Education, Must Reads

What They Don’t Teach You at the University of Washington’s Ed School

Having decided to become a high school teacher, I was excited to be accepted to the University of Washington’s Secondary Teacher Education Program (STEP), which awards a masters degree in teaching and bills itself as a 12-month combination of theory and practice. Cognizant that in just over a year I would be responsible for teaching students on my own, and because of the university’s laudable reputation, I expected the program to be grounded in challenging practical work and research, both in terms of how to develop academic skills in young people, and also in the crucial role public education has in overcoming some of the most grave and intransigent problems in society.

I am not interested in politics or controversy, and I derive no pleasure in creating difficulties for the UW out of personal resentment. But whenever family and friends ask me about graduate school, I have to explain that rather than an academic program centered around pedagogy and public policy, STEP is a 12-month immersion in doctrinaire social justice activism. This program is a bizarre political experiment, light on academic rigor, in which the faculty quite consciously whips up emotions in order to punch home its ideological message. As a consequence, the key components of teaching as a vocation—pedagogy and how best to disseminate knowledge—are fundamentally neglected. With little practical training or preparation, graduates of the program begin their teaching careers woefully unprepared. Even for the most ardent social justice activist, STEP’s lack of practical content is a serious shortcoming. I found the program so troubling that I have decided to write this first-hand account with specific examples of the daily experience to illustrate how social justice activism in the academy has a high opportunity cost.

To put this in context, STEP’s approach to education deserves some explanation. Public schools haven’t done a great job of bridging ugly chasms in American life, such as the racial academic achievement gap between black and white populations, which has hardly narrowed since the Civil Rights Act. Discrimination based on gender and sexuality remain impediments to equality of opportunity and the way children are currently treated in public schools is clearly a part of that. The statistics on these matters are appalling, and slow progress is no excuse for complacency. Additionally, teachers should work to cultivate catholic tastes, and in light of demographic changes, white Americans shouldn’t expect the literature and old-fashioned narrative history of Europe and the United States to be considered the normal curriculum, with a few token “diverse” authors alongside Shakespeare and Hemingway. Nonetheless, while these challenges exist, and although public education is a vital mechanism in the struggle to resolve inequality and to further the development of an open cosmopolitan culture, the program’s attempts to address these issues are deeply disturbing.

Organized according to the standard tenets of social justice theory, anyone in the graduate school class who does not identify as a straight white male is encouraged from the outset to present themselves as a victim of oppression in the social hierarchy of the United States. And so a culture emerges rapidly in the 60-student cohort in which words and phrases fall under constant scrutiny, and ideas thought to be inimical to social justice are pounced on as oppressive. Moreover, instead of imparting knowledge about the rudiments of pedagogy or how to develop curriculum content and plan for high school classes, the faculty and leadership declare that their essential mission is to combat the colonialism, misogyny and homophobia that is endemic in American society. The logic here is that if teachers are immersed in social justice ideology they will then impart these ideas to young people at all levels of K-12 and post-secondary education. This lofty aim explains why the program focuses so heavily on training students in the discourse of far-left identity politics and why it demands total intellectual acquiescence. When you consider that STEP’s ostensible purpose is to prepare graduates to become novice high school teachers, this approach in a public university is difficult to justify.

The first three of STEP’s four quarters address social constructivism, postmodernism, and identity politics through flimsy and subjective content. With a few notable exceptions, the content one might expect to study at graduate school is absent. Although the classes have names like “Teaching for Learning,” “Creating Classrooms for All,” “Teaching in Schools,” and “Adolescent Psychology,” the vast majority of their content is essentially political. These classes are difficult to distinguish from one another, each experienced as a variation on the theme of imploring students to interpret every organization and social structure through the paradigms of power and oppression via gender, race, and sexuality. Students are expected to demonstrate that the attributes of their personal identity (always reduced to race, sexuality and gender, and sometimes disability status) will shape their assumptions when they work as classroom teachers. Practically speaking, the purpose is to have teachers acknowledge and embrace a broad variety of behavioral norms and activities in the classroom and to explore a wider range of academic content than has traditionally been the case in American public schools. Above all, the program emphasizes that diversity and inclusion are the most important considerations in education, and that equity—equality of outcome rather than equality of opportunity—ought to be the primary goal of public policy.

A good illustration of this ideology in practise is manifest in ‘The Case of Carla,’ a Science Education paper that has gained something of canonical status at the UW. After observing a sixth-grade classroom, the authors of this study conclude that the subconscious privileging of white students’ behavior by a white teacher and her white students is the cause of an African-American girl’s relatively low academic performance. In this article, sweeping conclusions about the impact of racial and gender dynamics in science education across the public school system are based on the observation of four elementary school students over a few weeks, which doesn’t seem like a very robust approach. Nonetheless, the faculty of UW’s Ed School treat it as an intellectual lodestar. In one of our classes, students were asked to parse a transcript from the classroom of a white American teacher in which she challenged one of her Native American students who had claimed that water is biologically alive. Rather than analyzing her academic aims, how she came to develop her lesson plan, or her pedagogical techniques, the purpose of this session was to impress upon us that she was perpetuating oppression because she had rejected the spiritual beliefs of a non-Western culture.

STEP’s relentless assumption is that group identity is the most important determinant of success or failure in public education and in civic life, and that all inequality can be attributed to discrimination, conscious or unconscious, perpetrated primarily by straight white men and other reactionary elements. Because STEP subscribes to the dogma that every social interaction should be analyzed through the dynamics of power and oppression, it demands the exploration of identity politics ad nauseam, for months on end, from the first week to the very last. The aim is to make sure that students conclude that all the problems in public schools stem from oppression.

This focus on ideology comes at the cost of studying the craft of teaching or how to productively deal with difficult social problems on a small scale. Much of the practical teaching guidance we were given has no demonstrable efficacy or validation in the peer-reviewed literature. Most of the classes at the UW require little if any academic work and they often resemble group therapy sessions along with activities like personal journaling, which I tried to undertake with an open mind, despite my sense that these tasks are far removed from the vocational demands of teaching. STEP is a travesty in its disservice to its own students and, because the program neglects the practice of teaching in favor of pontifications on social justice, it lets down the disadvantaged children it purports to serve. Each year it sends out a cohort of graduates who, due to a lack of preparation, are likely to become overwhelmed in a profession already suffering from alarming rates of attrition, particularly in high-needs schools.

One of the more peculiar and psychologically manipulative requirements in STEP is called “Caucusing.” The 60-student cohort is divided into smaller caucuses based on race, sexuality, and gender. In the first quarter, students are segregated by race to discuss their place in the intersectional hierarchy of oppression. White students are required to demonstrate contrition for their privilege with examples of how whiteness, latent racism, and America’s institutionalized racism has benefitted them personally. Essentially, in these classes white people are asked to sit around to free-associate and express how badly they feel about race relations in America. Students of color are put in a separate caucus and at the close of the first quarter the two groups are united into one caucus and, convening in a large circle, are asked to stand up and pat their thighs, rub their palms together and click their fingers—to create the sound of a thunderstorm, for some reason. If my experience is anything to go by, the students of color then regale the group with their painful experiences and excoriate the white students, making accusations of racism and subconscious marginalization. After many tears and public apologies, my caucus finished with everyone being asked to hug one another. The consequences of this acrimony were realized in the following quarter, as the students of color instigated walk-outs in one class to protest about the insensitive manner in which a white instructor and various white students had chosen to discuss the fatal police shooting of Charleena Lyles, a black woman who had been living close to the university campus. This, inevitably, led to further apologies, crying, hand-wringing, mandatory contrite letter-writing for white students, and a deep sense of foreboding each week as the class descended further into chaos and uncertainty from which it never recovered.

In the gender caucus I was required to participate in, men were asked to think about and discuss how women are disadvantaged in society in an unstructured series of loose conversations with little relationship to secondary education. The worrying educational disparity between girls and boys that has emerged in recent decades—whereby girls outperform boys in every educational phase—was not discussed, presumably because it falls outside the paradigm of male privilege and female oppression. Again and again, for months on end, several professors addressed the concept of microaggressions, always in a blatantly accusatory manner, as if graduate students in Seattle are likely to say to a female student “You’re smart—for a girl!” or ask an Asian-American person: “But, where are you really from?” Eventually, you learn that who you are is irrelevant because all that really matters is what you are in terms of your group identity. In STEP it is considered wholly appropriate to saddle an individual with all the characteristics of their group identity, a frightening concept indeed, which obviously has a real effect on how students conduct themselves towards one another, and, presumably, their future pupils.

Another interesting and lengthy feature in STEP are “Theatre of the Oppressed” workshops. These mandatory theatre performances stretch on for weeks, and in them white male students are asked to act out scenes in which they are cast as racist, homophobic, or misogynistic characters. Students and instructors then parse the performances and discuss the dynamics of identity that play out in each scene. Eventually, when I questioned the pedagogical rationale of the “Theatre of the Oppressed” and the inordinate amount of time being spent on these workshops—I was paying good money for this course—I was told that it would help me as a classroom teacher to avoid the “violence” shown in the theatre scenes. When I pressed the TA to show me the evidence that this was an effective method, I was told that these workshops are “considered valuable” and that I should “work through” my “discomfort.” Obviously, no evidence for their efficacy was ever presented.

In one session, the instructor rejected all gender pronouns and required that we dance to Beyoncé songs while discussing instances of heteronormative behavior and homophobia. In another class in the second quarter we were required to bring in items that represented us—a task that proved to be nothing more than Show & Tell, a harbinger of the academic rigor to come. These tasks, which require precisely no academic work, would be comical if graduate school was tuition-free and a lack of preparedness for teaching had no real-world impact.

Another issue with STEP is that it woefully misallocates resources and time, even if the content under consideration is reasonable in and of itself, which it occasionally is. For instance, one class focused on the historic discrimination against African-Americans in Seattle through practices like red-lining, wherein banks would refuse to grant mortgages to qualified black customers in certain neighborhoods, inhibiting the accumulation of intergenerational wealth in black communities. This class went on for an entire quarter, with presumably no purpose other than to demonstrate reasons for the educational achievement gap and the related wealth divide between black and white populations in the United States. I was shocked at the level of ignorance assumed by the faculty in a cohort of graduate students—as if educated adults would have been hitherto unaware of the effects on contemporary society of the historic persecution of African-American people. However, openly disputing the academic program would have drawn social stigma and accusations of racism or “white fragility,” which proved to be a powerful incentive to slog through the content, regardless of its relevance to pedagogy or the dissemination of academic knowledge to young people.

In most classes, students are not free to sit wherever they like. The instructors tend to curate the groups with careful consideration of race, gender, and sexuality, and students find out where they should sit by locating their name on a Popsicle stick laid out on each desk. In one class, students in small groups monitor how much each person speaks, and for how long, in order to collect data on the participation rates of the various racial, gender, or sexuality categories. Incredibly, the chosen teaching method of several instructors is to put students in groups to create a poster using a sheet of butcher paper and colored Sharpies in reference to an issue raised in the week’s readings, or after jigsawing a complex text between several students who have to explain it to one another. After several three-minute lectures, students then mill around the room with Post-It Notes making anodyne comments. These kinds of ridiculous juvenile tasks and restrictions, put on by professors with little work experience outside K-12 education, make a mockery of graduate school and remind you of the worst teachers you had growing up. I suppose they had one redeeming virtue: they teach you exactly how not to behave in a classroom.

The program does have some elements of practical merit. A few sessions on how to create academic assessments for students were engaging and useful. I took two social studies methods classes and found them to be excellent. These classes teach you what methods to use to engage students in critical thinking and historical debate. One method, called Inquiry, calls for the teacher to ask a question, present different hypotheses and data sets, and then ask the students to work together to construct arguments for the validity of each side in a debate. Compared with lecturing, students are much more likely to engage with the content and to understand that history is debatable, authority should be challenged, opinions have to be grounded in data, and that engaging with the other side is critical in the development of academic expertise and authority. This is backed by decades of pedagogical research, and is the content that one might expect would typify the teaching in an ed school at a research university. Unfortunately, the professor who teaches these classes, who has been at the UW for more than 30 years, is about to retire, and there is no reason to expect him to be replaced by someone with a similar approach. And although he has garnered immense respect from decades of teaching and research, identity politics encroached on his classes, too: students complained of prejudice because he asked us to consider the various plausible reasons for the sinking of the Titanic as an illustration of how to debate a well-known historical narrative with high school students—this, apparently, is “Eurocentrism.”

To dispute the UW’s received wisdom that a cohort of 60 graduate students should spend most of their year in ed school discussing identity politics would be tantamount to opposing the goal of ending discrimination and inequality in American life. This is how a pervasive intellectual orthodoxy emerges and remains unchallenged. And this is how the social justice elements in STEP get ratcheted up each year by a small, noisy group of committed student activists who intimidate their peers and professors into agreement and silence. Indeed, the program prides itself on its innovative and extreme measures to incorporate social justice activism into the academy with an almost theological confidence that this panacea will finally resolve all the problems in contemporary public education. At the University of Washington, the social justice zeitgeist has transformed a vocational program into something unrecognizable if you’re not already familiar with campus activism.

Unfortunately, the University of Washington is not atypical. I’ve reluctantly come to the conclusion that anyone wishing to become a teacher is better off avoiding ed school altogether, and should instead find an alternative method of accreditation, such as the courses offered by Western Governors University, an online college. A combination of that alongside easily-attainable reading materials and a chance to develop your expertise organically through field experience and trial and error and advice from veteran teachers who live and work in the real world is far more worthwhile. This is a terrible conclusion to draw, because teaching is an immensely difficult task and graduate school programs with a focus on pedagogy and academic excellence could ease the transition for novices into a successful teaching career. The instructors at STEP might even alleviate some of the social problems they claim to care about if they did.


Nick Wilson is a pseudonym. He is a graduate of the University of Washington’s secondary teacher education program.

192 Comments

  1. Stephen Mundane says

    “In one session, the instructor rejected all gender pronouns and required that we dance to Beyoncé songs while discussing instances of heteronormative behavior and homophobia.”

    You really couldn’t make this shit up. I hope that you asked for your money back.

    • David of Kirkland says

      Universities are less about learning (which you can easily do on your own for less money and in less time) than purchasing the credential. The credential is all that ever matters to an employer.

