Do you have a queasy feeling about what your child is learning in school, but are afraid to speak out? Worried that if you share your concerns with other parents, you’ll appear to be racist, or a homophobe, for expressing your reservations?
You’re far from alone.
Many Ontario teachers feel tremendous pressure to teach content under the umbrella of “diversity, equity, and inclusion,” (DEI) which sounds like a good idea. We all want a society that is fair and tolerant of all humans, regardless of their gender, race, or sexual orientation or identity.
The reality is, however, that the DEI agenda goes far beyond those admirable goals. The proof is in the pudding: during streamed workshops that my 10 year old students have had to attend, kids heard about sex transition, non-binary identities, and the gender unicorn. These topics are developmentally inappropriate for such young children, so it isn’t surprising that my students were confused by all of it.
During African Heritage Month’s streamed seminar, (the 27.15 minute mark) students from grades K-12 were informed that “anti-black racism is deeply entrenched in Canadian society, our institutions, and by extension, our schools,” and that black kids are subjected to trauma, “rooted in white supremacy.”
How is this content even remotely appropriate for elementary school children? Ontario boards, as well as the teacher’s union (ETFO) claim it all falls under the “Equity as a Leadership Competency,” guidelines which are so vague, they could justify almost any content.
This collection of “knowledge,” is based on Critical Race Theory, and Gender Ideology, which imposes theoretical ideas as established fact. Some of those ideas include concepts such as “white privilege,” “white supremacy,” and the idea that “gender is a construct.”
Sadly, educators are told that it’s no longer enough to teach about the heroic efforts of civil rights pioneers like Viola Desmond, and the values of respect and tolerance for all, regardless of their race and gender. This message is empowering, and reminds students that brave people have made remarkable changes in our society, and that Canada has made enormous strides in recognizing the rights of people of colour and those in the LGBTQ community. Instead, teachers are pushing a message of despair: there are marginalized groups who remain oppressed, along the lines of race and gender identity, and white and cisgender students are among the most complicit.
Those ideas used to be limited to the university, and presented as theory; now, they have entered public education, and used to indoctrinate the youngest members of our society. Even infants are a target population, if you use this Toronto District School Board reading group on Ibram X Kendi’s Anti-Racist Baby as a guide.
Far from eradicating racism and gender-based discrimination, Critical Race Theory and Gender Ideology are highly divisive, and possibly harmful. White children are told that they are complicit in a system that actively denigrates people who look different from them; students of colour and gender-questioning children are told that they are victims of state-sponsored oppression and societal cruelty. This isn’t an empowering message, for anyone, let alone developing minds.
There is absolutely no evidence that this kind of indoctrination will eradicate discrimination, nor promote equity. Personally, I remain haunted by my students’ faces, having to sit through confusing, and at times highly disturbing talks. Furthermore, there are teachers that proudly share, during staff meetings and professional development seminars that they do not permit “gendered language,” and discuss “white privilege,” with students as young as eight years old. These “woke” teachers are praised by the administration and presented as teachers everyone should emulate.
I implore you to not shy away from fighting this. Reach out to other parents. Even if it’s a small group, know that your child’s teacher, principal, and superintendent need to hear that you won’t stand for indoctrination in the classroom.
We all have agency. These are our publicly funded schools, but we can only reclaim them when we demand it. Do call your schools, as well as your government officials, and let them know that our taxpayer dollars should not fund programs of indoctrination.
The future of public education, and possibly our democracy, depends on it.
The author is a teacher in the Ontario Public school system, and can be found on Twitter as Not Woke
9 thoughts on “Critical Theory and Our Kids: An Open Letter to Public School Parents”
Excellent article, the same thing is going on in counselling and therapy education and seriously impacting the mental health of people seeking sort with anxiety, depression, and unresolved trauma. It promotes fragility, hyper-sensitivity, and catastrophizing leaving people even less able to cope. This is certainly not what developing minds need.
Well done for speaking out and encouraging others to take a stand too.
Thank you for speaking out on these issues. The rapid rate of acceptance of this material and the silencing of those questioning it or expressing alarm point to a serious problem. “Far from eradicating racism and gender-based discrimination, Critical Race Theory and Gender Ideology are highly divisive, and possibly harmful”. I agree. Many women in particular who disagree with the current push to speak in certain ways, are being forced underground to speak with each other. Having personally been a member of the lgbt+ umbrella for a long time, I am disgusted a the current wave of politic.
Great job here! I’m an Ontario parent of two small innocent ones. I’m appalled by this nonsense, and I’m desperately seeking other parents to team up with and fight back.
Please email me if you are a parent or concerned citizen and wish to do something about this. Alternatively, if there already exists a counter-woke movement I would really like to join it.
My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
I don’t have children or grandchildren in school, but I am sooo distraught over this matter. In Canada we will have the same intensity of negative cultural relations within 20 years, as bad or worse than they have in the US. One group of kids are taught they are oppressed and the other group that they are oppressors. How can either group succeed in life when one grows up in victimhood and the other grows up in shame and guilt. This is just modern day segregation. This will cause terrible problems now through the future.
Thank you for this article. I experience both sides of this article. I am an elementary school teacher having to teach this content to my students and a mom having to help my own children make sense of the content they are being taught and are no where near ready to process this type of information. My daughter suffers with severe anxiety and was taught at age 12 about the sex trade in our city. My daughter was terrified after that she was going to be kidnapped and forced to be a sex slave. I made sure that she was not involved in any future conversations about this topic and had to go so far as picking her up from school during these type of presentations as she was scared to be in the building when they were taking place. I realize the importance of teaching our children to be safe and to understand diversity and to be sensitive towards others, but at what point do we stop and realize that our children are being exposed to entirely too much content before their brains are ready to process this information? Several of my friends and myself included have had our children stressing out at age 12 to label their sexual identity before they even understand what it is like to experience a “crush.” I am at a loss. I feel for my students and for my own children. In a time when they are supposed to be having fun enjoying friendships and discovering their interests, instead they are anxious, confused and second guessing every thought that crosses their mind. At what point do we say STOP! ENOUGH! Let our children be exactly that, children. They will have enough decisions to make and stress to deal with when they are adults. Let them discover this content we are shoving down their throats when their brains are fully developed and are ready to take in this type of information.
I am totally against any teacher who has Zero to no education on what Critical Race theory is to even utter one word about it to my child. At no point should this be considered in any classroom unless it is in a university or collegiate law course.
I am also tired of this system of memorization. At no point are our children being tough critical thinking. I say we change they system to teach/learn learn/teach system. When children are given a task to complete with little assistance from the teacher. Time to revamp it all. Just know if this is pushed through I will Fight. With every breath of my being and I will win with God’s grace.
Ive seen whats been going on in the NEA and as my good Friend Mark Levin who is sounding off the alarm bells and rallying the Nations’s Patriots; so must we here in Canada as well! We muat put a stop on CRT programs from being taught in our Schools and colleges.
My husband and I were on the fence about homeschooling our child. After watching this situation unfold, it made the decision an easy one to make…we’re homeschooling.
Can we form a group to fight CRT inside the TDSB? Any suggestions?