The education system has been wading deeper and deeper into controversial waters for over 40 years. Recently, families and communities have become aware of an intensification and acceleration of this trend, with the proof of it surging on social media and in curriculum, classrooms, and policies.
We know that radical changes in education are happening because we all know of videos of teachers bragging about sexually grooming students. We know that it’s not healthy for our children to sit for hours in front of their Chromebooks, “learning.” And we also know that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result.
It’s time for us as parents to do our own homework on what our kids are really facing in schools. We can no longer keep asking the schools to give us answers that don’t seem to lead to true solutions.
We hope our analysis of how the school system undermines faith, family, and freedom will be helpful to parents who are at the crossroads, and who have to make hard decisions on what they want the present, and the future, to hold for their children.
Our children need the example of our courage now more than ever. If we’re armed with good information, we’ll be better equipped to lead our families to what is truly higher ground.
Social Emotional Learning techniques behaviorally condition children toward value systems and mindsets that embrace and promote transformational social change agendas over traditional, family-based social norms. SEL approaches are embedded in every aspect of the learning process.
Examples of these social agendas are:
In an SEL framework, children are taught that schools, not families, are the main authorities, definers, and transmitters of personal and social values.
Schools have redefined the demonstration of SEL behaviors, feelings, and beliefs as “competencies,” which the Federal Elementary and Secondary School Act (ESSA) incentivizes schools to measure and score through technology, via PCBL.
Examples of some of these SEL competencies are:
SEL in practice favors collectivism over individualism, gender non-conformity over gender norms, race essentialism over cultural commonalities, groupthink over independent thought, and subjectivity over objectivity.
Children’s social-emotional learning competencies are shaped and scored by outsiders through multiple modalities, such as sharing circles, surveys, emotional health journals, self-reporting, teacher observation, and other methods. This socioemotional data then becomes a part of a student’s academic transcript, resulting in a type of “social credit” profile that’s encouraged by programs like Portrait of a Graduate.
Having teachers, counselors, and school personnel practice amateur armchair psychology on children in place of teaching foundational academics will only end badly for families. The primary role in guiding the emotional development of our children is being, slowly and surely, ceded to the schools.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity are euphemisms for the racial, cultural, and sexual politicization of learning and working environments. DEI promotes discriminatory and divisive ideas and practices in the name of “social justice,” and is founded on the Critical Race Theories developed and purveyed by higher education academics.
Examples of DEI-related concepts are advanced through:
In a DEI framework, children are taught that society is systemically discriminatory, that people are either victims or victimizers, and that culture, color, race, gender, sexuality, and socioeconomic status are inseparable from a person’s ability to learn. Diversity has been selectively defined to exclude “privilege,” meaning anything White, heteronormative, culturally traditional, or religiously orthodox.
DEI as implemented in schools includes:
The achievement of equitable outcomes is frequently stated as a primary goal of Social Emotional Learning, Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity and Expression, College & Career Readiness, Portrait of a Graduate, and PCBL programs and initiatives.
Schools are being transformed from academics and activity-based institutions into mental & behavioral health centers, in which children are receiving a continuum of clinical services—including counseling, screenings, interventions, and treatments—by both unlicensed and licensed practitioners, including teachers.
Examples of mental health approaches and practices are:
In a “Trauma Informed Practices” framework, school officials assume “toxic stress” from Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) in students as a given, preventing students from learning unless this trauma is addressed first. Home-life adversity and race-based inequities are regarded the primary causes of trauma.
The National Association of School Psychologists proposes a holistic model for the integration of psychology services in the schools, meaning that psychological assessment of children is embedded in every aspect of the school, including school climate, personnel, pedagogy, discipline, and curriculum.
Much of this psychosocial monitoring is done without parents’ knowledge or explicit, informed consent.
Closely tied to the mental health interventions are the physical health services that schools are positioning themselves to provide under the name of community wellness “wrap-around” services.
We are seeing genuine mental health issues often being addressed through medicalized responses (e.g., gender dysphoria affirmed treated through surgery), and genuine physiological issues being addressed through psychologized methods (e.g., yoga & mindfulness for obesity).
