The Truth is Powerful

How to teach kids social justice?

A June 2020 protest in Oyster Bay after George Floyd’s death. Credit: Pablo Garcia Corradi

Anti-racist and social justice education has been on the rise in schools across America in recent years, especially since last summer’s nationwide protests against racial injustice. But now, parents, educators, activists and politicians from Texas to New York are resisting such education, saying that it has become a vehicle for ideologies and causes that promote division instead of healing.

This is widely seen as a backlash driven by racism, or at best by avoidance of difficult issues. But while these may be the motives for some, others are responding to very real problems with what gets taught and implemented as “social justice.”

Take the account of Paul Rossi, a mathematics teacher at the Episcopal Grace Church School in Manhattan who has gone public after he was suspended from teaching and publicly reprimanded for running afoul of the school’s “anti-racism” effort. Rossi has since resigned.

Rossi’s offense was dissent at an all-white “self-care” Zoom meeting where students were urged to work on undoing such characteristics of “white supremacy culture” as “individualism,” “objectivity” and “a right to comfort.” Rossi questioned why such traits should be racialized, or considered bad — […]

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