Smith: Updates to education quality standards seek to turn kids into global activists

This commentary is by Nicholas Smith, a 2022 candidate for school board in Milton.

The 2000 Series Education Quality Standards (EQS) were created to detail what education should look like in Vermont. Schools/school districts are given some academic liberties in how they meet these standards, but the goals of education are broadly outlined. 

Act 1 of 2019 created the Ethnic and Social Equity Standards Advisory Working Group. The Working Group was created with the goal to revise state standards designed to: 

  1. Increase cultural competency of students in prekindergarten through grade 12;
  2. Increase attention to the history, contributions and perspectives of ethnic groups and social groups;
  3. Promote critical thinking regarding the history, contributions and perspectives of ethnic groups and social groups;
  4. Commit the school to eradicating any racial bias in its curriculum;
  5. Provide, across its curriculum, content and methods that enable students to explore safely questions of identity, race equality and racism; and
  6. Ensure that the basic curriculum and extracurricular programs are welcoming to all students and take into account parental concerns about religion or culture.

The Working Group has made recommendations to the Vermont Agency of Education, which is currently in committee for review, and is likely to be sent to the State Board of Education in the coming weeks. The updates can best be summarized as an utter detraction from the original goals of the EQS, supplanting the outline of a basic education in Vermont with radical, Neo-Marxist jargon seeking to create global activists out of our children. 

This isn’t some six degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon here — the establishment of race-based equity requirements that call for the redistribution of resources is just the latest ploy to initiate a cultural revolution in this country. “Culturally Responsive Teaching,” a term pioneered by Marxist and Critical Race educator Gloria Ladson-Billings, is just a short step away from Paulo Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed,” which calls on the abolishment of teachers and students to be replaced with equal-footed learners. The perpetuation of restorative justice practices, over blind justice, has made our schools a disciplinary disaster and has infantilized our students, removing all self-responsibility. 

Gone are the days of civic duty and civil engagement in your child’s government class. Now these themes are intertwined into every subject, and they don’t purport to be neutral for one second. If you don’t believe it, spend two hours next week touring your local school. Check out the library books that are on display, and view the art that is proudly exhibited in prominent areas of the school, classrooms and hallways littered with propaganda. And on your way out, make sure to look up at the flagpole to see what flavor of the week is being flown alongside our national and state flag.

They aren’t hiding it; you don’t even have to look past the Purpose Statement in the draft EQS to see that education is a second thought in their utopian school system (the italicized portion below is their proposed changes to the current EQS):

The purpose of these rules is to ensure that all Vermont students are afforded educational opportunities that are equitable, anti-racist, culturally responsive, anti-discriminatory, and inclusive, and substantially equal in quality, thus enabling each student to achieve or exceed the standards approved by the State Board of Education.

As far as their Neo-Marxist agenda, the draftees show their hand in a number of locations:

  1. The revision of the definition of equity to include “to be achieved, equity requires an inclusive school environment and may necessitate an unequal distribution of resources and services based on the needs of each student.”
  2. Supporting educators in encouraging “students to examine issues and expressions of social equity within and beyond the classroom or school.”
  3. Updating the Flexible Pathway program to “monitor and report annually on general participation rates, continuous improvement metrics, the proportional representation of ethnically, racially, linguistically, and socially diverse student populations in the program, resource allocations and their effects on ensuring equitable access to the program.”
  4. The repeated mantra of ensuring “equitable, anti-racist, culturally responsive, anti-discriminatory, inclusive” outcomes in all programs.
  5. Requiring each school to implement a comprehensive assessment system that measures “local, state and national directives intended to advance social and academic equity initiatives.”

The proposed changes to the EQS centralize focus on ethnic, cultural and racial differences, rather than emphasizing a unifying banner for all students. Gone are the days of Martin Luther King Jr.’s colorblind society. 

The question is not whether this will exacerbate the current English Language Arts, math and science proficiency decline we have seen in assessment data since 2016, but by how much. Vermont consistently ranks in the Top 5 states for per pupil spending on education in the nation (USAFacts – Per Pupil Spending). So why are we ranked in the middle of the pack in achievement? 

Enough is enough. Parents and children deserve better. Kids deserve an education free of indoctrination that puts them on the right path to excel not only in school but onward in life. Parents have become complacent, and it’s hard to fault them for that, but it’s time to stand up. Contact your local representatives, email the Agency of Education, sit in on the State Board of Education meetings, and make your voice heard. 

Image courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR

3 thoughts on “Smith: Updates to education quality standards seek to turn kids into global activists

  1. Harvard University working collaboratively with the National Education Association Foundation, funded by NEA dues, and UNESCO created a k-12 teacher training materials to indoctrinate children into helping the United Nations achieve its Sustainability Development Goals. The NEA through the NEAF, United Nations and other NGOs, like UNESCO and OECD are the ones controlling education in the US. Here is an example of the coursework kindergarteners are subjected to relative to the UN STDs, which consists of a series of questions:

    What does it feel like when you are hungry?
    How would you feel if you didn’t have any food to eat when you were hungry?

    Basically, these questions indoctrinate children into being change agents via emotional manipulation.

    These questions and this manipulation is inappropriate for kindergarten children. Kindergarten children should not bear the responsibility of solving world hunger.

  2. This is why 60% of Vermont’s high school graduates don’t meet minimum reading, writing, math and science standards.

    And good luck running for the school board. The game is rigged. The author may win the election. But then he’ll realize that the school board is impotent.

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