Readin’, Writin’ and Social Justice Agitatin’

It’s back-to-school season across the country. But in an increasing number of districts, “back to school” doesn’t mean back to learning. Under the reign of social justice indoctrinators, academics are secondary to political agitation. Activism trumps achievement.

In Massachusetts, the John J. Duggan Middle School will open on August 25 with a new name and mission. It is now a “social justice magnet school.” As a hiring advertisement for teachers explained earlier this year, the emphasis will be on “helping students develop the necessary skills to analyze and synthesize information and to generate empathy by looking at multiple sides of important issues facing the world, be that hunger, water quality, racial barriers, child labor or imbalance of power.”

Concise writing, as you can see, is not on the social justice pedagogues’ agenda.

Oh, and forget about memorizing times tables or mastering the scientific method. The new principal says the school’s primary job is teaching “fairness.” Duggan Middle School’s junior lobbying factory is “serious about creating 21st century global citizens, and it begins with understanding who we are as members of each of those communities.”

The ultimate goal of these social justice prep schools: creating left-wing political advocates.

At the Crescent Heights Social Justice Magnet School in Los Angeles, children will work on “action projects” tied to the “United Nations Millennium Development Goals.” Students will spend the academic year transforming into “agents of change.” Yes, they will learn language arts. But basic reading and writing are only a focus of the magnet school, the founders explain, because “we want our students to recognize injustice in their world or the world at large and be able to fully express their outrage, their plan of attack, their progress in this endeavor.”

In Chicago, Ground Zero for social justice brainwashing, the Social Justice High School (SOJO), follows a similar mission. Activist teachers openly foster identity politics and systematically undermine individualism. Their specialties: “struggle and sacrifice.” SOJO’s mission statement sounds like a pot-addled Oberlin College freshman’s — er, freshperson’s — Sociology 101 term paper:

“Through collective community power, we commit to a conscious effort to overcome the intended historical obstacles that have been designed to disempower and divide our communities.”

At the Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School, also in Massachusetts, students won’t learn math. They’ll be taught “social justice math.” (Freire was a Brazilian leftist who wrote a social justice teacher’s Bible called “Pedagogy of the Oppressed.”)

His acolytes explain the push for radicalization of math: “Math is an instrument for detailing social justice issues and developing critical consciousness.” In the hands of progressive teachers, math “becomes an analytic tool to bring awareness to important world issues.”

In other words: One plus one equals “That’s unfair!”

New York City schools have been infested for years with city-funded math teachers who “train students in seeing social problems from a radical anticapitalist perspective,” as City Journal’s Sol Stern reported. As I’ve noted previously, the “Rethinking Mathematics: Teaching Social Justice by the Numbers” guide rejects traditional white male patriarchal methods of teaching computation and statistics in favor of politically correct number-crunching.

Out: Algebraic equations, geometric proofs and advanced calculus.

In: “Racial profiling, unemployment rate calculation, the war in Iraq, environmental racism, globalization, wealth distribution and poverty, wheelchair ramps, urban density, HIV/AIDS, deconstructing Barbie, junk food advertising to children, and lotteries.”

State education codes mandate value neutrality in the classroom. But in schools of “social justice,” every academic subject is a means to a “progressive” (anti-American, pro-collectivist, redistributive) ideological end. The radical transformation of K-12 classrooms into leftist agitation labs is embedded in the mission of countless teachers colleges and universities, which require social justice training or offer special certification in its indoctrination techniques.

These teaching institutions are pumping out generations of educators who cast themselves as leaders against “social struggle” — instead of facilitators of intellectual inquiry. Passing the most rigorous student standards in the world won’t amount to squat as long as the overseers of public education exploit government schools as community organizing vehicles for captive tots, tweens and teens.

Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is


  • Josh

    This is literally anti-education. Rather than teaching children facts, or teaching children how to discover and process information, these teachers bring their biased conclusions into the classroom, which they refuse to put up for debate because they view them as infallible, and the “education” will be geared toward helping children realize that the teachers’ worldview is correct.

