DEI is worming its way into WA schools through teacher training. Who will resist? | Opinion

The fears of many, including myself, have come to fruition: In March 2019, I wrote an op-ed in opposition to Washington state legislature’s House Bill 1314 ,which meant to embed diversity education into instructional practices of Washington public schools. The local educational establishment immediately responded with a wave of vindictive attacks.

Since that time, the Washington Legislature has doubled down on the DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) worldview in our schools and colleges, passing legislation mandating DEI principles in staff training at all levels of schooling, including Senate bills 5044 and 5227.

These laws, mandating extensive professional training for all educational staff from K to post-high-school, should put to rest any claim that DEI is not being introduced into Washington’s schools.

This has always been a red herring. It is true that DEI is not being directly taught to students as a subject in Washington schools. However, DEI is being mandated as part of the framework for teacher and administrator professional training requirements, which informs teaching strategies, the selection of curriculum materials and the evaluation of teachers and administrators.

Seattle Public Schools leads the state in the adoption of DEI principles into school operations, staff training and classroom instruction. Christopher Rufo documented these efforts in his book, “America’s Cultural Revolution.

Rufo suggests that teachers at one 2020 training session were told that the United States is a “race-based white-supremacist society,” and that public schools were guilty of “spirit murder” — and that white teachers must confront their “thieved inheritance.”

Seattle schools have made it clear their pursuit of racial equity has nothing to do with Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of equal opportunity.

“The concept of racial equity goes beyond formal racial equality — where all students are treated the same — to fostering a barrier-free environment where all students, regardless of their race have the opportunity to achieve. This means differentiating resource allocations, within budgetary limitations, to serve students with the support and opportunities they need to succeed academically,” one training document states.

DEI interprets all human relationships through a strictly materialistic lens. The person is emptied of all spiritual content. Only physical characteristics count.

Instead of the workers being exploited by a capitalist economy, DEI assumes racial minorities are being exploited and marginalized by a white, Euro-centric culture.

There has been some push-back against this ideological regime. In the 2022 legislative session Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, was the primary sponsor of HB 1807, introduced to support civics education. In addition to supporting a strong framework for teaching civics, the bill would have allowed teachers to opt out of DEI training sessions.

Not surprisingly, the bill was opposed by the educational establishment and Democratic lawmakers, and it was not enacted into law.

Walsh’s bill was meant as an antidote to SB 5044, enacted in 2021. — a broad-based effort to enshrine DEI principles into our schools through a comprehensive training sequence that focuses on “cultural competency, diversity, equity and inclusion.” The law mandates, beginning in the 23-24 school year school districts must devote one professional training day each year to DEI principles.

Teaching and administrative staff in our colleges and universities are not free of the DEI training mandates. Current state law requires that each “institution of higher learning must” provide professional development focusing on “diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism” beginning in 2022.

In a sense, the turn toward the adoption of DEI as a framework for analyzing and reforming our institutions of learning represents a triumph of 1960s leftist ideology. At that time, radicals hoped for cultural and political revolution, but it failed to materialize.

Undaunted, a new generation of cultural Marxists aims to accomplish the same goals by capturing the methods used to educate and develop our teachers, professors and administrative staff.

The only important question is this:

How many educators, at any level, will stand their ground In defense of providing equal opportunity for all students, and refuse to be co-opted into becoming propagandists for the brave new world of diversity, equity and inclusion?

Mike Jankanish of Tacoma is a retired teacher of 46 years, former chair of the history department at Wilson High School and an occasional op-ed contributor on education issues for The News Tribune.