Seaton: When Pre-K Goes Pre-Woke

Most current educational discourse centers around fears of college indoctrination. As we struggle with how much ideology those in higher education impress on students, there’s a movement to hook children far earlier than one would expect. In at least one New York preschool, the curriculum includes discussions on gender fluidity and sexuality.

In an e-mail to parents and caregivers on Jan. 16, teacher Rosy Clark lays out lessons based on the Black Lives Matter Week of ­Action for a pre-kindergarten class at PS 58, located in well-regarded District 15 in Carroll Gardens.

The email* from Ms. Clark** outlines the way she plans to introduce the “Thirteen Principles” of the Black Lives Matter movement in her classroom. While police brutality and current events are off the table, transgender and queer affirmation are completely appropriate for developing minds.

Principle No. 6: “Transgender Affirming,’’ Clark writes. “Everybody has the right to choose their own gender by listening to their own heart and mind. Everyone gets to choose if they are a boy or a girl or both or neither or something else, and no one gets to choose for them.”

And. No. 7: “Queer Affirming.’’ The principle here is that “everybody has the right to choose who [sic] they love and the kind of family they want by listening to their own heart and mind.’’

Creating lessons on respecting boundaries and appreciating science is one thing, and certainly appropriate for young minds. It’s mind boggling to think introducing transgender rights to children just beginning to understand their bodies and biological differences is acceptable at such a formative age.

Worse yet is the concept of the invisible oppressor, or in Ms. Clark’s words, Principle 12.

“There are some people who think that women are less important than men,’’ the teacher writes. “We know that all people are important and have the right to be safe and talk about their feelings.’’

The teacher fails to identify these phantom fiends who devalue females, or “Black Women,’’ injecting division and suspicion toward pre-kindergarteners along gender lines, as well as racial ones.

Giving Ms. Clark some credit, a few of the principles are certainly laudable lessons for young minds: empathy, loving engagement, and diversity. Kids should start with a love for everyone in their hearts, no matter what, and teachers impressing these lessons on children are cementing building blocks for better, more engaged students in later years.

On the other hand, is it really appropriate to tell Johnny and Katie at four and five years old they’re assigned to roles of oppressor or oppressed before they even have a fully-formed idea of who they are as a person?

At least one parent attempted to express his dissatisfaction with Ms. Clark’s desire to impress her activist ideology on students. He emailed Ms. Clark and the principal, Katie Dello Stritto, with three simple requests:

  1. Don’t say “Black Lives Matter” in a preschool classroom.
  2. Don’t teach my child she can choose whatever gender she likes.
  3. No discussions of terminology or sexuality.

Both responded in tepid fashion. Ms. Clark defended her curriculum by repeating the same platitudes in her initial email to parents with additional appeals to making the classroom a safe space. Principal Dello Stritto defended Ms. Clark, claiming her curriculum was in line with “Chancellor’s Regulations.”

The concerned parent is currently seeking other educational options for his children.

Black Lives Matter’s “Thirteen Principles” are certainly worth discussion. Raising those issues in class before a child can count to one hundred is a seriously questionable decision for any educator, no matter how woke one wishes their pupils become. Doing so in a public school setting will only ignite the passions of detractors and divert attention from the good work most teachers do each day.

*A copy of the email was provided to me by the concerned parent mentioned in this post, who asked to remain anonymous.

**From my understanding and the Post article, Ms. Clark identifies as a white cisgender female.

11 thoughts on “Seaton: When Pre-K Goes Pre-Woke

  1. Dan

    And just what, exactly, do “trans affirming”, “queer affirming”, and systemic sexism have to do with what we’re told is the plague of black people (specifically, young black males) being wrongly shot by police? You know, that thing that BLM is supposedly about?

      1. CLS

        Adding to my mean-ass editor’s nicely worded metaphor, this is a feature common to mass movements. What starts as a reaction to an issue often expands to an umbrella of ideals, many of which may have nothing to do with the initial message.

        That expansion carries the potential of either cementing or diluting the movement’s original message. Only time will tell.

        And to answer your question, Dan, “Hell if I know.”

  2. Richard Kopf


    I propose a supplemental curriculum for Pre-K children.

    It might be called, “How not to get your ass kicked at recess when you reach Kindergarten.” Examples,

    1. For Boys: When a girl, as a big as a bus, demands the kick ball give it to her without complaint.
    2. For Girls: When a boy, as big as a bus, demands the kick ball you, unlike boys, have two options: A. Kick him in the nuts and run or (2) give it to him without complaint.
    3. For the fluid gendered: You, my little tikes, are fucked. If you whimper hard, it is possible, although not probable, you will avoid having your pinky finger snapped like a pretzel.

    My proposal is far more practical than the one discussed in your post. First, Pre-K kids can’t spell “Queer.” Second, surviving torments at recess is a rite of passage for all American kids and must be endured by everyone regardless of their genitalia at birth.

    I hope the educators out there (previously known as teachers) consider my modest proposal. In any event, all the best.


    1. SHG

      Kids are only as big as a bus to kids who are much smaller than a bus. The obvious solution is to eat Wheaties, who should now be a high-paying sponsor of SJ. You’re welcome.

      1. MelK

        Wheaties? Me, I’d rather my kid be Strong to the Finish. But I guess that’s no longer in vogue, unless you’re cutting grain from your diet.

  3. B. McLeod

    It is likely just a matter of time until the truly woke will purchase audio packages to feed this material to their infants as soon as they are home from the hospital. No reason to wait until formal pre-K instruction when babies’ first words could be Antifa slogans..

Comments are closed.