The woke managerial revolution goes to school

By Jarrett Stepman | The Daily Signal

College campus safe spaces, speech codes, and woke witch hunts may be coming to a high school near you.

Charles Fain Lehman chronicled in the Washington Free Beacon how school districts and private schools around the country are adopting woke, “anti-racist” policies based on critical theory ideologies once ensconced in the ivory tower.

Schools are adding the Pulitzer prize-winning but factually challenged “1619 Project,” to their curriculum. The 1619 Project was aimed at reframing American history as being rooted in slavery rather than the ideas of liberty from 1776.

This is only the tip of the iceberg.

Los Angeles’ elite Harvard-Westlake School recently announced that it will start teaching 11th grade history from a “critical race theory perspective.”

Virginia’s Fairfax County public school district paid Ibram X. Kendi, the leading proponent of “anti-racism,” which seems a lot like racism in the name of social justice, $22,000 to deliver an hour-long lecture to teachers and staff.

Lehman continues:

Meanwhile, the tony Connecticut boarding school Loomis-Chaffee has introduced mandatory Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training for students and now requires faculty members to read Kendi’s “Stamped from the Beginning” and [Robin] DiAngelo’s “White Fragility” for “professional development.”

San Diego’s public schools have overhauled grading for fear of racist impact, and New York City wants to follow. The KIPP Schools, long a model for charter school excellence, have dumped their “Work hard. Be nice” slogan, claiming that “working hard and being nice is not going to dismantle systemic racism.”

I’ve written about some of these cases, too.

Loudoun Country, Virginia, not only adopted a program to enhance the “low level of racial consciousness and racial literacy” of its public school teachers and faculty, but it added punishments for teachers who questioned the policy in the public or private capacity.

The punishments were removed after the policy drew media attention and public outcry, but the woke agenda remained.

That critical race theory and various “woke” policies are proliferating at public and elite private schools around the country is disturbing enough. But Lehman highlighted a critical element as to how and why this is happening now, and on a vast scale.

These ideas have emerged alongside the surge of administrative bloatoccurring in K-12 schools in the last several decades.

It seems this seemingly exponential growth in school administration has created two serious crises.

The first, of course, is the rising cost of public education, where a much larger share of the budget is devoted to administrators rather than teachers and students. This has often come at the expense of teachers’ salaries, which have generally not increased in line with upticks in school spending.

My colleague, Lindsey Burke, also director of education policy at The Heritage Foundation, and education researcher Benjamin Scafidi, an economics professor at Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University, explained this process in 2016.

Since 1950, public schools have dramatically increased their staff compared to the number of students.

Burke and Scafidi used District of Columbia schools as an example.

“According to data that the District of Columbia Public Schools submitted to the U.S. Department of Education, the District’s public schools experienced a 3.1% decline in its student population between the 1993-94 and 2013-14 school years,” Burke and Scafidi wrote. “Despite this decline in students, D.C. Public Schools increased its staffing by 7.7% (all increases are in full-time equivalents).”

And where did those staff increases occur? The number of teachers declined overall, but the number administrators and all other staff grew by an incredible 19.3%.

Growth in administrative staff appears to be hitting elite private schools, too. And what are these administrative additions doing exactly? Clearly, many are foisting critical race theory and other ideologies on the student body and staff.

Lehman laid out the source of the second problem caused by the staffing surge:

Positions like “director of diversity” emerged in the early 2000s, Exeter [diversity, equity, and inclusion] chief Stephanie Bramlett told the prestigious school’s alumni magazine. As far back as 2007, the journal Educational Leadership was emphasizing the need for administrators to confront “issues of social dominance and social justice.”

Portland Public Schools created its “office of equity” in 2011. Holy Name High School in tiny Parma Heights, Ohio, added a director of diversity and inclusion in 2018. Justice High School already had diversity advisers on the payroll, and Harvard-Westlake’s new commitments add to a five-woman diversity team and a diversity conference held annually since 2018.

This revolution comes through the work of high-priced consultants and consulting firms, as in the case of Fairfax and other school districts. Meanwhile, the number of administrators continues to grow to meet the demand of the woke crusade.

“[I]f you look at these schools, their roster of [diversity, equity, and inclusion] people [has] only grown over the past five to 10 years,” Lehman said in an interview with The Daily Signal’s Virginia Allen.