State-funded, state-driven efforts to assume responsibility for the “whole child” (physical, spiritual, mental, social, sexual, emotional) inevitably lead to parents surrendering their stewardship and responsibilities for their children to the state and its agents.
Graphically obscene materials and porn in any form are never appropriate in schools, which the law requires to protect children from exposure to illicit depictions and descriptions.
Sexually explicit materials and books have proliferated in school settings due to:
District policies often justify sexually explicit materials by saying they “reflect cultural inclusivity,” limit the number of challenges to sensitive materials, and allow access to pornographic materials with parental permission.
As it stands today, bright lines prohibiting obscenity in schools, and the enforcement of those lines, are being negotiated away through collaborative public policy approaches, increasing the vulnerability of our children and families to social instability and delaying the relief due them through the equal protection of the laws.
Children do not, and never have, had a legal right to access obscene materials. Likewise, no government agency or institution has a right or entitlement to government-subsidized materials that are graphically sexual in nature, regardless of any tangential secondary or tertiary qualities that are non-pornographic in nature.
But as bright line protections for our children continue to be blurred through social acceptance of transgressive displays—such as Drag Queen Story Hours and gender-questioning books—schools will inevitably lower the bar for “age-appropriate” materials to align with a new and sexually permissive set of “community standards.”
Families face an unprecedented cultural shift that deconstructs and redefines sexual boundaries and norms. Whether it’s fluid sex-characteristics or sexual attractions, children are prematurely exposed in schools to ideas and symbols that mainstream the promotion of an uninhibited spectrum of sexual expression and reinterpretation of biological reality in the name of “inclusivity.”
SOGIE agendas are insinuated into school settings through:
In a SOGIE framework, the goal is to remove “uncertainty” and stigma from social interactions in schools for LGBTQ+ individuals, meaning that acceptance of SOGIE causes must be, without exception, affirmed through visible expressions of support, like pronoun pins, mug stickers, rainbow flags, etc.
Personal pleasure free of social, religious, or physical constraints is the central idea behind comprehensive sexuality education in schools. CSE is an evergreen issue for SIECUS, UNESCO, Planned Parenthood, and the CDC, among others.
Related CSE euphemistic efforts include:
CSE advocates use state lawmakers to install comprehensive sex ed programs piecemeal. Educational program administrators and staffers continue this work by producing content that steers educators on how to engage in sexual conversations with students.
Another key element behind the incremental implementation of CSE programs is the idea of “consent.” A child cannot consent legally to sex. Consent is not a universally neutral practice or concept. It leads to ambiguous conclusions of what is acceptable and, in some cases, legal.
The definition of consent is continually expanding and morphing to include almost all interactions a person (or in this case, students) can have with someone else. It is controversial in nature because it throws the door wide open for sexuality activist groups to come in. Some of these organizations explain how to negotiate sex in the name of consent. Others give explicit instructions in what consent looks like including acting out scenarios, roleplaying and group activities.
CSE has also expanded into areas like “porn literacy” and sex violence prevention, using safety and inclusivity as pretexts for opening up sensitive and graphic dialogues with children on sexual preferences and practices.
In a CSE framework, the teaching of Comprehensive Sexuality Education finds inroads into our schools through teacher training and resource materials. CSE is not academic but rather a radical ideology meant to sexualize our children. It is a direct assault on the traditional family values and an affront to parental rights and religious liberty. Study after study proves that early sexualization of children impedes their future ability to form strong and lasting marriages or healthy families.
Though the word “standard” conjures up the picture of a high bar for achievement, the implementation of standards in education has had the opposite effect.
Standards frequently reduce the “knowing and doing” of students to mindless compliance with checklist requirements of questionable academic merit, and enforce conformity to some random, anonymous committee’s compromised vision of learning.
The push for the nationalization of education standards began in 1983, with NCEE’s report, A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform, which was followed by a 50-state summit under the Bush White House in 1989 that resulted in the adoption of national education goals, including standards, by the year 2000.
In 1994, the U.S. Congress passed the Improving American Schools Act (IASA), which effectively nationalized control of local education by tying federal funding to the requirement that states establish standards, measure the achievement of those standards through assessments, and report the results back to the Department of Education to continue to qualify for federal education dollars (accountability).
