by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Maryland’s largest school district next school year will teach elementary schoolers how to combat “privilege” and “systemic racism,” even as about half of its students lack proficiency in math and language arts.
The Montgomery County Board of Education amended its fourth and fifth grade social studies curriculum to include “Social Justice Standards” for “antiracist” education, according to a July 5 announcement. The revised standards, which were developed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, lay out scenarios for students to exercise “antibias,” such as responding to a classmate with two mothers or a boy playing with dolls. Students also learn about their “identity” in the context of the “dominant culture” and “recognize unfairness on the individual level (e.g., biased speech) and injustice at the institutional or systemic level (e.g., discrimination).”
The curriculum, which will take effect in 2023-2024 school year, comes as Montgomery County’s most recent report card reveals elementary school students did not meet district-mandated academic achievement goals. Report cards also have not been published since the pandemic.
A mother of a rising fifth grader at Montgomery County Public Schools told the Washington Free Beacon the standards are reminiscent of her upbringing in Poland before the fall of the Soviet Union. She said she doesn’t want her children to carry the heavy burden of indoctrination that she had to bear growing up in a communist nation.
“It’s robbing children of their childhood,” she said, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing her job. “I am not against social justice at all. I am not against equality, but I feel like this has to be an organic conversation between a parent and a child. … Adults are pushing their agenda on children. I just don’t think this is the right thing to do. It’s so disheartening and upsetting.”