Shannon Watkins of the Martin Center focuses on a recent controversy surrounding a proposed N.C. charter school.

Schools of education have particularly become the home of critical theorists—who aim to radically alter society according to a Marxist-informed vision.

Critical theorists’ campaign to insert their “revolutionary” ideas into K-12 classroom practice is evident in a recent proposal for the establishment of a charter school in Robeson County, North Carolina. The charter school is named Old Main STREAM Academy. The acronym STREAM stands for subjects in STEM (Science, Technology, and Math); the letter “R” stands for both the local Lumbee River and “Reading,” and the letter “A” stands for an “infused arts curriculum.” …

… The application also states that the school’s curriculum will be infused with “Red Pedagogy” which it describes as “place-based instruction” that incorporates “Indigenized concepts for teaching and learning.” The authors of the application claim that Red Pedagogy engages “Indigenous and marginalized students” because it teaches “positive identity.”

But the charter school’s application was eventually denied by both the Charter Schools Advisory Board and the State Board of Education for two main reasons.

First, some board members, such as Lindalyn Kakadelis, expressed concern that the wording of the mission statement excluded non-Indigenous students. “The mission statement was appalling to me,” Kakadelis told the Martin Center. She believed it was discriminatory since it only stated that it aimed to form “Indigenous leaders,” omitting any mention of other non-Native American students. …

… Kakadelis and Oxendine also expressed concern about the underlying philosophy of Red Pedagogy. “It is grounded in Marxism…it’s revising American history through the eyes of the critical theorist,” Oxendine said.