Though federal law prohibits the creation of national standards, it doesn’t preclude national organizations from exercising influence over local education systems, as was seen through the adoption of Common Core standards in 2010. Headed by the National Governor’s Association (NGA), the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and ACHIEVE (a non-profit founded by state governors and business leaders to advocate for K-12 standards common to all 50 states), the push towards a Common Core gained critical financial support from the Gates Foundation to the tune of $160 million.
The widespread adoption of Common Core (and its state-branded variants) was a foregone conclusion, especially as major curriculum and assessment developers like Pearson got involved, ensuring that the national market for instructional materials would be dominated by Common Core-aligned products. Even if the Common Core standards were branded as “voluntary,” what real choice did local districts have to resist them? Discussion and debate surrounding the standards were pro forma, as all the decisions had been already made by an unelected public-private partnership with zero unaccountability to the public.
In the absence of specific state standards, schools or districts align with the standards set by professional associations—just one among myriad ways in which standards are controlled to achieve specific organizational outcomes.
Standards have become a political football, with control over what goes into them being intercepted by entrenched educrats and activists who dominate the managerial realms of public education.
Curriculum is the instructional material and content that is communicated or provided by a teacher or other means for the purposes of student learning.
These materials are intended to make thought and developmental processes visible so they can be informed, tracked, evaluated, measured, and shaped by schools.
Explicit, or overt, curriculum is the curriculum people tend to think of—it’s the formal or official instructional materials that generally conform to what state or national standards require to be taught.
Hidden, or covert, curriculum is the messages modeled and implied through language, behavior, routines, and rules emphasized in the school environment. Hidden curriculum is what educators and schools want students to internalize to the extent that it becomes reflexively learned, or second nature, and its application becomes seen as normal or expected.
Examples of hidden curriculum can include displaying posters that encourage activism, calling students “folks” instead of “boys and girls,” and messaging depicting schools and school officials as both physically and emotionally safe for students.
With the advent of adaptive and dynamic materials via tech, a lot of instructional content can be considered “hidden” in another fashion, considering that the curriculum is subject to changing on the fly, and is less likely to be seen by teachers using turnkey platforms, or by parents who will never see the “work” done at school on apps or other learning management system tools.
Null curriculum is what is left out of explicit curriculum. Its omission is seen as a deliberate attempt to control what is taught by controlling what isn’t taught.
Much explicit curriculum has become self-contained or contextualized, meaning that a student’s learning is purposely limited to the parameters of the material itself to exclude that student’s demonstrating prior knowledge.
Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) are comprised of school and district educators to standardize departmental approaches to instruction, ensuring that core curricular concepts are taught with “fidelity.”
Testing has long been a feature of public education, typically manifested in a form of student performance, such as recitation and demonstration.
But in the 1880s, Hermann Ebbinghaus, a Prussian philosopher, invented a method of “scientizing” learning that set the stage for administering artificially contrived assessments that continues to this day.
Ebbinghaus controlled for students’ varying prior experiences and acquired interests (which could give them a natural advantage in learning something new) by administering tests comprised of nonsense words—words that no student would have an advantage over another in deciphering. Ebbinghaus believed that by eliminating the variable of preexisting knowledge of a specific content area that it would be possible to “scientifically” compare, or measure, the learning of two different people against one another. What was lost on most of the adopters of this new “science of learning” was that it was based on decoding nonsense words—an exercise of no practical, personal value, nor a reliable indicator of increased intelligence or actual learning.
Since Ebbinghaus, this pseudo-scientific approach to learning has only gained in popularity, spawning a lucrative industry of applied educational psychology. Testing companies like Pearson, Amplify, and Acadience score multimillion dollar contracts with states competing for NAEP rankings, or aiming at improving high stakes testing scores used to create accountability to the government for education spending.
In keeping with this “scientific” approach, children continue to be tested on nonsensical content, and are frequently not permitted to apply their outside knowledge and experience to assessments—instead, they are asked to draw their inferences entirely from the context of the question, so that teachers or algorithms can then “objectively” compare one child’s knowledge to every other student’s. Standardized rubrics and mastery-based grading scales are other rigid tools used to measure the work of one student against another’s.
