The slow and steady infiltration of equity based teaching into public school education continues despite the very public pushback from parents across the political spectrum. LGBTQ+ and Black Lives Matter propaganda are becoming so integrated into curriculum as to be indistinguishable from basic mathematics, English language arts, science, and social studies programs. The Democratic stronghold of Evanston, Ill., has gone farther, faster, than has been required by law. Three months of the year are slated to be taken up with the study of identity based oppression lessons.
In 2019, Governor JB Pritzker signed a law requiring Illinois school districts to integrate LGBTQ+ history into curricula by July 2020. In October 2019, Evanston's school district 65 held its first LGBTQ+ Equity Week for grades pre-kindergarten through 8, and their plans for these lessons are expanding in scope.
District 65 has plans for many equity weeks and lessons throughout the year. Latinx Heritage Month in September, which teaches 8th grader students about the harmful effects of immigration laws and delves into the dynamics of power and privilege. Black Lives Matter at school brings with it a "week of action" and "national demands," which teaches 4th graders the song "Brown Skin Girl" by Beyonce, along with the lesson that American society is "patriarchal," where "systems and government are controlled by men." The lesson states as fact that American "systems and government are controlled by [w]hite people," with "racism being the result of it."
"So is it with men controlling systems and government and messages about women being dumb, weak, and inferior being a result," the lesson for 4th graders continues before going on to teach about intersectional oppression. "Because [b]lack women cannot separate being [b]lack from being a woman or their intersectionality, they experience something like a double oppression. The guiding principle of [the lesson] encourages the building of women-centered spaces where women, especially [b]lack women, can have freedom from messages that they are dumb, weak, and inferior."
There are goals and lesson plans for every grade. Superintendent Devon Horton said that the lessons were available online so that families "who wish to engage on topics including race, racism, Black joy, and White privilege" can find support to teach the same propaganda and indoctrinate their own kids at home.
Though this year, the new plan is to dispense with Black Lives Matter Month and to integrate these lessons into every course of study throughout the year. This way, students will be able to learn, year-round, that the United States is fundamentally racist and unjust. A learning target for kindergarten is that "students will understand that our country has a racist history that is grounded in white privilege." Kindergarteners will learn to hate their country before they've even heard of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, or the Battle of Bunker Hill, never mind the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
In LGBTQ+ Equity Month, to be held in District 65 in April 2022, students will learn that women are not necessarily unique from men, which likely the framers of these lessons do not mean to be disruption to the "Black Women and Unapologetically Black" lesson from back in Black Lives Matter Month. The LGBTQ+ lessons are perhaps some of the most insidious, because the goals for these lessons is not just to educate students about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender concepts, but appears to encourage them to change their own identities to match those they are learning.
In speaking to The Daily Northwestern, one educator recounted in glowing terms about the result of adapting the LGBTQ+ curriculum to the needs of his special education students. The students used the lessons to "draw comparisons to their own experiences and discover more about their identities." Following that, one student changed his name while another donned nail polish. "That was really neat," teacher Brooks Bullock said. "It was cool to see a kid expressing himself in a way that he never realized he could before until we talked about it at school."
Students who studied biology and human anatomy prior to the implementation of LGBTQ+ lessons understood fully and unequivocally that there are differences between men and women in fundamental, scientifically biological, ways. Those lessons are being counteracted by these new lessons that teach students aged 5 and up that biology is not determinative in terms of the differences between males and females.
In pre-school, through a lesson on the rainbow Pride Flag, students learn that "When someone is not a boy or a girl, maybe they feel both, they are non-binary or queer." Non-binary and queer are some of the vocab words that accompany this lesson. People who are non-binary or queer are defied as "people with more than one gender or no gender," who "might look one way but feel another way." Students are then instructed to make their own flags, and to wear rainbow colors to school. The vocab words lesbian and gay carry over from the previous week. The concept of being heterosexual, or straight, is discussed, but not dwelled upon, and is not included in the vocab list until Day Four.
The concept of being transgender is introduced in kindergarten in a lesson about families, and in a lesson on the transgender Pride Flag. This lesson offers the idea that "People who identify as TRANSGENDER have their own ways of dressing, playing & acting that might not be what you expect. They might look to you like a boy, but dress and act like a girl."
The lesson does not specify what acting "like a girl," or explain that the concept of acting "like a girl" itself was considered a "harmful stereotype" only a few short years ago. The lesson continues, instead, to describe gender as something that a person knows deep down inside themselves: "...you might think a person looks like a girl, but that person knows he is actually a boy. Some TRANSGENDER people so not feel completely like a boy or a girl," it reads, "they just feel like themselves!" None of this is explained in concrete terms, instead it's all about the feels.
Additionally, the concept of being transgender is offered as a way to frame oneself as oppressed, something that only members of specific identity groups get to be. "Children who identity as TRANSGENDER, or different than others might expect, are often bullied or not included." That's kindergarten's Day Three lesson for LGBTQ+ Equity Week.
