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PragerU: There Is No Apolitical Classroom

PragerU: There Is No Apolitical Classroom


In the latest video from PragerU, Max Eden, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, asks parents a fundamental question: “Do you know what’s going on in your kid’s school?”

“If no,” Eden answers, “now would be a good time to take a look.”Eden begins by explaining that the education establishment has decided to discard their prior purpose of teaching “the three R’s — reading, writing and arithmetic,” and have instead decided that their purpose is “to awaken students to the fact that they live in a country that has been, remains and will probably always be, racist.”

Eden references the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), who recently announced that “At a time of obscene inequities…merely trying to compensate is not enough… AASA’s work… must go further and become actively anti-racist.”

The problem underlying such a seemingly simple statement is that “anti-racism” is not about treating everyone the same for the educational elite, and is far from “a version of the Golden Rule.”

“Anti-racism, in its current formulation, does not mean equal treatment of others. It is an all-encompassing ideology that demands that white people accept that their behavior is either implicitly or explicitly racist — and has been for at least 400 years,” says Eden. “The Catch-22 here is that to say you’re not racist only proves how racist you really are. That is, you are so racist you don’t even know it. And if this accusation upsets you, that’s proof of your white fragility.” 

And, he underscores, “the only way to be ‘anti-racist’ is to embrace and advocate the ideas and policies of the left.”

The idea of “anti-racism” is supported on a broad level, with Education Week’s “Classroom Q&A” blog telling teachers that “As Ibram X. Kendi (the author of ‘How to Be an Anti-Racist’) would say, there is no ‘not racist.’ There is only racist and anti-racist. Your silence favors the status quo and the violently oppressive harm it does to black and brown folk everywhere.”

“What Kendi is saying is, if you don’t voice active agreement with him, you are a racist,” says Eden. “And if you treat people equally regardless of race, you’re also a racist.” He then argues that rather than fighting racism and bigotry, “Anti-racists embrace racial discrimination, as long as it’s done on their terms,” turning “the Martin Luther King concept of racial equality on its head.”

As an example of idea leaders driving this movement, Eden cites Lorena German, who chairs the Committee on Anti-Racism for the National Council on the Teaching of English. During the waves of riots which gripped American streets in 2020, German “wrote that arsonists should serve as a model for teachers,” tweeting, “Educators: what are you burning? Your White-centered curriculum?… The school’s racist policies? Your racist ass principal? The funding for the police in schools vs counselors? WHAT ARE YOU BURNING???!!?!?!?!?”

“German’s call to commit arson may have been metaphorical,” Eden states, “but her call to get rid of the traditional school curriculum is not.”

For example, lesson plan created by the New York City Culturally Responsive Education Working Group, “Transforming Our Public Schools: A Guide to Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Education,” tells teachers that “the whole Western canon is rife with horrible stories and atrocities of who we are as people of color,” and the National Committee on Social Studies has promised to “flood our children with counter messages…until there is no racial inequality in economic opportunity, no racial inequality in education, no racial inequality in incarceration rates, and no brutality from police and others.”

Eden then argues that these strategies sound “a lot more like political indoctrination than education.”

“We all might wish that as cultural and political polarization reaches into more and more areas of American life, schools could remain an apolitical oasis where children can learn to read, write, and develop skills of socialization,” Eden says. “But if that’s what you want for your children, then just know that anti-racist educators think that you are part of the problem.”

Citing another example, Eden quotes a writer for Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, who said, “Anti-racist educators recognize that schools are doing exactly what they were built to do in this country: Exclude. Silence. Erase. Promote white supremacy… an anti-racist approach to schooling could very well mean an ending to schools as we know them.”

“That is certainly true,” Eden asserts.

Eden concludes his video with two clear choices for parents. If you’re happy with the National Council on the Teaching of English insisting “there is no apolitical classroom,” and supportive of the educational elite’s clear lesson plan, “you can send Johnny and Jennifer off to school with a glad heart.”

If not, you “better talk to the principal, or get ready with Plan B,” Eden warns.

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