The distinction between formative assessments (tests used to check for understanding, like quizzes), and summative assessments (tests used to evaluate learning at the end of a unit) has practically disappeared with the advent of technology-enabled embedded assessments. Artificial Intelligence can now collect, in real time, thousands of data points on a student within a matter of minutes, all of which can assess for any number of proficiencies or performance indicators on an ongoing basis without beginning or end.
These continuous assessments result in the constant surveillance of students, in which every action is considered of consequence in the creation of a child’s comprehensive transcript and student profile.
‘Teaching to the test” has now evolved to include “testing as a means of teaching,” with messages about environmental activism, social justice, and transgressive culture embedded in both questions and answers.
Ongoing, embedded assessments paired with the continued practice of formal state-mandated end-of-year (EOY) assessments results in a non-stop cycle of student evaluation. Even students who opt-out of EOY testing can’t avoid being assessed according to it, as districts align required curriculum, instruction, and benchmark tests to the EOY assessments and grades.
Portrait of a Graduate is best compared to a blueprint used to create a product that’s standardized to an exact set of specifications. In the case of education, the product is the students.
Originating with the non-profit organization Battelle for Kids, and shaped by transformational education partners like KnowledgeWorks, POG programs have been adopted by states and districts nationwide, all using similar terminology geared towards a single vision:
The Portrait of a Graduate framework is fundamentally incompatible with the classical liberal idea that “hopes, dreams, and aspirations” for a student solely belong to the student and his or her family, not controlled by a “community” or “collective vision” six degrees removed from the student.
Despite claims that Portrait of a Graduate programs are “not meant to be measured,” strategic planning documents reveal that social and emotional expectations, instruction, standards, and assessments (PCBL) are all aligned with POG, which is the “north star” for a “system transformation” of education.
The stage for systemic transformation has already been set through pilot programs and legislation on competency-based education, with “competencies” aligned to those in Portrait of a Graduate. Local teachers are brought into the process to determine competencies, but only for show. In actuality, teachers are being shifted into becoming facilitators of the SEL system and, over time, the entire system will be geared toward SEL.
The Portrait of a Graduate initiative has spawned other cookie-cutter spin-offs, such as Portrait of a First Year Teacher, Portrait of a School, Portrait of a District, etc.
Personalized Competency Based Learning uses instruction, curriculum, assessments, and professional training to mold our children into the standardized products specified in the Portrait of a Graduate blueprint.
In a PCBL framework what matters most to schools is that students acquire pre-determined dispositions that lead to predictable, equitable outcomes. The quality of the curricular inputs used to reach these outcomes is negligible. It is an “ends justifies the means” approach to education.
PCBL evolved from Outcomes Based Education (OBE) and Competency Based Education (CBE).
OBE is a learning philosophy based on controlling student achievement by standardizing expectations. OBE means that all kids, regardless of their unique differences or varying backgrounds, are expected to achieve the same learning outcomes, at the same age, at the same pace, at the same time.
OBE developed into CBE, which expands the measured outcomes beyond academic and physical skills to include soft social skills (or “competencies”). Competencies encompass social and emotional attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs (SEL).
PCBL takes CBE one giant leap forward by using technology to shape, track, and measure SEL competencies.
The “personalized” component of PCBL is misleading. Algorithm-based programs, gamified applications, and computer-adaptive assessments give students the illusion of personalization of content, when in reality the AI is preconfigured to elicit specific responses and extract private behavioral or psychosocial data. In practice, “personalized” learning means institutions learning the in-depth socioemotional details of a child’s personal life through extensive tech-based surveillance and data collection in order to predict and control behavior.
PCBL is “intended to transition education from a model of fixed time and flexible learning to flexible time and fixed learning.” In this new model, children learn anytime, anywhere (but not anything). Systems now have access to children with no temporal or spatial limits.
