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:
- Don’t say “Black Lives Matter” in a preschool classroom.
- Don’t teach my child she can choose whatever gender she likes.
- 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.