Will Rhode Island’s Woke Social-Studies Standards Soon Infect Others States?
Originally published on National Review Online, by DAVID RANDALL February 10, 2023 as;
Rhode Island’s Woke Social-Studies Standards May Soon Come to Your State
The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) has just demonstrated how the woke operate by approving one of the worst social-studies standards in the nation. Read “Taken For a RIDE: How Rhode Island’s Social Studies Standards Shortchange Students,” just released by the Civics Alliance and the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity, and you can see what woke education bureaucrats do when they can run roughshod over policy-makers and the public. RIDE used a secretive process to produce a bloated document that is vague; riddled with errors, distortions, and absences; and animated by radical identity-politics ideology to teach students hostility to groups such as whites, men, and Christians — and, above all, hostility to America.
Here are some of the “anchor standards” that guide the Rhode Island standards as a whole:
Students will act as informed citizens as they . . . argue how power can be distributed and used to create a more equitable society for communities and individuals based on their intersectional identities and lived experiences.
Students act as historians as they . . . analyze multiple sources to compare and contrast historical events through the lenses of identity, power, and resistance. (pp. 5-6)
Here’s what the standards draft includes:
Third wave feminism and its focus on intersectional feminism (e.g., redefinition of beauty standards, individual empowerment, Anita Hill hearing of 1991, “The Year of the Woman,” punk groups such as Riot Grrrl, Guerrilla Girls). (p. 167)
Ways that young students can advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights in their communities. (p. 173)
What is the United States’s own history of genocide? (pp. 258-59)
Here’s some of what it doesn’t include:
- Dedicated economics instruction.
- More than a shadow of America’s liberty, faith, prosperity, and common culture.
- England’s common law and parliament.
- Greek liberty.
- The Bible.
- Jesus of Nazareth.
Then there are the outright mistakes — not just the typos and incoherent sentences, which would shame a high-school student, but substantial historical errors. Rhode Island’s standards ask students to learn about events in the Persian empire between 700 a.d. and 1200 a.d. — when the Persian empire didn’t exist. It mixes up the Monroe Doctrine and Manifest Destiny. It thinks the Bolshevik Revolution happened before World War I. And it repeats in three different grades the myth that the governing structure of the Iroquois Confederacy had substantial influence on the making of the Constitution.
Rhode Island’s laws require curriculum, textbook creation, and professional development to follow its politicized, historically inaccurate, and shoddy social-studies standards. The standards will have an immediate and harmful effect on classroom social-studies instruction. In the long run, Rhode Island will suffer even more because its children will have been educated to hate their country.
The failure of Rhode Island’s standards is the failure of all woke social-studies standards. They do not teach our children what freedom is, nor where America’s ideas of freedom come from in the long history of Western civilization, nor how our ancestors achieved their freedom, nor how our republican institutions preserve our freedom, nor what they need to do to preserve their country’s liberty. They only teach a caricature of history to inspire and provide vocational training for radical activists, with holes the size of Greek liberty and the Bible.
The citizens and policy-makers of Rhode Island and America can secure social-studies standards that teach our exceptional history of liberty — and even just meet minimum professional standards — only if they fix the adoption process and the substance of each state’s social-studies standards. States and school districts should model new standards on “American Birthright: The Civics Alliance’s Model K-12 Social Studies Standards.” New statutes should require increased public review and comment in the standards-adoption process, increased power for the public and elected officials to veto the woke bureaucrats, and a guarantee to school districts that they can opt out from woke social-studies standards.
America’s citizens deserve excellent social-studies standards. American citizens and policy-makers should work at once in Rhode Island and in all the states to make all the statutory and administrative changes necessary to ensure that their education departments craft proper social-studies standards for their children — standards that educate America’s children to know and to love their birthright of liberty.