The curriculum in an increasing number of school districts has become a warped mix of wokeness and progressivism.
In San Francisco, the board of education had decided to strip the names of those horrible human stains on American history – Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and (checks notes) Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinStates paying billions in fraudulent unemployment claims OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court nixes Trump move to open 10 million acres to mining | Treasury will reportedly add climate czar | Manchin pushes natural gas in letter to Biden Caitlyn Jenner rules out gubernatorial run in California MORE (D-Calif.) – from 44 area public schools.
The reason: These folks – two of whom appear on Mount Rushmore – apparently “engaged in the subjugation and enslavement of human beings; or who oppressed women, inhibiting societal progress; or whose actions led to genocide; or who otherwise significantly diminished the opportunities of those amongst us to the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” per the resolution.
Fortunately, the decision was later put on hold after some blowback, with the board citing a need to concentrate on getting schools reopened (which should have been the first and only priority before embarking on this ridiculous exercise).
In a related story, the opioid crisis barely covered in today’s media, got much, much worse in 2020.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 70,000 lives were lost due to drug overdose in 2019. In 2020, the numbers skyrocketed. Per JAMA Psychiatry, which analyzed weekly data of about 190 million emergency room visits from April to October 2020, drug overdoses increased by an average of 45 percent from 2019. Opioid overdoses increased almost 29 percent from the previous year.
Given this spiraling epidemic, one would think schools would be going all-in on drug and opioid education for pre-teens, particularly in places such as San Francisco, where the number of opioid-related deaths doubled in 2020.
But don’t worry: Washington’s and Lincoln’s names are no longer featured on school buildings, thanks to a tone deaf school board.
2020 also marked the resurgence of Black Lives Matter (BLM), which is overwhelmingly supported by traditional media, our professional sports leagues and just over half the population, according to Pew Research.
The primary mission of BLM seems to be to abolish the police.
— Naomi Klein (@NaomiAKlein) June 12, 2020
“One of the things that we are demanding over five years is the complete abolition. We don’t want to see any police in our community,” Philadelphia Black Lives Matter activist YahNé Ndgo told Fox News in a June interview.
This message seems to be resonating with students across the country.
A 2020 Gallup poll showed that one-third of young adults (18-34 years old) support abolishing the police, easily the highest of any age group.
The same poll found that 81 percent of Gen Zers believe “major changes” need to be made to police departments, or almost double the share of those aged 50-64, where just 43 percent support major changes to police departments.
In a related story, the Chicago Teachers Union, according to its website, again “passed a resolution to join national Black Lives Matter at School Week activities to kick off Black History Month!”
Of course, history cannot be taught without teaching students about the history of racism and the civil rights movement. But that can be done without educators openly advocating Black Lives Matter and incorporating such a controversial group into school curricula.
But that’s exactly what third-party educational website BrainPOP did in releasing a video examining the Black Lives Matter movement, sparking outrage from some parents and board members after one video touted remaking the Minneapolis police department “from the ground up” while urging students to join BLM.
“When an officer abuses their power, that’s just a symptom,” a character in the video argues. “The problem is much more widespread than that, which is why we need everybody’s help to change things, and that’s what these protests are about. And guess what — it’s already starting to work. In Minneapolis, the City Council voted to remake the police department from the ground up. … We have a voice, and we can do amazing things with it.”
What wasn’t included in this educational video are Minneapolis crime statistics, which have skyrocketed in recent months after the city cut millions from its police department budget, initially resulting in less resources and fewer officers on the ground.
City leaders have since changed course and are desperately trying to hire back as many officers as possible, even bringing officers in from the suburbs.
Meanwhile, pollster John McLaughlin found in Oct. 2020 that two-thirds of college undergraduates believe “rioting and looting is justified.” Yup. Two-thirds.
College undergrads: America is racist, looting ‘justified,’ reparations required.
— Paul Bedard (@SecretsBedard) October 27, 2020
As for free speech, prepare again for the jaw to drop: According to the Knight Foundation, a majority of Gen Z college students say that “shouting down speakers or trying to prevent them from talking” is sometimes or completely fair game.
Given this astonishing number, one has to wonder what is being taught to kids before they get to college that allows them to mimic Big Tech in censoring or shouting down those with an opinion or perspective different from their own.
Educational issues weren’t a topic discussed very much during the 2020 presidential campaign. They should have been. Our kids aren’t being taught very much about personal finance, avoiding opioids, the power of social media or the right to free speech.
Racism has dominated the discourse instead, just as it plays an outsized role in our sizzle-over-steak media.
This topic is also taking a bigger piece of the discussion pie in our schools, including in those still named after Lincoln and Washington, with Black Lives Matter getting more seats at the table. Whether parents like it or not.
Joe Concha is a media and politics columnist for The Hill.