Grievance politics seems to permeate every aspect of our society these days — and it has a serious cost.
Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi have emerged as contemporary televangelists. The deceptively-named concept of “anti-racism” is the new orthodoxy in our universities, and racial politics have also entered our public schools.
This month, Fairfax County School Board member Abrar Omeish reminded the graduating class, “We struggle with human greed, racism, extreme versions of individualism and capitalism, white supremacy, growing wealth gaps, disease, climate crisis, extreme poverty amidst luxury and waste right next door.”
As a Washington Examiner editorial chronicled, K-12 students have been subjected to “restorative justice” circles and forced to self-identify as “privileged” or “oppressed.” The in-vogue focus on “equity,” not equality, has even led California to dismantle its math program, abandoning the long-standing pathway of advanced courses and any notion of “gifted” students.
The woke fever in K-12 education has robbed students of financial resources. “Equity” initiatives are not cheap. In March, the Fairfax County Public Schools agreed to pay the NYC Leadership Academy for “Leadership Development Training.” And according to documents obtained by Judicial Watch, the Montgomery County School District awarded $450,000 to the Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium to conduct an “anti-racist system audit.”
The over-emphasis on racial politics has also allowed administrators to overlook systemic issues in American education. For one thing, students are under-performing in basic reading assessments. American Enterprise Institute fellow Ian Rowe noted in a 2020 piece, “Consider that in 2019, only one-third of all 8th-grade students scored ‘Proficient’ on the National Assessment of Progress in reading.”
Officials have also ignored the educational setbacks caused by the Common Core educational standards. Professors James Milgram and Sandra Stotsky found that the Common Core mathematics curriculum fails to prepare students for college-level STEM education.
Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates STEM occupations have a median income of $50,000 higher than non-STEM occupations. Rather than equipping students with the necessary skills to secure these high-paying jobs, 41 states have decided to keep Common Core.
Grievance politics is divisive. But more importantly, it distracts the public from systemic problems in our public schools. In today’s push for “equity,” baseline performance has been allowed to decline, and students have been left behind.
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Original Author: Samuel Kim
Original Location: 'Equity' has left K-12 students behind