9th Graders Instructed Not to Tell Parents re Critical/Gender Theory Teachings
Upper Merion Area School District, Pennsylvania
Upper Merion has replaced 9th grade Social Studies with a smattering of critical theory, gender theory and SEL. This started in 2020 with a remote-learning based curriculum where the township was unwilling to share a syllabus with parents.
As of 2023, the district is more open about the curriculum. It focuses on identity, cultures, transitions and revolution. There's some good content, but the syllabus is still mostly opaque.
My 14 year old reports the following:
- students have been asked to focus on their sexual, gender, race or religious identities, walking to assigned identity areas and detailing their stories and feelings to the rest of the class.
- students have been asked to focus on how they are privileged and how they are oppressed.
- students are encouraged to keep classroom discussions in class. "What happens in social studies, stays in social studies"
- when my child asked if he could discuss classroom discussions with his parents, he was told "You know the answer to that!"
- the classroom ends with the admonition "Stay Woke!"
As an involved parent, I can challenge my child to think beyond this. My larger concern is that 45 minutes a day (after Covid loss learning) is a complete propaganda effort with little factual learning.
In addition, my family is part of a religious minority that my child has been encouraged to share with the class. Regardless of the idealistic world the teacher wishes to believe in, I think this exposes young adolescents to possible persecution that is completely unnecessary. I have a gay son who was bullied in high school due to outing himself accidentally on Facebook. It's not the school's job to fix this; it's certainly not their job to encourage outing of students. Our children, like us, are multitudes. They are being reduced to seeing people as ill-defined stereotypes.