      • Jair says

        I can’t agree with this. I went to UW for grad school in a STEM field, and so I never encountered any of these sorts of classes. I suppose it’s possible to get the equivalent of a PhD education in math, physics, biology etc. through self-study, but it is very rare. The university experience gives you access to a kind of socializing that is required to make progress in science. In addition the obvious values of in-person teaching, graduate school a) teaches you how to write technical papers in a manner that makes it possible for other scientists to understand and b) introduces you to academics at the forefront of their fields with whom you can make substantial progress.

        There is always a chance for the self-taught Ramanujans of the world to make progress, but their time would be much more effective at a university. It is possible that P != NP will be solved by a autodidact, but it is highly unlikely. I guarantee you that spending six years in graduate school studying the problem will be more effective than spending six years in a library doing the same.

        • Ted says

          You can’t agree with this but you are arguing apples and oranges as this is about the UW teacher education program, not STEM.

    • If I didn’t regularly read this publication, I would have assumed this article was a parody.

    • Antiochus of Olympia says

      It’s very convenient this was signed anonymously so no verification could be done on this writer’s identity. The fact this dog’s breakfast of an article was swallowed hook, line, and sinker by virtually every commenter here leaves me sad for humanity. If Quillette allows dross like this to be published and its readers lap it up approvingly without using their brains for one second tells me Quillette is not long for this world. Sad, people. Wake the f*** up.

      • Nick Wilson says

        A pseudonym doesn’t necessarily invalidate the narrative, does it? If you know something about my interactions with Quillette’s editors, and specific doubts about the validity of my piece, then say so.

  2. codadmin says

    The closest analogy I can think of to describe the situation is if Hamas ever took control of the Israeli education system…

    • Actually,hamas & other reactionary groups from the middle east are extreme conservatives who wouldn’t
      tolerate any of their loony ideas-it fact a society of hamas like folk would be very dangerous for them to live in -these “leftests” are more like crazy students during Mao’s cultural revolution-imo

  3. Grandma says

    I’d like to sympathize with you but really – what were you thinking? I can only suggest you take legal action to get your money back.

    • Lightning Rose says

      I’d rather work in a BALL-BEARING FACTORY than put up with that shit. And I’d probably even make better money . . .

      (1) These people are at war with nature and reality itself. “Inequality” will never be cured because people’s abilities, incentives and work ethics differ. Too many “isms” in their cosseted bubble.
      They ought to be required to WORK for 5 years and they might have a more useful perspective.

      (2) Schools can’t be expected to turn out sterling academic performances when the students are products of poor single mothers, drug culture, violence, poor nutrition and sleep habits, negative role models and g’ment. rewards for a life of irresponsibility, illegality and debauchery.

      3) This crap is retread “affirmative action” which is having its moment. Five years from now, when its apparent it hasn’t “worked,” they’ll be on to the next theory. In my day it was “New Math,” then “Unstructured Classrooms,” etc. Round and round.

      4) Any minute now, people will start voting with their checkbooks in droves and certificate and trade schools, many of them online, will pop up like mushrooms. Spending 6+ years to expound on intersectionality isn’t something too many career-minded parents will pay for, believe me!

    • Arthur Hundert says

      If “Nick” were to sue UW, the school’s attorney would surely ask him the same question I’m asking: “Why on earth did you return for each of the four semesters?”

      The kind of teacher UW’s Ed school, in particular its STEP program, produces is one reason why I would never let my children attend public schools these days.

      • Matui3 says

        Actually I would defend his choice. He didn’t really know going in. Tuition is costly and so to drop out and pay for a different program which might be similar is not worth the cost. Also the goal is to become a teacher so if you think about cost/benefit then the benefit of becoming a teacher was still larger than the costs he endured.

        • Shlamazel says

          He should sue sooner than later, because soon enough the judges will begin to be programmed in new think. One look at his case and he’ll be hit with court costs and slapped with an harassment suit.

  4. Nick Podmore says

    Dear Mr Nick Wilson Pseudonym,

    It is quite clear from your writing that you have deeply internalised and socialised misogynistic, racist, homophobic, trans-phobic, Islamophobic beliefs forced on you by generations of deeply oppressive white patriarchal dominance which prevents you from seeing clearly and achieving enlightenment that would lead to greater social harmony as we all acknowledge our failings and take our rightful place within the correct social groupings ans structures.

    While we are deeply sympathetic to what has clearly been childhood abuse in your upbringing we feel that you are failing to acknowledge the error of your ways and are clinging to your historical oppressive colonial slaver roots. Obviously your opinion is utterly invalid as society should only be viewed through the lens of power, race, gender, sexuality, age, ability, disability, sexual identity, creed, religion or lack of religion.

    Fortunately, we can assist! We are setting up a series of isolated compounds in the far north of Alaska where you can spend some time reflecting and where we have many re-education programmes that will help to clear your mind and spirit and prepare you for productive re-entry into society.

    You will hear a knock on the door shortly which will whisk you away on your journey to Utopia. It is not necessary to pack everything as appropriate clothing etc will be provided.

    Please do not be alarmed, resistance is futile.

    We welcome you comrade!

    Kind regards,
    The Dean, University of Washington, STEPS

    • George G says

      Gulags are too passé and kitsch for modern progressive, they also waste resources on Oppressors that could be spent on reparations for Victims. So they have developed a much quicker method:

      All traces of heretical thought will be removed with the help of 3.6g of lead. The lead will be passed through Nick Wilsons white cis-brain at a velocity of 1200m/s and all the heretical thoughts will be magnetically attracted to the lead. Once the procedure is complete Nick will no longer be capable of oppressive thoughts.

      • Lightning Rose says

        I thought the Lefties didn’t “do” firearms? 😉

        • George G says

          @ Lightning Rose

          Ah but these are “pre-emptive defence, strength mitigating, outcome equalising, anti-white/cis/patriarchy/toxicmasculinity, chemical incindery, lead projectile velocitizer’s”

          see.. they are nothing like a firearm. Beseides only fascists use firearms, thats why Stalin cleverly rationed 1 gun to every dozen conscripts.

          to be honest its only a matter of time before anti-fa notice that bike locks aren’t a scaleable soultion to the rampaging facisism they percieve everywhere.

        • Laurence says

          We don’t. George’s admittedly well-crafted parody of this frightening course erred only in that respect.

      • TarsTarkas says

        Use of high-speed lead is not only oppressive due to the forced labor miners and refinery workers have to endure, but anti-environmental. Its ore must be first dug out of the ground (or recycled, occasionally), smelted, purified, and then cast and stamped into properly velocity-friendly shapes. Much more environmentally friendly to use the good old-fashioned blunt object, such as a club or tree branch (the latter dead limbs preferably picked up from the ground. Can’t oppress trees by cutting off branches). A bit tiring, but good exercise for the cullers.

        • S Snell says

          You left out the part about the trauma that is inflicted on Mother Earth by the process of mining, in which holes are cruelly drilled into Her in order to extract Her precious essence. They’re called “veins” for a reason.

          • George G says

            @S Snell,

            that would be true when the mining process is done by toxic males.

            However by using the more natural and indigenous process of feltching, the toxic lead will be seductively sucked out of the earth by certified non-white anti-hetrosexuals so that the earth actually becomes purer and more feminine by this process.

            (Trigger warning! if you dont know what feltching is, DO NOT google it on a work computer!)

        • George G says

          @ TarsTarkas

          you raise a fair point, so toxic male “compelled volunteers” will be used to extract this toxic element from mother earth thus making the earth more feminine at double plus speed. There is also place in the re-education armoury for your Vegan-friendly, Pansexual pleasuring, heretic rehabilitation cudgel (made from naturally sourced recycled Oak)

  5. Not that I expect it to make you feel any better, but my own experience getting a M. Ed a decade before you was utterly useless. There was certainly less emphasis on social justice stuff, but the classes outside of that had absolutely nothing to them of any value whatsoever.

    Basically ‘graduate’ education programs are a joke. Teachers need college credits to progress their pay scale, so colleges create classes with vague names for working teachers to sit in. They fill time with that same kind of embarrassingly juvenile excuse for classwork you saw, get a grade for their transcript and move on.

    There was never any evidence-based inquiry into how to best teach anyone anything. Given that the same faculty that taught those bullshit classes are the same kind of people who publish research, I would strongly suspect that most educational research is probably worth less than toilet paper.

    Sorry you wasted your time and money. I hope that you can find a job that makes you happier with your undergrad degree that has absolutely nothing related to teaching; it’s what I did.

    • Jay C says

      I went through one of these 1-year graduate programs in education in the mid 90’s. Probably one of the first of it’s kind. It was the first time this particular institution offered the program. Overall, my experience was much the same as yours. I had a couple of good professors that provided useful instruction, but there was little in the way of rigorous content or expectations. I’ve been a special education teacher in public schools for more than 20 years now, and most of the effective skills I’ve accrued are the result of personal experience, trial and error, self-reflection, self-directed independent study, and observations of excellent, experienced colleagues. Most teachers enter the profession woefully underprepared and are quickly overwhelmed. The certification and evaluation process is a ridiculous bureaucratic slog of jumping through hoops that have little if any connection to a teachers’ abilities or effectiveness. I’ve repeatedly seen lousy teachers receive high evaluation scores, while excellent teachers have received evaluation scores which require them to jump through more hoops in order to prove they are worthy. In the world of special education (the epitome of bureaucratic stagnation) I’ve worked closely with a number teacher aides who, having only high school educations, worked more effectively with students than masters degree holding educators simply by virtue of their of their personalities and life experience. Credentials in public school education are in no way a reliable indicator of skills and ability. I’ve long advocated for teacher preparation programs to be run more like those of, say, electricians and plumbers; where after being accepted based on meeting minimum entry requirements (a bachelors degree), a novice is paired with a master level teacher. They would then be guided through a multi-year process, working through novice to apprentice to journeyman to master levels, with the requisite increase in responsibilities and pay. I could go on and on (I already have), but will close with this: in my experience there is no doubt that one of the biggest impediments to real change and improvements in our public school systems is the entrenched power of teacher’s unions.

      • As a 22 year veteran of public education, I couldn’t agree more with this response. Well said.

    • Donald Summers says

      @JB- I got my M.Ed from Harvard. Judging by your juvenile insults and flaccid prose, you probably wouldn’t have had the half-life of a fruit fly in that degree program. Far from being the “joke” that you call it, it kicked everybody’s ass for an entire year with extremely demanding coursework in accounting, planning, law, and public policy along with pedagogy. I had to read over 1,000 pages and produce at least 20+ pages of scholarly analysis each week, all of which was gone through with a fine tooth comb. And I had to design and endure a practicum at a public school for 6 months on top of all the work. I maybe slept 3-4 hours a night for a whole year. Yes, we read and debated bell hooks and Richard Rodriguez also, and I remain deeply grateful for the inculcation in social justice I received there.

      But I agree with your larger point. It’s clear your education was inadequate.

      P.S. I’m also ABD from the UW’s College of Ed, where I spent 4-5 years doing coursework and conducting research on entrepreneurial behavior in education. I found the school largely excellent and filled with bright students and excellent faculty. Not as hard or mind-expanding as Harvard, but nothing like the portrait depicted here.

      • Andrew C says

        Donald, you got your M.Ed. from Harvard in 1998. It looks like you started your doctoral program at UW around 2004. The woke cult didn’t really get going until 2013 or so, and has picked up considerable steam since then. Things have changed a lot in the academy, and I think it’s time you updated your model.

        Your statement that you “read and debated” bell hooks reveals, I imagine, that she was treated as a notable author, whose ideas were subject to examination. bell hooks is not “debated” in the contemporary leftist academy. Like Kimberlé Crenshaw and friends, her work is beyond canon—it is prophetic revelation. Arguing with it in any substantive way makes you a sexist/racist/etc, and that designation can wreck your career.

        Education schools have always been a target of derision, and I don’t know enough to opine on how much of that is deserved. What I do know is that it is not just education schools that are so extensively suffused with ideological drivel. Most of the social sciences, humanities, and especially helping professions have gone a similar route.

        I’m guessing that if you had to see what is taught at places like UW now, you’d be pretty sad.

    • My thoughts exactly based on my research and experience in higher ed. Recently my state dropped the M.Ed requirement. Great decision based on what almost all M.Ed programs in my state are about. What’s of value at all could be covered in a week long Professional Development seminar. Save $20,000. Many of our M.Ed programs are taught by people with accepted SJW CV’s from the activist Non profit world. It’s indoctrination.

      They heave been cash cows for colleges. Now our teachers are making asses of themselves over the unfunded pension system. Schools were closed for 7 days as teachers “called in sick” during legislative session to go and protest. And it hasn’t gone well. They aren’t receiving the blanket empathy they counted on. Some are asking why teachers, of all people, can’t manage a 401k like the non government peasants. Or why they lied about being sick. (Cashing in sick days is part of the debate)

      They are simply making an argument for school choice. You know like the kind they have in the socialist utopia Sweden. Lol.

    • David Robinow says

      Not in education, but that’s what I’ve heard from friends who were. It’s never been any good. Now it’s a different kind of no good.

  6. Gringo says

    As a consequence, the key components of teaching as a vocation—pedagogy and how best to disseminate knowledge—are fundamentally neglected.
    That was my reaction to Ed School. There is a definite place for Ed Schools, as it is not intuitively obvious how to best teach a given subject to a given group of students. Instead of focusing on what has been learned in over 2,000 years of formal classroom instruction, Ed Schools focus on the latest politically correct narrative and the latest unproven education fad- which research will later disprove. To the degree that Ed School students later become good teachers, they have done so in spite of Ed Schools.

    Ed School have been peddling nonsense for a very long time. My aunt, who began her teaching career in the 30s, had no respect for Ed Schools.

    • TarsTarkas says

      Ed courses were considered BS in the 1970’s when I was going to a state school (thankfully I wasn’t part of the education track).

  7. Peter Kriens says

    Discrimination based on gender and sexuality remain impediments to equality of opportunity and the way children are currently treated in public schools is clearly a part of that.

    I am surprised that someone that has clearly suffered from the focus on identity politics is still so much under its sway that without a shred of evidence Wilson still accepts that the all achievement gaps are to be blamed partly on the public school system while the many other, seemingly more logical, explications are not mentioned.

    About the curriculum? Also here identity politics creep in by asking that the curriculum becomes less ‘white’, whatever that means. If remarkable people have more interesting ideas and are excluded than it clearly fails. However, the color of their skin is irrelevant.

