This is my written comment regarding the Ames School District “BLM At School week of action” and the concerns I have with this program. Thank you for your attention to this matter of utmost importance.
As a newly-retired college educator, Black American and life-long Iowan, I am alarmed at what is being passed off as ‘curriculum.’ The goals of which appear to be to persuade and control impressionable young minds.
Ames School District has identified bias in their district towards Black students. But rather than address the issues they have identified which are of their own doing (due to both residential and academic racial segregation), District leaders have decided that the way to address the disparities that they have identified is to ‘instruct’ all non-Black students that it is their fault if some Black students feel uncomfortable and excluded. The “BLM At School” curriculum posits that any person who is not ‘anti-racist’ is ‘racist.’ This assertion will only perpetuate belief in a permanent ‘victim’ status for Blacks as well as the falsehood that people do and will behave differently based on race. And, the lie that people should be treated differently based on their racial group or other ways that they self-identify.
As I examined the guiding principles of the BLM movement that are taught in this curriculum, I found the principles offensive on many levels. The pronouncement that our cultural mores are racist, sexist, misogynist (and every other ‘-ist’ you can think of) is offensive to me. There is nothing wrong or bad about the “nuclear family.” And, there is nothing wrong with Black Men, Black Husbands or Black Fathers. But you would think there was something wrong, if you read through the BLM “Guiding Principles” which leave the Black Man completely out – not even worth a mention to BLM. What I see in the BLM “Principles” are tenets of ‘hate’ and ‘exclusion’ masquerading as ‘love’ and ‘inclusion.’ When the goals are separatism (‘safe spaces’) via guilt (‘White privilege’) and shame (‘White fragility’), no good will come of it. So, as long as this trickery continues to pervade our society and our schools, I will keep calling it out. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was not wrong. The desired goal for all of us, including the Ames School District and all school districts, should still be equality. By their own admission, the Ames School District has not achieved equality. Instead, they are now pushing ‘equity.’ Since Ames School District has failed according to their own survey data in regard to treating students equally (in regard to access and opportunity), their belief that they will achieve a goal of equity by employing this inadequate curriculum is misguided.
In Iowa, we need to look at ‘curriculum’ through a critical lens. We need awareness and discernment of an agenda occurring under the guise of ‘education’ which will, if successful, result in the further breakdown of society and demise of our nation. While we should continue to teach kindness and character in our schools along with the fundamentals, our schools should not teach ideology and call it fact. Nor should our schools disregard diversity of thought and beliefs in exchange for ‘indoctrination’ which is what seems to be happening through the “BLM At School week of action.”