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July 30 2019

California’s Proposed K-12 Ethnic Studies Curriculum: Indoctrination not Instruction

by VIcki Alger

California is rolling out a new “Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum,” and “It’s as bad as you imagine,” writes Williamson M. Evers in his latest Wall Street Journal opinion column.

Evers, a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, explains that:

The document is filled with fashionable academic jargon like “positionalities,” “hybridities,” “nepantlas” and “misogynoir.” It includes faddish social-science lingo like “cis-heteropatriarchy” that may make sense to radical university professors and activists but doesn’t mean much to the regular folks who send their children to California’s public schools. It is difficult to comprehend the depth and breadth of the ideological bias and misrepresentations without reading the whole curriculum—something few will want to do.

Understandably so. It’s torturous. Yet Evers offers a helpful glimpse into what’s likely headed to California classrooms near you soon:

Begin with economics. Capitalism is described as a “form of power and oppression,” alongside “patriarchy,” “racism,” “white supremacy” and “ableism.” Capitalism and capitalists appear as villains several times in the document.

And it goes downhill from there, particularly with regard to critical thinking, as Evers explains:

The curriculum is entirely wrongheaded when it comes to critical thinking. Critical thinking is described not as reasoning through logic and consideration of evidence but rather a vague deconstruction of power relationships so that one can “speak out on social issues.” 

Most parents send their children to school for instruction, not indoctrination. 

It’s also worth considering that the proposed ethnic studies curriculum comes at a time when annual per-pupil funding exceeds $17,000. Yet less than one out of three California students in grades four and eight is proficient in reading or math; and barely one out of four fourth and eighth grade students is proficient in science or writing.

Quality ethnic studies courses should provide students with valuable information about the history, language, art, and economies of a variety of cultures. Programs like the one being considered in California, however, don’t, as Evers concludes:

Teaching objective history clearly isn’t the goal. Rather, it’s training students to become ideological activists and proponents of identity politics.

 





Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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