    • Asenath Waite says

      @Peter Kriens

      Agreed. Interesting to see the different levels of brainwashing here. The author’s brain has had a quick once-over with a soapy sponge, while the teaching program faculty went for the deluxe shine-and-wax treatment.

    • Sam Mazzuchelli says

      Based on his intro, the gentleman actually seemed tailor-made for this program.

  8. Jim Matlock says

    What the writer describes really sounds a lot like the “re-education” that UN prisoners of war were put through during the Korean War. A process that came to be known as brainwashing.

    • David of Kirkland says

      Let’s see, a public university teaching public high school teachers about how to make everyone feel the victim, to feel powerless to “societal forces,’ yep, indoctrination is the game.
      No matter how bad public schools are, they always claim they need to pay those teachers more, “and then” we’ll get good outcomes. If this is their plan, we need to starve this beast.

  9. Chad Chen says

    For a long time, ed schools have been accused of neglecting practical methods of instruction, and I believe that there is already an effort underway in the United States to force more of them to adopt a clinical spproach to teacher training, so that students spend more time in the field, practice-teaching under supervision, than in the classroom, listening to lectures and reading textbooks.

    The major impediments to such a practical approach are the cost, and the logistics of scattering dozens of trainees across multiple school districts. Post-secondary education is mostly done on the cheap, which places overly heavy burdens on individual faculty.

    If the situation at UW is so bad, how is it that other grad students are not broadcasting their dissatisfaction? I’m sure Secretary DeVos is looking to sanctify just this type of outrage.

    • Serenity says

      Shame. Isn’t, Chad Chen? Ed schools’ lack of funding is a stumbling block on our road from Western democracy to totalitarianism.

    • That is such a good point, Chad Chen. If no one else has complained about graduate education at UW, it must not be a problem.

      • Asenath Waite says

        @Mataratones

        Chad Chen on point as usual.

    • Gringo says

      Chad Chen
      If the situation at UW is so bad, how is it that other grad students are not broadcasting their dissatisfaction? .

      The author enrolled in an Ed School grad program to get his initial teaching credentials. As such, his criticisms of his Ed School experiences are not directed at Ed School grad programs per se, but at the Ed School process of instructing prospective teachers how to teach.

      Most- nearly all- Ed School grad students are part-time students with teaching jobs during the day. Why are they enrolled? For the most part, they have enrolled in Ed School graduate programs to jack up their salaries. Teachers who complete a Master’s program in Education can expect about a jump of $2,000 to $10,000 to a teacher’s salary,, according to a 2007 study.

      As they generally are taking their Ed School courses in the evening after spending more than 8 hours a day in their teaching jobs, they have no objection at all to the gut courses the Ed Schools have to offer. Experienced teachers know full well that Ed School courses are nonsense. After all, they had to go through Ed School to get their initial teacher certifications. They view the Ed School master’s programs as a hoop to jump through. They have no objection to the minimal amount of work required to jump through that hoop. And the nonsense content in those courses? Whatever… just another hoop.

      The UW Ed School is neither better nor worse than other Ed Schools.

    • Constantin says

      @Chad Chen
      That is precisely the question people who lived for generations under oppressive regimes can never answer. It is the trump card so to speak. Romanians were asked why it took them 70 years to take to the streets and confront a regime that killed 3 million of them and debased and humiliated all the others. How does one answer such a question? Human nature is extremely well described in a popular saying roughly translated into English as: “I shall make brother with the Devil until I cross the bridge!” Most people acquiesce to this abuse because they can see the light at the end of the tunnel and would not start a confrontation unless driven to the limit. Even the author of this piece waited to get his diploma before denouncing it anonymously. In my view, the fact that he fears expressing these ideas under his own name is probably the worst symptom of this inexorable decay.

  10. C Young says

    Let’s look on the positive side.

    The elimination of flawed ideologies typically follows a pattern – see Stalinism or Maoism for examples. When the ideology fails to deliver the hoped for results, true believers think that just one more push is required. The ideology grows more extreme. When this also fails, in desperation, saboteurs are invented. The ideology becomes more florid in nature. Eventually it becomes so lunatic, everyone can see through it.

    The STEP and writing above inhabit the latter part of this cycle.

    • Serenity says

      Sorry, C Young. I disagree about the “the latter part of this cycle”. We have not passed Mao’s Cultural Revolution and Stalin’s purges yet.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @Serenity

        Indeed it could very well get worse before it gets better. But even if sanity should return, who will there be left to teach anything? Perhaps retired professors can be persuaded to return and rebuild.

        • Serenity says

          Ray,

          It feels like we are not just on our way to totalitarianism, we are actually picking up speed. And while the tale of ed schools still sounds surreal, 50 years of progressive dominance in higher education successfully propagated a wide spread and very peculiar notion of equality wherein culture does not matter. Hence equality of outcome is just and fair, high incarnation rates of black teens should be blamed on police, mass immigration from the countries with deeply entrenched honour culture is the best way to support ageing population, etc.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @Serenity

            Yes, the next few decades will not be boring, anyway. Some say Western civilization is already toast, others that we still have a fighting chance. But to survive and avoid totalitarianism? Hitler and Mussolini were both responses to the social anarchy of their times, can we avoid it? Some say that the entire edifice of Identitarian Correctness will just collapse on itself one day as it gets so insane that it just melts.

          • Serenity says

            Sorry, Ray, your comment below does not have ‘Reply’ button.

            Ray Andrews: “Hitler and Mussolini were both responses to the social anarchy of their times, can we avoid it? Some say that the entire edifice of Identitarian Correctness will just collapse on itself one day as it gets so insane that it just melts.”

            Are you serious?

            Totalitarianism is insane by definition. It is manifestation of psychopathy – psychopathic manipulation and control. It is malevolence whipping up hostilities, mobilizing grass-root resentment and envy to silence the dissent, to intimidate and to dominate. The ultimate prize is political power. ”43.91 per cent votes in German democratic elections 1933 secured Nazi Party a third of seats in the Reichstag. Within months, the Nazis banned all other parties and dissolved the Reichstag…”

  11. I generally sympathise with the author and her analyse that the focus of her degree was on conformity to a narrow idealogy rather than pedagogy but found his acceptance of much SJW dogma both surprising and depressing.

    “Public schools haven’t done a great job of bridging ugly chasms in American life, such as the racial academic achievement gap between black and white populations, which has hardly narrowed since the Civil Rights Act. Discrimination based on gender and sexuality remain impediments to equality of opportunity and the way children are currently treated in public schools is clearly a part of that. The statistics on these matters are appalling, and slow progress is no excuse for complacency. Additionally, teachers should work to cultivate catholic tastes, and in light of demographic changes, white Americans shouldn’t expect the literature and old-fashioned narrative history of Europe and the United States to be considered the normal curriculum,…”

    The relatively poor performance of the black population compared to imigrant populations of all sorts suggest that the public schools are not the primary problem. There is strong evidence of a gender problem but this is one of discrimination against boys rather than what is normally assumed. Catholic tastes are not a bad thing but education should primarily educate children to understand the key cultural and historic influences of the society they live in. This means a focus on european and US culture and history.

    Avoiding european and american literature and history in the education of a scoiety which is predominantly european in cultural and historical influences is that we deprive children of the tools to understand and benefit from society. It is also quite clearly racist and sexist in motivation and intent.

    It is quite right that educators would seek to communicat eto children tahttheer are other rich cultures and historical perspectives than the american one and perhaps to cove rsome examples but the foundation has to be our own societies history and culture.

    • Ray Andrews says

      @Serenity

      “Totalitarianism is insane by definition.”

      I wouldn’t say so. Hitler was evil but not insane. He was a very good administrator, as was Mussolini. Both understood that 2+2=4. You can’t conquer almost the whole of Europe if you don’t know fact from fiction. But the PC-Identitarian mob are worse than evil, they are nuts. Their doctrines have no relationship with reality. Sometimes these things do implode. Remember ‘recovered memory syndrome’? I’m not holding my breath, but it could happen. In the age of Twitter we haven’t yet seen a paradigm collapse yet, but don’t bet it can’t happen.

      • Serenity says

        Ray,

        Agree, insanity is a misleading definition. You formulated this much better: “Their doctrines have no relationship with reality.”

  12. Latinitas says

    Education is an interesting field for graduate education. What I mean by that is that education has a Manichean nature: it is both practical and theoretical. The practical and the theoretical sometimes seem at odds with one another because the former might seem juvenile while the latter seems too pie-in-the-sky. However, the latter informs the former. While the education classes I have taken at my regional state college seemed terribly simple–it could often be boiled down to “Here’s a neat trick that might work in your classroom–, the nature of practical work often seems simple. The theory behind those exercises were pretty solid, and I’ve found that my pedagogy has been better for it.

    The difference, of course, is that my continuing education was at a regional state college and not a tier 1 research university. As one of my friends, an analyst with an MBA from Bellevue University, said back in 2008, “No mid-western MBA was teaching the virtues of subprime lending” i.e. they were teaching the practical while the other universities from which the majority of our power brokers come were teaching theory.

  13. E. Olson says

    A very sad tale the explains a lot of the problems and controversies in modern education, but several key sentences caught my eye and warrant further questions that are not really addressed in the article:

    “Public schools haven’t done a great job of bridging ugly chasms in American life, such as the racial academic achievement gap between black and white populations, which has hardly narrowed since the Civil Rights Act. Discrimination based on gender and sexuality remain impediments to equality of opportunity and the way children are currently treated in public schools is clearly a part of that. The statistics on these matters are appalling, and slow progress is no excuse for complacency. ”

    Is there any more Leftist/woke profession that education? Is there any sector that has received more funding and resources than public education over the past 50+ years, in large part to close the racial achievement gap? Does anyone actually believe that teachers and administration haven’t been bending over backwards for decades to give special attention to the needs of “victim” group students – often to the total exclusion and blackballing of white male students? In other words, woke Leftists have had huge budgets for decades and total control over classroom content and teaching styles, and yet such achievement gaps persist. Is anyone asking the question why this is?

    “Additionally, teachers should work to cultivate catholic tastes, and in light of demographic changes, white Americans shouldn’t expect the literature and old-fashioned narrative history of Europe and the United States to be considered the normal curriculum, with a few token “diverse” authors alongside Shakespeare and Hemingway.”

    I thought Shakespeare and Hemingway were commonly chosen because they were excellent examples of quality writing and good storytelling, not because they were white males. Furthermore, does the average K-12 student even know the skin color or nationality of the literature authors they are assigned? Most of them don’t know who their Senator or Governor is, have no idea about WWII or Vietnam, so why would they know or care about the skin color or gender of the literature authors from 60 or 400 years ago? Shouldn’t literature be assigned based on quality rather than racial/gender quotas?

    “I took two social studies methods classes and found them to be excellent. These classes teach you what methods to use to engage students in critical thinking and historical debate. One method, called Inquiry, calls for the teacher to ask a question, present different hypotheses and data sets, and then ask the students to work together to construct arguments for the validity of each side in a debate.”

    Sounds like an excellent assignment, but I would bet serious money that the following issues were never considered for critical thinking and debate despite their relevance to the field of education:

    1) How might racial/ethnic/gender differences in IQ and IQ dispersion explain educational achievement gaps that continue to persist?

    2) If school segregation is bad (i.e. Brown vs. the Board of Education), and putting a small number of “victim” member students into a classroom of “oppressor” member students is bad (i.e. the Case of Carla), what is the solution to effectively educating people of different racial/ethnic/gender background?

    3) Consider non-discrimination reasons why gaps in racial economic and educational equality have persisted despite the enactment of civil rights legislation and the huge resources put into welfare and education programs since the 1960s.

    4) If all cultures and people’s are equal, then why has Western culture been the primary driver of global advances in science, technology, economic/political/religious freedom, and economic prosperity over that past 500+ years?

    I suspect that such discussion would be highly illuminating and far more educational than making butcher paper posters and dancing to Beyonce.

    • Ray Andrews says

      @E. Olson

      “If school segregation is bad”

      I saw an interesting documentary on the always scrupulously Correct PBS that dared to just barely hint that maybe segregation wasn’t so bad. It was the history of the all-black colleges of the US. Starting with Tuskegee, year by year things seemed to just get better and better. Then desegregation was imposed. The best professors started to leak way, affirmatively, to traditionally white schools, the best black students likewise. The documentary ends with these heart-hollowing panoramas of now abandoned and derelict buildings and stadia. It seems that two successful systems have now both been destroyed. I’ve also seen figures to the effect that the current free-fall of American public school standards started exactly with enforced desegregation. So there could be a sliver lining to the realization that there is no cure for implicit whiteness — whitey must be segregated, that’s all there is to it.

      It’s a question of spin. Stuyvesant in New York — instead of styling it as an elite school, which must therefore be forced to achieve Equity. Respin it as Stuyvesant Segregated Correctional Education Facility — a sort of analogue to the SHU in a supermax. The worst of the worst of the implicitly white are sent there. This of course includes Jews and Asians who have internalized whiteness and some number of Negros and Hispanics who have been convicted as race traitors, oreos, uncle Tom’s … by virtue of having achieved the qualifications needed to attend Stuy ….

      … Sorry, sorry sorry … I mean who have disgraced themselves by giving in to whitey’s colonial, exclusive, racist, meritocratic eurocentric system of oppression by studying hard (neo-slavery!) and submitting themselves to the discriminatory SHSAT and doing well on it. They, too, need to be segregated, least their rotten attitude spreads. It’s the Stockholm Syndrome, these wretches have forgotten their Victimhood and now identify with the Oppressor. Of course Stuyvesant would need to be repainted that disgusting grey-green institutional color, some bars would add to the ambience, and students would need to wear prison style orange coveralls. Other than that tho, Stuyvesant would continue to be what it has always been.

      • Ray Andrews says

        … sorry, I meant ‘inmate’ not ‘student’ above.

      • E. Olson says

        Ray – It is very interesting that the push to desegregate was built on the idea that blacks were missing out on the “secret sauce” that white children received in school, which was preventing blacks from closing the black-white achievement gap. Similarly the movement from separate all girls and all boys schools to coed schools was generally conceived as a way for girls to get the same “secret sauce” that made men more successful in the workplace and higher education than women. And in the end, it seems that the real “secret sauce” for educational success is to segregate students into homogeneous classes, which I’m certain is another topic that is studiously avoided in Education school curriculum.

  14. What the bloody hell did I just read? That sounded like a cult and not even a good one.

    • Sydney says

      Hahaha! I look down the comments and who do I see? Why, it’s @M, my old buddy! Long time no see!

