Say it ain’t so, Colt.
Colt Gill, appointed by Governor Brown as Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction, serves as Director of the Oregon Department of Education.
Oregon HB 2845, signed into law by Governor Kate Brown in June 2017, called for an advisory group to create recommendations for ethnic studies standards. A panel of K-12 teachers aligned the recommendations to 2018 social science standards for use in the classroom. After engaging with the public, the Oregon Department of Education made adjustments to the standards.
The new standards were approved for classroom use in March 2021. School districts will be required to address the ethnic studies standards beginning in the 2026 – 2027 school year.
The theory behind the new standards was that commonly used textbooks and classroom lessons had too narrow a focus of the history, politics, and human geography and that students would benefit from a more complete and inclusive understanding of U.S. and Oregon history.
So far so good.
Then not so good.
The Kindergarten Standards with Ethnic Studies, yes kindergarten, start off with the following:
Civics and Government
* Engage in respectful dialogue with classmates to define diversity comparing and contrasting visible and invisible similarities and differences.
*Develop an understanding of one’s own identity groups including, but not limited to, race, gender, family, ethnicity, culture, religion, and ability.
* Identify examples of unfairness or injustice towards individuals or groups and the “change- makers,” who worked to make the world better.
* Make connections identifying similarities and differences including race, ethnicity, culture, disability, and gender between self and others.
Social Science Analysis
* Identify possible solutions to injustices
The questionable guidance continues for later grades. First grade standards, for example, include:
*Define equity, equality and systems of power”
*Describe how individual and group characteristics are used to divide, unite and categorize racial, ethnic, and social groups.”
How, in heaven’s name, do 5-year-olds conduct “respectful dialogue” over “visible and invisible similarities and differences.” How and why should they “develop an understanding of one’s own identity groups,” and identify racial, ethnic and cultural differences?
How and why should 1st graders “define…systems of power”?
“In reality, the point of the exercise is to make children hyper-sensitive to racial differences and encourage them to internalise an identity-based consciousness,” Prof. Frank Furedi wrote in Spiked. “The main objective of this curriculum is to introduce youngsters to an identitarian worldview. When small children are exposed to topics suitable for mature adults it is clear that indoctrination rather than education is taking place.”
Did anybody outside the education establishment read these standards before they were adopted?
Is this really how Oregon parents want their children taught?