Republicans Adopt China’s Approach to Indoctrinating Students

Eesha Pendharkar reports in Education Week Four Things Schools Won’t Be Able to Do Under ‘Critical Race Theory’ Laws, including the following:

  • Discussions of racism will be limited
  • Anti-bias training and other anti-racism efforts could be curtailed or canceled
  • Administrators will have to change their curriculum
  • Teachers and administrators will have to restrict conversations about sexism and gender identity

Many states, such as my home state of South Carolina, are also prescribing that schools adopt patriotic approaches to teaching history, citing the debunked 1776 Project directly.

These attacks on teaching race, racism, and history—directly mentioning CRT—however, are ultimately unmasked as political theater since CRT is not a part of K-12 teaching:

Greenville County Schools, the largest district in the state, has over 76,000 students enrolled. All of them are taught state-approved curriculum, said Tim Waller, spokesperson for the school district.

“Critical race theory is not something that actually happens in schools,” he said. “With the pandemic last year, most of our conversations have been around operating schools safely.”

SC will not give money to teach critical race theory. But we never taught it, say schools

And when critics are pushed for evidence of CRT, this is what happens:

Burns said an example of critical race theory in South Carolina includes a student in the Upstate who told him coursework including writing an essay on why “whiteness is bad.” Burns would not name the school, the student or the assignment.

SC will not give money to teach critical race theory. But we never taught it, say schools

And this from Texas:

Texas’ new law in fact has two major problems. First, and most alarmingly for educators, it bans public school teachers from requiring students to read specific educational materials or even learn about particular ideas — specifically the idea that “the advent of slavery … constituted the true founding of the United States.” The law also forbids teachers from even teaching the 1619 Project.

But there’s a second and even more fundamental problem with bills like this one: they are inherently self-contradictory. They require teachers to present specific people and ideas in American history. Then they also aim to prevent teachers from discussing anything in those stories that might hint at inherent racism or slavery. Lawmakers may wish to maintain this contradiction, but when teachers teach these stories and documents, the contradiction cannot stand.

Texas Republicans take aim at history this Juneteenth. It could backfire.

The Republican attack on critical race theory (CRT) and the 1619 Project is shockingly similar to China’s mandates controlling how children are taught; from Vivian Wang and Alexandra Stevenson in the New York Times:

The Hong Kong government has issued hundreds of pages of new curriculum guidelines designed to instill “affection for the Chinese people.” Geography classes must affirm China’s control over disputed areas of the South China Sea. Students as young as 6 will learn the offenses under the security law.

Lo Kit Ling, who teaches a high school civics course, is now careful to say only positive things about China in class. While she had always tried to offer multiple perspectives on any topic, she said, she worries that a critical view could be quoted out of context by a student or parent.

Ms. Lo’s subject is especially fraught; the city’s leaders have accused it of poisoning Hong Kong’s youth. The course had encouraged students to analyze China critically, teaching the country’s economic successes alongside topics such as the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Officials have ordered the subject replaced with a truncated version that emphasizes the positive.

“It’s not teaching,” Ms. Lo said. “It’s just like a kind of brainwashing.” She will teach an elective on hospitality studies instead.

‘A Form of Brainwashing’: China Remakes Hong Kong

While many conservatives and Republicans have tried to frame China as some sort of threat to the American way of life—notably related to the spread of Covid—the truth is that the Republican Party is practicing China’s indoctrination strategies across the country.