      My goodness, your comment has a terribly emotional – dare I say, ‘hysterical’ – tone. Simmer down, there, old pal, unless you’re sure the heart meds have kicked in.

      What you bloody just read was the precursor to the outcome I illustrated in our previous encounter. And bear in mind that the author’s experience is American. Canadian universities, ed programs, and schools are run in lock-step with the insanely far-left public service unions. Ergo, they’re even WORSE.

      Still dismissive…?

      • Stephanie says

        Sydney, glad to see you vindicated. It’s terrible how far this has gone with so few people being aware. We’ve got some serious trouble brewing and most people aren’t aware in the slightest.

        • Sydney says

          Hey @Stephanie

          Kind thanks! Dark humour in these laughs, and cold comfort in being correct. I’d rather that all our kids were receiving some actual somewhat-balanced education and that I was just some random raving weirdo. Tragically, the raving weirdos are running the K-12 asylums.

  15. Aaron KIndsvatter says

    If I didn’t see things like this regularly, I would think the author was exaggerating.

  16. blitz442 says

    The best teachers I ever had were, first and foremost, experts in their field/area of knowledge. While pedagogy is important, no amount of teaching skill or social adeptness can paper over a lack of deep knowledge your subject matter.

    It may be better to apply the 80/20 rule here; if you want good grade school math teachers for instance, spend most of the time getting them to be experts in mathematics and less time on teaching methods.

    • Jack B. Nimble says

      @blitz442

      If you go to their website — https://education.uw.edu/programs/teacher/secondary-tep — UW makes it clear that their Masters in Teaching [MIT] program is a 1-year program intended for persons who already have a 4-year degree in a relevant subject area.

      I had a lot of questions after reading this article, mostly about why the author didn’t take the time to investigate the program by talking to students and professors BEFORE enrolling. Granted that a 1-year program is not as big a demand on one’s time as a PhD program, it is always a good idea to discover the program information that is NOT in the course catalogs. At my former university, we always brought promising graduate applicants to campus, where they had a chance to talk to currently-enrolled students with no professors or admins present. They also had opportunities to socialize with current students and faculty ‘after hours.’

      This advice might be useful if the author decides to resume graduate education.

      • E. Olson says

        JBN – as noted by others, it can probably be assumed that the author primarily wanted the MIT to get a pay raise in his/her current teaching job, but probably also hoped to pick up a few practical bits of knowledge in the process.

        Still, it might have been smart to do some research as you suggest, but then a few questions emerge. First, would a prospective student on a campus visit actually get an honest answer from current students and Education faculty on whether the program focuses heavily on social justice nonsense? Second, would a prospective student asking such a question be accepted in the program or be blackballed by vindictive faculty if enrolled? Third, is there much variance in MIT program quality, or are all schools of Education fully committed to social justice indoctrination these days? If few if any programs actually focus on pedagogy or other substantive topics, is there any reason to do program research prior to enrollment?

        • Jane says

          the problem is that the school will tell you what they offer in a dizzying language that sounds exactly like what you want to learn: “Learning Differences,” ” Foundations of Educational Research, ” “Backwards Design,” etc. Some of it is valuable, but more to the point, the Way it will be taught lacks depth. I am in an MAT right now and “Learning Differences” turned out to be exclusively about Critical Race Theory stuff ( Zaretta Hammond’s book “CRT and the Brain, and a terrible book called “Everyday Anti-Racism” which were essays on Critical Race Theory). What I didn’t know, because I’m 45, is that school nowadays is taught very differently to my undergraduate days. everything is done in groups, including reading heavy material. You are expected to “construct knowledge” with others, which means sit with butcher paper and write things down in columns, or just simple post your thoughts in an online forum called a moodle and your fellow cohort members will respond, and you respond to theirs.

          You have a background in the subject you’ll reach in high school, not in education, so you’re very much a novice to the theories and the language. So envision a roomful of 20+ people with no clue suddenly expected to speak deeply about Piaget’ s theories after having only read 30 pages the night before. Someone my age thinks “gee, I need to know more,” and the 23 year olds think they know everything after those 30 pages, so you end up ‘constructing’ a lot of bullshit.

          I despise the program I am in. it’s soupy and flaccid and very influenced by SJ theories. particularly around race. So many in this comment section are mad at or feel betrayed by the author because he doesn’t reject some things you all think to be true: 1. Quillette is the panacea for all things PC AND it’s writers have some duty to never speak of inequality in society just because there ‘s a problem with big elements of some on the Left’s view of equity and what that looks like. Quillete is independent and is a space for real discussion about things in society which don’t seem to be able to be discussed elsewhere. it isn’t a forum for white people to bitch about there being no racial inequality in the world ‘so why are the left so up in arms about it?’

          Some of you don’t realize how much race has born a factor in creating the inequality we see in Baltimore and Chicago and LA and Oakland etc. the problem is the SJW’s are in charge and they the answer is see everyone as different according to their race and culture, and to make large generalizations about them based on their race and culture. This results in thinking the problem to be solved is to exercise racism out of those who don’t realize they are racist (i.e. biased). How does this play out in school? Loosening structure for kids who come from unstructured environments, believing ridiculous things like Shakespeare is ‘an old dead white guy ‘ who needs to be made more hip-hop so that Black kids can understand. one should use AAVE (this is apparently how black people speak) but also never use it (some of this shot depends on who you talk to), Native American students sit quietly and listen to their elders and this needs to be understood as wonderful because ‘culture,’ yet the teacher being the center of wisdom and the sage on the stage ” is wrongheaded.

          there is a deep undervaluing of knowledge and structure because the regressive Left have been in charge of education for too long and they are insatiable in their appetite for looking at the world as ‘not equal enough ever.’

          don’t be mad at the writer for exposing you to some hard truths about America, but there needs to be a strong emphasis on structure (not punishment ) and learning in school and right now there isn’t. It’s not taught to teachers in school. they are taught things like it’s more important that students learn to ask the right questions rather than get the right answers. that needs to change. Constructivist learning isn’t deep or rigorous.

      • X. Citoyen says

        Everyone unfamiliar with the tactic of deflection should pay close attention to Jack’s comment. This is how liberals persuade themselves and others that there’s nothing to see here—no problem in the academy. Jack can’t rebut the author, so he turns it into a case of mismatched expectations, making it the author’s fault in choosing a school. The unspoken assumption, of course, is that his experience would’ve been different elsewhere. Naturally, he does name the elsewhere because the elsewhere doesn’t exist.

        This tactic works so well because in second-guessing the author’s choices we ignore the batshit craziness of the curriculum. The real story here is not a mismatch, but that what the author describes is not university education by any stretch.

        • Jack B. Nimble says

          @X. Citoyen

          @blitz442, @E.Olson and other commenters assume that the author was a practicing teacher who returned to ed school to get a masters degree and bump up their teaching salary. But the very first paragraph of the article makes it clear that the author had never taught students before entering the UW MIT program. I corrected that erroneous assumption.

          It is amazing to me how you and E. Olson can get so worked up over what is basically advice to ‘look before you leap.’ There is nothing political there no matter how hard you look, not that you necessarily looked very hard before replying.

          If this piece was written by a journalist, they would have contacted UW for a response as a matter of course. But this isn’t a news article, and it is impossible for any outsider to know whether the author is giving a correct version of events. To be clear, no one can rebut the author unless they have inside information about the UW MIT program–that’s why I didn’t try. Here’s another piece of advice: “there are always two sides to any story.”

          Even if this story is true in all respects, it seems clear that the author would have done better in a different masters program. Are all ed schools exactly the same? How could you or I possibly know that?

          Taking US higher ed as a whole, there are conservative Christian colleges, conservative secular colleges, liberal colleges, technical colleges, urban/commuter campuses, residential campuses, etc. Most students are able to find a college or university that suits their needs.

          • X. Citoyen says

            A guy goes to the zoo and gets attacked by six different animals that escaped from their cages. When someone comes along and says he should’ve went to the museum instead, chances are it’s because he’s running interference for the zoo’s ownership.

          • Jack B. Nimble says

            @X. Citoyen

            A guy goes to the zoo and says he was attacked by six different animals that escaped from their cages. Someone comes along and says there are no reports of escaped zoo animals in the news or even on social media, and also notices that the guy has no scratches or even mussed clothing.

            Would YOU want more evidence before believing the attack story in its entirety? I would.

  17. Tony Shreck says

    “Discrimination based on gender and sexuality remain impediments to equality of opportunity and the way children are currently treated in public schools is clearly a part of that. … public education is a vital mechanism in the struggle to resolve inequality and to further the development of an open cosmopolitan culture.”

    I am reminded of a tweet from David Burge (who in fact I know only from this tweet):

    “If I understand college administrators correctly, colleges are hotbeds of racism and rape that everyone should be able to attend.”

    I am sympathetic to and disturbed as always by the author’s experience and others like it, but at some point it’s hard not to lose patience with the refrain that public provision of education is both necessary and broken and will work right if we just fund it more and put the right ideology in charge. As long as education is a political activity, it will be shaped by politics. If the dominant politics is identitarian, you’ll get schools dominated by identitarianism.

    • David of Kirkland says

      Public schools have failed for many decades, that’s why we need to pay them more and be sure not to harm all that failure with school choice.

      • David of Kirkland says

        Aka: Diversity is good so long as it’s centrally planned without choice. One size fits all diversity is best.

  18. GregS says

    The purpose of Ed Schools is to separate the wheat from the chaff. Once they have done this, they throw out the wheat and graduate the chaff.

  19. Colin Johansson says

    This article was an absolute farce and wholly representative of the same liberal mindset that predicates our contemporary chasms.

    For one: say what you want to say without preconditions or platitudes.

    I would much rather be called a racist than a multicultulist. Why? Because race is quickly becoming a zero-sum game — particularly when population genetics and culture are analyzed.

    White/Sinic countries mostly succeed; subsequently, brown nations predominantly fail.

    Secondly, there is zero evidence that racial discrimination plays any mediating role in the educational-gap between blacks and whites. The only way one could postulate such is to give an extremely broad definition of the term in which everything, particularly the new “subconscious racism,” is included.

    Education gaps have not closed despite billions of dollars in funding. Most African American residing in inner-cities do not even want to — or cannot — read. The Obama Administration gave over five-billions dollars in (SIG’s) school inprovement grants; the final conclusion was that the program accomplished nothing. One federal official in the DOE said it was like: “we did absolutely nothing.”

    Third, as an educator, one, as I myself feel, am very concerned about the decline of Western scholarship. No, Western Countries — I do consider the United States a Western nation — should not merely “tokenize” Hemingway and Shakespeare. If that were the case: why just them?

    At the end of the day, one cannot make the liberal fallacy of pretending that racial-inequality extends from systemic factors — while also attacking social justice activism.

    Lines must drawn; consequently, sides must be taken.

    This nation will either be a Western country of homegenity and high cognitive ability. Or, it will flounder as a disgenic cesspool of crime, illegitimacy, welfare, and moral relativism.

    There is no middle-ground.

    Once it fails, I suppose you can write more articles about how bad social justice activism is oin the education system.

    • Chad Chen says

      If cognitive ability explained the success or failure of nations, Russia would not have had to provide blueprints for over a thousand factories to China to drag China into the 20th century.

      If cognitive ability explained national success, nations like Russia would not have persistently lower living standards than so many other parts of the world.

      If cognitive ability was so important, empires like the UK and France would not rapidly rise and then fall from pre-eminence. Prior to that, Egypt would not have lost their leading roles in world affairs.

      One has to be a particular sort if primitive to believe in such obviously false ideas. Read James Heckman.

      • Colin Johansson says

        You are predicating your analysis on a mere case-study of Russia — which is both landlocked and experienced social upheaval during the 20th century?

        Moreover, despite Marxism, multiculturalism, authoritarianism, poverty, and systemic corruption: is still far more advanced than every African nation.

        Compare St. Petersburg to Abuja, bud.

        Consequently, using Ancient Egypt as evidence against cognitive superiority?

        Those are sophist arguments; furthermore, there were no IQ tests to administer to the Egyptians.

        And, to be more precise, arguing, from your language, that cognitive ability does not contribute to national success is wholly absurd. How does one believe colonism and the Industrial Revolution occurred if not from evolutionary changes from enhanced cognitive functioning?

        Did culture, alone, cause the Reformation, Enlightenment, and global colonization?

        Lastly, please explain how the United Kingdom has “fallen.” While no longer an empire, they still maintain a first-world nation, and both their language and culture is disbursed throughout the world.

        To even pretend that there is a not a cognitive cause for national success goes against evidence and common-sense. Just ask the founder of DNA, Dr. James Watson — recently disgraced by the egalitarians.

        • Chad Chen says

          In Poland, Hungary snd Czechoslovakia, GDP per capita is three times (300%) that of Ukraine, Serbia or Albania.

          I guess those Ukrainians, Serbs and Albanians must have inferior cognitive abilities. What hsppened?

          • Colin Johansson says

            That is weak comparative analysis; consequently, it would not pass the muster of a rudimentary research methods course. For one, you are still fixated on Eastern-bloc countries.

            Of those nation’s, the Ukraine is still facing systemic issues pertaining to both national identity and sovereignty. Serbia, with its predominant religion being Orthodox, was once the largest demographic in the former Yugoslavia — we know how that turned out. Lastly, Albania is a Muslim country. They must not be considered culturally apart of Western Civilization. However, compare Albania to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Jordan, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Indonesia, Somalia, Nigeria, and Uzbekistan. They exceed them all in terms of lower-crime and ethnic homogeneity.

            Why are you so adept at talking about countries such as Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Netherlands, UK, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Austria, Switzerland, France, Germany, and even Greece?

            Do you want to continue this sophist discussion. A fantastic read would be Dr. Richard Lynn’s book analyzing IQ to (GDP).

          • Colin Johansson says

            These back and forth debates over Eastern-bloc case-studies are futile.

            I will precisely ask: do you believe intelligence is an important factor in both constructing and maintaining a first-world country? Meaning, a nation which has a complex, multifaceted economy; a criminal justice system that is responsive to crime and has low-levels of corruption; and a state in which can provide the basic needs for its citizens and increase the life-expectancy of the country?

            If not, what attribute is the main independent variable? Culture? Perhaps geography?

            Can culture, which is socially constructed, be truly separated from intelligence?

