Rantz: Teacher uses science class to label white middle schoolers privileged oppressors
This is part of an ongoing series by the Jason Rantz Show exploring equity and critical race theory training in Washington schools.
Middle school students in the Northshore School District were forced into a Critical Race Theory lesson plan in their science class. Parents weren’t notified ahead of time, and one mother is pushing back.
Students in an eighth-grade class at Canyon Park Middle School watched a video on privilege. In it, adults were identified as privileged based on their identity. Afterward, the teacher asked her students to select their own identities and privileges so that they can “figure out ways to dismantle systems of oppression.”
When one parent complained to the school, she says she was brushed off. What’s worse, she says she was told parents won’t be given notice of future lessons.
Indoctrinating middle schoolers on privilege and oppression
Though it’s a science class, the teacher took time out of her May 25 remote classroom to lecture students on power, privilege, and oppression, and how they’re connected to identity.
Students were shown a BuzzFeed-produced video titled, “What is privilege?” Adult subjects were asked to take a step forward or backward based on their responses to prompts. One prompt asked if the subjects could “show affection for your romantic partner in public without fear of ridicule or violence.” Another asked, “if you are able to move through the world without fear of sexual assault.”
By the end of the exercise, a Black, gay woman had the least privilege. A Black man was not far behind. The most privileged? A white man.
“Just looking back and seeing like a bunch of people behind you is not a good feeling,” the white man said.
You’re marginalized, middle schooler!
The teacher then gave students a worksheet called “Wheel of Power/Privilege.” Students were asked to either identify their own privileges or declare themselves marginalized and oppressed.
“This really is a good visual of intersectionality,” the teacher declared.
The wheel shows several different identities with the word “power” in the middle. Students were asked to circle their identities. Some identities, like “white skin,” are close to “power,” indicating the identity gives privilege. Others like “dark skin” or “undocumented” are farthest away from “power,” indicating the identities make one marginalized. The teacher offered up two of her identities: cis-gendered woman and American citizen. She has some privilege.
The teacher explained that the identities that are “marginalized by systems of oppression” are what the class should be “working to dismantle.” To that end, the teacher then offered a questionnaire. Students were asked to list the identities that give them power and privilege or caused them to be oppressed.
The goal of Critical Race Theory
While the Wheel of Power and the subsequent questionnaire were optional, the teacher pressured the students to do it anyway.
“This work is not required. It is optional. I will excuse it if you don’t turn it in,” she said. “However, it is highly, highly recommended. I think it’s really important to know this stuff before we can figure out ways to dismantle the systems of oppression. And I think this will also just set you up nicely for high school and just the world. And when you look at someone, remember that you know we all have all of these intersecting identities.”
The teacher doesn’t explain how one might dismantle systems of oppression after identifying someone as white or a cis-gendered male. She does not connect the dots for the students. Instead, they’re taught to singularly focus on one’s identities, not their character or actions.
Why were students offered this lesson? What did it have to do with science? Neither the Northshore School District nor the teacher explained when asked by the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. But one parent who filmed the lesson met with the school for answers.
One parent pushed back
Julie Barrett happened to be near her daughter’s remote learning session when she overheard the lesson on privilege. She immediately started to record it on her cell phone.
“I am having a difficult time understanding how teaching students about privilege and oppression has anything to do with science, which is the subject of your class,” Barrett emailed the teacher and the principal. “Naturally, the fact that I was hearing about something totally unrelated to the subject of the class got my attention and I started watching what was going on.”
Barrett explained what she found objectionable with the lesson plan. She criticized CRT and antiracism training as “not something we will allow our children to be taught in school.”
“Our children will not be taught to feel guilt and shame for the color of their skin or the family into which they were born,” the mother explained.
“Our daughter will NOT be taught to be a victim, nor will she be taught that she is an oppressor,” she continued. “She is a 14-year-old girl with autism just trying to figure things out and doesn’t need all this garbage being put into her head.”
Barrett ended the email with a reasonable request: “I would like to know HOW this fits into your science curriculum and when and how many other lessons like this you plan to teach this school year.”
The school responded to the mom
The school’s principal, Myra Arnone, set up a phone call to discuss Barrett’s concerns.
“She explained that this kind of teaching is now being incorporated into all subjects at the teacher’s ‘professional discretion,'” Barrett explained to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “If the teacher feels that there is something along the racial, social justice, LGBTQIA+, equity/diversity, et cetera – they can incorporate that however they want into their lesson plans.”
Like many districts, Northshore is leaning heavily into CRT training, even before a state mandate begins. It staffs a Racial and Educational Justice Department, and each school in the district has an equity team. It offers students “white allyship” resources, including an anti-police video that suggests cops kill Black people with impunity.
Barrett left feeling rejected.
“[The principal] very much just wanted to shut me up and be done with the conversation,” she explained. “It was crystal clear to me more than ever before that these people do not care about what parents like me think about this CRT crap. They just want us out of the way.”
More is coming
CRT is a toxic framework that forces kids to judge people by their perceived and actual identities, not by their character. It’s the exact opposite societal ideal. It’s institutionalized bigotry passing as a woke attempt at equity.
If this CRT training worries you, brace yourself for more of it. The Democrat-controlled Legislature passed a trio of bills forcing CRT training on all public school teachers. This, in turn, will be passed along to your children.
It’s much easier to indoctrinate kids into an extremist ideology than adults.
These schools intend to churn out left-wing students to fundamentally change our society — to “dismantle systems of oppression” that ideologues pretend to exist. That’s how you make societal change.
Did you like this opinion piece? Then listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter, Instagram, and Parler, and like me on Facebook.