    I can see their “math” class now. “Kids, here is the gender wage gap. Women earn 86 cents on the dollar. Because patriarchy. Numbers cannot lie; they are absolute. This is proof of discrimination and injustice.”

    “But, wait, how did they come up with those numbers, Mr. Marx?”

    “You see, class, this question is an example of injustice in the world. You want to dispute what is factual? Are you a right-wing big business shill trying to misdirect the rest of the students? Here — go pay the principal a visit.”

    I don’t think I’ll ever be able to understand why an adult’s worldview and beliefs must be forced on children in order to effect social change and mold society in that image. (In fact, I’m not sure I even believe that’s what it’s about at the end of the day — at least not as it concerns these progressives actually ever helping anyone but themselves.)

    I’m against it when Biblical fundamentalist creationists seek to force their beliefs through “science” and into the classroom, and I’m against this nonsense of changing material to reflect an educator’s opinion about injustice in the world.

    I’m against molding children to the whims of adults. Period.

    They are not lab rats to be filled with nonsense so that they may carry on a failed legacy. It’s bad enough that some horrible parents out there indoctrinate their children with idiocy and hatred. Though they’re the parents; not much to be done without stomping on parental rights. But when it comes to other people’s kids, it’s madness.

    Though I suspect there’s a more immediate payoff than some nation or worldwide trend to institute fairness and actually solve problems and heal suffering. Kids will quickly become voters, and I’m sure somewhere in this “social justice” message is a lesson about how teachers are grossly underpaid, overworked, held too accountable for the failings of society, and how they need more resources and more positions and more capital to properly teach students about what ails the world.

    Maybe I’m too cynical to be just a regular cynic, but I don’t necessarily view a lot of these social justice advocates as true believers so much as I view them as charlatans looking for creative, long-lasting ways to do basically nothing throughout their lives while being handed power, respect, and lots and lots of other people’s money. Feeding the needy and fairness and racism are just catchy headlines that enable them to sneak in their real message, IMO.

    That’s the thing that gets me, and I’m positive it is not a unique observation: The people preaching these social values and calling for big-time government and such never plan on being cogs in the wheel. They hold themselves amongst the enlightened few who will view the transformation from atop the hill, looking down at everyone else sharing in equal suffering — no one person having too much, no one person dealing with too little before promptly dividing rations further.

    We’re not in a sword-wielding, cannon fire age anymore where cities and can sacked on the reg and kings can be overthrown. Even if we were, these are the types who hide while those braver and bolder fight for freedom or for power. But this new age suits them perfectly. Their whiny, cowardly dispositions translate perfectly to backdoor power and wealth through underhanded manipulation.

    Children as a tool for their power. No wonder they stick up for Hamas. They’re not much different at all.

    • Iggy Autry

      A vital problem is — they view their beliefs as righteous – just like if you were in a religious school. Just like a couple hundred years ago.

      And when you believe your group’s opinion is not just right but righteous – and that everyone must think like you – the restraints on abuse of trying to force people to think like you start dropping off…

      And here is a huge point: Don’t be white in those courses… White male? Better to drop out and apprentice a trade…(I’m 50% serious.)

      Read Edward Said’s Culture & Imperialism – one of their bibles… Or pick randomly required reading in a course focusing on post-colonial theory in a department in the humanities…

      …Watch them bend over backwards to tell you non-Euro empires were great achievements in the socio-histories of non-whites – while in the very same breath blasting all Euro-centric culture back to the stone age as inherently racist, oppressive, and evil…

      Or, read around in both the pop culture and academic writing about how a member of this or that socio-ethnic group can’t be racist – no matter what they say or do – because – they have no “power” in American culture – but me – just by the nature of the color of my skin and Y-chromosome – have “power” – and because I’m white – you can label me “racist” – because – in American society, Race + Power = Racism – no matter what economic environment you sprang from…

      This is the mother’s milk our current president was raised on – and what he and whole generations were fed as bread and butter in the “educations” they got…(including his church).

