A IS FOR ANTI-ASIAN
A worried Korean American woman recently posted a screenshot of a classroom test her 12 year old sister had sat in school. Multiple choice Q3, reproduced in the image above, offers 3 answers to the question: Which one of these Chinese NORMS is TRUE?
The lesson here is not simply the description of violence designed to frighten children, it is in itself a form of violence.
AND A IS FOR ABSENCE AND BEING AFRAID
A US Department of Education survey published in late March 2021 revealed that 15% of Asian American students were attending school in person full-time in January. That is compared with 49% of white students, 33% of Latino students and 28% of Black students.
B IS FOR BATLEY AND FOR BOMBS
Meanwhile in Batley, UK, schoolchildren in a recent RE lesson on blasphemy were shown the Charlie Hebdo cartoon of the prophet Mohammed wearing a turban designed to look like a bomb. National media showed angry parents gathering outside the school to protest and reported that the teacher concerned was in hiding in fear of his life. Some papers reported the same cartoon had been shown by a different teacher the week before, without protests, and quoted other parents questioning why there was suddenly ‘a fuss’. No one suggested the second appearance of the cartoon in a classroom might feel to an anxious parent like normalization.
Robert Jenrick, the Tory communities secretary, said: “This is a country based on free speech and teachers should be able to tackle difficult and controversial issues in the classroom – and issues should not be censored.”
C IS FOR CRITICAL RACE THEORY
Women and Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch, speaking in the House of Commons during Black History Month in October 2020 said there was no place in British classrooms for critical race theory, more often referred to in the UK as institutional racism, and that any teacher presenting white privilege as fact would be breaking the law.
It was voted the year’s best speech on the influential website ConservativeHome.
D IS FOR ‘DEFENSE’
E IS FOR ENDORSEMENT
‘Schools should not under any circumstances use resources produced by organizations that take extreme political stances on matters. This is the case even if the material itself is not extreme, as the use of it could imply endorsement or support of the organization.’ UK Department for Education, September 2020
Examples cited by the Department include ‘a publicly stated desire to abolish or overthrow democracy, capitalism, or to end free and fair elections.’
F IS FOR THE FUTURE
‘Each generation has the responsibility to teach and train the next generation. You know if we win a few elections, we're still going to be losing unless we win the hearts and minds of our children. This is the battle. Hitler was right on one thing. He said, “Whoever has the youth has the future”. Our children are being propagandized.’
Mary Miller, entering US Congress as a new Republican Congresswoman, January 2021
G IS FOR ‘GET INVOLVED’
‘The Left continues its relentless attack on America’s founding principles – but we can stop them. Run for your school board or city council. Join a local commission. Get involved in your communities. We ALL must do our part to protect and champion American values.’ Mike Pompeo on Twitter
H IS FOR HISTORICAL FACTS
Publisher Pearson has paused distribution of 2 GCSE textbooks on conflict in the Middle East following a report by 2 academics, which found that hundreds of changes to text, maps, photographs and timelines had been made to the 2020-21 edition, leading to the distortion of historical fact in favour of Israel. The changes were made following an intervention by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the organization UK Lawyers for Israel.
I IS FOR INTIFADA IN ‘P IS FOR PALESTINE’
A few years ago in 2017, a New York bookshop stocking a popular children’s book ‘P is for Palestine’ was targeted by Zionists demanding removal of the book from its shelves. It removed the book and issued the following apology:
"We regret that we did not fully appreciate the political or communal ramifications of the children's book ‘P is for Palestine’ by Dr Golbarg Bashi, nor did we anticipate the pain and distress it has caused in our community. We now understand these much better. We oppose terrorism or other forms of violence perpetrated against Israeli civilians during the intifada or thereafter. Any impression from the book to the contrary is not our view. We support Israel's right to exist. We do not endorse the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS)."
In 2014 3,800 Palestinian civilians were killed by Israeli strikes on Gaza.
Letter I is for Intifada, defined in the book by a father speaking to his daughter as ‘rising up for what is right’.
J IS FOR A JUST WAY
Debbie Reese, curriculum specialist, speaking to the US National School Boards Association about the teaching of American history: ‘I’d like to see more schools – and more states – mandating that Native curriculum be brought to their students. Montana’s ‘Indian Education for All’ is one example of a state that is educating students in a just way. There’s no excuse for anybody not knowing the names of the Native Nations, whose homeland they stand on, and where the peoples of those nations are today. If school boards asked their pre-k through 12th-grade teachers to begin every lesson on Native peoples with present tense verbs, it could make a difference for all students and people in the school community. Eventually, we won’t have to remind people that we’re here.’