Last week, Fox News personality Tucker Carlson gave voice to Arizona parents who have been concerned about the introduction of the “Deep Equity” program in their children’s schools. Currently the program is promoted by the Arizona School Board Association and has been adopted by both the Kyrene and Chandler school district.
Carlson, in his Campus Craziness segment, sums up fairly accurately the program:
“If you don’t have kids in school you might imagine that the worst trends in American education are pretty much confined to our most liberal cities – you know in Seattle math is racist, in New York City gifted and talented programs are oppressive, in Berkeley; God knows what they’re doing. The left has abandoned education in favor of naked political propaganda. You know that, but it’s comforting to think it’s not happening near you or your children. Unfortunately, that’s not true. It is happening probably right down the street from where you are. Now an investigation by this show found a radical new curriculum in schools across the country from Arizona to Iowa. The program is called “Deep Equity. It’s produced by a for-profit education company called Corwin which is based in California. Corwin describes “Deep Equity as a teacher training program that is “aimed at producing real school improvement for equity and social justice. So how does deep equity do that? Well mainly by attacking the students on the basis of their skin color. According to “Deep Equity,” America is based on a hierarchy of various oppressions: men oppress women, Christianity oppresses Islam, English oppresses Spanish, white people oppress everyone, and by the way if you have a problem with this explanation you are yourself entrenching oppression. You’re part of the problem according to Corwin….”
“Yet according to one teacher we spoke to who is uses curriculum the “Deep Equity” curriculum forces teachers to become racial activists. Not that you need to interview anyone to find that out. It’s obvious they’re not teaching anything having to do with math or Science or English or Language. They’re teaching racial activism; certain to confuse and wound and divide our kids of all colors.”
Carlson’s statement is inaccurate only in so far as he presents the “Deep Equity” program as one designed strictly for teachers. In fact, the program offers the YES! program for students. The Youth Equity Stewardship (YES!) is described as a “unique, inter-generational and arts based collaborative process.”
|From Corwin’s website:
Youth Voices Stewardship Series: This signature program is rooted in arts-based methods that aims at bringing the youth perspective, vision, creativity and passion to the forefront of policy and progress for the 21st century school system. This series engages students in a process of understanding their personal journey and social accountability through a critical social justice lens and creating a living example of commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. It been effective and influential as a sustainable creative facilitation process for youth to engage enthusiastically in their learning and advocate for an inspired culturally responsive learning environment. All youth programs can be adapted to be age appropriate for middle school, high school, college undergraduates, and pre-service teachers. They will acquire tools and resources they can apply toward taking action as stewards – willing to act courageously, compassionately, and creatively in support of a more equitable community.
According to Chandler Unified School District spokesman Terry Locke, “approximately 2,600 certified teachers have participated” in the professional development,” and “85 students who all had parent permission” participated in “Youth Equity Stewards training.”
YES! was developed by two privileged males; Wade Antonio Colwell, the grandson of Anthony Quinn and Cecil B. DeMille’s adopted daughter Katherine, and Benjie Howard, a Colorado River guide and son of “Deep Equity” mastermind, Gary Howard.
Vestiges of the controversial Critical Race Theory-based Mexican American Studies curriculum, which Colwell pushed during his short tenure in the Tucson Unified School District, are generously smattered throughout the YES! material. As an example, the YES! program features the hummingbird symbol, otherwise known as Huitzilopochtli. Huitzilopochtli is the Aztec god of war, which CRT proponents now claim represents introspection and reflection.
The material also references Nican Tlaca, a term used by the Mexican American Studies educators and other proponents of a borderless society in which indigenous peoples rule. The term is commonly used by members of the Mexica Movement, which desires the “non-violent, democratic liberation of the Western Hemisphere from European-descendants,” according to multiple scholarly sources.
At the core of the material is the Resistance Movement. “Creative Resistance” is addressed throughout the YES! guidebook. “Creative Resistance” is defined for students as “a powerful tool” they can use “to plant seeds for change in the moment and to put pressure on systems over time to serve in more equitable ways. It sounds simple, but it is not. It is a challenge for you to RESPOND with clarity rather than REACT with blind emotion. Creative resistance gives you the opportunity to stop, breathe, remind yourself of the roots of your power as a steward, and plant a seed for change to grow in the future.”
In an effort to distance itself from the radical Critical Race Theory and CRT now stands for “Culturally Responsive Teaching.” While the acronym might stand for other words, the product remains essentially the same. CRT, is little more than anti-capitalism disguised as social justice.
For example, the Stewardship In Motion section of the YES! student training, features a hip hop song entitled Music Voice Message Movement (MVMM), written by Colwell and Howard. The song, described by the duo as one that “begins by expressing multiple points of social disconnect and division that creates barriers for our journey towards a soulful commons,” concludes:
We got a moral obligation to make big change
Rearrange how we’re livin’
More than casting the blame.
It’s a shame that we all know the direction we’re headin’
Some are hoping and believing that we’ll get to heaven
But we’ve got heaven on earth and we must tend to this first
For the sake of the children and those who’ve yet to be birthed
For the sake of the rivers, oceans, lakes and streams
For the sake of the prairies, the rain forests and dreams of reconnection
Overcoming the myth of separation
What I’m talkin’ about here is all my relations
The chickadee, red tail, the owl, the whip-poor-will
The yellowtail, orca whale, salmon, dolphin and krill
Old growth douglas fir, pacific (sic) yew
Accept the truth of the matter
It’s not just about you
Or an economic system that’s flawed from the start. It has no heart
It’s time for us to play our part
It is difficult to imagine that the taxpayers of the Chandler and Kyrene school districts would want children turned into anti-capitalist social change agents rather than kids learning how to coexist peacefully.
It is harder to imagine that school leaders really understood what they were buying into when they spent nearly a half a million dollars on “Deep Equity.”
It is impossible to imagine just how much money these snake oil socialists are making by selling their garbage to our school boards in the name of love.
Given that 17 of Chandler’s 24 schools have scored in the 70s or lower on AZMerit test, and 22 of Kyrene’s 25 schools have scored in the 70s or lower how can it be at all equitable to spend money on this program rather than funding those things – like small class sizes – that we know work to reduce the achievement gap?