            Moreover, what good are resources if one cannot both extract and construct the financial system to disburse and monetize them? Is Africa not resource rich? What about pre-Colombian Latin America? How wealthy and complex were the Australian Aboriginal tribes before European contact?

            What could possibly explain the fact that out of all the former colonies of Great Britain, the only first-world countries are the predominately white nation’s of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States? Each of these countries are geographically dissilar and unique in certain ways.

            In a comparative analysis of Latin America, why are the three most economically prosperous countries, which also exhibit the lowest crime — Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile — the nation’s with the highest European populations? Each of these countries experienced corruption, intervention, colonialism, and authoritarianism. That would not be a relevant reason for contemporary poverty. Why do they outperform Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Peru, Bolivia, etc?

            How many Argentines are stumbling pregnant over the U.S. border?

            There is too much external-validity to ignore the role of intelligence in constructing a prosperous nation. However, what are your views?

            Please explain these comparative anomalies.

          • Chad Chen says

            Colin Johansson is confused.

            The only predominantly white countries in Latin America are Argentina and Uruguay. Brazil comes close (over 40% white). Chile and Colombia are predominantly mestizo (although many Chileans lie and claim to be white), just like Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Bolivia and Peru have large Indian (Aboriginal) populations.

            The reasons for wealth differences are primarily cultural and historical. Whites brought European technology and have shared it with other whites, withheld it from exploited Indians and Blacks.

            Variations of in cognitive ability has little or nothing to do with it.

          • Colin Johansson says

            Chile is a predominately European nation — that is false. They are much whiter than Colombia and Mexico. Moreover, the sociology of the “cone” countries differ significantly from Central America.

            By a loose definition of “Mestizo,” even Uruguay could be included — it is ill-defined.

            Furthermore, you are not answering the question, which is typical amongst your lot.

            How was the technology originally created? Why did the Indians and blacks not create it?

            Not one sub-Saharan tribe had mastered trans-Atlantic travel before colonialism.

            Once again, how can one further believe that culture is an independent variable of intelligence?

            You honestly believe the differences between Jamaica and Australia are merely because whites created technology and did not share it; therefore, cognitive-ability is irrelevant?

            The difference between Pakistan and New Zealand must be strictly because of history and culture…..

            Your ideas are beyond absurd. Furthermore, you refuse to engage in the content — only offering red herrings, which I have refuted.

      • palintropos says

        Is truth, beauty and goodness to a European the same to a non-European? For instance, could non-Europeans really like Richard Wagner? I doubt it. They couldn’t identify with the characters, the myth, the sacred story. Certain non-Europeans can imitate western musicians and make a good career out of it from the support of swooning liberals seeking cheap diversity points. But they can’t symbolize a European myth because it’s not theirs. They are not hardwired to do so. And vice versa of course.

        • Diana Ayala says

          I grew up in Honduras, went to an American private school. As a kid, I read Agatha Christie a lot. Had never been to England but loved her books and got lost in the stories. I grew up listening to Schubert, Wagner, Mozart, etc. My favorite musician is Cat Stevens. I read the Gulag Archipielago in high school. One doesn’t have to be European to love, and yes, understand music, literature, etc.

      • Colin Johansson says

        Just to concretely add, the University of Chile has stated the country is 65% European. However, as stated earlier, the term Mestizo can be complicated. Particularly if one has blue eyes and blonde hair but with indigenous ancestry.

        A rudimentary search of Wikipedia, states, with notation, that Dr. Francisco Lizcano claims Chile is 52.7% white.

        Other genetic studies have shown between 35% to even 70% white. Both Uruguay and Argentina would show similarities.

        Once again, thoroughly refuted.

  20. E. Olson says

    To the author or any commenters with recent Education school experience, what portion of the students buy into all this social justice nonsense? Was the author the only one thinking all this was crazy or are most of these future teachers of our nation’s children also in on the joke? What is any is the demographic breakdown between the SJ true believers and the “this stuff is crazy/waste of time” segments?

    • Kencathedrus says

      @E. Olson: I used to teach at a College of Education. The majority of students don’t believe it for a second, however, a lot of Ed Professors do. In my experience SJW-ism emanated mostly from the baby-boomer generation and some of the older Gen-X. Most students find it patronizing and creepy as do I. The only students that buy into it are the intellectually weak ones.

      After a year most of the smart students dropped out of the college. They told me they felt that their courses were more about brainwashing rather than actually learning something useful. As a professor, my job was not just to teach, but also to maintain student retention, however, I did all in my power to get the smart students out of there and into a different study career.

      I have so many examples of misguided SJW-ism that I could go on for pages here but I will spare you. Needless to say, I found myself in a reverse kind of world where stupidity and low aspirations were rewarded, and critical thinking and hard work were punished. There was also a snitch culture encouraged among students by administrators to report on what teachers were doing or saying in the classroom. I eventually became overly negative about everything and realized I was turning into something I didn’t want to be. I spoke to my supervisor about it and his answer revealed all: “Kencathedrus old chap, you know what your problem is? You don’t seem able to accept your own mediocrity yet.”

      My hair literally stood on end as realization crashed down on me with the light of a million suns. I quit soon after, not even bothering to wait long enough to look for another job.

      This was a defining moment for me in my life. It was at that precise moment that I realized our College of Education wasn’t in the business of producing fine and excellent teachers, but the ideological watchdogs of the elite. It’s been four years that I quit. For the last three years I’ve been teaching in the rural South, and these have been the best teaching years of my career.

      I’ll leave you with this quote from the Rockefeller General Education Board:

      “In our dreams…people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present educational conventions [intellectual and character education] fade from our minds, and unhampered by tradition we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or men of science. We have not to raise up from among them authors, educators, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we have ample supply. The task we set before ourselves is very simple…we will organize children…and teach them to do in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers were doing in an imperfect way.” (1906)

      And this one from HL Mencken:

      “That erroneous assumption is to the effort that the aim of public education is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence….Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues, and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.” (1924)

      • E. Olson says

        Thank you for the very thoughtful but sad response Kencathedrus. Life is truly miserable when politics and dogma mean you are punished for telling the truth or performing at a high level, and it is very sad that rational and thoughtful people are forced out of a field that is in dire need of rationality and thoughtfulness. Glad to hear you have landed on your feet, and are able to do some good on the educational front lines.

        • Nick Wilson says

          @E. Olson Almost every student bought into the program and regurgitated the slogans verbatim. I spoke to everyone in private to gauge the level of support to see if it was performative or sincere. I was on the margins and I never saw anyone openly disagree with any of the professors or faculty. That made it even harder to contend with.

    • Malcolm says

      @E. Olson My experience was that well above 90% of Ed School students bought into what they were teaching. although my experience was not quite as loco as what is described in this article, it was in terms of the agenda the same. The program, however, was mostly women, who are sadly more inclined to believe whatever ideas are presented before them by someone with authority. Minorities are also obviously more likely to buy into this narrative as it flatters their egos, and it’s basically made for their benefit. What was most depressing for me was the credulity and ignorance of my classmates.

  21. Kronosaurus says

    Yep, I can relate from my experiences in Ed School. My experience was not as heavy on the Social Justice but it was significant. What I saw was a devaluing of content and a spotlight on “affective” learning. We were supposed to be more concerned with the emotional and attitudinal status of students and less worried about facts. In effect, we never discussed epistemology. If students “inquire” they will magically become critical thinkers and so on and so on. The obvious retort of course, was how can you expect students to come up with Quantum Mechanics on their own. They obviously need to be “spoon fed” or, beg-my-pardon, lectured to on some background in Physics. But what percentage of lecturing, reading for facts, etc. is appropriate vs inquiry-based learning? That’s a question Ed School faculty avoid like the plague because it goes against their facts-are-bad theories. And yet, faced with your own classroom and a task of putting together a good curriculum it is a crucial question. You get left with little guidance. But if you put together lesson plans where students are “inquiring” you get gold stars and a license to teach.

  22. Anonymous says

    ” Discrimination based on gender and sexuality remain impediments to equality of opportunity and the way children are currently treated in public schools is clearly a part of that.”

    Ummm..I’m gonna call bullshit on this piece of SJW propaganda. I also got one of my two Masters degrees in education – and I went to public school, and so did my children.

    I never saw any evidence that one gender or sex was treated any differently than any other sex.

    If you have proof to the contrary – please present it. I’d hate to think that teachers might be out there making unsubstantiated claims.

  23. Pingback: Schools and childhood roundup | Overlawyered

  24. Mark B says

    How much of this insanity is caused by mandatory Continuing Ed requirements. Which create a never ending stream of students for anything so long as “credit” is attached. And they get a raise for getting it.

    • David of Kirkland says

      Learning is secondary to the status of the certification.

  25. Phil says

    can’t believe you sat through this much B.S. Should have transferred to an evangelical university. They are growing in enrollment…

    • David of Kirkland says

      Yes, rather than deal with the well thought out critical race and gender theory, you can join the well thought out faith-based authoritarianism.

  26. Mark H. says

    To E. Olson: “what portion of the students buy into all this social justice nonsense?”

    That’s a question one dare not ask while in a situation like this, since any one of your fellow students may be a member of the thought police. Such internal intimidation what the professors count on to keep the peace.

    It would be interesting to see reactions from other UW students who have graduated from the same program.

    • Scott says

      A friend of mine was in the STEP program in the same cohort as “Nick Wilson” and they spoke occasionally away from classes and colleagues about it. As far as my buddy was able to gather (he dropped out after one quarter) only them and maybe one other student were taken aback by the methods and content.

  27. Elton H says

    SJ is really an application of Marxist class struggle. Communists has always targeted academia as the starting point to indoctrinate the young. It never ceases to amaze me that intellectuals keep falling for Marxist tactics and then proselytize the system with religious fervor.

  28. When public money is up for grabs, when a free market vote on one’s offering does not matter, when ideas are divorced from the marketplace of ideas; expect such monstrosities on an increasing scale. The left is parasitical … it feeds off the public trough. Abolish public ed!

  29. Nick Wilson says

    To me, the most revealing sentence in the essay was the next-to-last one. “Nick Wilson” is a pseudonym. I can readily understand why the author refrained from using his real name. The SJW’s who run the schools would blacklist him had he done so, while adamantly denying that they did. Nothing they have to say on the subject is credible.

    • Etiamsi omnes says

      Are we still allowed to use the word “blacklist”?

  30. Caucasing Caucasians! Sounds like yet another example of Neo-Segregationist.

    And, no doubt, the replacement for the soon-to-retire professor, if he or she mentions the Titanic at all, will concentrate on rearranging its proverbial deckchairs.

  31. Steve says

    This article is becoming typical on Quillette. A run-of-the-mill SJW gets his or her knickers in a twist due to the antics of somewhat more feisty SJWs.

    It’s like Al Qaeda tut-tutting ISIS.

    • Anonymous says

      LOL. I remember when ISIS was just hitting the MSM headlines – they were very quick to come up with stories where Al Qaeda types were “shocked” at ISIS.

    • Stephanie says

      Steve, it makes it both entertaining and frustrating for those of us who’ve already been fully red-pilled to read article after article from people who are at varying stages of the process.

      Whenever I get too annoyed with it, Facebook Memories reminds me that I was as much a zealot of their cause or more only 6-7 years ago. Hopefully these authors read the comments, and they help pull them out of their cozy adolescent misconceptions.

  32. Blue Lobster says

    “…and in light of demographic changes, white Americans shouldn’t expect the literature and old-fashioned narrative history of Europe and the United States to be considered the normal curriculum…”

    So white Americans need to learn that white people played an insignificant role in American history? Or white Americans need not learn about historical white Americans? Demographic changes diminish the historical importance of white Americans?

    The above quote seems to indicate that the author is suggesting that demographic changes necessitate a pedagogical reboot essentially based around “white erasure” or “brown-washing”. I find this odd because when I learned about the Underground Railroad, the 3/5 Compromise, read “To Kill a Mockingbird” and watched “Amistad” when I was in grade school (25 years ago) under the guise of “American history”, I was apparently being instructed in was “white history”. So now that fewer students are white these days they ought to learn about, rather than “American history”, “brown history” – ostensibly populated by characters starkly in contrast with the pallid, bloodless devils that permeated the very marrow of the curriculum of my youth? What media should they consume in order to effect this sea change? Certainly whatever it is must be quite the opposite of that which I was exposed to during my public school days. Perhaps “Birth of a Nation”, “Mein Kampf” or “All in the Family”?

    Americans in American public schools should be learning about American history (among other things) which, like it or not, is inextricable from “the literature and old-fashioned narrative history of Europe and the United States”. The relevance of demographic changes with regard to what ought to be taught in public schools is nil. A pedagogy which requires downplaying or ignoring America’s
    European roots so that schoolchildren with brown skin might pay closer attention and better relate to their history is just plain, old racist. Racist on the part of the educator for denying or obfuscating the Caucasian historical truth of this country and racist on the part of the students for being unable to relate to people with fair skin because they have learned to not see the fair-skinned as people.

    How truly fortunate I was to have attended public school when truth was the goal of education, justice was blind and activists/activism, rather than lauded as moral crusaders, were objects of derision and scorn – though I was quite unaware of it at the time.

    • Victoria says

      Thank you. I found that passage risible too. It was hard to sympathize with him after that, because I kept thinking he was getting a taste of his own medicine.

    • Kes Sparhawk Amesley says

      And this was at the Sorbonne in the 16th century, perhaps? Or possibly Socrates’ Agora? I’ve seen no evidence of truth, justice and the American Way (anti-activism) in universities since, though I do miss a wider range of opinion, a greater commitment to accuracy from all sides, and a fondness for reading argument rather than rants. Nor do I forget the McCarthy era, where tenured UW professors were tossed out willy-nilly for not having the RIGHT truth, justice, and ideology.

  33. Thanks for an interesting article, though the author might have specified which of the EIGHT US Civil Rights Acts he’s referring too, being as he is a teacher.

  34. Farris says

    How does continually telling children they are victims and that the deck is stacked against them, encourage them to succeed. Of course I imagine slaveholders told the slaves, “you can’t make it out there. Stay here and let us care for you.”
    Anyone who tries to paint you as a victim, is trying to paint themselves as a savior. It’s one big feel good con job to maintain power.

    • David of Kirkland says

      Without victims, who needs my saving ideas? Donate now!

