‘Wildly age-inappropriate’: Elite private school’s ‘anti-racist curriculum’ sparks outrage from parents

In December of 2020, 129 faculty and staff at the elite Dalton school in Manhattan submitted a list of 24 demands that comprise an anti-racism manifesto, and now parents are banding together to fight back against the insanity of it all. They have submitted a letter to the Dalton School community where they expressed concern regarding the school’s “abandonment” of a liberal-arts education, substituting instead an “anti-racist curriculum.”

The parents are upset and are now asking Dalton to suspend lessons that push critical race theory. They want the private school to return to former curriculum standards and they want a survey conducted among students, parents, and alumni to see what they think about the school’s anti-racist policies.

“Love of learning and teaching is now being abandoned in favor of an ‘anti-racist curriculum,'” the parents stated. “Every class this year has had an obsessive focus on race and identity, ‘racist cop’ reenactments in science, ‘de-centering whiteness’ in art class, learning about white supremacy and sexuality in health class. Wildly age-inappropriate, many of these classes feel more akin to a Zoom corporate sensitivity training than to Dalton’s intellectually engaging curriculum.”

Critical race theory came to the forefront of progressive issues after months of racial unrest in 2020 and then was highlighted by Black Lives Matter protests. This led many schools to begin pushing critical race theory. According to the Washington Free Beacon, the subject embodies the concept that “laws and society in the United States are inherently racist.” These schools then proceeded to insert critical race theory fully into their curricula using that as a justification.

(Source: Fox Business)

The genuinely offensive demands by the faculty and staff at the school included Dalton paying off all student loans for the school’s black staff members. They also wanted to insert courses that emphasize “Black liberation and challenges to white supremacy.” And, just as stunning, is their demand for the elimination by 2023 of courses where black students don’t fare as well as white students.

To attend this school, parents have to shell out $54,000 a year per student. Considering the cost and what they thought they were purchasing, it’s understandable that they are not thrilled with the “racial literacy curricula” being implemented in elementary and middle-school classes. The parents also seem staunchly against identity-based student-orientation programs.

Their letter made it very clear that many families no longer feel they are welcome at the school because of this new anti-racism mandate. A number of them are strongly considering taking their children out of the posh school and going somewhere else for their educational needs:

“Many of us do not feel welcome at Dalton anymore. That really hurts to write. This ideology is extremely exclusionary to those families (perhaps a majority of the Dalton community) who don’t identify as part of an oversimplified racial dichotomy in a beautiful and diverse world, or those who choose not to make their racial identity the centerpiece of their family life or their children’s education,” they wrote.

They concluded: “To be clear, we abhor racism. We celebrate Dalton’s diversity and its inclusive environment, and we believe in better outcomes for Black Americans. Diversity is the best thing to happen to Dalton in the last twenty years. We, too, have been inspired by the tragic events of last summer and are taking action in our own ways to make a difference. We totally understand the administration’s desire to do something. We simply object to “anti-racism” on philosophical, ethical, and pedagogical grounds, and we support other ways to oppose racism and teach children to become thoughtful and empathetic people. In our view, these recent curricular changes achieve precisely the opposite results as intended.”

Dalton is not the only school doing this. A number of schools from Kindergarten through college in larger cities in America are heavily inserting diversity and anti-racism into their curriculums with an emphasis on social justice. Unless more parents stand up against critical race theory, it has the potential to go mainstream and then become part of the public school system.


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Terresa Monroe-Hamilton


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