Of course we should challenge woke young people

Nov 25, 2021 by

by Joanna Williams, spiked:

Headteachers face plenty of challenges. How to keep schools functioning normally when there is mounting pressure to reintroduce masks and social distancing. How to help children catch up on their learning following the disruption caused by lockdowns and school closures. How to make ends meet after 10 years of budget cuts. But Samantha Price, head of the exclusive Benenden School in Kent and president of the Girls’ Schools Association, is troubled by something else entirely. Her biggest concern is that children are being dismissed as ‘woke’.

Price says that some parents are ‘deeply unsettled’ by issues like gender identity. But instead of sympathising with parents’ concerns, she fears that these parents might question or challenge their children. Parents might not respond well, for instance, if their daughter were to come home from school claiming that gender identity is on a spectrum. Above all, Price wants school leaders to challenge anyone who dismisses the younger generation as ‘woke’.

Price argues that adults, instead of criticising children, need to get with the woke programme. To help, she says, ‘schools should host talks with parents on inclusion, diversity and gender to help them understand the “new language” of the younger generation’. But this misses the point. It’s not that critics of woke values – on gender, race or sexuality – need help understanding the vocabulary. It’s that they fundamentally disagree with the ideas.

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