The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) is playing with fire. The only question is whether the flame ignited by BESE that threatens to devour the hearts and minds of Louisiana’s youngest learners is intentional or borne of ignorance and naivete. In either case, any reader of this piece who is concerned about how close we are in Louisiana to surrendering our public education system to sworn enemies of the US Constitution must act, and act now.
On December 13, 2022 BESE approved a new set of Early Childhood Development Standards (ECDS) that leftist educators across the country have been seeking for decades. These new standards must be implemented by every early learning institution in Louisiana that receives taxpayer money.
The final vote was 6-4, with Republicans Holly Boffy and Ashley Ellis casting decisive votes in favor of the new standards.
In the near future, when and if the government becomes the parents of our children and teaches them to hate traditional American principles of human liberty and inalienable rights enshrined in the Constitution in favor of poisonous ideas like Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Gender Identity (GI) – when our very youngest learners are fully indoctrinated to view the world and their fellow students entirely through the lens of perceived racial and gender inequity- the names Boffy and Ellis should be remembered, unless they change course. There is still time for them to change course by doing exactly as suggested later in this piece, in order to avoid a complete surrender to the predatory wolf in sheep’s clothing about to devour Louisiana’s public education system.
The new early learning standards eliminate 75% of the former longstanding, detailed standards in existence in Louisiana. Because of their specificity in articulating specific curriculum, there was little room in the former standards for the injection of radical, anti-American concepts such as CRT and GI. The new standards leave intact the existing concept of “Social Emotional Development,” but strip the concept of its traditional parameters contained in the former standards. Teachers are left with the duty to instruct their youngest students in “Social Emotional Development,” but no longer have any specific curriculum to rely on in order to do so.
Our teachers have been given a ship with no rudder and no navigation system. Or so it seems.
Why were the former standards regarding the social and emotional development of Louisiana’s youngest students removed with little guidance to replace them? Could it be that this is all by perverse design? In 2016, during the Obama era, the federal government added a “non-academic competency” indicator as a requirement in order to gauge the “non-academic” progress of American public school students. Ostensibly in order to satisfy this new federal requirement, prominent leftist education organizations seized upon the opportunity to develop such “non academic” concepts as CRT and GI and to inject them into the bloodstream of our public school system.
Due to the national backlash (most notably in Virginia) against CRT and GI expressly defined as such, the Left changed its tactics by changing its terminology. CRT is now known by the seemingly harmless title “Social Emotional Learning” (SEL). It is anything but. SEL is a concept popularized by the leftist dominated Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). SEL predicates all education on the same lie that underlies CRT and GI: America is an inherently racist, sexist, and gender-phobic country that must be transformed at its core. The ultimate goal of SEL, as with CRT and GI, is to replace parents with the state, individual dignity with the “collective consciousness,” and equal rights under the law with notions of institutional racial and gender victimhood.
Every one of Louisiana’s earliest learners will fit neatly into either the class of “oppressors” or the class of “victims” based solely upon race or gender.
The SEL system, at its core, teaches that the US Constitution itself is founded upon racism and gender inequity. It is therefore irredeemably corrupt.
While the new BESE standards do not specifically state this (even they would not go this far in explicit terms), based upon the injection of SEL into school curricula across the country, this is clearly the goal in Louisiana. Boffy’s and Ellis’ failure to acknowledge the writing on the wall will have catastrophic consequences for Louisiana students and parents.
Now the hope. Due in significant part to the valiant efforts of many Louisiana education advocacy groups, BESE has agreed to re-open its public comment portal until January 10, 2022. The only hope remaining for Louisiana students – and there is still hope – is for every concerned Louisiana citizen to “pound the portal.” That is, go to the LACAG urgent Call to Action page and take the simple steps to make your voice heard on the BESE comment portal between now and January 10. Tell BESE that you oppose the current standards and demand that BESE vote, in its upcoming meeting on January 18, to send the new standards to the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) for further review and consideration.
LACAG has reason to believe that LDOE will indeed further revise the new standards to make them far less vulnerable to SEL influence. But BESE must vote to give the LDOE this opportunity. Tell BESE that you will hold them accountable if they do not vote to send the standards to LDOE. Boffy’s and Ellis’ vote on January 18 will make the difference in this critical vote.
It is worth noting that we would not be in the situation we are in if our public institutions paid heed to Martin Luther King’s famous challenge to judge each other not by the “color of our skin” but by the “content of our character”. We can and must return to this timeless truth for the good of our State and our children. BESE should take a step in this direction on January 18. The eyes of Louisiana citizens across the State are on it.
J. Christopher Alexander, Louisiana Citizen Advocacy Group
Paige Lowry, Louisiana Education Alliance