District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Lewis Ferebee posted a tweet with a seven-minute video lauding a school program “DCPS Becoming.”
The tweet quotes Principal Brigham Kiplinger, from Garrison Elementary, saying “DCPS Becoming is our journey to becoming a whole-child, anti-racist school district … It means hope to me.”
Some of the program seems good: Teachers recognize and support students by understanding where they are coming from, and they work to deal with the challenges faced by children and families who live in difficult circumstances.
But as the video progresses, you see evidence that the school district has embraced critical race theory and LGBT ideology. In an article at The American Conservative titled “Elementary Classrooms As Revolutionary Cells,” Rod Dreher commented:
I watched the video. These people are absolutely propagandizing little children captive in the classroom.
The tweet applauds being “anti-racist.” But this doesn’t mean you believe in treating people fairly and want all people to have equal opportunities. It means viewing everything in life through the lens of race. It means embracing “intersectionality,” seeing people not as individuals, but as oppressor or victim, based on their various identities and allegiances.
One teacher says, “The racial equity lens is a critical component of whole child for us, because being a whole child means thinking about all of your identities. But certainly the racial identity is a gap in what we’re discussing as a country.”
We seriously doubt the truth of that last sentence. “Anti-racism” and “equity” mean an enormous focus on race, and they can mean that it is acceptable to discriminate against “oppressors,” based on their race, sex, religion or sexuality, to make up for past inequities.
One frame of the video highlights the latest iteration of the “Pride Flag” hanging in the school. Another shows pages colored by students with titles like “Globalism,” “Queer Affirming,” and “Restorative Justice.”
The slogans are straight out of “What We Believe: A Black Lives Matter Principles Coloring Book,” available from D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice.
The book teaches the 13 Guiding Principles from the organization Black Lives Matter at School, and the goal is to transform children into radical activists who will disrupt “Western nuclear family dynamics”; build “women-centered spaces free from sexism, misogyny, and male-centeredness”; pursue globalism and diversity; and “create a space that is family friendly and free from patriarchal practices.”
Being “queer affirming” means children are “freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking to create a queer-affirming network.” Being “transgender affirming” means “embracing and making space for trans brothers and sisters to participate and lead, while being self-reflexive and doing the work required to dismantle cis-gender privilege and uplift Black trans folk.”
An article by Wesley Yang, “Queer Normative Elementary Schooling in America,” explains what’s happening with these children:
In this Stunning and Brave New World, the youngest children are inducted into the dogma that we are all male, female, both, or neither by virtue of an internal sense of identification that only we can know.
This sense of identification is untethered to any observable fact about ourselves – either to our anatomy or our chromosomes – and may or may not align with our anatomy.
Many public schools in D.C. face serious challenges. Garrison Elementary draws students from two neighborhoods in D.C., Logan Circle and Shaw.
Shaw is listed as one of the “Top 10 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Washington, D.C.,” with violent crimes listed at “266 percent more than the national average,” and where “you have a 1 in 12 chance of being a crime victim.”
The article continues, “Logan Circle’s violent crime rate is just [!] 17% higher than the national average, with assault and robbery leading the list. However, property crime accounts for 91 percent of overall crime in this neighbourhood, with stealing accounting for 86 percent of the lot.”
That’s a horrific environment for families. Children growing up in such areas deserve sympathy, help and support. Growing up with anxiety and fear makes learning incredibly difficult, so it’s important for schools to provide love and care for those kids, along with extra help to achieve success.
But do critical race theory and being “queer affirming” help these students learn?
In 2020, D.C. schools were second highest in the nation in per-pupil spending, laying out $22,856 per student. Yet it consistently ranks low in student achievement.
Students took the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test in 2022, and only 31% were reading at grade level, The Washington Post reported. Math scores were even worse, with 19% of students passing the exam, “the lowest ever recorded in the city.”
While the video applauds its indoctrination of children and “becoming a whole-child, anti-racist school district,” there was no mention of student achievement.
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