Everything about the photo above is wrong in my opinion. I don’t agree with men dressing up as women in public except as high schoolers on Halloween endeavoring to get a giggle. I don’t agree with children being told that the scene being carried out in front of them is normal. And I don’t agree with the values that the company behind this preschool series espouse. I don’t agree with any of it. What I do agree with is my choice to eliminate the entire oddity from my life and that of my kids through the click of a button. I very much agree with possessing the option to do so. And according to the broad definition of DEI “diversity, equity and inclusion,” I’m encouraged to feel this way and act upon it.
That said what I have yet to understand is DEI’s residency in our classrooms, simply because the insistence that it exists in a place where all must partake goes against the very definition of the concept as put forth, not to mention the primary goals of education – to be proficient in reading, writing, science, math, and history. Where in “achieving such proficiency” does DEI have a place, less making sure that in the end, all kids meet or exceed that singular collective goal? In this, kids should be carbon copies of each other.
There should be zero diversity in children learning how to add. They should all know how to do this proficiently. Nor should there be any leeway given to our youth in their being able to read proficiently or understand basic science principles or historical facts. As a former teacher, myself, there is enough diversity that children arrive into the classroom with that make the equity and inclusion aspects of achieving proficiency in just those five categories a challenge in its own right. Under the purest of conditions, it’s a daunting and near impossible task for teachers. The best you can hope for is to end a year with a classroom full of carbon copies proficient in what you set out to teach in the beginning, because it means you are sending everyone on to be able to meet the next year’s worth of tasks properly. But that’s not happening today.
Plenty of kids move-on not prepared because aspects of humanity that have nothing to do with the real DEI teachers must overcome have interrupted achieving the only proficiency kids truly need to achieve through school. “Race, gender, ethnicity, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, physical appearance, neurodivergence, socioeconomic status, language, education, marital status as well as diversity in perspectives, ideas and values” do nothing to ensure that proficiency in reading, writing, science, math or history is achieved. In fact, quite the opposite. If it did, we could all rightfully claim genius with regards to our kids. Our lives as parents would be cake at present too as there’s been no shortage of submergence in this regard.
The DEI Initiatives being pressed in school currently aren’t proving themselves out in practice based upon the primary reason the institution of school has existed for all these years. The elements of DEI certainly need to be thought through by kids as they move into adulthood, in my opinion. They have relevance and exist at a minimum, but those considerations should occur outside the classroom where parents can oversee. And, again, by definition, DEI should support this preference as each family is diverse in how they choose to handle these topics, all families should be able to broach each element comfortably, and everyone should be allowed to have the conversation in their own way so long as they have it (and I think most parents will have it merely to elicit awareness).
But education needs to remember what it exists to provide — the noun in the sentence, leaving the adjectives for the parents to decide. The noun (reading, writing, math, science and history) can’t be compromised as the sentence will cease to exist. Whereby, the adjectives can be richly colored in all different ways, with kids coming out eclectic in their thinking and our nation the better for it. It is the friction between the variations that keeps us on course. We aren’t on course. Statistics back this fact up.
And if that’s not happening…and it isn’t…then what exactly is the purpose of school today, especially as it was recently reported that ‘one hour of a child being homeschooled at present equals eight hours of him or her attending public school’. Despite parents DEI on the subject of DEI, who among us likes knowing this? That jarring reality is the true drag we should all be occupied with as opposed to affirming the rights of the two queens on the couch above.
If we remove the noun, the sentence will cease to exist. Look around. It’s already happening.
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