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Tipsheet

Leftist Teacher: This Woke Stuff Is So Out of Control That My Liberal Friends Think I'm Making It Up

With a hat tip to John Sexton, this piece should be required reading for anyone who continues to deny that "diversity equity and inclusion" excesses are toxic, that CRT-style racialization in schools is happening, and that wokery is out of hand.  The piece, published on Wesley Yang's Substack, was written by a self-described leftist educator who self-identifies as left-wing.  He requested anonymity because of the unhinged culture of retribution and vindictiveness at the core of woke bully mobs.  Yang vouches that the author is, in fact, "a public school teacher in a Blue city in a Blue state," noting that he "examined correspondence from [the writer's] colleagues and supervisors that left no doubt that his personal account is authentic."  In this educator's essay (title: 'Yes, Things Are Really As Bad As You've Heard') he lays out out his progressive bona fides:

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I have to stop and make one thing very clear: I’m a leftist. Like, a big one. I hate capitalism, I support abortion on demand, and I unironically use phrases like “systems of oppression” and “the dominant culture.” The last big paper I put together for my undergraduate degree was on critical race theory, for the love of God! I’m not the sort of person who can be easily dismissed as a conservative crank. But plenty of my fellow leftists are still willing to try, on the grounds that anyone who thinks there might be any problem with DEI policies must necessarily be a slack-jawed MAGA troll.

He writes that his own leftist friends simply don't believe him when he tells them how bonkers things are getting: "I've had liberal friends of mine dispute (to my face!) straightforward accounts of what my colleagues have said. They’ll tell me school districts could never embrace such obviously unworkable policies; what else can I do except shrug my shoulders and say, 'I'm sorry, but yes, they can?' They’ll tell me I sound like one of those right-wing grifter types; what else can I do except sigh and tell them the grifters have a point?" He runs through a number of examples, describing how his district will not allow him to accept students off a waitlist for a summer school program because said program is considered "full" -- even if most of the students literally never show up. These students have been more or less automatically enrolled into summer school by teachers concerned about their academic performance during the regular school year. The majority of these students rarely or never attend, but due to "equity" policies, absences cannot count against them in any way.  Therefore, wait-listed students whose families actually want them participating in the program cannot be offered slots that are technically 'taken:'

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The district actively embraced this policy as part of their larger equity and racial justice overhaul, and even bragged about doing so in public-facing materials. Their explicit position is that requiring attendance for any district program unfairly victimizes children of color, as does factoring in attendance to any student’s grades during the regular school year. The administrator I spoke to seemed baffled that I would even ask. “I’ll let you know if any parents pull their kids out,” he told me, “but otherwise, your class is technically full.” As an extra dose of insanity, we can’t even request that the parents of a non-attending student remove their child from the program; doing so, I was told, could “make them feel disrespected” and “communicate to them that their children are not welcome.” We just have to wait and hope they make that decision on their own, risking the occasional hint on a daily absence call that most don’t even pick up.

He explains that "as the program reaches its halfway point, the number of students who have never once attended but remain on the roster is still larger than the number of students on the waitlist. Today, as I write this, more than a dozen children whose families have actively sought out our help are still sitting at home, unable to attend 'full classrooms' of four or five students." Because equity, or something.  He lists other examples that he has personally witnessed, like one fellow teacher insisting that trying to enroll more students of color in Advanced Placement classes is a manifestation of white supremacy.  Another instance featured objections to a new schedule that "would require leaving some sections of the curriculum untaught" being dismissed by a colleague who "said that might actually be a good thing, because most of our students are white and their test scores dropping slightly would help shrink the racial achievement gap in our state."  Appalling, but not necessarily surprising for people who are paying attention.  The author concludes by explaining that what he experiences on a regular basis is so deranged that it sounds to normal people like it must be exaggerated or fabricated nonsense by right-wing cranks.  Alas, it's real:

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Now, do those two anecdotes, no matter how explicitly I describe them, sound like something out of James Lindsay's fever dreams? Yes! Are these things that did, in fact, happen? Also yes! And I just don't know how to get both of those facts across to the fairly large segment of the American population who believes it could only ever be one or the other....Like I said before, I’m a leftist myself; I have a real and abiding commitment to racial justice in education,. Do I like having to make the same points as pundits who want me kicked out of the classroom too? Of course not. But it's precisely because I think racism and poverty are so rampant in this nation, and our obligation to respond so overwhelming, that I can’t keep pretending these ridiculous DEI schemes aren’t hurting the children we owe so much to. They are. It’s happening, right now. So that's why I’m writing about these issues – not to dunk on the woke or trigger the libs or “launder my white anxiety” (as a friend recently suggested on social media). I’m writing about these issues because I want to grab anyone who might listen and tell them yes, things really are as bad as you've heard, even if the people you heard it from can be absolutely nuts. These stories sound crazy because they are crazy.

It's one thing for left-wingers to facilitate the implosion of their own organizations, under the crushing weight of cartoonish grievance and wokeness. It's another thing for these mentalities to hurt children. No wonder the Left is losing its traditional advantage on education, with voters flocking those who offer common-sense rejections of esoteric, capricious leftist social experiments and ideological projects.  It will take many more left-leaning individuals and electorates to link arms with center-right people to reverse some of the madness.  But there's a lot of work ahead, unfortunately, because the left's activist class is well-funded an inexhaustibly committed to the cause.

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