For years, conservatives have been sounding the alarm about anti-American indoctrination in public schools. They’ve pointed out the dangers of mainstreaming of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. They’ve exposed the racialism of the 1619 Project. Unfortunately, however, the situation in public schools is far worse than the mere presence of propaganda.
Theoretically, parents can resist the dominant paradigm by explaining that it’s just the teacher’s opinion, and providing a counter-narrative at home. But once teachers demand performative activism from their students and tell them how to feel and what to do, an entirely different level of child manipulation and scholastic depravity is reached.
I recently tuned into a Zoom workshop taught by Oakland-based educational consultants Soul Shoppe. The class, attended by more than 300 families, was advertised through our school districts as a way for elementary school kids to “share what’s in your emotional balloon.” According to the promotional email distributed by Soul Shoppe, “we all have feelings about the racism, protests, and violence that are occurring in our world at the moment.”
Soul Shoppe reasoned it’s particularly important to talk to kids about racism because “Young children are hard-wired in their brains to notice difference and to categorize it…So it is vital during early childhood to put some context around making sense of differences.” What I saw on Zoom, however, was the hardening of preexisting prejudices.