Friday, February 4, 2022

Parents Defending Education Targets Black Lives Matter

Parents Defending Education is one of the more prominent groups fueling the crt-making-teacher gag law panic; they are led by folks who are seasoned political players including Nicole Neily (Cato Institute, Independent Women's Forum, Speech First, Charles Koch Institute fan), Asra Nomani (Pearl Project, supporter of Trump Muslim ban), Erika Sanzi (Education Post), Marissa Fallon (Coalition for Tj-an advocacy group demanding "merit-based" admissions for school), Aimee Viana (founder of her own edu-consulting business, served in USED under DeVos), Kim Richey (USED under DeVos, counsel in Office of Civil Rights under Bush II), Rachel Hannabass (Institute for Justice, Leadership Institute)... you get the idea. Many of them have logged Fox appearances. This is not a bunch of moms gathered around the kitchen table. Also, they've got a Private School Advocacy Associate, who is "a passionate proponent of school choice, private schools, and Catholic liberal education."

PDE decided to come out against Black Lives Matter at School. Per their press release:

From Boston, Mass., to Seattle, Wash., school districts, schools, teachers’ unions and educators around the country are teaching the controversial activist curriculum, lesson plans, activities and, even, official coloring book of “Black Lives Matter at School” starting Monday, January 31, according to a national review of schools by Parents Defending Education.

PDE was savvy enough not to be directly alarmist about this, but the digs throughout the press release are clear. They note that Seattle Public Schools held the first Black Lives Matter at School events , "amid controversy over political activism in the schools, particularly linked to a highly political organization." The material for the week comes with branding from Black Lives Matter, an organization "which has been riddled with controversy over alleged misappropriation of funds and the purchase of multimillion-dollar homes by its founder." 

This, in fine PDE style, leads to a list of schools where they are doing this stuff "to help parents, grandparents and others understand the reach of Black Lives Matter at School." 

And, of course, "parents and others are encouraged to submit tips about Black Lives Matter at School" on the PDE website; then PDE can "investigate the tip" and post details on their IndoctriNation map. Because Black Lives Matter at School is clearly all about indoctrinating our children. The follows a list of schools districts and teacher unions that were promoting the program (or just mentioning BLM on their website). 

While this page tries to avoid direct criticism and relies largely on subtext (the words "critical race theory" don't even appear), PDE is okay lending their voice to groups like Church Militant, which features Neily in a video about how "activists are pushing an anti-White agenda" as part of their "harmful agenda" (which includes ideas about gender fluidity). Over a chyron saying "BLM nuking the nuclear family," a "news" reader declares that BLM is "kicking off Black History Month with a week of indoctrination across America." Neily appears on screen to deride the "condescending, derogatory messages. Our country is very frayed right now," she says, and adds, without a trace of irony, "People are pitted against each other." 

Again, no attempt to even cover this with the fig leaf of ideological objections to critical race theory. Not even the bracing confusion of the people in Alabama who reported Black History Month as an illegal use of CRT. This is aimed directly at Black Lives Matter and schools and the whole idea of addressing race directly in schools. 

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