    • Stephanie says

      Farris, great point, and a real worry. I’m not sure I would have gone into science if I had grown up being told science departments were hostile to women. It’s hard to believe these activists don’t understand the psychological effects of their propaganda, so we’re lefleft with the distinct possibility that they’re seeking to create a problem instead of solving one.

    • Marian Hennings says

      I graduated from the UW with a BA in 1978 and earned my teaching credential from Eastern WA University 10 years later. At that time the worst class was the one wherein we were taught to rewrite classroom materials so that they contained fewer “difficult” words, defined as those containing three or more syllables. It sounds as though things have gone from mere time-consuming silliness to harmful nonsense. I fear for my grandchildren and whatever offspring they may have if this sort of trash is commonplace in American public schools.

  35. Recent UW Grad says

    Thanks for writing this. I just got my master’s at UW in what I would call a “identity politics adjacent” field and was really flabbergasted at the way the type of instruction you’ve described would be shoe horned into courses that really weren’t about social issues at all. Anything short of 100% hard science was fertile grounds for identity-obsessed introspection activities (and thus I found myself drifting towards 100% hard science). Those who would rather focus on their education would only dissent amongst themselves in a very wink wink nudge nudge manner. The UW is a weird place; a messy mix of vapid and superficial navel gazing alongside robust, dedicated academics.

    Going on a tangent, goddamn the comments on this website are embarrassing. I find myself repeatedly falling into this situation of “would like to share this well thought out piece with peers, but don’t want to be mistaken for one of these comment board troglodytes.” If y’all are actually serious about supporting heterodox discourse, you’re really doing yourselves a severe disservice.

    • hail to none says

      @Recent UW Grad: Please say more about why the comments on this website are embarrassing. My guess is that you do not like some of the conservative commentary, but is hard to consider your argument without more detail. Here’s your opportunity to contribute to heterodox discourse if you like.

      • Recent UW Grad says

        Well, to take one example above:

        “This article is becoming typical on Quillette. A run-of-the-mill SJW gets his or her knickers in a twist due to the antics of somewhat more feisty SJWs.

        It’s like Al Qaeda tut-tutting ISIS.”

        Does this really need explaining?

        • hail to none says

          I’ll grant you that that comment did not contribute much to the intellectual discourse. But it did make me laugh!

  36. Barney Doran says

    This is absolutely breath-taking, but then almost every article on Quillette takes away the same breath. What are these SJWs trying to do? Force us into the arms of white nationalist populism? I feel oddly like a German adrift after WWI with communism taking grip all around me and cannot help but wonder ‘Wo sind die Freikorps?’ It is very disturbing when a corrosive ideology seems to be pervading all our cherished institutions, and all we can do is write and read breath-taking articles on the internet. To use a line from one of their own soul mates ‘What is to be done?’

    • Colin Johansson says

      This was prescient and absolutely encapsulates the feelings of many classically liberal intellectuals.

      It would appear that post-Enlightenment individualism has largely been a myth. The United States was and still is — for now — a nation predicated on white identity. After the expansion of education and the increase in ethnic studies, many critical-race academics have realized this. In there view, individualism is a mere myth, and the education system is a show of cultural force.

      Nevermind the fact that they have no better system, culture, or ideology to replace it with. Many of these people are grievance-based and care only about destruction.

      Forget the fact that not one African state is a first-world country. That ethnic genocide has surpassed anything slavery produced. They do not care.

      As one famous Czech writer would describe them: “vandals.”

      If white intellectuals want to keep preaching “individualism” but are not willing to protect this system with vertical-mechanisms which reinforce it — but still give all equal rights — our constructs will be fundamentally altered by leftists through open-borders and radical pedagogy.

      However, if white intellectuals rise-up and supplant the neo-Nazi/KKK types and put them at the bottom of the hierarchy — where they have historically been and belong — then perhaps identity politics is the only logical solution.

      • Gera says

        “The United States was and still is — for now — a nation predicated on white identity” I disagree. It’s a nation predicated on the personal rights and responsibilities of individuals. Anyone who believes in personal rights and responsibilities can be a U.S. Citizen. You are playing identity politics which disgusts me in all its forms.

        • Colin Johansson says

          You are more than welcome to normatively disagree; likewise, that is your fundamental right. However, one also has a right to be wrong — which you are.

          Dangerously!

          There is overt historical evidence that the United States was intended to be a predominantly white nation. From the original Three-Fifths Compromise, Trail of Tears, immigration exclusion acts, and anti-miscegenation laws — repealed only in the 20th century.

          White demographics were not an accident. Consequently, neither is the current demographic shift taking place.

          Western expansion had a unique element of ethnic-nationalism to it. However, what did the ethnic-homogeneous demographic ultimately produce?

          The most powerful nation in the history of the world. Did any other colonial nation achieve this designation?

          No!

          Brazil did the opposite and supported miscegenation. How did that work for them?

          You can ignore identity politics; however, identity politics existed from the onset of our national experiment. Moreover, in just one decade you will be replaced — enjoy individualism while living in your new Brazilian nation.

          Lastly, no, not every person who “believes in personal rights and responsibilities” can or should be a citizen. Look up Hardin’s lifeboat analogy for a concrete rebuttal to that sheer nonsense.

          • Colin Johansson says

            I am not trying to sound either authoritative or pretentious. However, it is infuriating to hear the Jordan Peterson’s of the world continuously indistrinating people into the mythical, idiotic cult of “individualism.”

            There has never been a nation founded by “individuals.” Western Civilization was not built on that construct — it is a miscarriage of history to believe so.

            It was merely a post-Enlightenment social construct that was more theory than practice.

            To hear these statement is disheartening. My children will grow-up in a more dangerous, dumber, and divisive nation because of open-borders and disgenic migration.

  37. Sydney says

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    I couldn’t possibly be happier to see ‘Quillette’ find and publish this post. I hope the author reads the comments and sees the images I’m linking below. To borrow an old ‘Seinfeld’ joke, ‘They’re REAL, and they’re spectacular!’:

    https://bit.ly/2Vobsa9

    A series of these images (as posters and billboards) were produced, and they can be seen online (google search: bc white privilege schools images). British Columbia is just north of the author, who’s in Washington state.

    This was another doozy produced in the province of Ontario (north of New York state):

    https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/canadian-schools-facing-blowback-for-white-privilege-awareness-campaigns

    I’m thrilled to make my sons read this post. The author elucidates what I’ve been explaining to them for years. Their teachers can’t teach critical thinking (or ANYTHING else, since the textbooks and materials are poisoned) because they were themselves entirely indoctrinated.

    I can’t begin to explain the state of Canadian public schools, teaching, and curricula (ALL far-left union- and far-left critical theory-controlled from the universities) without giving up two hours of my day on this comment. The author would believe my tales but be shocked, I guarantee. Suffice it to say it’s worse than the author imagines here on the ground K-12; and I know because I see and hear it every day as a public-school parent.

    And keep in mind that thousands of new propagandists are being churned out of the education programs annually; and millions of children are being indoctrinated each year from K-12. It’s terrifying and it should scare people.

    • “The author elucidates what I’ve been explaining to them for years. Their teachers can’t teach critical thinking (or ANYTHING else, since the textbooks and materials are poisoned) because they were themselves entirely indoctrinated”

      I agree with your entire comment but am going to nitpick here. Critical thinking cannot be “taught”. It is an outgrowth of basic knowledge, based on building foundational knowledge. If one cannot read beyond a 6th grade level, they can’t participate in a nuanced discussion on literature, for example. Just look at the people who have no clue why the US has an electoral college nor the early debates surrounding such. This should be middle school learning. The examples are endless.

      We have slighted students on foundational knowledge and they can’t think because they were never actually taught the basics and don’t know how to think. So they regurgitate slogans that sound compassionate and are convinced they are educated. It’s become untenable.

      I heard this about critical thinking for years. But it makes no sense to expect it when you have high school grads (and a college educated congresswoman) who can’t name the 3 branches of our government.

      • Gera says

        Excuse me Lydia but it’s ‘Congresscritter’ not Congresswoman.

      • Sydney says

        @lydia00

        “Critical thinking cannot be ‘taught.'”

        Not being argumentative for the sake of it, but how/why can’t critical thinking be taught? It can be, and must be, if you want a population capable of thinking at all. It’s a high-minded ideal, but I think this generation of teachers is worse than those of the previous few generations in terms of telling children WHAT to think instead of ever informing them that it’s their responsibility to come to opinions through intelligent analysis.

        http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/our-conception-of-critical-thinking/411

        Our teachers present their ideological positions (or, rather, the positions of their unions and policymakers) as facts. They don’t inform children that most issues have various sides, and that opinion is not the same as objective fact.

        Kids should indeed be taught how to consider issues critically; but we’re left to teach them this at home.

  38. Pinkot says

    The most horrifying part in all of this was the implicit endorsement of viewpoint epistemology in regards to the tale about the Native-American girl. If teachers arn’t supposed to impart to the students the most current, or heck even 17th century, basic notions of a scientific world view, I don’t know what is the point of education to begin with. Should we stop teaching evolutionary theory, because it dosn’t jive with fundamentalist religious world view? How about the inefficiency of excorcism? I mean the west had all these bad ideas about the world too. The west got rid of those bad ideas through the scientific method. Now we are supposed to throw away the scientific method, lest someone feel bad?

    And what’s with those racist “caucuses”? What lies in our future in the progressive utopia? An Ottoman empire-like millet system, where each identity category has their own laws and rules based not on their religion as in the Ottoman case, but based on their estimated oppression levels?

    • ms100 says

      The answer is yes. Whites will be permanently required to pay jizya to the “oppressed”. If we let it happen. We now have two large underclasses, blacks and hispanics, who will be millstones around our necks. Based on academic performance, the majority have no ability and/or interest to rise above. If you look at NAEP reading test scores for grade 12, only 16% blacks, 24% hispanics are proficient and above compared to 44% whites, 48% asians. And it’s not due to poverty because if you break down the numbers further based on parental education, the numbers are still very poor. For students who have parents who graduated college, only 22% of blacks and 34% of hispanics are proficient and above compared to 53% whites, 58% asians. Remember that reading at a proficient level is where critical thinking skills start. It partly explains the venal politicians the Democrat voters select. The future is not bright, pun intended.

      • Chad Chen says

        America has a problem with uninformed middlebrow whites like you who do not seem to understand how rapidly the relative capacities and performance of ethnic and racial groups can change.

        Read the history of Chinese, Irish, Italian and Ukrainian immigration to North America. Read Ron Unz on the rise and recent decline of Jewish scholarship and professional dominance. Sneer at Hispanics and blacks at your peril. Your grandchildren may be doing theIr laundry and cooking their meals.

    • Marian Hennings says

      That local TV station is owned by Sinclair and is prone to its own sort of crazed ideology, on the right in this instance. Having been to Seattle in the fairly recent past, I can assure you that Seattle is far from moribund. It has a serious crisis in affordable housing, but no more so than many other cities in the US and Canada. I have friends and family in Seattle who are quite happy living and working there.

      • Serial Microaggressor says

        Seattle is going the way of Detroit because it’s currently run by a bunch of socialist True Believers. Burying your head in the sand, and shooting the messenger, won’t change that.

  39. Carl says

    I’m waiting to read one of these horror stories, where the author acts heroically and doesn’t merely report – he or she puts a finger in the eye of these benighted SJWs and keeps it there.

    • Gera says

      Carl- you’ll want to read about Jordan Peterson.

  40. Albert says

    I’m from New Zealand, and we have a very similar program to yours called the “Master of Teaching and Learning”. I legitimately have not used a single thing I learned from that course. My first year was horrific as I had little to no understanding of basic classroom management. I’ve only just started to get a handle on things now, two years later. Teaching should be learned via apprenticeship in the classroom in front of real life students, not from out-of-touch ideologues.

  41. I am a fellow college of ed graduate student at a different Seattle school. I also had the misfortune of working in higher ed at a Seattle area school and thus was immersed in this bullshit 24/7. The school I worked for spent a shitton of money on 18 hours of “equity and inclusion” training for all employees despite our school being located in the white-ass suburbs and our student population being way more “diverse” than our surroundings. But that wasn’t good enough. They also demanded that an “equity and inclusion” VP position be made (a now ubiquitous thing at most schools in the US). When the president of the school asked what metrics the effectiveness of this position would be based on, he was called a racist.

    The lack of academic rigor in these courses is unreal. If the board of trustees knew what was going on, they’d most likely be furious (please please please send this to them). The problem is that as you pointed out, no dissent is allowed. And the students who can most capitalize on this oppression hierarchy take advantage of it and perpetuate it even more. The number of “true believers” increases more and more and thus more time is devoted to useless bullshit.

  42. Elroy says

    Very similar to my experiences at UTS in Sydney

  43. Manning says

    I’m about to spend gobs of money, stress, and time (~3-4 years) on an EdD program in Higher Education this fall, but this article has me more than a mite concerned. I now begin to wonder if dissertation proposals will have to be ideologically approved?

    • Lindsey M. says

      Don’t do it! It’s not worth it! If I knew what I know now, I would have cobbled together some other way to get certified in my state!

  44. M. Pearse says

    Oh, dear. I fear a pseudonym will not save you.
    After all, how many people in a given cohort can write properly like this?
    By the time they’ve narrowed down to the few people who spent the year keeping their heads down, and then asked themselves how many of those are truly literate, I worry they may track you down….

  45. Plantation Willie says

    Did the author consider that once he’d started a teaching position in secondary education he’d likely be required to parrot all the SJ ideology he was supposed to have absorbed in his grad school curriculum? Why then, if he’s in disagreement with that perspective, would he ever finish his schooling or continue to want to be a school teacher? Why not change his career path? Seems to me he’s condemning himself to a potential lifetime of disingenuousness, since SJ ideals seem to be increasingly pervasive through all educational levels from what I’ve read.

  46. Rohit says

    Thanks for sharing. I’m an MS in engineering grad (undergrad abroad) and was not exposed to rubbish during my MS in computer science from UF. However, I did take a psychology and english course after graduating and my experience aligns with this article.

    In my psychology course at UW, the lecturer quoted studies that said that women performed poorly vs men when they were asked to take a test that said it exhibited gender bias, but the performance was identical when the test did not state that it exhibits a bias. I asked some follow up questions, like, why would women assume the bias is always negative, and then another, namely, doesn’t that imply that affirmative action could be leading to poorer outcomes for minorities, and all she had to say was no, that’s different, affirmative action is great and really didn’t want to explain the contradiction.

