As Republican state legislatures have taken action to stop the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and related ideologies in public school classrooms, one subject area that has come under particular scrutiny is social studies. Democrats and liberal activists have decried Republican efforts to force teachers to actually teach traditional notions of history and civics in social studies classes as “censorship.” But the record shows that in recent years, increasingly radical education organizations have pushed to remake social studies classrooms into indoctrination chambers for liberal activists.
Don’t take our word for it. Take theirs.
Specifically, the words of Tina Lane Heafner, former President of the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS). Social studies, according to Heafner, “more than any other subject area, has the capacity to reveal structural racism, inequality, and exclusion that endures in U.S. society, and is deeply rooted in our nation’s history and perpetuated through policies, practices, attitudes, and cultural messages.” The goal of social studies? To bring “transformative understandings that are foundational to shifting the mindsets of students and promoting the culture of equity and inclusion.” [Emphasis added]
That doesn’t sound much like the social studies that most Americans grew up with. Heafner penned these words in an essay from January of 2020 that expanded upon her keynote address from the annual NCSS national conference in November of 2019. Both the speech and the essay were published before the rise of Black Lives Matter and before CRT went mainstream, suggesting that, rather than reacting to such cultural phenomena, Heafner and groups like NCSS were actually active participants in helping left-wing activists gain influence by forcing their ideologies on the youngest generation of Americans.
Heafner goes on in her piece to state unequivocally that there is “no neutrality in the racism struggle,” explicitly quoting Ibram Kendi, the author of How to Be an Antiracist, which AMAC Newsline has analyzed here and here.
The crux of Kendi’s book is that when outcomes for any racial groups are unequal, there is an “inequity,” and thus an injustice. That “injustice” will only be fixed when racial groups are perfectly equal in their outcomes.
That is, in a very real sense, Communism. No, that is not an exaggeration.
With Kendi’s beliefs as a guide, Heafner goes on to advocate that American students be indoctrinated to believe this hate-fueled dogma, twisted, anti-American versions of history, and the dangerous rhetoric of radical LGBTQ+ groups.
That anti-American version of history was on full display at the aforementioned NCSS conference in 2019. “All education in the United States,” Heafner declared, “takes place on Indigenous lands.” At the same conference, participants were asked to acknowledge that “we are gathering together in a place on the shared lands and waters of many indigenous and Native Peoples.”
While it’s true that the United States has a troubled history regarding its treatment of native peoples, the only purpose these statements appear to serve in this context is to undermine the legitimacy of American institutions and the very existence of the nation itself. In other words, Heafner isn’t interested in actual historical accuracy or nuance. She’s interested only in promoting a completely one-sided view of history in order to justify teaching leftist propaganda about the United States to students.
To this end, Heafner also calls for “Civic Engagement among Youth” as a core principle of social studies education. In theory, this sounds fine. But in reality, it is nothing but the Action Civics we have reported on elsewhere, which recruits students in public schools as protestors for leftist causes.
But Heafner saves perhaps her most startling statement for the conclusion of her piece. “Social studies,” she writes, “teaches us that knowledge is not neutral; it is socially constructed.” Not opinions, agendas, or parties, but knowledge itself is “socially structured.”
What does this mean? It means no knowledge is ever objective. This sounds insane, but it is actually being applied across disciplines, even to things like mathematics. Some schools are actually teaching that the idea of objectivity in mathematics – or finding the correct answer – is only a reflection of white, Euro-centric ideas—a most absurd assertion.
Since no knowledge is really objective and certain according to Heafner, teachers are therefore empowered to recognize the “structure” of knowledge in our society, dismantle it, and change it to one in accord with their own agenda. This is why, in her words, “Critical inquiry is at the heart of social studies.” This is the same sort of “Critical” involved in Critical Race Theory—a “critical” that presumes to dismantle every norm, every structure, every truth, for the purpose of supposedly reconstructing them in the name of “equity” and “justice.”
But, you might be asking at this point, does Heafner at least still reserve some place in social studies education for traditional lessons about American history? On this issue, Heafner’s silence is deafening. How many times does she mention the Constitution? Zero. The Founders? Zero. The Declaration of Independence? Zero.
Is any of this logically consistent? No. And it isn’t meant to be. Its sole purpose is to break down what Heafner and her allies see as the current “power structure” in order to replace it with their own.
That means only one thing: the radical left is at war with reality itself, and they want to recruit your children and grandchildren to join their side in that war.
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