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A Woke Education




At California’s top private school, diversity, equity, and inclusion is the new core curriculum. John D. Sailer:

Some schools deny that they teach critical race theory, but the College Preparatory School, California’s top-ranked independent high school, leaves no room for ambiguity. According to its seven-page curricular update, revised on June 25, the Oakland school added readings in critical race theory to its constitutional-law elective. “These new readings,” the update announces, “were designed to challenge the law’s propensity to categorize people in ways that silo marginalized groups and to get students to think about how legal advocacy might operate from a more intersectional framework.”

But teaching critical-race-theory texts in one class is a microscopic detail in College Prep’s massive diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) push, which accelerated in June of last year. According to a March 22, 2021 letter from Monique DeVane, College Prep’s Head of School, “the School has increased equity and inclusion budget lines” by “approximately $450,000 from the 2019–20 to the 2021–22 school year.” The letter responds to a February list of demands from the school’s Black Student Union (BSU), which urged College Prep to expand on its earlier DEI commitments. DeVane assures students and parents that the school has taken steps that meet many of these demands, including a curriculum overhaul and a test-optional admissions policy.

Over the last year, the school placed race front and center in its curriculum. In its Racial Equity & Belonging: 2020–21 End of Year Update, published in June, the school promises an ongoing effort to “assess and adapt curriculum and pedagogy to support teaching and learning for equity and belonging.” The English department, for example, modified seven of its courses. In one, The Changeling, “a novel that explores the intersection of monstrosity and race/racism,” replaced Shakespeare’s Richard III. The history department now assigns readings from the 1619 Project in both its “Atlantic World” course and its “U.S. and the World” course. The latter includes a culminating project that explores “how certain histories (of marginalized groups, of transnational labor, etc.) provide a broader understanding of events in U.S. History.”

[John D. Sailer, "A Woke Education,” City Journal, August 5]


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