    Similarly, in an English course I took online from UF, the female professor was clearly a strong feminist and the bulk of all my homework was analysing and justifying feminism. I would have appreciated more diverse topics.

  47. Unsurprisingly, this account almost exactly echoes that of another ed-school graduate who wrote about his experience three years ago on Heterodox Academy. Sadly, it seems like things have only gotten worse. His account can be read here.

  48. Defenstrator says

    I honestly do not understand why the students who are subject to this obvious scan have not sued the school in a class action for non performance. If you sign up for a course to learn about teaching, and they don’t give you the knowledge that was paid for, what claim do they have to your money? It should be none, plus recompense for your wasted time.

  49. lopp says

    This is exactly what is going on at the University of San Francisco. Exactly.

  50. kenalovell says

    The author omits to mention that the program includes about 500 hours of mentored classroom experience in a real school. Surely this practical experience is central to the whole design of the program?

  51. A Guy says

    I was linked this article.

    Why should I believe anything written here when there are no sources and the author used a pseudonym? Is there any reason to believe they didn’t just make this up to monger fear about leftists?

    • Gera says

      The author’s experience is the source. Is there a reason you believe this is completely made up ‘to monger fear about leftists’?

    • Gringo says

      @A Guy
      Why should I believe anything written here when there are no sources and the author used a pseudonym? Is there any reason to believe they didn’t just make this up to monger fear about leftists?

      His experience is consistent with my experience with Ed School: politically correct narratives de jour.. Etc.
      Enroll in Ed School- any Ed School- and then tell us how this article compares.
      Look at Ed School websites. Bet you will find them touting same “inclusive,” “social justice” nonsense.

    • scribblerg says

      Yes, in fact perhaps he ought to be questioned, yes? Let’s get a warrant and make Quillette reveal his identity. Then we can take him into custody and investigate him. Look at his taxes, everyone he’s very known, put 20 high powered prosecutors on it, that should do it.

      Waddya say?

  52. TacomaTeacher says

    A couple things for other commenters…

    While a master’s does boost your salary, thus providing a financial incentive to go through these programs, it is very difficult to become a teacher without going through one.
    MIT programs are really two things combined into one- a master’s program and state accreditation. They are not the same thing. The master’s program is composed of the courses you need to take, determined by the university.

    State accreditation requires you complete an internship at a public school, capped by the submission to the State of a fairly detailed project- the EdTPA. This is a week long Lesson Plan, which has to include video clips of your teaching experience, samples of students’ work and grading, and lengthy justifications for what you’ve done and why you’ve done it.

    This is the “meat” of these programs, and it is well- nigh impossible to obtain an internship without a tertiary institutional relationship. You need to be “placed” by the university within a given school, and depending on what you’re going to teach, this can become very complicated. For example, if you want to teach Math and English, you’ll need to be placed in a school where you can have a split schedule, as you’ll need to intern in both subjects. This means you’ll need to find one school that has both a Math and an English teacher willing to accept student-teachers on a split schedule.

    Most of the university people involved in placing student-teachers are retired principles and administrators. They are not necessarily EdD or PhD holders. What they have is years of experience, and more importantly, the connections necessary to connect the right student-teachers with willing teachers. Good luck organizing this on your own. As a result Ed schools wield enormous power over students’ lives- there is a reason this author has chosen to remain anonymous, and those of you who think that’s paranoid are totally clueless.

    Anyway, your internship is where you end up learning most of what you need to know about being a teacher. it’s a full-time job, it’s unpaid, and it all totally depends on the relationship you form with your co-operating teacher- very stressful, as the Ed schools have basically offloaded the most important work to existing teachers operating on a voluntary basis. But the point is they control this pipeline (and so if you want to erode their power you need to attack them here- provide alternative pipelines).

  53. TacomaTeacher says

    II

    Your classes in Ed school themselves are a complete joke. Everyone knows this, but there is no one to complain to and nothing you can do about it. Show and Tell, check-your-privilege, struggle sessions, feelings, etc. Lots of drawing in crayons, talk of mindfulness. You’d think you entered an insane asylum, and guess what, you did! You are ‘taught’ both the vital importance of critical thinking, as well as the impermissibility of questioning such canonical thinkers as bell hooks, such concepts as stereotype bias. The current of thought found in Quillette, in Heterodox Academy, the crisis in social psychology- they simply don’t exist in ed school, because they’re not allowed to. The old joke of academia being so petty because the stakes are so small is even more apt at the ed school level.

    I mention Haidt and Heterodox for a good reason: he’s discussed the crisis in social psychology, and I think most readers are familiar with that issue. What they’re not familiar with is the connection between social psychology and ed schools. Many of the professors at these institutions have PhDs in social psychology. So, every unfounded, not very good idea that comes out of that field basically holds sway in ed schools. Think of the worst examples of poor scholarship, the kinds mocked far and wide on. Well, they run ed schools, where they’re even more insulated from criticism. Ed school is Cobra Island for social psychologists. So, pay attention to the “therapy session” comments in his piece- they’re not frivolous. Classes really are structured like therapy sessions, and they’re like that because they’r run by social psychologists who often have private practices in therapy, and/or who worked as school counselors. You’ll hear endless talk of “trauma” being responsible for every negative outcome. The source of this trauma is, of course, white supremacy.

    There exists an “old guard”- usually beloved, highly competent, and soon to retire or be retired professors who try to instill valuable knowledge to you. And yes, they’re mainly white. Teaching strategies, methods of assessment, things that. But they’re on their way out the door. Meek lambs, all of them, terrified of being Weinsteined.

    As the author states, some of the “methods” classes are good. These classes are subject specific, so if you’re going to be a science teacher, a science teacher will lead them, explaining different ways to structure lessons, group work, strategies for assessment, etc. These are often taught by teachers who are pursuing a PhD in education, or by retired or experienced teachers. Again, they are subject specific, and taught by rotating adjuncts, not the core ‘professors’ of the ed schools. By right, these types of classes should compose the majority of your class in ed school. Alas, you usually get one to two. Any more than than would cut in to the struggle sessions with crayons time.

    Part of the anger, the source of it rather, lies in the fact that, in WA state at least, about 80% of teachers are white. Ed school ideology clearly states that white people are simply not able- because of their privilege and white supremacist ideology- to teach students of color. And so they need teachers of color. But there aren’t very many. Why not? State imposed quality control, that’s why. To become a teacher, one must pass what are called “WEST” tests- tests of basic competency in reading, writing, and math. These tests are not hard (think SAT-lite), but if you fail to pass them, you can’t become a teacher. The minimum score to pass is akin to getting 1000/1600 on the SAT (my own guesstimate, not a solid data claim).But the same discrepancies that show up in the SAT, ACT, GRE, MCAT, GMAT, etc also show up in the WEST tests. So, Black and Hispanic test takers do not pass them at the same rate as white and Asian test-takers. From an Ed school perspective, this is terrible. They want to teach POC students, but because of racist concepts like “standards”, they’re stuck with annoying nice white ladies. They really, really, don’t like their students, and they’re not shy about telling them so. You’d think, give the costs, the students would do something about it, but they don’t have a choice. Like the country, people are stuck with other people they despise, and there’s no way out.

    To be a teacher you need a BA, and you need to pass the WEST tests, and the number of POC who can attain both is not very large. And those POC who can attain both have many, often more remunerative, job prospects. (Teachers in general tend to be more upper middle class than many would assume. Lots come from well-off families, and do it out of love of the job, stability, and because their families can provide a financial padding poorer people with the same abilities lack.) So ed schools are stuck with nice white lady teachers, who are fairly easy to intimidate.

    Through all this, please remember ed school are staffed with true believers, and they’re just not very bright (GRE data backs this up, and your own eyes).

  54. “Discrimination based on gender and sexuality remain impediments to equality of opportunity and the way children are currently treated in public schools is clearly a part of that.”

    Oh dear. My experience includes Indoctrinated teachers looking at profiles of incoming students and basing their opinion of their ability on their zip code. Black students from certain zip codes were automatically labeled as being behind or unable to learn. This is collectivist thinking. You guys have no idea how racist your “compassion” really is.

    And girls are doing much better than boys in school. Just look at the gender ratios in most colleges these days.

  55. Appalling as this example is, I wonder how prevalent the author’s experience actually is. I’m a teacher with a masters in special ed. I have had zero of the same experiences as the author. I earned my MA a few years ago and learned 100% pedagogical and useful hands on skills. Yes, occasionally I’ve had to watch idiotic movies purporting to be about learning to, say, discipline the students when really it was useless info. But literally nothing to do with SJW. The author writes they have ‘reluctantly come to the conclusion that anyone wishing to become a teacher is better off avoiding ed school altogether, and should instead find an alternative method of accreditation,…”

    Based on what data?Anecdote doesn’t mean data. I’d avoid the university the author went to, for sure. But telling people to avoid ed school is at best impractical advice, at least for now. If you don’t get your ed degree and go through ed school route, you lower your chances of landing a job by many orders of magnitude. Many schools will not hire teachers without the semester of student teaching that is included in ed school. And many teachers are hired by the schools they student taught at (teaching, like most jobs, is often word of mouth and personal referrals). I myself did go ‘alternate route’ (I was a college prof) but it was awful jumping into teaching without the student teaching experience in ed school. I did learn on the job but it took me a while to learn things I would have known had I done student teaching, and that only compounded the difficulty of my natural learning curve.

    Furthermore, the idea I often see is that there are legions of indoctrinated teachers indoctrinating students. I totally disagree. I do think there are a handful – and these teachers are wrong – but the vast majority of teachers I know want to teach their subject and help students, period, end of discussion. If it exists, it is from administration and the board. So talk about that.

    • Sydney says

      @d

      My experience as a parent of children in Canadian public schools in a major Canadian city is 100% consistent with the author’s account of what he’s being taught.

      Our school system (our public universities teach education policymakers, administrators, and teachers; and the teachers belong to very powerful public service unions) consists entirely of ‘indoctrinated teachers indoctrinating students.’ Plain fact.

  56. Jon says

    Great article, thank you for exposing the insane political activism and indoctrination that insists it’s not political at University of Washington. It was absolute hell being there when I was.

  57. Phil says

    From Wikipedia: UW is the largest recipient of federal research funding among public universities, and currently ranks top 2nd among all public and private universities in the nation.

    The citizens fo Washington should petition for all public funding to be cut (or at the very least for the department of education) for so long as this outrageous style of curriculum continues to exist. Remember, this is not joke: these people will go on to educate young people. This is not remotely acceptable.

    thanks for speaking out. The citizens of Washington should absolutely be outraged.

    The enlightenment principles and the scientific method need defending at all costs. This is undoubtedly totalitarian indoctrination.

  58. Lindsey M. says

    My Ed school program wasn’t as bad as STEP, but I’m sure they’ll get there!
    Ed school is such a colossal waste of time and money – it raises my blood pressure just thinking about the loans I had to take out to participate in such useless classes.
    My MEd is a very expensive piece of paper that represents little to no actual preparation or training for my current position as a middle school English teacher. I wish all Ed schools could be abolished and an apprentice-mentor type system could replace them.
    In fact, just thinking about our whole higher education credentialing system–oops, I meant rigorous intellectual development- ha!– pisses me off. Schools and admins get paid, students take out ridiculous loans, and get little actual education for their money, but they buy that all-important piece of paper that our society tells everyone they MUST have.
    I spent ten years having a career in the real world before I decided to become a teacher, and a lot of students in Ed school are coming straight from undergrad, or they went from undergrad into teaching and are now getting the degree to get paid more. I think the lack of real world experience of (what seemed to me to be) the majority of students in my Ed school helps Ed schools get away with such BS – the students don’t know anything but their own K-12 experience, the academy, and the public school system.
    The older teachers I’ve worked with (at three different schools) aren’t all SJW-y, but the younger ones can be…scary.

  59. Jane says

    To those saying this author ‘should have known’ what he was getting into: The problem is that the school will tell you what they offer in dizzying language that sounds exactly like what you want to learn: “Learning Differences,” ” Foundations of Educational Research, ” “Backwards Design,” etc. Some of it is valuable, but what is problematic is the WAY the courses being taught actually lack depth.

    I am in an MAT right now and “Learning Differences” turned out to be exclusively about Critical Race Theory stuff ( Zoretta Hammond’s book “CRT and the Brain, and a terrible book called “Everyday Anti-Racism” which were essays on Critical Race Theory). What I didn’t know, because I’m 45, is that school nowadays is taught very differently to my undergraduate days. Everything is done in groups, including reading heavy material. You are expected to “construct knowledge” with others, which means sit with butcher paper and write things down in columns, or sometimes you’re asked just simply to post your thoughts in an online forum called a moodle and your fellow cohort members will respond back, and you respond to theirs. You don’t have deep discussions in person, and the professors never lead discussions or lecture. The next class I have coming up will meet 3 times. The rest of the time we will be working in groups. Never, ever, ending GROUP WORK.

    As an MAT student, you usually have a background in the subject you’ll teach in high school, but not in education, so you’re very much a novice to the theories and the language in Education. So envision a roomful of 20+ people with no clue about their new area of study suddenly expected to speak deeply about Piaget’ s theories after having only read 30 pages the night before. Someone my age thinks “gee, I need to know more,” and the 23 year olds think they know everything after those 30 pages, so you end up ‘constructing’ a lot of bullshit.

    I despise the program I am in. It’s soupy and flaccid and very influenced by SJ theories. particularly around race, but this wasn’t my fury around the program I am in, and here is where we ALL need to be concerned about teacher training programs: they are NOT addressing the most dire issues of our time, and why? From what I see, it’s because the ideology is not conducive to tackle deep social issues because there is a strong move away from knowledge, and towards ‘soft skills’ like group work. Kids without solid home lives, who don’t get the structure they desperately need from educated parents, need schooling that is more structured. Even the educated kids are being taught critical thinking before building a knowledge base. Hardly any of them are given or do homework because of proficiency based grading, and many are happy with C’s. It is much worse than when I was a kid. I asked one professor why they don’t have homework and was snapped at “Well they have really hard home lives!” We have discussed their brokenness in this program for months, but NO SOLUTION on how to strengthen them. Just being told we need to understand what they are going through. As if empathy and compassion were the only option, and everything else Dickensian abuse.

    Now, about race in America: So many in this comment section are mad at or feel betrayed by the author because he doesn’t reject some things you all think to be true:

    Number 1. Quillette is the panacea for all things PC AND,

    Number 2: it’s writers have some duty to never speak of inequality in society just because that’s what “SJW’s do!” and we are not like them, right?

