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Parissa Sedghi / November 14, 2019

The Arithmetic of Emotional and Social Education

When a few close friends told me what happened at their back-to-school night in suburban Maryland, I almost didn’t believe them. Parents gathered in their first-graders’ classroom, excited to figure out which artwork on the wall belonged to their child. Instead, they received a lecture. They were curtly notified that math and English would be taking a back seat this year.

When a few close friends told me what happened at their back-to-school night in suburban Maryland, I almost didn’t believe them.

Parents gathered in their first-graders’ classroom, excited to figure out which artwork on the wall belonged to their child. Instead, they received a lecture. They were curtly notified that math and English would be taking a back seat this year.

The school’s new top priority: social and emotional learning.

I was floored. Since when are math and English considered “second-tier priorities”? Since when did parents begin delegating the development of their children’s personalities and values to the public school system?

We send children to school to prepare them for success in real life. We expose them to a variety of subjects — like math, English, art, and science — to help children explore possible career paths while learning practical life skills.

We teach children history and civics to help them understand freedom and the American story, where we have come from, and where we are going. At least we used to.

This was my experience in elementary school. But as my husband and I eagerly await the arrival of our first baby in December, I shudder to think about what the school experience will look like five years from now. I worry my children won’t receive the same quality education that I did.

The truth is, this elementary school in Maryland is rather normal compared to the left-wing agendas pushed by public school districts in other parts of the country. The Seattle public school district is planning to add ethnic studies into its K-12 math curriculum in an effort to “rehumanize” math. What does that even mean?

If this radical proposal is approved, teachers would have to ask students questions like, “How have math and science been used to oppress and marginalize people of color?” and “Who holds power in a math classroom?”

Teaching addition and subtraction would likely be second-tier priorities during these indoctrination sessions. To think — we were already worried about Common Core math.

In some California school districts, students are required to write manifestos to school officials listing reform demands, write “breakup letters” with toxic masculinity, perform social-justice campaigns and protests, and teach younger students about white privilege, systematic oppression, and implicit bias.

Parents have filed complaints with North Carolina schools for handing out white-privilege flyers and making young students fill out “diversity inventory” worksheets. Good luck trying to explain heteronormativity to an eight-year-old.

No wonder teachers are having a hard time squeezing math and English lessons into the school day. Our public schools are not preparing America’s rising generation of professionals and innovators. Instead, they are grooming the next generation of Democratic voters.

These taxpayer-funded initiatives are almost too absurd to believe. However, they are real, and they present a serious threat to our children’s education. Parents must take them seriously and fight back with everything we have.

Parents need to take an active role in PTA, PTO, and school-board activities to prevent our public school curriculums from being designed around progressive talking points rather than textbooks. I know my husband and I will.

Teachers are tasked with preparing our children for the future, but parents are responsible to hold these school districts accountable and keep them honest and transparent. We need to take a stand. Public schools are beholden to the taxpayers who fund them, not the other way around.

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