Celebrating America should mean defending her in public schools
[As so-called ‘Critical Race Theory’ that was cooked up and presented as a field of legitimate study in academia long ago has since metastasized and aggressively spread into the workplaces, corporate offices and now government agencies—which was always the underlying intent of its creators—I am reminded of this column I penned during the twilight of George W. Bush’s presidency and for which I interviewed a former high school history teacher from Tucson Unified School District and his crystal-clear description of the insidious nature of the Left’s cultural reassignment surgery and the blistering reality of how far along it was even then. The teacher had been assigned a Mexican-American ethnic studies course at a magnet high school in the district, but was immediately informed by district administrators that his only real responsibility was to issue grades—the curriculum would be imparted in class primarily by non-credentialed ‘community organizers’ appearing as guest speakers and through coursework material they had curated. The educator quickly learned he was basically a cutout that was tapped to present the veneer of legitimacy and meet Arizona’s professional requirements in the classroom if only on paper. The actual class, he explained, provided little more than a steady flow of racially-focused agitprop from the community organizers: “They declared students were living in an occupied, colonized land,” he said, “with the central tenet of the instruction being that white Americans oppress Latinos, and that the education system was a tool of white oppression.”
First published by The Washington Times on July 4, 2008, the column closed by noting: “If Americans are unwilling to defend their national heritage to the emerging generation in its classrooms, then the fireworks this Fourth of July will really have been just flares illuminating a mighty nation that is sleepwalking to its own demise.”
I’d say we’re in our jammies and standing on the precipice now.]
By Mark Cromer
For most of America, celebrating the 232nd anniversary of our republic’s declaration of independence from the British Empire inspires at least a moment of reflection of what brought our nation to greatness.
If the national revelry indeed has any deeper purpose at all beyond binging on hotdogs and beer, it must be that we acknowledge our ancestors strong work ethic, their bloody sacrifice, our unique national sense of exceptionalism and our bedrock respect for the rule of law.
But once the fireworks are over, Americans would be wise to take note that our national holiday is not seen as something to celebrate by significant and growing numbers of students at public high schools across the Southwest. In school districts from Tucson to Los Angeles, advocates of a radically ethnocentric agenda are expanding their reach into the student body and the curriculum, teaching a core message that holds the United States is a racist police-state that is bent on the oppression of Latinos and other ethnic minorities.
Students at Jordan High School in Watts launched a series of protests in June after the Los Angeles Unified School District refused to renew the contract of Karen Salazar, an untenured English teacher at the campus. The LAUSD determined that Salazar was engaged in blatant ethno-political indoctrination of her students.
Salazar recently went on PBS’s Democracy Now! to offer a reasoned defense of her teaching; noting that she used district-approved textbooks and taught them in compliance with state-mandated standards.
In the vacuum of a PBS studio, her explanation sounded like she was indeed the victim of an overly cautious administration.
But then there’s the footage of Salazar standing in front of the school clutching a bullhorn and declaring “Historically the school system has been used as a project of colonization to rob students of their identity.”
And judging from Salazar’s students outrage over her firing—which was captured on video and posted on YouTube—just how much fundamental grammar or writing skills was being taught in her classroom is questionable.
One female student, with a penchant for calling her classmates “comrades,” seems to confirm the basic premise of LAUSD officials decision to fire her.
“She goes out of the curriculum and teaches us our history,” the student says. “Instead of that [expletive deleted] U.S.-centrism they teach us in our history class.” In another video clip the same student declares students are being “hunted down and treated like terrorists” at schools that are really prisons.
One of her ‘comrades’ chimes in that Salazar “teaches us how to be strong and not let nobody oppress us.” Well, so much for English standards.
Ethnic studies courses used as academic cover to brazenly indoctrinate students with a racially-based, anti-American perspective comes as no surprise to John Ward, a former magnet school history teacher in the Tucson Unified School District.
Ward, who is of Latino heritage, said he was comfortable that the course featured a Mexican-American perspective—but what he didn’t know was he was expected to only assign grades, a bureaucratic loophole that allowed the students to be lectured by advocates without teaching credentials.
The coursework was steeped in hard-edged anti-American rhetoric.
“They declared students were living in an occupied, colonized land,” Ward recalled. A central tenet of the instruction was that white Americans oppress Latinos, and that the education system was a tool of white oppression.
The impact on students, Ward said, was dramatic.
“By the end of the class, they were very pessimistic and angry about America,” he said. “They were convinced that anyone who isn’t brown is out to get them, to oppress them.”
When Ward challenged the angry, one-dimensional instruction students were receiving through the class, he said his own Latino heritage offered no protection. “They called me a racist, a tool of the oppressor, a ‘Vendido’ which means ‘sellout,’” he said. “They replied that all education is politically-charged and that they must combat the dominant culture’s view of history. They believe non-white kids need an anti-white curriculum.”
If Ward was hoping that administrators from TUSD would intervene, he quickly learned otherwise. “They didn’t want to pick this battle,” Ward said. “They were white administrators that could see the writing on the wall if they tried to defend me. They’d immediately be tarred as “racists.’”
Ward eventually resigned his position and now works for the Arizona state auditor. He said the radicals who lectured his class now have their credentials and are teaching ‘Raza Studies’ at TUSD. The program is set to be expanded throughout the district.
In Los Angeles, Salazar’s students and activists continue their efforts to pressure the school district into renewing her contract and it’s almost certain she will find herself back in a classroom somewhere.
If Americans are unwilling to defend their national heritage to the emerging generation in its classrooms, then the fireworks this Fourth of July will really have been just flares illuminating a mighty nation that is sleepwalking to its own demise.