    Quillete is independent and is a space for real discussion about things in society which don’t seem to be able to be discussed elsewhere. it isn’t a forum for white people to bitch about there being no racial inequality in the world. There’s racial inequality, but the Loud Left collectively has funny ideas on how to tackle it, and that is what we need to be addressing.

    One thing a professor in this program kept saying was for us to be “silent revolutionaries.” I am just lying in wait to bring my revolution away from the ‘relationship building’ and towards knowledge building. I don’t think he meant this, he probably meant that I should provide cushions and bounce balls to feed kids’ natural energy. (YES, THAT is what the teachers of tomorrow are being taught.)

    • scribblerg says

      I’m so glad you felt free to let it rip, yet another version of “i’m not like those bad SJWs, but i still think the West is riven by racism” types. It’s so boring by now, sigh…But here goes, for the record, a little “reframe” for you so you might get a glimpse regarding what you haven’t thought about.

      Read Edward O. Wilson’s The Social Construction of Earth. What becomes clear when one looks analytically at human social behavior is that we form groups, and human social groups both interoperate, cooperate and compete with each other. Phenotypes are in part how we form some groups, but by no means to do we form exclusive groups based on phenotype, and this is important.

      The development of this competitive and cooperative social order puts groups in competition with each other in a way that all life is with each other, and you can think about this as a kind of natural selection and evolutionary process. Some groups do better than others. This is fundamental to human social order.

      I wonder, how does your hysterical insistence that our society is still riven with racism account for the reality I lay out above? For example, groups form “ingroups” which contain people we trust more, expect more of and give more to, in varying amounts depending how important the group. We also have public and private spheres of our social lives, and we set boundaries that are cultural and traditional and that serve specific purposes. Ingroups with high trust can be much more efficient and can do things like fight collective wars of defense, or specialize and trust they will have access to protection from others in the collective as well.

      None of these social conventions can just be dismissed as racism. The question, rather, is how can groups interoperate? Even better? What should minority groups expect from the majority group? That we dissolve the majority social order because minorities notice they are an outgroup? Cuz that’s what it seems the Left is up to and that’s absurd. In fact, it’s exactly how to destroy a society, not how to preserve it.

      We need to learn how to actually coexist – not just shame white people.

  60. Sydney says

    @Jane, above, touched on an issue I’ve talked about a lot with my kids, so that they consider the unhealthy perspective of the schools and teachers. It’s that teachers and admins don’t regard PARENTS and families as allies, or that we’re even really very connected to the children at all.

    My experience is that the school system is the very definition of a ‘silo.’ These children (‘state subjects’ is more like it) appear from nowhere and nothing, and leave the school each day and weekend into a vacuum. Parents exist when the school needs warm bodies for PAC, or for signing away our rights on endless permission slips, or for fundraisers. Otherwise, we’re unnecessary and even obstacles to the system’s goals.

    It doesn’t occur to teachers that children’s families don’t share their trendy ideologies, or are even disgusted or offended by them. I sense a profoundly paternalistic, ‘We know vastly better for your children than you do,’ approach in most everything I see and hear.

    The author of this post didn’t touch on how teachers are taught to regard parents and families. I wish he had. My sense from being a parent is that the very concept of the parent or family has been excised from teacher education, because we’re a bothersome and annoying impediment to where they want the children (aka ‘minor state subjects’) to be.

    Sounds like the beginning of a post-apocalyptic horror novel. Feels like it, too.

    • Jon Z. says

      Have to agree with your comments. I too have raised children in our modern school system. It was in the 80s and 90s and it was already up and rolling by then. I can still remember the form they sent home for my girls to be signed up for free lunches and later breakfast. First, I was surprised that they somehow knew, thought or assumed my children needed such a program, and where they got their info. Then I read it and I remember it was 2. X of the poverty level to qualify. We were just above the poverty line, did not qualify for food stamps and still found the resources to send our children to school with a lunch in their bag, and provide them with breakfast and all their other “needs”.

      Our public ed. systems are everything I was taught to be vigelent about, while being educated in the 60s and 70s. Vigelents about the rise of a teranical government, preaching a socialist/communist ideology. That’s what I see, no matter the good intentions or out right subversion. It’s good to be old.

  61. Maimonides says

    From “first-year programs” in colleges (see https://www.city-journal.org/first-year-experience-16032.html) to graduate programs in Education (like UW’s), the so-called social justice approach to education has drowned students in ignorance and prejudice, force-fed them ideologies and racialist poison, and cut them off from the great traditions of paideia and virtuous speech and the trivium and quadrivium and the worthy history of the philosophy of education. Even John Dewey is likely lost to them. They step into classrooms utterly ignorant.

    Somewhere in the universities, somewhere even at the U of Washington, there must still be people knowledgeable and courageous enough to step up and take some action. The decline of the universities into ignorance and ideological rigidity and toxicity of this kind is one of the great cultural losses of our time.

  62. scribblerg says

    I’ll try to be kinder…Okay, so here we have again the pearl-clutching and shock, in 2019, that Social Justice indoctrination has infested higher education. My question for the author is simply this: Are you really so shocked? Have you not watched the rising tide of SJW totalitarianism in the academy for 20+ years?

    Why do I take this angle of criticism? Simple. The Right has been calling this kind of lunacy out for 60+ years, and we were dismissed as “Red Baiters” and racists and misogynists and Nazis and worse. We were just as right as this author is – just decades more brave.

    The real question is what is this author willing to do? Well, apparently, he’s not even willing to ID himself and risk any career damage. Got it, with heroes like him, we are destined to keep losing badly. Just saying. These articles are the same thing over and over again. Some “principled” person has finally had it – and admits the “far right” has been correct all along, but will never, ever put it that way.

    More humility is required. More desire to repair the damage done via your own quite complicity is called for, that’s just where I come out.

  63. Cassandra Amesley says

    As an undergraduate and MA student at the UW, I was fascinated by this further confirmation that a fringe advocate group of postmodern identity theory has conquered even what used to be (and may still be) one of the best public universities in the country. (I got my MFA and PhD elsewhere, also a fine public university. The private ones are, I hear, in some ways worse.)

    First, let me observe that I have never been impressed by education curricula for undergraduates, and it sounds like grad school is more of the same — no theory, no rigor, no self criticism except as guided by teachers without external discipline. (My mother got her education degree and MA from the UW, and she and my contemporaries who did all told me there was no real difference between undergraduate and graduate school there, unlike most good schools.)

    Nonetheless, UW produced many brilliant, dedicated teachers because the community of teaching itself is more important than the content. For this reason, let me say that your long essay, while certainly having flashes of horror, sounds a lot like complaints from my undergraduates in Cultural Studies, who had an awful time figuring out “which side” I was on and demanded to know so that they could control their grade. I’ll speak a bit more on that at the end of this (admittedly long) comment.

    A couple of points: first, you are not experiencing “far left” teaching. I research from a materialist perspective, and I assure you, what you describe is the last deterioration of liberalism, to an idealist and reductive meaninglessness, which of course is the point of postmodernist theory. Marxian theory is academically far more demanding, focuses on dialectic — which means accepting and even embracing contradiction — and is disenchanted with identity politics, which was useful to identify the relations of oppression and its effect on specific groups of people, such as ethnic minorities and women. However, since identity politics has been privileged in liberal research for about 50 years now, and has somehow not gotten farther than blame dynamics and identification of problem areas, clearly a new method of approach is needed. Second, I have focused on practical change since my undergraduate years, and the conclusions of my undergraduate thesis remain correct (though now better supported): systems do not change without systematic pressure, and individuals are not responsible for the system in which they are raised. For awhile, certain researchers were interested in the phenomenon of the “dandelion” child: why, in a community where so many are theoretically doomed by economics and identities, do some children thrive, and escape? In my opinion, this is a far more interesting “identity” question because it focuses on why some succeed, and therefore suggests a path out. As a working class professor myself, I prefer looking for solutions as you appear to. The “self exploration” found in the grad teaching department sounds ridiculously similar to the liberal groups such as Antifa and others which buy certain theories extant in the 60s and 70s, but are unable to explain the theoretical bases that any radical I knew then could have gone through in great detail, with counter arguments.

    Second, to be honest, I didn’t see the reasoning of a graduate student in your writing, and that’s the clearest evidence of the education program’s failure right there. After just a year of graduate-level thought, a qualified student can re-phrase research questions to seek better answers, cite what theoretical assumptions their professors were likely coming from and why those failed in their goals, and propose a plan of investigation which would at the very least tend to prove or disprove the basic assumptions operating in any particular class. (A random collection of odd examples is insufficient to actually judge what the intention of the class was. Identifying the goal of the class, as is presumably given as part of the syllabus, and then specifically showing where it failed in those goals and how it might have done better, would comprise a basic approach.) I look forward to your alternative vision for what would provide the theoretical background you need to join the conversation in the academic field.

    In short, I sympathize, but can’t imagine that the Education Department would feel at all concerned at your criticism.

    –C.E. Amesley (1978, or thereabouts)

  64. estepheavfm says

    But of course. The Western university system is a cynical thieving racket: “Dollar Billie’s Tribal Justice Faith Healing Emporium.” Bankrupting these crooks is the only solution. Gradual reform is, at this point, utterly IMPOSSIBLE.

  65. estepheavfm says

    “In the mid-1930s here’s what John Dewey said the purpose of your schools were for. ‘The children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective which is coming, where the everyone would be interdependent. — Dr. Duke Pesta

  66. Jon Z. says

    After reading this article, I’m convinced that our public education has gone off the rails, and needs to be forced to “cease and desist” from all purported educational activities. I have long suspected this was the case, indocternation instead of education. Our Public Ed. Systems have been taken over by the SJWs and Gov. colaberators. These are the very people and ideologies we (the boomer generation) were warned about by our educators, and by educators from the early 20th century through the mid 1970s.

    After observing the lack of basic abilities in the work place while working with high school and college gradguates, I can attest to the downward trend of the real world outcomes of the American public school systems. Most are wasting everyone’s time and money. Maybe a look back to the past would help. Education was once a privilage and highly prized. Parents did their best to send their children to school with basic behaviors already understood and mostly followed. Bring back the McGuffie Readers and just teach people to read, write and do math. That would be a good starting point. Then some history, civics and science. It’s so simple, it sounds impossible.

  67. This describes my experience in a Masters of Social Work program 100%. It really is like this!

    I paid $40,000 to get yelled at for two years for my alleged-racism and homophobia. I was told that I was a “latent rapist,” who only chose to refrain from violating women because I was a fat coward. I was told that I could never understand what it was like to grow up on welfare, in spite of the fact that I did–in fact–grow up on welfare. I was told that my time in the Peace Corps was “cultural appropriation and ideological imperialism.” (I don’t remember that being the mission statement!)

    As described by “Nick,” we were actually physically segregated. There was a “POC Commission” that whites were explicitly commanded to avoid.

    I’m a nerd and love school (I graduated with a 4.11, for example, because I’m a absolute neurotic and weirdo who actually LIKES homework…) and, since nobody else would talk or participate in class frequently, I would. This was then met with cries that I should “step down, and step back” and–of course–that I must CONSTANTLY remember to “check my privilege.”

    These fanatics are now seeping into the workplace.

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  69. A word of advice, too late for the author: If you want a teaching certificate, eschew the graduate program. Instead, seek a two-year certification program that accepts people with bachelors degrees and then focuses on practical aspects.

    In the ’90s and ’00s, Wayne State University was an exemplar. Many afternoon and evening classes had instructors who also worked in the field; e.g. the Adolescent Psychology professor was a practicing psychologist and the Reading Across the Curriculum teacher was a reading specialist in her district. There were classes on classroom management, accommodations and modifications for students with learning disabilities, etc. The emphasis on field work was critical.

    In contrast, I’ve taken masters level classes for certification renewal that were taught by consultants or career academics who, at most, pop into real classrooms a few times a year. I remember one professor from New Hampshire (he regularly mentioned his state’s superior educational system) who cited empirical evidence to the point that teachers’ actual experience in the classroom was “anecdotal evidence.” So we would bring up challenges in our current workplaces and he would benevolently tell us that research had shown that those challenges were unimportant.

    I was thrilled when the state allowed more single-day conferences and staff development meetings to count toward certificate renewal. The current teacher shortage has also forced some states to enact alternative certification paths.

  70. Catl says

    I hope that you didn’t have to pay for program. did the university offer at least one class in “classroom management”?

    • Nick Wilson says

      A reading list, PDF extracts from a few of the most notable authors, and the chance to talk about each author for a few minutes with others who’ve never taught before. Does that count?

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  72. The author writes about contemporary public education:

    “Discrimination based on gender and sexuality remain impediments to equality of opportunity”

    “white Americans shouldn’t expect the literature and old-fashioned narrative history of Europe and the United States to be considered the normal curriculum”

    Shocking that a person with such a stilted view, unsupported by any stated evidence, should complain about idealogical indoctrination in teacher education.

  73. Sam Dimon says

    I wonder whether student evaluations ever make their way through the Ed School bureaucracy at Washington and to some sane and judicious person who will take them seriously. Progressive universities and especially progressive schools within them are behind a movement to neutralize student evaluations. Central elements to this effort include the abolition of quantitative scoring of any kind by students and the replacement of actual evaluation by “learning reflections” or other obfuscating substitutes for evaluation. Central, too, is the dismissal of student evaluations because, it is claimed, the students offer evaluations that are prejudiced with regard to race, gender, sexuality, etc. (So you can imagine the hostility toward anyone who suggests that student evaluations might be taken more seriously.) This often leads to peer evaluations written by close colleagues with no real way for students to get their own judgments recognized by anyone at all.

    Along with all the other reforms so obviously needed, we need a way of taking student evaluations more seriously, without their being the last word or the only factor.

  74. Tunya Audain says

    In Canada this slant toward “social justice” comes from the TOP DOWN. In 2006 all Deans of Education signed an ACCORD with 12 Principles of Initial Teacher Education. Two specifically mention political aspects: “An effective initial teacher education program encourages teachers to assume a social and political role. . . An effective initial teacher education program engages teachers with the politics of identity and difference and prepares them to develop and enact inclusive curricula and pedagogies.”

    The only good news I hear on this matter is that in Tennessee there is now a legislative procedure to bring forth a Teacher Training Accountability Act, a first in the world if it ever gets passed.

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