A ‘woke’ curriculum complete with transgenderism, Critical Race Theory, and an emphasis on drag queen performances rather than reading, writing, and arithmetic has permeated some Delaware Valley public school districts.
It has also become a hot-button issue in the governor’s race.
“Schools should be teaching children how to think, not what to think,” said state Sen. Doug Mastriano, the Republican running for governor. “Sadly, classrooms across Pennsylvania have turned into indoctrination facilities that are pushing radicalism on young kids.
“As governor, I will place an immediate ban on Critical Race and Gender Theory Studies in Pennsylvania schools on my first day in office. Unlike my opponent — who has been endorsed by groups who support irreversible medical transitioning of kids — I will protect young girls by ensuring that biological males are not allowed to use girls’ locker rooms. As your governor, I will put an end to the era of radical indoctrination of children once and for all,” Mastriano said.
Democrat gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro declined to comment for this article.
However, as attorney general, he signed an amicus brief in support of “transgender rights” to allow biological boys to use girls’ restrooms and locker rooms in Virginia. He also opposed a Pennsylvania bill, vetoed by Gov. Tom Wolf (D), which would have prevented biological males from competing in girls’ sports.
And while Mastriano opposes obscene books in school libraries, Shapiro said, “I don’t want the politicians in Harrisburg telling my kids what books they’re allowed to read.”
But even as education becomes a cudgel in Pennsylvania politics, another program for kids as young as 5 years old has come to light.
Documents released through a right-to-know request and first reported by the Daily Caller show teachers at Fern Hill Elementary in the West Chester Area School District went to a training session about how to talk to children as young as kindergarteners about being transgender.
The materials also include a warning to keep children’s gender secret if they prefer: “Also, remember student privacy—it can jeopardize a student’s safety and well-being if they are outed by their peers or non-affirming adults.”
Some of the bullet points in the presentation were: “Moving beyond boys and girls, explaining what gay means, using picture books to challenge gender limits,” and “responding to concerned parents.”
Other topics included “gender inclusive classrooms” and “tackling bullying.”
The discussion included several books for kindergarten and up, including “Jacob’s New Dress,” and discussed with the children what pronouns the character Jacob uses.
The training includes, “Let your students know that there are lots of different ways that children can dress. There are lots of ways to be a boy or a girl or both or neither. Also, “home and school can be different. Here at school, students can wear whatever makes them happy.”
Another book, “Red: A Crayon’s Story,” talks about a crayon labeled “red” but is blue.
According to the materials, the teachers were also taught to use children’s preferred pronouns and teach children to use preferred pronouns.
Yael Levin, a spokesperson for No Left Turn in Education, a nonprofit that opposes student indoctrination, called the curriculum “disturbing.”
“Elementary schools serve children ages 5 -11. Elementary education should consist of reading, writing, arithmetic, science, history, and as much play time as possible. Children in that age range do not need to learn about sexuality and gender identity or expression. We should not be having these discussions at all as a society with children. If parents want to discuss these topics with their children, then they can do that. Generally, children in that age range are not even thinking of life and their friends in those terms.
“Why are we bringing such topics to the forefront of elementary school education? Especially considering how behind our children are due to the unnecessary COVID school shutdowns. We must get back to basics. Parents in West Chester and across Pennsylvania and the nation must demand that their public schools focus on academics. We have to be competitive in this global market. The USA is now ranked 30th in math out of 79 countries, while our spending per student is among the highest in the world and increases every year,” she said.
“It’s time for parents to demand a top-notch education for their children. On top of the poor performance and the learning loss, this particular training (and we have seen this in other trainings as well) mentions evaluating students based on their use of the term gender expression and their understanding of the meaning of the word,” said Levin. “It also references assessing students on their behavior around gender expression – if they are behaving like allies or not. This is reminiscent of a social credit system such as is used in China. This is not compatible with a constitutional republic.”
However, the school district defended the teacher training.
“The West Chester Area School District is continuously looking to improve our ability to provide supportive, welcoming environments for our students and families,” said Molly Schwemler, manager of district communication. “The training at Fern Hill Elementary School focused on developing staff awareness and understanding of gender-based information. The training was not focused on sharing the many elements of transgenderism with students, rather it shared additional ways that our staff can create an environment where all students can achieve their best and where all families feel welcome, valued, and respected.”