Black Lives Matter at School is using Black History Month to teach children about gender ideology, critical race theory, and reparations.
Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action—Feb. 6-10 this year—began in 2016 to teach “people of all ages to engage with issues of racial justice.” Events and curriculums promote Black Lives Matter’s 13 guiding principles to elementary, middle, and high school students, including “globalism,” “restorative justice,” “queer affirmation,” and “trans affirmation.”
Black Lives Matter at School partnered with the D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice—a project of Teaching for Change, which promotes social justice in classrooms—to release an anti-racism curriculum for the week of action.
The so-called social justice organizations hosted an online conference on Jan. 21 to review the curriculum. A session taught by kindergarten teacher Laleña Garcia covered how to discuss gender and racism in early-childhood education. Garcia said teachers have an “ethical obligation” to give young children “anti-bias” training.
“Children are not too young to talk about race,” Garcia said. “By the time they’re in kindergarten, children show many of the same racial attitudes adults hold. We need to interrupt these attitudes.”
Garcia developed a “kid-friendly” version of BLM’s principles, which says “queer-affirming” means “[e]verybody has the right to choose who they love and the type of family they want by listening to their own heart and mind.”
“Everybody has the right to choose their own gender by listening to their heart and mind,” according to Garcia’s definition of “trans-affirming.” “Everyone gets to choose if they’re a boy or a girl or neither or something else, and no one else gets to choose that for them.”
Garcia recommended children’s books on race and gender, which she reads to her kindergarten students, including “When Aidan Became a Brother,” the story of a black transgender “boy”; “It Feels Good to Be Yourself,” a book introducing gender identity to “the youngest reader,” according to its Amazon description; and “We Are Little Feminist Families,” a book designed for 0- to 5-year-olds, which includes representations of LGBT families.
Garcia also referred educators to a practical guide, “Supporting Gender Diversity in Early Childhood Classrooms,” which instructs teachers of “infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and early elementary school-aged children” on discussing gender and sexuality.
“Gender justice in early childhood begins with a commitment to create inclusive environments that respect and acknowledge the authentic lived experiences and strengths of all children,” the guide reads.
“Woke Kindergarten,” which offers early-childhood resources for “supporting children, families, educators and organizations in their commitment to abolitionist early education and pro-black and queer and trans liberation,” also appears on Garcia’s list of gender ideology resources. She directed parents to a website called “Queer Kid Stuff,” which aims to spread “queer joy” to kids of all ages.
In addition to Garcia’s elementary-school BLM principles, Black Lives Matter at School offers middle and high school versions of the 13 principles. The principles say that so-called cisgender people are more privileged than transgender people, so trans people, especially “black trans women,” must be uplifted. The principles also tell 12- to 18-year-olds there are “many different genders” and that “white supremacy” is built into systems like “schools and jails.”
The Black Broad Branch Project led another conference session, “Education as an Exercise in Restorative Justice,” which covered incorporating lessons on reparations into the classroom.
The presentation explored “the ways in which education can be a vehicle for reparations-in-practice.” Reparations require “acknowledgement, compensation, and education,” the presenters said.
The next session on critical race theory argued that legislative efforts to prevent CRT lessons at public schools “thwart a multiracial democracy” and “distract us from enacting a racially equitable agenda.” The Radical Pedagogy Institute, which hosted the session, seeks to “rehumanize” pre-kindergarten through 12th grade education through critical race theory, disability critical race theory, and queer and anti-racist pedagogy, according to its website.
Key tenets of critical race theory include the “permanence of racism,” “whiteness as property,” and “race as a social construct,” the institute said in the presentation.
Teaching for Change shared findings on white supremacy in history curriculums in a session titled “How to Identify White Supremacy and Anti-Black Racism in the U.S. History Curriculum.” The session “helped teachers understand commonly used tactics of white supremacy and anti-blackness in the social studies curriculum.”
Teaching for Change board member Tiffany Mitchell Patterson, Teaching for Change volunteer Chris Seeger, and researcher Maria Gabriela Paz shared their their “white supremacy” report, which they say found that white men are overrepresented in history curriculums.
“There are many standards that portray black people as the victims of anti-black racism, but white people and their social institutions are never portrayed as the creators, enforcers, or beneficiaries of a racist society,” the report says. “This reckoning is a step towards new standards that are centered on social justice, diverse perspectives, and full humanity for all groups.”
Another session, “Liberatory, Anti-Racist Mathematics Education for Black, Queer and Trans Youth,” discussed using “anti-racist, queer and trans mathematics pedagogy” to create “liberatory mathematics experiences in which students, particularly black, queer and trans students are provided with opportunities to flourish.”
A session led by a writer for the Zinn Education Project compared anti-CRT efforts to McCarthyism and the Red Scare of the 1950s. The Zinn Project promotes the work of the now-deceased Howard Zinn, the communist author of “A People’s History of the United States.” The book is known for its historical inaccuracies and distortions of facts.
The National Education Association, America’s largest teachers union, promoted Black Lives Matter at School Week. The teachers union provides a map highlighting schools celebrating BLM at School Week, including Western Washington University.
WWU hosted a conference in honor of BLM’s 13 guiding principles last week. The conference included a “Black LGBTQ+ Thriving Collective Student Panel,” and a lecture on “Sharing BLM in Schools Resources and Lesson Ideas for K-12 Classrooms.” The Virginia Education Association also committed to promoting BLM principles through the week of action, which Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s office told The Daily Signal “will not be tolerated.”
Jonathan Butcher, Will Skillman fellow in education at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal the BLM week of action violates parental rights. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)
“The BLM week of action at school explicitly undermines parents and families,” Butcher said. “This is confusing, threatening material for students to try to understand at young ages.”
The VEA did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment.
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