First grade introduces pronouns and lessons are conducted wherein students must state their own pronouns after reading a book called "They, She, He, Easy as ABC." When reading the book allowed, a YouTuber called Ms. Abby describes gender as "the way somebody feels." It introduces far more pronouns than the ones in the title, but "ze" and "tree" as well, and shows male children using female pronouns, etc. After Ms. Abby reads the book, she says "everybody has the right to use whatever pronouns and to ask other people to use whatever pronouns they want." The use of the pronoun "they" is encouraged by the authors to be the default pronoun used for all people, so that "guesses" about a person's preference is not made.
Second graders learn that "sex assigned at birth" may not correspond to "gender," which they've already learned is "the way somebody feels." They learn about "gender identity, gender expression, cisgender, transgender, non-binary, lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, pronoun, pansexual, asexual" and how to "celebrate the LGBTQ+ community." Students learn that "gender exists on a spectrum." This is all taught as fact and not speculation.
Students are led to identify their own gender identity, with teachers saying "Only you can decide what your gender identity is." It's presented almost as a rite of passage. They are led to identify clothing that they like and to use this clothing as a way to understand what their gender is. A ball gown and a baseball cap are the examples used. The dress is the "girl" identity and the ball cap is the "boy" identity. This is oddly as part of a lesson in which students are supposed to understand the harm of gender stereotypes, even though they are meant to use those gender stereotypes to discover their own gender identity. The students are assigned to rewrite the fairy-tale of Cinderella to be "more inclusive, relevant, and less sexist."
The politics of oppression are back for the third grade lessons, where students are now aware of the "difference between gender and sex assigned at birth." They learn about "two-spirit," xenophobic colonizers, and other cultures' names for overly feminine men. Additionally, the concept of being transgender and non-binary is traced back, albeit speculatively, to humanity's most ancient cultures. The idea here is to embed this understanding of the myriad gender identities as something that has been part of non-white cultures for eons that was then oppressed and destroyed by white colonizers.
Based on what Superintendent Horton said about expanding BLM curriculum out across the year, students are likely already aware that the counterpart for "black joy" is "white privilege," which frames white people as culture destroying oppressors who have constructed entire nations for the sole purpose of eradicating the peace and love traditions of native peoples who had no fear of the other and were secure in their understanding that male and female are nothing more than feelings.
This is a historical rewriting of the utmost proportions, and it is based in the feelings of the perpetrators of this equity-based agenda, and not in scientific or historical fact. Yet, this is what is now required by law in Illinois, and is being implemented across the country.
The lesson for 3rd graders is that "Western cultures often define gender by bodies, many Native American Indigenous cultures define gender by someone’s spirit. Ask students what they know about the word spirit. In Indigenous culture, some people are 'Two-Spirit' - ask students what they think this might mean." This lesson marginalizes Christian faith, saying that Christianity is essentially uncomfortable with the concept of a "third gender" and that this is why "third gender" people are marginalized. This despite the fact that there is absolutely no scientific basis for a "third gender." Indigenous and native cultures are here held up as more valid, accepting, and simply better than western culture.
By 4th grade, students are meant to understand that they have unconscious bias, to "fight stereotypes" while using them to create their own gender identity, to introduce themselves with preferred pronouns, and to be fully versed in all the LGBTQ+ vocabulary. Many of the assumptions made by the material are also incredibly outdated. In a section about "bullying," a handout posits that girls who cut their hair short will be made fun of, that girls who wear "boys" shirts will be made fun of, or that it's wrong to discourage boys from using a pink crayon.
Fifth graders are meant to "define heteronormativity and recognize social/gender norms in culture," i.e., note that "heteronormativity" is bad. Somehow lessons on Hawaiian culture play an outsized role in study here, as the students delve into out to "decolonize" the United States. In this way, students are encouraged to contribute to "social justice." The lesson is supposed to help students communicate their likes and dislikes and use these to represent their gender. Students are encouraged to "decolonize" in 15 easy steps.
By middle school, the LGBTQ+ Equity Week lessons become even more unhinged as they are brought into every course of study. Fine arts, math, science, social studies, and language arts are all intended to be taught according to these bizarre equity guidelines. While the other lessons, for lower grades, are available transparently under District 65, these require specified access to view the lessons.
In fine arts, the lessons are described as covering "the importance of pronouns and the role of language when talking respectfully about identity." In math, "students will identify aspects of identity that are visible and invisible using the identity iceberg. They will consider why some people are expected to come out, and will question where strict gender identities come from." In math class, students will read articles about how to support black trans people by "fighting white supremacy."
Science guides students to "notice and name injustices that happen in our school, community and world. They will identify the differences between internalized bias, institutional bias, and interpersonal bias and will create strategies for combating bias and injustice." Social studies covers art history, with an examination of two "gender bending artists," while language arts digs into a study of activists. Students are meant to choose an LGBTQ+ activist and "create fake social media pages" for them.
In each of these equity programs, from Latinx, to Black Lives Matter, to LGBTQ+, students learn that lies are truth, that biology is open for interpretation, that America is a fundamentally evil and oppressive place, and that western culture is trash. Illinois and Evanston's District 65 are not canaries in the proverbial coal mine on this focus, they are not outliers in the American educational system.
In both public and private schools, from coast to coast, this is what children are being taught. The goal of this work is to destabilize American society, and if those teaching it don't realize that, perhaps they should examine their own unconscious bias.