Multi-tiered Systems of Support, Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports, and Response to Interventions provide quality assurance to determine that the Portrait of a Graduate (POG) blueprint is closely followed. Tasked with making sure ALL students exhibit the mindsets and cultural values (SEL competencies) which have been shaped, tracked, and measured through Personalized, Competency Based Learning (PCBL).
Students identified with detectible defects in their state-required, standardized mindsets (attitudes, values, and dispositions) receive targeted and intensive retooling through psychological and behavioral interventions.
In an MTSS framework, all students receive interventions to begin with, with the intention of preventing social emotional behavior and mindsets seen as “unwanted” by the schools, including those not defined as diverse, equitable, or inclusive enough. This tactic is combined with the training of “appropriate” social emotional skills through social reinforcements like Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS).
PBIS defines fixed expectations of all student competencies and then reinforces the demonstration of these through “proactive, instructive, or restorative” methods, resulting in “on-going data-based monitoring and evaluation” of our children.
Restorative methods of correcting behavior (restorative justice) must take into account students’ “cultural backgrounds” and give them leniency based on whether they identify with a marginalized or historically oppressed class. Restorative methods are required to impose “educational equity.”
MTSS, PBIS & RTI interventions (along with TIPS, or Team Initiated Problem Solving) are by necessity intertwined in what is called an Interconnected Systems Framework, or ISF. This framework encompasses not only SEL monitoring, but behavioral and mental health domains. The first assumption of ISF is that schools must be designed to deliver educational, behavioral and mental health supports for all students.
As all children can be viewed as “at-risk” of academic failure due to any number of factors (Covid-19, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, trauma-informed stress due to race or sexual orientation or gender identity, “because they breathe,” etc.), educators and counselors consider themselves justified in tracking Responses to Interventions on a universal scale. This means parents have no way of opting-out of intrusive data-collecting, deficit-based “counseling supports” that their normally-developing children simply do not need.
Children’s digital footprints are forever in a tech-based learning environment.
The digital age, aided by cloud networking, interoperable systems, 1-to-1 devices, and Artificial Intelligence (AI), has drastically shifted learning from the real world to the cyber world.
The tech proliferating in both classrooms and schools through legislative and bureaucratic policy, grants, digital “literacy” initiatives, and public-private partnerships includes:
Omnipresent tech in instruction, curriculum, and assessments negatively affects our children and their learning by:
Parents are told that opting out of tech-based instruction is untenable, since it’s inextricably woven into the system at multiple levels, mandated by state or LEA contracts with third-parties or obligated by government grants.
The expansion of the Family Education Rights to Privacy Act (FERPA) means that these third-party entities can be designated as “school officials” to facilitate their unfettered access to student data. The data collection required by state and federal entities alone for compliance purposes is both extensive and intrusive.
Big Data & Tech market themselves by playing on parental fears (“My child needs STEM skills to be successful”) and selling the convenience of easy “turnkey” digital solutions to what are often complex human problems.
The myriad professional associations that litter the educational landscape is almost unquantifiable. There are multiple associations dedicated to almost any coalition of employees, elected officials, academic disciplines, public or private entities, credentialed professions, licensed professionals, or unionized staff.
One thing all these associations have in common is that their active membership is contingent upon their pledged loyalty to association’s agenda, which frequently align with equity, SEL, state workforce, and globalist agendas. Parents are either referenced oppositionally in professional association public statements or given token lip service as just one among many stakeholder groups.
None of these associations have any accountability to the public, and yet their actions and efforts often have a very influential and outsized effect on public education due to their extensive networks of institutional connections, resources, and reputational status as “experts” in their respective fields.
Also of concern are the many regional associations (RESAs) authorized to create cross-jurisdictional policies that standardize operational change and funding across several cities, counties, or states, all without the explicit consent, knowledge, or input of the affected residents.
Some notable professional associations with clout in K-12 education include:
Many professional associations host trainings, conferences, junkets, and other forums to invest members in the association’s mission of self-perpetuation, and to hammer the coercive, collectivist message home that, if there are seven members on a board, a single member of the board is not 1 of 7 members, but 1/7th of a board.
For-profits, non-profits, Non-Governmental Organizations, and globalists set much of the agenda for what happens in our children’s classrooms. It is these stakeholders, not parents, who have the biggest voice in dictating high stakes educational decisions hitting our schools. These so-called “experts” are often the “they” referred to when people ask, “Who’s ‘they?'”