      I spent years and years studying with this type of intellectual and pseudo-intellectual.

      I really mean it: Watch the movie Gentleman’s Agreement [1947] — you’ll see what kind of group-think prejudice dominates the Humanities in higher education – and thus filters down into secondary and primary education…

      It has been building and going on for decades, and we’ve not found ways or had the motivation to counter it. The Left did not come to exclude conservatives from higher education, the media, and Hollywood/entertainment overnight…

      We could have fought for true diversity – including thought…

      Now, the fight will be harder and longer…

  • Iggy Autry

    Watch Gregory Peck in A Gentleman’s Agreement [1947].

    That is what it is like being conservative in sections of the society after The Left has gain predominant control of them.

    Of course, if you attend a political rally or a party meeting – whether hosted by Republicans or Democrats – it is going to be that way if you are in opposition.

    But — the huge point is —- The Left – now that it dominates higher education, the media, and Hollywood/Entertainment —- is moving to — politicize – everything.

    By “social justice” – the mean teaching kids as young as possible to – think like them – or – be ostracized.

    The fact they aren’t carting people off to the Gulag does not hide the bare immorality of what they seek to accomplish.

    Watch A Gentleman’s Agreement to get an idea of what kind of world they are really aiming for….(and such efforts do lead to concentration camps from time to time…)

  • Royalsfan67

    Some thoughts on this. First, we have known for decades the Marxist proudly proclaimed “give me a child at 5 years old and I will produce a good communist”. The Marxist movement infiltrated our educational system long ago and has almost completely taken it over. One problem is conservatives just are not drawn to these fields as we are more likely to work in a business related field including be a small business owner. Educational jobs tend to be union and government related.
    But that being said, why don’t we do the same thing. Open schools that actually teach students the 3 R’s along with conservative principles in life. Just because you are late to the game does not mean you can’t win it.

    • Iggy Autry

      I disagree in part: I’ve heard “Progress”ives use that line to wipe away recognition of their exclusionary practices – basically segregating academic disciplines.

      If you are a conservative, and virtually every single professor you encounter in a department – or even in the Humanities school itself – are Left — what should you ultimately conclude? That that discipline is – hostile – to you. They might tolerate you, but because they will not allow people like you to work there, and every professor takes a negative view of your side of the political spectrum, they let you know — get out…

      I know I specifically had conversations like this with my former academic adviser and friend as I was giving up on the PhD: Why should I sacrifice so much when I will find it even harder to get a job in an already tight market? Why should I sacrifice when, even if I find a job, I’ll be isolated in any department I land in?

      Another prof told me straight forward they would not allow the school to hire a conservative. Our college was non-denominational Christian, but you couldn’t find a Christian prof in the Religion/Philosophy Department – and in fact – the head of the program got in a shouting match and forced a guest speaker on Christianity to walk off the stage – because the prof could not stand the idea someone said Christ was the way to Heaven…

      …very open minded to chase someone away from exercising his speech because he isn’t open minded enough for you…

  • Iggy Autry

    “by looking at multiple sides of important issues facing the world”

    BS. Even higher education at top universities does NOT teach you – how to think for yourself – by being critical of all sides.

    You are trained to accept one side. Defend it against all others. And deconstruct every other idea.

    Yes, you do look at multiple sides: You learn to view other sides are immoral and evil – and – become dedicated to fighting to advance your morally superior view… That is…if you decide to agree with the uniform opinion of the profs in the Humanities…

    If you are conservative in the Humanities – you can only walk away from a top school with one conclusion: They hate you…

    They might tolerate you. But, you can’t come away without understanding they are HOSTILE to people who think like you, because all of them are hostile to those thoughts and the “groups” that foster them…

    — And this is exactly what these magnet schools and activist teachers in public schools are doing to teens and youth: Letting them know as early as possible — Think like we do – or – you are evil…

    (Exactly what these people ridicule Christians about….)