Will the radicals who run public education prevent a courageous teacher from helping children in need? James Freeman (WSJ) writes on the pressure “brought to bear” on educators who reject the Left’s ideology.
Last July, reports Mr. Freeman, he noted a disturbing report from Ramona Bessinger. On the “indispensable” Legal Insurrection website, Ms. Bessiger, middle-school teacher, explained the revolution occurring in her public school in Providence, R.I.
Missing from our curriculum during the 2020/21 school year was the diversity, perspective, truth, and rigor that previously were taught. Previously vetted books were removed from our classroom and sent to recycling.
No More Anne Frank, MLK, Walt Whitman?
Ms. Bessinger writes, “Gone was the diverse collection of American and World Literature:”
- House On Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
- [James Baldwin’s] Go Tell It On The Mountain
- Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet
- Essays by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Poetry by Maya Angelou, Robert Frost
- Anne Frank, Night, The Boy In The Striped Pajamas, Macbeth, Walt Whitman, The Salem Witch Trials, The Crucible, Holocaust studies
- World art, universal themes, universal characters…
CRT Apostles Anti-Semitic?
What saddened me most was that I would not be teaching the Holocaust any longer. The Holocaust unit included one of the following: either Anne Frank, The Boy In The Striped Pajamas, and depending on reading level, Elie Weisel’s Night. When I asked the school reading coach where all the Holocaust books were, she said “we do not teach the Holocaust because kids can’t relate to the story.”
Poorly Written, Historically Biased, Inaccurate
… Then sometime around January 2021, hundreds of new leaflet style booklets arrived, all poorly written, historically biased, inaccurate, and pushing a racial narrative…
Perplexed, I thought there was a mistake. I asked a teacher leader what was going on and he looked jokingly at me saying “Comrade, we were told to remove all classroom sets of reading material in order to make room for the incoming sets of books.” I laughed, assuming this was a joke. But it was not a joke. This was real and happening in my school, in my classroom.
Ms. Bessinger acknowledges how grateful she was to receive “a great deal of support from educators and parents all over the world.”
This week in the Legal Insurrection, Ms. Bessinger explains what happened next:
Everything Now About Race
The first sign of retaliation was evident even before school restarted… I was pulled from teaching one of my English classes and assigned to teach using CNN news sources, as well as Time for Kids…
Everything in school now is about race. During orientation, teacher professional development included a ”privilege walk,” in which teachers were requested to talk about our personal bias, to share our personal trauma, and to connect with children on their personal trauma. Much of the bias focus was on race. I declined to participate in the voluntary privilege walk, but observed it. We also were told to be surrogate parents to our students, given lesson plans on Malcolm X, and that discussions around justifiable violence towards white people should be taught to children of color.
Use Violence as Payback for Slavery?
On the first day of school during professional development orientation… there was a verbal attack on me in front of other staff by one of my colleagues who shouted at me that I had white privilege. This colleague went on to say that she would teach her students Malcom X’s message to use violence as payback for crimes against slaves. I asked her who the recipient of this Malcolm X style attack would be, and she said everyone who harmed slaves. Since all those people are now dead, clearly the intent was to intimidate me openly at work and to send a message.
As the Providence middle school teacher watches education transform away for students into a highly racialized, politicized battle, Ms. Bessinger laments: “I am profoundly sad for all students who are caught in the middle of this hostile environment.”
Originally posted October 7, 2021.
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