To be more specific, the following list contains just a few of the intellectually and financially influential actors behind the cultural and structural shifts in education:
In addition to funding and providing the research behind the agendas that get promoted by associations & big tech and data, FPOs, NPOs, NGOs, and globalists also leverage their global reach to universalize the adoption of their “one world government” vision so that no child is left untouched.
It’s both easy (and foolish) to dismiss the prominent presence of FPOs, NPOs, NGOs, and globalists in local affairs as speculative or conspiratorial. The organizations themselves are not particularly secretive of their radical goals, many of which are plainly stated in their own white papers and websites. The spirit of globalism is, by obvious necessity, all-encompassing in nature. Globalists can’t dominate the world if they let millions of backyards slip through their fingers. To flex at their full global strength, these ideologues must standardize the core metrics of their vision across jurisdictions, including our homes, schools, towns, and states.
College and Career Readiness programs advance the profit motives of corporate and post-secondary institutions in public schools. Although billed as “student-centered” the systemic models for college and career readiness promote student goals only as far as those goals align with the equity and ESG goals of outside interests.
In a CCR framework, K-12 graduates are expected to master the career and academic “competencies” imposed by accreditation institutions such as Cognia, organizational visions such as Portrait of a Graduate, instructional approaches such as PCBL, and so on. This means “woke” skills become the new work skills.
More alarming is the comprehensive integration of school counseling programs intended to screen students’ psychosocial “fitness” for various career pathways, and then direct them accordingly using data collected through personality and competency assessments.
In the end, parents are treated as token participants in this process, as schools build pre-selected college or career pathways into the student’s progression requirements through junior high and high school.
The idea of school choice was originally championed by mid 20th century conservative economist Milton Friedman, who wanted education services to be opened up to competition in the free market.
Since then, the educational-industrial complex has grown exponentially, and has been co-opted by third-parties and outside commercial and social interests—the window for truly free market solutions has been effectively sealed shut, with the purposeful & strategic partnering of government with private sector organizations, associations, and experts.
Real school choice exists when parents can choose to send their kids to:
A) Government funded and regulated schools (public or charter), or
B) Non-government funded and regulated schools (private or home-based).
Choice B involves a trade-off — government doesn’t pay for these options, but parents have the freedom to choose exactly how and what they want their children to learn. Private and home school options offer parents true autonomy from government intervention, regulation, and interference.
Anytime there are government funds, there are always explicit or implicit strings, or accountability for those dollars, attached.
To ensure accountability for learning, School choice will require the use of technology and the earning of competencies, resulting in the surveillance of “anytime, anywhere learning” that has no respect for the private boundaries of the home and the personal values of the family. Data backpacks, learning portfolios, and comprehensive psychosocial profiles are some of the most visible manifestations of this in-progress tech tracking.
First the government uses carrots, then it uses sticks.
School Choice programs, or vouchers, siphon homeschoolers and private school students back into government funded systems, creating a single-payer, socialized education system.
Your children are worth infinitely more than the government is willing to pay you to have access to them.
In 21st Century schools, learning shifts from an industrial factory model to a digitized factory model on steroids, in which students are still treated as products, but their production is facilitated and controlled by technology, anytime and anywhere.
The Future of Education is marked by a
few significant indicators and guideposts:
The achievement of this dystopian future will be supported by Anticipatory Intelligence, which will increase the education system’s, not students’, resiliency to destabilizing factors. Artificial Intelligence will ensure that the system has built-in redundancy to prevent against attempts to dismantle it.
In the Future of Education, global competencies will serve as the new social currency in a student’s comprehensive learning profile.
Competencies will be critical to the centralized plan to shape “good global citizens” to compliantly jump through the proper hoops to fulfill their economic destiny in a society in which the family has been effectively replaced by the state.
21st Century Learning is lifelong, aligned to sustainable development goals (SDG), environmental, social, and governance (ESG) mandates, and social justice efforts, all of which smother the nurturing of liberty and meritocracy essential to individual dignity.