(This is a guest post by M. Baranski, a parent in the NYC public school system.)
The DOE’s movement spearheaded by the school chancellor Carranza and encouraged by the Mayor is trying to completely undermine our already barely functioning educational system by eliminating the concept of “education” and merit based achievement from DOE’s agenda.
Carranza, who has long been an enemy of merit-based education, is using the COVID crisis as an excuse to eliminate any kind of standard reference for children’s accomplishments (or failures) in schools.
The DOE website for its “culturally-responsive-sustaining-education” curriculum reads like a perverted communist manifesto, “from each according to his ability to each according to his needs.”
The CR-SE curriculum does not mention merit, hard work, accomplishment or achievement. It does not mention literacy in reading, writing or math. Instead, it talks about “fostering critical consciousness about historical and contemporary forms of bias and oppression; identifying and interrupting policies and practices that center on historically advantaged social/cultural groups; promoting student agency to end societal inequities; developing restorative practices in schools”, etc…
While these slogans sound noble and socially progressive, what do they really mean? What does “developing restorative practices” mean – does it mean that it doesn’t matter that you’re failing and your literacy scores are abysmal, you are still a great person, should be happy and we’ll graduate you?
What about “identifying and interrupting policies and practices that center on historically advantaged social/cultural groups” – does it mean that you’re not good at algebra, that’s ok, it’s a form of oppression, so we won’t teach it?
How about “foster critical consciousness about historical and contemporary forms of bias and oppression” – Let’s attribute your failures to historical forms of bias and oppression, what else could it be?
Such Newspeak is not only rampant at the Department of Education, those who are supposed to be guarding the tenets of learning, hard work, development of intellect, but also among progressive politicians caught on the bandwagon of this trendy ideology.
This proposed curriculum and with it, the movements to destroy our best STEM Schools by eliminating the SHSAT and the screened schools process that selects children based on their academic accomplishments, will deeply harm all our children. But it will especially harm underprivileged minorities and low-income groups. Instead of learning how to read and write, children will be “examining the knowledge of one’s personal beliefs, assumptions, experiences and identities, creating emotional safe spaces that recognize and nurture students’ identities, giving them a sense of ownership and belonging in the school”.
Without literacy, children from disadvantaged families will be shackled to a life of ignorance and poverty. Statistics show that the literacy rates for high school seniors have been declining from 2015-2109 with low-income minorities showing the worst drop. The proposed curriculum will only further obstruct their goals to literacy.
Carranza and Deblasio do not realize or do not care that New York City public schools also compete with private and parochial schools. There, children are taught hard work, sciences, reading, mathematics and critical analytical skills.
Most important, they are not taught to expect things to be handed to them on a platter, but this is exactly what Carranza wants to do with the public schools. He has made grading voluntary, he eliminated January’s Regents, he is planning to eliminate the SHSAT (he can’t do it legally, yet, so he’s pushing back the date until it becomes impractical to administer), and he wants to get rid of screened schools, where admission is merit-based.
He is systematically and methodically eliminating any kind of standard measurement against which a child’s academic progress can be marked because he does not believe in academics and wants to cover up the dismal performance of most New York City public school kids on state tests.
For him, the best schools are “restorative” institutions where millions of happy idiots are milling about, oblivious to everything but their own state of content.