The classroom culture war

Oct 7, 2021 by

by Frank Furedi, The Critic:

Saving education from the forces that wish to politicise it is one the most important cultural challenges of our time.

“My child has been told in a series of assemblies that she ‘has white privilege’, that she ‘subconsciously perpetuates it’, may even ‘consciously enjoy it’ and that she ought to be ‘starting to address it’. She has been shown slides of white BLM protesters holding placards that say ‘I will never understand’, told she needs to listen and educate herself and that intersectional theory shows that ‘whiteness will always insulate and protect her from racism’.”

Ten years ago, this mother’s story would likely be considered a joke; a parody of the culture wars that were starting to simmer across the Atlantic. But a lot can happen in a decade: the child whose mother recently reported the above attends an academy in London. Indeed, what was once considered an American eccentricity has gone global, and Britain’s curriculum engineers are doing their utmost to make up for lost time.

In the UK, curriculum engineers have embraced the approach of their American colleagues and are now busy targeting what they describe as outdated views and ideals. The term “outdated” serves as a euphemism for describing ideas and sentiments that do not accord with their project of distancing children from the traditions and way of life of their parents and grandparents. Under the banner of “relevance”, they wish to cancel the classics of literature and replace them with stories written by contemporary writers. Even the works of Shakespeare have been denounced for their outdated racist, antisemitic and misogynist views.

One of the most important and unremarked feature of recent developments in British classrooms is the uncritical and slavish manner with which curriculum experts imitate the cultural crusade of their American colleagues. Earlier this year it was reported that numerous American schools (including the prestigious $45,000-a-year Brentwood School in Los Angeles) were scrapping the apparently outdated To Kill a Mockingbird.

Read here

See also: Badges of obedience by Caroline ffiske

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