They might’ve started with one diversity chief, and then because of that person finding issues, they hire another person, and then another person, and then you have a seven-person group who’s responsible for diversity.

And it is telling to me that as these organizations add administrators, the number of acquisitions of racism only increases, the number of identified instances of racism only increases. Maybe they’re measuring better, but they may also typically be measuring more.

That many of our colleges and universities are radical should be no surprise to anyone. After all, William F. Buckley wrote “God and Man at Yale” in 1951 to explain the left-wing drift of his school and many others. In the last half-century, the situation has become much worse.

But now we are seeing the same process transform America’s K-12 education, where college educated administrators and diversity officers—the well-paid apparatchiks of social justice—increasingly foist critical theory onto teachers and students, often at taxpayer expense.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Löwenstein Center

9 thoughts on “The woke managerial revolution goes to school

  1. TNR readers: Keep it civil. Please be respectful of others and stay on topic using brief comments. Some of you are getting off topic and attacking each other. Please use the comments section to post on-topic comments, and please consider using your email for personal disputes. Thanks.

  2. In 1619, we were a colony of Britian if memory serves me correctly.

    Are we going to let them spew lies and propaganda with our tax dollars?

    • More accurately, Neil, in 1619 ‘we’ didn’t exist.

      There was the second English colony of Jamestown in 1608, sponsored by the Monarchy of James 1st (the first colony at Roanoke had failed years earlier). It was a commercial venture, heavily subsidized by the Monarchy. And, when it was about to fail, a dozen or so slaves, stolen from Portuguese and Spanish slave ships in the Caribbean by English pirates, were dropped off at Jamestown in 1619. Never mind that the Atlantic slave trade between Europeans and Africa was ongoing for more than 200 years before Jamestown ever existed.

      And, curiously of course, why is there no mention of the Pilgrims and Plymouth Plantation? Where, in 1623, faced with a ‘starving time’, the Governor of Plymouth instituted the first system of free markets and private property in the Americas, governance that saved their collective souls, that ultimately led to the covenants of our Constitutional Republic, and that finally, in 1862, culminated with the Emancipation Proclamation.

      Think about it: Legalized slavery, a world-wide, ubiquitous institution, that existed for tens of thousands of years, came to an end in the United States within 75 years of the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. That these history revisionist now claim that the U.S. was founded only through its reliance on slavery, a grossly repugnant misrepresentation, would be hard to fathom if it weren’t for the latest world-wide tyranny led by The Great Reset folks, the Chinese infiltration of our education system and the BLM movement. More alarmingly, today, this influence extends to the highest levels of our recently elected leaders.

      The irony is that China, today, relies on the slave labor of its Uighur population, practices genocide in Tibet, and exports illegal fentanyl into the U.S. And there are more slaves in Africa and around the world today than there were at the beginning of the American Civil War.

      Build Back Better my a–!

  3. So here is something any sane American would highly question.

    The VTGOP could be vocal about this. They could activate 112,704 people within our state who can still see the forest through the trees. It would cost no money. It would do wonders for our children’s education.

    Even if one lost the battle, people would see some kick in cow as they say, you’re not dead yet! This is part of the active subversion of our state to the NWO, a socialist bent we’ve been sent on by one of our presidents, George Bush senior no less.

    We need to decide are we pimping for the new world order, or America?

    Joe Biden is pretty clear on his intentions. He was a loser before all the ccp exposure, yet our fearless leader loves Biden! still? it’s never too late to ask for forgiveness!

    Our kids and country have no hope for success when we indoctrinate them with lies and don’t give them proper educations. Be good little worker bees in the socialist cog they plan.

    • There are teachers that oppose this garbage as told in the story.

      Teachers also know if they speak up too much, like our principle they we be fired publically and hung in the CCP press known as vT Digger!

      No body stands th their defense or by their side. NOBODY!

      Look at the front page tear on our police. They know the vast majority of the public only read headlines. When you read the article, it’s like huh, seriously you are suggesting someone is inherently corrupt because of this? Seriously?

      Alinsky tactics are nothing if not entirely predictable. One might think, Hey we know thei play book, we could play some offense no?

  4. I am sorely disappointed and sickened, every time I pass by a public school flying a BLM flag. How do we stop this poison and clean things up. School choice would be a good place to start. But honestly, I think it is hopeless. People need to pull their children out of these cesspools.

  5. The Great Reset.

    “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.” Vladimir Lenin

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