Billionaire Donates $10M for Teachers ‘to Infuse Social Justice into Mathematics’
A left-wing billionaire has donated $10 million to an organization that counsels public school teachers to exploit their influence over young minds to drive “social change” — even instructing math teachers to “infuse social justice into mathematics.” Teachers should also “use inclusive labels for families (e.g., use ‘your adults’ vs. ‘parents’),” the group says.
MacKenzie Scott, whose personal wealth skyrocketed after divorcing Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, made the eight-figure grant to a nonprofit called Leading Educators. The group mentors teachers to see the world through a “lens of oppression” and to put such critical race theory concepts as “equity at the center” of their teaching.
Among its “foundational practices,” the group tells teachers to “[a]sk for and use students’ pronouns and your own.” They should also “ensure” that Zoom meetings “use students’ pronouns and preferred names.”
It also encourages teachers to replace the term “parents” with “your adults,” as the latter is more “inclusive.”
The group seems to tell teachers to correct, or potentially punish, students who reject their political ideology. Teachers must assure they are not “permitting students to replicate patterns of racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression within the classroom,” instructs its “Teaching for Equity” workbook. “Success in the classroom” occurs when the “[t]eacher identifies and disrupts” such “patterns of oppression” between students.
The view stems from the group’s belief that public school teachers should use the influence they exert to impose a left-wing agenda on a captive population. “[S]chools are a critical unit of social change,” the group stated on its 2019 IRS forms, and “teacher leaders should be drivers of that change in pursuit of equity.”
The school curriculum is a “key component” driving this process, because “It is filled with stories, activities, assignments, and illustrations that influence how young people understand the world, and contribute to centering and normalizing people, cultures, and values. Curricula that only reflect the lives of dominant populations — for example, White people and culture, nuclear families, or able-bodied people — reinforce ideas that sideline … LGBTQ+ led families.”(Emphasis in original.)
Assuring that children adopt such radical political concepts “requires our willingness to embrace the power of our practice to … transform students’ experiences and outcomes,” the workbook states.
The group so emphasizes political indoctrination of public schoolchildren that its workbook tells math teachers to “[s]elect or adapt the contexts of problems to infuse social justice into mathematics.”
“Could a Christian billionaire make a donation to infuse Christianity into mathematics or any other subject?” asked Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at the Family Research Council. “It’s beginning to seem like our public school children’s brains are for sale to the highest bidders, as long as they are sexual progressives.”
Such whole-of-curriculum indoctrination has already taken place in the U.K., where schools have normalized the LGBTQ agenda via math problems written for children between the ages of five and seven.
“Harley, (a non-binary and gender-non-conforming person using they/them pronouns) has volunteered to give bottles of water to runners of a Marathon [sic]. They have 15 bottles of water but there are a total of 25 runners in the marathon. How many more bottles of water does Harley need to buy?” asked one question.
Accompanying notes instructed British teachers to take time out of math class to “[e]xplain that Harley does not like to be referred to as he/she or him/her so when we describe Harley we use they/them.” When “children ask why, then you could explain ‘Harley doesn’t feel like a boy or a girl, so by using they/them pronouns they don’t have to feel they are either’. Ask the children to discuss with their partner.” The lesson plans — part of the UK’s School Diversity Week in 2021 — were approved by the Department for Education, which is run by the Conservative Party, and underwritten by Facebook.
Leading Educators is far from the first left-wing activist group that has asked U.S. educators to follow the UK’s path.
In 2017, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics — which helped develop Common Core’s math standards — posted an essay complaining that word problems lack “gender nonconforming characters” and too often reflect “individualism” instead of “collectivism.” NCTM then asked teachers, “What hidden messages are found in the mathematical word problems in your textbook? How have you reframed these problems to better reflect the diversity of the students and families we serve?”
GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network), an LGBT activist group, also encouraged politicizing math problems, suggesting that teachers have students calculate how long it will take to “spread the use of the singular they/them/their pronoun,” which denies the gender binary. Since “any encounter will lead to a percent of the population adopting the they/them/their pronouns as part of regular use, the students can determine how long it will take for the entire population to adopt the use.” If students take a survey including sex or gender, “teachers need to be sure they include both intersex and other as choices,” and if “the students want to include data for gender, a variety of choices need to be included, such as agender, genderfluid, female, male, nonbinary, transman, transwoman, and other.”
The idea of using public schools to spread left-wing ideas is found in the teaching of George S. Counts, an influential education theorist who made two trips to the Soviet Union. In his monograph “Dare the School Build a New Social Order?” he encouraged teachers to “endeavor to enlist their [students’] loyalties and enthusiasms in the realization of the vision” of a new society based on radical ideals. “[T]eachers should deliberately reach for power and then make the most of their conquest,” wrote Counts, a far-Left professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College. “[T]he old molds are being broken” in the “field of … morals [and] religion.”
“You will say, no doubt, that I am flirting with the idea of indoctrination. And my answer is again in the affirmative,” he confessed elsewhere. “Progressive Education cannot build its program out of the interests of the children: it cannot place its trust in a child-centered school.”
Apparently, Leading Educators’ ideologically-driven program works. “Teacher leaders’ agreement with inequitable beliefs decreased for 11 of 13 common beliefs assessed in one year,” and “82% of schools’ average beliefs improved,” stated the group.
Scott’s donation will allow LE to double the number of students it impacts to 400,000 a year, said Leading Educators CEO Chong-Hao Fu.
The enormous donation has its origins in divorce and the COVID-19 virus. Scott received 19.7 million shares of Amazon stock as part of her separation from Bezos in 2019. During 2020’s COVID-19 lockdowns — while small businesses lost as much as 52% of their revenue, and while Black, Asian, and Hispanic owners felt the biggest blow —Amazon stock soared 76%. (Scott has so far remained silent on this apparent inequity.) She has since donated $12 million to left-of-center organizations, including $275 million to Planned Parenthood, the largest donation ever made to the nation’s most prolific abortion business.
U.S. taxpayers may be helping Scott underwrite these talking points. Leading Educators lists the U.S. Department of Education among its “current partners.”
Scott’s bias is shared by too many teachers and administrators who “believe to their core that their fundamental responsibility as educators is to push political propaganda on children,” said Aaron Baer, president of the Ohio-based Center for Christian Virtue, which focuses on educational freedom. Lawmakers must respond by “making parents the ultimate source of accountability in public education through legislation which ties education funding to students, instead of systems. And second, by lawmakers exerting their authority as appropriators and making it clear that our public schools will not be funded if they push critical theory in the classroom.”
Injecting controversial gender ideology into unrelated classes is the antithesis of the Republican Study Committee’s (RSC) principles on restoring the American family. “We support the protection of children from far-left ideologies like the transgender movement and racist ideology in their schools,” said the document, co-signed by 17 members of the RSC, including chairman Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.). “[P]arents — not government officials — are the best qualified people to make decisions about the physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing of their children.”
But until a paradigm shift reaches politicians and pedagogues, the public schools will continue to exude left-wing bias, said Baer. “When you understand the nature of the corruption and politicization of the public education system, there is only one answer: get out,” Baer continued. “We can save the public education system, but it’s going to take time, and it starts by getting our kids out to minimize the damage in the short term.”
Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.