OPINION: Harvard University and its now former President, Claudine Gay, have been the subject of intense national scrutiny since her embarrassing Congressional testimony on December 5 exposed how shockingly out of touch she and her fellow woke educational colleagues are with mainstream America.
What is less well-known, is how the same can be said about Rhode Island’s Department of Education Commissioner, Angelica Infante-Green. Each can be described as ‘educational supremacists’ who believe their warped worldviews should be imposed upon students under their respective purviews.
A casual examination of the actions and history of these two faux supremacists shows that there is little difference between them. When put into proper “context”, it is clear that Claudine Gay and Angelica Infante-Green are each cut from the same cloth; each of whom has or is facing public calls for their resignation or replacement:
Each oversees a declining educational institution that puts woke politics ahead of student achievement and constitutional rights.
Each is a by-product of the divisive DEI philosophy, which puts skin color and fealty to the BIPOC agenda ahead of an actual record of accomplishment.
Each was lauded with the meaningless trope of being the first “person of color” to lead their respective institutions.
Each has failed in their current leadership positions, which they were not professionally qualified for in the first place. Neither had any previous signature academic work or major achievement.
Each publicly defended their untenable woke views, displaying an alarming lack of moral clarity, when testifying at US Congressional and State Senate Oversight committee hearings, respectively.
Each, in their official capacities, has suppressed freedom of expression, by engaging in vindictive and unwarranted administrative punishment of faculty who publicly challenged the woke narrative: Harvard Professor Roland Fryer and Providence school teacher Ramona Bessinger, respectively.
Each has seen their institution suffer declining numbers of students seeking enrollment.
Each is engaged in corruption scandals that would immediately disqualify any other head of an organization, were they not members of a protected class: Plagiarism charges and calls for a Justice Department investigation into mishandling of a $72 million contract, respectively.
Each remained or remains in power longer than they should, only because those who appointed them do not have the courage to acknowledge that their faux diversity experiment has failed their institutions.
In Rhode Island, Infante-Green’s misguided strategy of secretly transforming public education away from traditional teachings, and instead towards a radical progressive and politicized approach, has also resulted in frequent infringements on parental rights, eschewing hundreds of years of cultural norms.
Each, in virtue-signaling support for their “anti-racist” worldviews, is openly supportive of the Marxist “critical race” or radical “social equity” agendas.
On RIDE’s own website, the prominent Marxist Paulo Freire is prominently quoted. Freire’s critical pedagogy,” whose theoretical roots are derived directly from Marxism, seeks to indoctrinate students to become critical agents of social change. The three-letter acronyms that represent the many of these subjective and extremist educational philosophies endorsed or mandated by RIDE and Infante-Green (SEL, DEI, CRT, CSE, et al.) also have publicly been likened to Marxist philosophies by many advocacy organizations and parent groups across Rhode Island and America.
Each has promoted racist policies or guidelines that poison the minds of students against their country, traditional American values, their Caucasian brothers and sisters, or God.
In 2023, RIDE’s new “social studies standards,” which are to be taught to every public-school student, were criticized in a 52-page report issued by our Center and the Civics Alliance. RIDE’s standards focus on teaching radical political activism instead of verifiable American and world history. In addition to dozens of factually-incorrect historical assertions, some of these misguided standards, among the “worst in the nation” according to the National Association of Scholars, involve false narratives that:
- Adopt the radical tenets of Marxist “Critical Theories”, when it comes race and gender
- Teach “children to hate their country” and fail to provide a “coherent presentation of the ideals and institutions of liberty, including religious freedom”
- America was founded on the principle of “oppression” as opposed to America’s true birthright of “freedom”
- Are hostile to groups such as whites, men, Christians, and America itself
Now is the time for Rhode Island to follow Harvard and to signal that they will bring about an end to the politicization of our vital educational institutions.
As a graduate of Harvard University and as a leader in the Ocean State freedom movement, I call on the Harvard Board of Directors not to make the same DEI mistake with their next President, and I call on Angelica Infante Green to follow Claudine Gay’s action, and resign from her unearned and abused position of power.
Mike Stenhouse is CEO of the nonpartisan, RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity