Elementary school children attending a wealthy Pennsylvania school district this fall will be required to learn that white people who sympathize with police officers, or decline to watch the news, are complicit in racism, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
Gladwyne Elementary School—located in Lower Merion School District, one of the richest in the nation—will require fourth and fifth graders to read Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness, which claims that white people who relate to police officers or decline to watch the news are complicit in racism. The curriculum also assigns A Kid's Book About Racism to kindergarten and first graders.
The books are raising eyebrows among some parents, who take issue with their political focus. Elana Yaron Fishbein, a mother of two boys and a doctor of social work, penned a letter to the district's superintendent, board members, and the school's principal demanding the school remove its new "cultural proficiency" curriculum. -Washington Free Beacon
"The book teaches kids not only to defy parents but to hate themselves," Fishbein told the Beacon, adding "To hate their parents also because they are white. By default, [the kids] are white, and they're privileged, and they're bad. [The school] is teaching this to little kids."
The move comes as several school districts across the country have altered their curriculum amid national protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a black suspect who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes.
Virginia's Loudon County School District - America's richest by median income, is collaborating with Teaching Tolerance, a left-wing education group, which will be developing a new kindergarten curriculum revolving around slavery. According to the Beacon, proposed lesson plans will recommend restructuring history and social studies classes to emphasize slavery as fundamental to American society.
Cultural proficiency lessons at Gladwyne were announced in an email to parents on June 9. The email claims that despite offering four other lessons on equity and race, the school's "Cultural Proficiency Committee" believes those lessons are insufficient and created a fifth lesson focused explicitly on anti-racism.
"Generally, each class also engages in a cultural proficiency lesson; however, we realize that this is not enough," Gladwyne principal Veronica Ellers wrote in an email obtained by the Free Beacon. "We plan to continue designing lessons that promote anti-racist actions in the upcoming 20-21 school year and beyond."
A Kid's Book About Racism has an exhaustive list of actions it deems harmful and racist. The book claims asking questions can be racist and issues a call to action for five- to seven-year-olds to call out and identify racism.
"[Racism] happens all the time," the book reads. "Sometimes it shows up in small ways. Like a look, a comment, a question, a thought, a joke, a word, or a belief…. If you see someone being treated badly, made fun of, excluded from playing, or looked down on because of their skin color call it racism." -Washington Free Beacon
Meanwhile, parents questioning the new curriculum are afraid of being called racists. According to Fishbein, other parents are private messaging her with their disapproval of the cultural proficiency plans, but won't speak out publicly.
"If you say anything that's racist according to the school or parent's definition of racism, you're out," she said, adding "You're called a racist. No wonder the parents don't talk."