For anyone who isn’t following the long march of racial self-flagellation through America’s institutions, last week’s revelations about the excesses of New York City’s education tsar will come as a shock. Schools chancellor Richard Carranza has introduced mandatory ‘anti-bias and equity training’ for the city’s 75,000 teachers at a cost of $23 million a year. During these ‘workshops’ the teachers are told that ‘worship of the written word’, ‘individualism’ and ‘objectivity’ are all hallmarks of ‘white supremacy culture’ and that it is better to focus on middle class black students than poor white ones.
To give you an idea of what these struggle sessions are like, take the experience of a Jewish superintendent of schools, as reported in the New York Post. At a training meeting last year, she was asked ‘What lived experience inspires you as a leader to fight for equity?’ and responded by telling the group about members of her family who’d lost their lives in the Holocaust. That had taught her about the dangers of racism, she said.
Unfortunately, this was judged to be politically incorrect and she was attacked by a black superintendent for being insufficiently woke. ‘This is not about being Jewish!’ she was told. ‘It’s about black and brown boys of colour only. You better check yourself.’ This blinkered, identarian approach is by no means confined to New York. Carranza himself was the superintendent of San Francisco’s Unified School District, which has its own Office of Equity dedicated to spreading neo-Marxist mumbo jumbo about why ‘students of colour’ are underachieving, and schools of education across America have become madrassas for indoctrinating teachers. At the University of Washington’s Secondary Teacher Education Programme, students are segregated according to race, sexuality and gender and asked to rank themselves in the intersectional hierarchy of oppression. If they’re unlucky enough to be white, they’re invited to explore how whiteness, colonialism and America’s ‘systemic racism’ has benefitted them, and then expected to apologise to the minority students who duly berate them for being privileged.
Has this fanatical, racialised thinking crossed the Atlantic? It’s not as ubiquitous yet, but it’s definitely spreading and the rot has started at the top. At the Department for Education, all 4,700 employees undergo mandatory ‘unconscious bias’ training which, among other things, involves being taught that saying ‘The country is full — we can’t take any more migrants’ is ‘as offensive as it is inaccurate, since migration is a two-way process’. May was designated ‘conversations about race’ month, with white employees encouraged to become ‘allies’ of the department’s Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Network in order ‘to understand how to have meaningful conversations… about... how to prioritise action on race-related issues’. A recent blog by the director-general for strategy complained that senior meetings at the Department ‘are easily the whitest moments in my week’.
There can be little doubt that England’s teachers will, in due course, prove as enthusiastic about such woke gobbledegook as their Whitehall overlords. One factor that has allowed this ideology to embed itself in US schools is the left-wing bias of the staff. In 2016, 50 per cent of teachers voted for Hillary, 29 per cent for Trump. For the UK the skew is even greater. At the last election, 60 per cent of teachers voted Labour compared to 12 per cent for the Conservatives. That is hardly surprising, given the rampant left-wing bias of our university’s education departments, where the vast majority of teachers receive their training.
Needless to say, the view that Britain’s schools are riddled with systemic racism and sexism is belied by the facts. Roughly 20 per cent of students in further education are from black or minority ethnic backgrounds (BME) — slightly higher than the percentage of the entire population of 17- to 24-year-olds who are BME (18 per cent) — and 40,000 more women than men enrolled at universities last year.
The group least likely to go to university in England are white working-class boys, which isn’t surprising, seeing as they achieve worse exam results than any other demographic. It is prejudice against them that the DfE should be trying to eliminate, not the imaginary problems of so-called victim groups.