Schools in North America have traditionally respected parents as key partners within the school community. This is part of the social contract: everyone funds the public system. Our educational institutions, in turn, reflect societal norms and values.
Inherent within this agreement is that schools teach children the essential skills needed to thrive in the workplace, such as reading, writing, foreign language, math, and the sciences. Threaded through these key subjects are the kinds of core values society at large agrees are essential, such as diligence, teamwork, and empathy, to name but a few.
This mutual respect is disintegrating, since an alarming number of schools, across North America, have adopted an activist stance, at times against parents and guardians. Teachers are no longer told to merely advocate on behalf of very progressive ideas, which is a major problem in itself since it breaks the old traditional agreement that we do not push political ideas on our students. They have started actively subverting parental authority.
Throughout the United States, there have been disturbing reports, such as this one, in Loudon County, Virginia, concerning a father who had to pursue legal means to find out what was being taught in his child’s school. His fears of a curriculum featuring Critical Race Theory were proven correct. Shockingly, local parents who oppose CRT on ideological grounds were put on a list of individuals to shame in the community.
In Rockwood County, Missouri, teachers were directed to develop two curricula: an ideologically charged one, which leans heavily on Critical Race Theory, that would be implemented in the classroom, and a second, watered-down version to manipulate the parents into believing that there were no controversial lessons.
Let’s explore what’s going on in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province. The Toronto District School Board is discussing how to permit LGBTQ students to change their names in their databases, without parental consent. Also in the TDSB, at Bowmore Road, grade 7 students were instructed that their “parents and grandparents may not be as informed about (gender) as the students.” What’s implied: your parents don’t understand gender and have no authority on this matter, so kids shouldn’t listen to them.
Parents in the Hamilton Wentworth School Board (HWDSB) are denied access to their “Learn.Disrupt.Rebuild” curriculum, “designed to address the twin pandemics of Covid and anti-Black racism.” It took one very tenacious parent to finally gain access, after both Michele Rodney Bartolos, the principal of Equity and Yohana Otite, Human Rights and Equity in Education refused to share the documents. (Otite even said, “Why do you need to see it?”)
What kind of education system makes it nearly impossible for parents to know what is being taught? What are these educators trying to hide?
Schools have decided to enforce wokism, and are subverting parental authority to do it. How else can you implement such controversial ideas? The HWDSB’s slogan is, “Disrupt/Rebuild.”
Disrupt and rebuild what, exactly?
During the “Check Your Privilege,” lesson, intended for kids in grades 1-8, students are taught the “myth of meritocracy,” which is intended to teach children that it’s a false belief, “that your success in life is based on your ability or how hard you work.”
Imagine learning, in elementary or middle school, that there’s no point in striving for academic, professional, or creative success? What could be more harmful for young minds?
My own school’s staff meetings have transformed into cultish, jargon-laden sessions, where we almost exclusively discuss systemic oppression, with a bit of gender thrown in here and there. It’s anti-black racism, almost all of the time, to the extent that several of my colleagues confided in me that this approach to multicultural education is extreme, and even distressing. Obscure incidents, such as a little girl who (a few years ago) commented on a different skin tone is brought up as proof of our school community’s culture of “systemic racism.”
Our administration has not supported teachers worried about “upsetting parents,” with what used to be controversial talks about white privilege. I expected at least a suggestion that we should not be teaching material that would be upsetting to families of elementary-school-aged children. Not a peep.
There have been a few parent complaints, one of which was blamed squarely on a teacher, who did not “adequately prepare students with enough race terminology, nor lessons which explore the concept of identities.”
The logic is a bit tricky to follow, but essentially, if a 10-year-old child is disturbed by a streamed workshop that discusses oppression and the need for “courageous, even upsetting conversations,” it’s not the actual subject matter that was problematic; it’s the teacher that hasn’t properly groomed their students to sit through such workshops without sharing their distress with their parents.
School boards boldly and arrogantly argue the goals of eradicating racism and transphobia demand that we fight oppression in this manner. They even defend subterfuge and obfuscation, since they claim that Canadian parents contaminate their children with their bigotry. This strategy is absurd since Critical Race Theory and Gender Ideology have absolutely no track record of solving these serious problems; furthermore, this kind of indoctrination is developmentally inappropriate to apply to children, highly divisive, and probably psychologically harmful.
There is some good news. That determined parent from Hamilton was finally, after multiple attempts, able to get the “Learn, Disrupt, Rebuild,” curriculum. The HWDSB had good reason to try to hide it; its contents have no place in our public schools and it’s full of the usual woke tropes like white privilege and intersectionality. But if one persistent parent could get his or her hands on it, that means it is possible to expose what is happening in our schools, but it will require determination and a concerted community effort.
Contact your board, and demand access to the curriculum. Ask them if concepts like Critical Race Theory and Gender Ideology are part of their Equity toolkit. Furthermore, if they cannot deny that intersectionality, anti-black racism, and the gender spectrum are instructed in the classroom, express your concern, and organize with other parents. Demand to be informed about which of those topics are being taught, so you can remove your child from the classroom on that day. Complain to the teacher, the administration, and the superintendent.
Finally, contact our Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce and Premier, Doug Ford. By speaking boldly, parents show their boards who’s really in charge.
The author teaches in the public education system of Ontario and can be found on Twitter, as Not_woke Teacher, @teacher_woke
We recommend reviewing this resource which explains how to create transparency – the first step in making woke activists accountable for what they’re doing in our schools: https://defendinged.org/resources/how-to-create-woke-at-pages/
If you’re interested in getting involved in parents groups across Canada, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org