Sunday, May 19, 2024

Education Supremacists Adopt CRT-laden Social Studies Standards in Rhode Island

America’s upcoming 250th birthday should be a patriotic celebration of our inalienable and constitutional rights and recognition of our American birthright of liberty. Instead, patriotism is systematically being de-institutionalized across our country.

Ronald Reagan warned in the1980s of the dire consequences of the failure to institutionalize “informed patriotism”. Not only has America’s birthright of liberty been de-emphasized, but one has to wonder if the woke Left believes that America, itself, is the evil empire.

Over recent generations, pride in America’s founding ideals has deteriorated. The true history of our nation has not changed. What has changed is the radical Left’s false narrative and how we teach and portray US history – via a critical race theory lens – in our schools. 

From academia to the legacy media, to Hollywood, to corporate board rooms, and to our governmental bodies and the courts, a negative emotional contagion is sweeping the country. Most affected are the increasing numbers of youth and young adults who are taught to view their own country as unworthy of national pride, even deserving of shame.

If not an intentional psy-ops strategy, how else can we explain that only 16% of Gen Z youth are “proud” to live in the United States and only 36% of Millennials? This compared with 73% of Baby Boomers and 54% of Gen Xers according to a recent Morning Consult national poll.

Without the unifying core sentiments of “love of country” and “trust in God”, there is little remaining to bind our Republic together. We truly have become a fractured nation … and it’s been done on purpose.

Perhaps nothing better exemplifies the misguided effort to indoctrinate young people with divisive narratives than the social studies standards (Standards) recently proposed by the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE).

In late February, education supremacists at RIDE and the RI Board of Education became guilty participants in this anti-American scheme, when they adopted the error-riddled, bloated, and overly politicized Standards, constructed by RIDE Commissioner Angelica Infante Green.

Earlier in the month, my organization, the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity, along with the Civics Alliance, co-published a report, written by David Randall of the National Association of Scholars, Taken for a RIDE, which critiqued the Standards as one of the worst social studies standards adopted by any state.

Despite our report, which inspired overwhelming public opposition, these controversial and unprofessional history curricula guidelines were mindlessly rubber-stamped into effect.

These Standards are neither by the people of Rhode Island, nor of the people of Rhode Island – but they nevertheless will be imposed on the people of Rhode Island.

With failing and falling reading, math, and science scores – unacceptable given Rhode Island’s relatively high-level of per pupil expenditures in public schools – I shudder to think how Ocean State students might fare if there was a commensurate US History test. Our report detailed the utter failure of RIDE to develop curriculum standards that will teach America’s common language of liberty, patriotism, and national memory.

These state-imposed Standards are undeniable proof that the problems we face in our public schools were not thrust upon us from the heavens above, but, rather, by agenda-driven elitists – federal and state unelected educrats who have zero accountability.

Here’s a brief timeline of how these 2023 Standards came to pass:

In 2019, Rhode Island lawmakers empowered RIDE to develop and force adoption of curricula standards upon every local school district. RIDE has since proven wholly irresponsible and unworthy of such authority.

In March 2021, the Biden Administration passed its 1.9 trillion-dollar covid relief fund package, with incentive for states to adopt “equity” standards in their school systems. Indeed, ARP allocated over $120 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER). Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) required each state to submit plans outlining how they intended to spend the federal funding, in line with these equity standards.

In July 2021, the RI Department of Education created and launched its LEAP task (Learning, Equity & Accelerated Pathways) force to determine and recommend best uses for these federal funds in the state’s pending application. Only left-leaning activists, education officials, and parents were invited to participate on LEAP’s “diverse” committee.

Within months, RIDE submits its state application, State Plan for the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund. Incorporated throughout the application document, Rhode Island’s plan uses Critical Race Theory (CRT) tenets like “cultural responsiveness,” “anti-racism,” and “equity” as the guiding principles in describing how it plans to spend ARP funding … funding that was originally promoted to be use as relief from the Covid pandemic.

Sometime in late 2021 or early 2022, RIDE receives hundreds of millions in federal aid. According to a report published by One Nation America, Rhode Island received over $415 million to implement CRT-based curricula in its K-12 schools, part of over $44 billion nationwide for this purpose.

As previously outlined, by February 2023, the resulting Standards for Rhode Island were proposed and adopted; standards that will shortchange students and teachers. As our report explains in detail, these standards will “teach students to hate their country, its history, and its ideals, and to know only distorted tatters of the history of the world.”

America’s true birthright is its noble pursuit of liberty and equality – even as imperfect as that pursuit has often been.

If we are to become a more united union, it must begin with a re-appreciation of our nation’s past and present struggles – and successes – in its pursuit of freedom. Rather than further divide us, social studies standards should inspire teachers and education leaders to celebrate and teach to students their true American birthright of liberty.

Mike Stenhouse is CEO for the nonpartisan Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity.

This article was originally published by RealClearPolicy and made available via RealClearWire.