-year-old in the class objected to the assignment and refused to have his child complete it, the teacher docked the student 15 points for an incomplete assignment.
These are not isolated incidents but part of a national pattern. This leftist indoctrination in K-12 schools is the daily classroom experience of children around the country, a concerted assault on the values of the families from which they come as well as on the intellectual integrity of the students themselves. Under this regime, students are not taught how to think, but told what to think. And what they are told to think is racially divisive, intellectually vulgar, politically partisan, and often unscientific and simply untrue. It is little wonder that after years of such classroom indoctrination, buttressed by forced readings of anti American texts by Howard Zinn and other leftist propagandists, many high school graduates arrive at college seeing the world through the lens of grievance and victimhood, illiterate in basic civics, hostile toward the rich complexity of the American experience, and willing accomplices in the leftist political order that now controls higher education.
Combatting the Assault on K-12 Schools
The David Horowitz Freedom Center has historically taken a leadership role as an early warning system for America on the radical subversion of American higher education. It uses that experience in a new campaign designed to make K-12 schools places of objective and unbiased education rather than indoctrination. The goal of this campaign is to secure legislation in 50 states that would create a “Code of Ethics for K-12 Teachers” that would enforce traditional rules of fairness and non-partisanship in our public school systems. Among other things, the Code forbids teachers from taking partisan political positions in the classroom which include endorsing candidates or pending legislation; introducing controversial material not germane to subjects being taught; engaging in actions which impede access of military recruiters or federal law enforcement authorities to the school site; advocating either side of public controversies; segregating students by race or singling out one racial group as responsible for the sufferings or inequities of other racial groups.
In short, the Code of Ethics for K-12 teachers we have designed forbids teachers from using their classrooms as a bully pulpit for political, ideological, racial, or religious indoctrination, or attempting to use the authority of the classroom to support one side of a public controversy.
The Code, in other words, is a reassertion of the common sense principles—presenting unbiased educational materials in an unbiased way—that guided American public education from the time of the one-room schoolhouse of the 18th century until radicals began their assault on the contemporary K-12 classroom.
Teachers in violation of the Code would be subject to penalties such as probation, suspension and loss of their teaching licenses. This Code has the potential to stop the leftist assault on our schoolchildren in its tracks.
Translating the Code into Action
The public may have become inured to the radicalization of higher education, whose appalling absurdities have become so notorious that they are now the stuff of nighttime comedy routines. But while parents may feel that the universities are at least temporarily beyond repair, they continue to be heavily invested in our public schools. It is our belief that when the public learns about the stranglehold “progressives” are trying to obtain on K-12 curriculum it will be outraged and demand action.
But while public awareness is important, stopping the indoctrination in our schools ultimately requires a legislative solution. The Code of Ethics will ban the abuses without infringing First Amendment rights. (It has already been thoroughly reviewed by First Amendment lawyers.)
The Freedom Center campaign to implement the Code will identify legislators on education committees of states across the nation who are concerned about the conversion of our public schools into indoctrination centers for leftist politics and racial views, and willing to draft and introduce statutes based on our Code of Ethics. We are simultaneously identifying think tanks and public policy organizations in those states to collaborate in generating public awareness about this issue and promoting this legislation.
We are now working with concerned legislators in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Texas and other states.
The subversion of our K-12 public schools is already well advanced. It is imperative that parent groups and concerned organizations initiate a counter-offensive to turn back this determined effort to make our schools into academies for leftist ideologies and anti- Americanism. The Center’s Code of Ethics for K-12 Public Schools will educate the public about the extent of the threat to our educational system and our essential liberties and carry the fight directly into the political and legislative arena.
A Code of Ethics for K-12 Schools
[The following Code of Ethics for K-12 teachers forbids teachers from using their classrooms for political, ideological, or religious advocacy. Teachers in violation of the Code would be subject to penalties such as probation, suspension and loss of their teaching licenses.]
Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility For Educators in K-12 Public Schools
Whereas the purpose of public education in America is to produce knowledgeable and competent adults able to participate as informed citizens in the democratic process;
Whereas education in a democracy is best served by teaching students how to think, not telling them what to think;
Whereas our country is divided over many issues affecting its citizens;
Whereas it has been established through surveys that a majority of K-12 teachers discuss controversial issues in their classrooms;
Whereas it has been established that some teacher training institutions, teacher licensing agencies, state education departments and professional teacher organizations have condoned and even encouraged this behavior under the guise of “teaching for social justice” and other sectarian doctrines;
Whereas time spent on political or ideological indoctrination takes time away from instruction in the academic subjects taught by public educational institutions including the foundational subjects of mathematics, science, English, history, and civics and prevents students from receiving the best possible public education as funded by the taxpayers of this state;
Whereas parents and taxpayers have a right to expect that taxpayer resources will be spent on education, not political or ideological indoctrination;
Therefore be it resolved that this state’s [board of education or other relevant regulating body] will promulgate clear regulations and enforcement mechanisms for appropriate professional and ethical behavior by teachers licensed to teach in this state; that these guidelines shall make it clear that teachers in taxpayer supported schools are forbidden to use their classrooms to try to engage in political, ideological, or religious advocacy.
At a minimum, these regulations shall provide that no teacher is permitted during class time or while otherwise operating within the scope of employment as a teacher in a public educational institution to do the following:
(1) Endorse, support, or oppose any candidate or nominee for public office or any elected or appointed official regardless of whether such official is a member of the local, state, or federal government;
(2) Endorse, support, or oppose any pending, proposed, or enacted legislation or regulation regardless whether such legislation or regulation is pending, proposed, or has been enacted at the local, state, or federal level;
(3) Endorse, support, or oppose any pending, proposed, or decided court case or judicial action regardless of whether such court case or judicial action is at the local, state, or federal level;
(4) Endorse, support, or oppose any pending, proposed, or executed executive action by an executive branch agency of the local, state, or federal level;
(5) Introduce into class any controversial subject matter that is not germane to the topic of the course being taught;
(6) Endorse, support, or engage in any activities that hamper or impede the lawful access of military recruiters to campus;
(7) Endorse, support, or engage in any activities that hamper or impede the actions of state, local, or federal law enforcement;
(8) Advocate in a partisan manner for any side of a controversial issue, defined as an issue that is a point in electoral party platforms at the national, state or local level. To ensure that students have the resources to make up their own minds on such issues, teachers must provide them with materials supporting both sides of the controversy, and present those views in a fair-minded non-partisan manner. Teachers may express their opinions on these matters but only in such a manner that students understand that they are free to make up their own minds and to disagree with the teacher without incurring any penalty for doing so.
(9) Segregate students according to race, or sin-gle out one racial group of students as responsible for the suffering or inequities experienced by another racial group of students
The regulations promulgated pursuant to this act shall apply to all teachers at public educational institutions, tenured and non-tenured. Moreover, the regulations shall contain clear guidelines for enforcement and provide penalties for violations, up to and including termination. The state’s [board of education or other relevant regulating body] shall provide written notification to all teachers, parents, and students of their respective rights and responsibilities under the regulations promulgated pursuant to this act and shall provide at least three hours of annual continuing teacher education instruction to teachers to instruct them regarding their responsibilities under said regulations.
Moreover, we call on the state’s professional teacher organizations and unions to voluntarily adopt an educators’ code of ethics and professional responsibility that incorporates the above principles and specifically prohibits teachers in K-12 schools from using the classroom for political indoctrination.
Peter Collier is the Vice- President of Programs and Co-founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center
Sara Dogan is the National Campus Director for the David Horowitz Freedom Center. She has written numerous articles and reports about academic freedom, classroom indoctrination, and anti-Semitism on campus.