Education, Exclusives, Featured, Uncategorized

Walpole: Teaching diversity, equity and mediocrity

I am a teacher. Rather, I was a teacher. For over two decades, my path took me down bifurcated byways of collegiate academia to the youngest in preschools as a licensed Social Studies and English teacher, instructional technologist, communications specialist, school event security guard, and substitute. From public, private, and charter schools (one exclusively remote), I witnessed much – and much that would shock the conscience of most men and women. From a school shooting to fellow teachers engaged in full on sexual activities in a classroom “pod” to four hours of profane prom-music lyrics, I’ve quite literally seen, and heard, it all.

Throughout the years, I supplemented my historical and literary focus as both a student and teacher of education courses and professional development seminars focused on practical classroom management strategies, how to develop and implement curricula and effective lesson plans, engaging students with energetic and dynamic teaching styles, and integrating the ever-changing technology trends into classroom effectiveness.

All that has changed.

My ongoing responsibilities (and in order to maintain my Colorado teaching credentials), as a history, ELA and civics teacher, required my attendance remotely at “professional development” sessions offered by accredited universities. It became immediately clear that much of my required curricula, course organization, assignments and exams (all provided by the “company”) were extremely biased left, promoted BLM, and were focused on the ideologically misguided ideals of diversity, equity, inclusion and critical race theory. My curriculum-mandated second-semester final examination included two questions regarding South African leader Nelson Mandela but not one on any Founding Father or Framer.

As I began two days of professional development “sessions,” (typically a half-hour to hour in length), it became clear where the trainings were headed. Despite my best efforts to avoid courses with titles such as “Where Do We Go From Here? A Discussion on Digital Learning, Equity, Racial Justice and Innovation,” “Equitable Teaching in English, Inclusive Teaching, and Gateway Courses,” I realized that even those with innocuous names such as “Finding the Right Digital Tool,” “Building Innovation” and Empowering Faculty to Create a Better Normal” were no better with mantras portraying the evils of capitalism and the horrors of “systemic white supremacy.” One course suggested that traditional models of education should be removed and replaced with “What Stays” or rather “Bringing whole self to school, addressing social-emotional needs, prioritizing relationships, multiple delivery modes, and centering social justice and equity.”

One seminar instructor imparted the “fair and judicious distribution of resources between not only humans but between humans and the natural world.” After describing the technological achievements of the Perseverance Mars rover, she warned, in fresh makeup and with seemingly expensive new hair highlights, of the contradictions of the “capricious . . . tragedy of methane sinkholes blowing up in the permafrost in Russia as we see more and more how we are irreversibly altering the planet and the environment in which we evolved.”

When one looks at the current focus of teacher education programs throughout the country, it’s no wonder that professional development workshops are awash in such pervasive nonsense. The University of Colorado’s Secondary English Licensure Program, where graduates would be expected to be versed in the classics and understand the fundamentals of teaching writing, now lists the objectives of the undergrad English program as:

The Secondary English Language Arts licensure program is organized around a conceptual framework grounded in our shared commitments to teaching for equity and justice and drawn from theories and pedagogies that center anti-oppressive aims. We focus on three key interconnected themes:

  • Power, Privilege, and Positioning
  • Culture and Diversity
  • Agency and Change

With this shift from properly educating teachers to master content, methodologies, and instructional techniques and instead become facilitators of “agency and change” while emphasizing critical race power structures and supposed white privilege, some physical and remote classrooms have become bastions of propaganda and equity schemes (as recently evidenced in Oregon) where students can graduate without having to demonstrate even basic proficiencies in reading, writing, and math.

How does this propaganda manifest in the classroom? In many Colorado brick-&-mortar schools, students pass through poster-filled hallways and walkways advertising messages of inclusivity, equity, and diversity. Rather than simply answering questions posed in classes, many of my recent remote students were more inclined to describe their pronouns, sexual orientation, sexual identity, romantic identity and sexual attraction — and sometimes self-deprecate based on their immutable racial characteristics, prior to providing a response. As if I needed to know who they were attracted to prior to discussing Andrew Jackson and the Battle of Horseshoe Bend?

At the end of the day, as long as students regurgitate preferred leftist platitudes, while not demonstrating any real learning (as evidenced on recent Colorado state testing results), all is considered fine within the educational environs in this state.

And so…I left the education profession. Or rather, it left me. I would encourage all parents, and their students, to also leave the public education system as soon as is practicable.

Kyle Walpole lives in Evergreen, Colorado


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