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Letter: Is indoctrination being disguised as education?

To the Editor-

With the recent upsurge of inquiries regarding the operations of the Stevens Point School Board, readers may find interesting a class entitled “Introduction to Diversity” offered in 11th grade. Every student must take either this class or Social Problems (unless enrolled in the charter school) in order to graduate from SPASH.

What follows are a number of actual, specific objectives taken directly from the official curriculum which was approved by the School Board on December 19, 2016.

What students will know (content):

• How race is a socially constructed idea rather than a biological or physical fact.
• The core concepts of racism, sexism, ableism, classism, ageism, and heterosexism.
• How culture can be compared and evaluated using ethnocentrism and ethnographic-relativism.
• The difference between ethnocentrism and cultural relativism.
• How to identify examples of ethnocentrism.
• How throughout history, Whites have supported investment in whiteness, and thus created economic advantages.
• The concept and impact of White Privilege in the U.S.
• The debate surrounding undocumented immigration.
• How the media (TV, films) portray Whites and minorities.
• How language and the media demonstrate that White Americans are the standard against which others are judged.
• How cultural racism is prevalent through images, language, and behavior.
• That prime-time television is racially segregated, where the main characters are mostly White and there is very little cross-racial interaction.
• The characteristics of White privilege and how White privilege is often invisible.
• How colonialism and the concept of Manifest Destiny helped develop white privilege.
• How Christianity played a role in the development of White privilege.
• The effect that internalized White supremacy has on Whites.
• Key elements to achieving social justice and social change.
• Challenges for dismantling racism, classism, sexism, ableism, heterosexism, ageism, etc.
• How to undo racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, ageism, ableism, etc., at the foundation of society.
• That social justice may require reconstructing government systems, conducting education and reeducation, and engaging in social and personal activism.

Equally, or perhaps more important, the curriculum lays out “What students will be able to do (skills):”

• Compare your culture with other cultures exploring concepts of ethnocentrism and ethnorelativism.
• Identify your own privileges.
• Identify your own biases.
• Evaluate how your biases have changed over time.
• Identify factors that have contributed to your change in perspective.
• Define social justice.
• Identify examples of social justice issues.
• Compare issues locally and globally.
• Relate social justice to cultural values.
• Identify ways you and others can advocate for equality and social justice.

The above examples are only highlights from the Diversity curriculum. When reviewed in its entirety, it goes a long way in helping parents understand how their children are being indoctrinated. Sadly, it appears that the faculty who wrote this curriculum and the school board that approved it thinks students need to be told what to think not how to think.

How naive of us; we actually trusted that our kids were being properly educated.

Jack Elsinger
Stevens Point

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