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credit: pearson

A long time ago, in a land, far, far away, local control of education was thought to be a good thing.  A community in Flyover Country, far removed from cities, would have different needs, so the thinking went, and the adults living there would be best able to anticipate, know, and deal with the needs of the children that lived there.  The antiquated thinking went even further.  “School boards,” comprised of local adults, were actually thought to be smart enough to know what was necessary for the educations of their children.  And for a time, this thinking actually forced the publishers of textbooks and other materials to cater to these unevolved, unwoke Deplorables.  They included in their textbooks the writings of dead, white males, and even such nationalistic screeds as the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and the writings of those that wrote those racist documents.  Wise and woke publishers had no choice, because if they did not include such racist, non-intersectional and white supremacist literature, their wares would not sell.

Then came the Great Awokening, long in coming, pushed valiantly ahead against impossible odds by the long march through the institutions.  Valiant publishers, such as the British Pearson, were, at long last, able to unleash their inner wokeness.  Finally, they could begin the ultimate destruction of the toxic legacy of western civilization.  This is where we pick up our story, gentle readers, courtesy of Inside Higher Education:

Pearson yesterday published editorial guidelines addressing race, ethnicity, equity and inclusion, becoming one of the first major textbook publishers to make such guidelines publicly available.

The document is intended to help authors, reviewers and editors at London-based Pearson promote diversity and avoid propagating harmful stereotypes.

The guidelines identify several key challenges to address. These include the underrepresentation of minority ethnic groups in text, images and references; descriptions of people of color that exaggerate negative associations and stereotypes; missing stories of the achievements of people of color; and the idea that social and economic disadvantages are the result of personal circumstances and decisions rather than systemic injustices and inequalities.

Pearson employee groups in both the U.S. and Great Britain began developing the guidance over a year ago. It was reviewed by Jason Arday, a professor of sociology at Durham University in England who authored the Black Curriculum Report.

Increased awareness and support for movements such as Black Lives Matter and the decolonization of K-12 and college curricula in the past year have raised questions about a lack of diversity in the publishing industry — a sector predominately staffed by people who are white and middle class. The #PublishingPaidMe movement illustrated that authors of color are often paid far less than their white peers.

Those “editorial guidelines” may be found here.  It should be understood Pearson is a multi-billion dollar corporation with enormous influence in American K-12 education.  Not only do they publish textbooks and all manner of supportive materials, they also publish, administer and grade high-stakes testing.  Pearson competes, very successfully, with American publishers.  Here’s Pearson’s introduction to their editorial guidelines:

Notice the woke buzzwords: “authenticity,” “race,” “gender,” “sexual orientation,” and more.  The document’s definitions are likewise instructive:

“Equity” has entirely displaced “equality” in the lexicon of the woke.  This is so because Leftism rejects the concept of equality of opportunity, embracing instead, equality of outcome.  “Equity” therefore allows—indeed, mandates—discrimination against the white, the traditional, the uplifting, the normal and accepted.  Some animals are more equal than others.  This is the driving force behind the contemporary drive to abolish merit, which is manifested in such things as doing away with grading writing—it’s racist, of course–the idea math is racist, as are “correct” answers and being required to show one’s work.  Individual effort is to be scorned; group work, exalted.  It also mandates the abolition of the literary canon of Western Civilization.  Merit, skill in writing and universal insight into the human condition are being abandoned in favor of “authentic” writings: the race, gender, sex and hate-filled screeds of contemporary leftist polemicists.

Note the vagueness of the definition of “Intersectionality.”  It has become an all purpose term that suggests society—particularly American society—is fundamentally racist, sexist, nativist, in general, hopelessly and purposely oppressive to every group that wishes to identify itself as a victim group.  Hence, there is no facet of society, no academic field of study, that cannot be attacked as inherently harmful to some favored victim group, because everything “intersects.”  It, like “equity,” comes from Critical Race Theory.

“Unconscious bias,” is aligned with intersectionality.  It holds everyone racist, everyone an oppressor, even if they are entirely unaware of it, and even if they do nothing to oppress anyone.  Denial of racism or unconscious bias is prima facie evidence one is racist, and refusal to denounce oneself and fully embrace critical race theory is actual violence—“spirit murder.”  One must embrace “anti-racism” in thought, word and deed, but even that can never be enough, for all white people are irredeemably racist, and that racism intersects every aspect of existence.

In scientific terms, these theories are non-falsifiable; it is impossible to prove them wrong.  Any attempt to prove them wrong can only prove them right.  This, of course, means such ideas cannot be science, but even that assertion is racist because science is racist, unless it embraces Critical Race Theory.  It might then, possibly, hope to be thought anti-racist.

The new guidelines follow previous equity-focused moves at Pearson. In 2017, Pearson developed a global editorial policy, which highlighted the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion but did not cover these issues in great detail. An updated global editorial policy with enhanced standards for content relating to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, social class, religion and disability will be published later this year.

An audit of Pearson textbooks with respect to the guidelines announced yesterday is already underway, with more than 100 titles completed, Matthews said. The publisher has already made changes to some titles, including a sociology textbook that featured an image of a Black man being handcuffed by white police officers.

As I noted in Heather MacDonald: Obliterating The BLM Narrative, while Blacks make up only 13-15% of the population, they commit crimes in numbers far greater than their proportion of the population, particularly in America’s cities.  Removing such images does not contribute to an understanding of reality, but it certainly comports with CRT.  Leftists construct their own reality and demand everyone else live in it.  “Systemic Racism,” as Temporary President Joe Biden has embraced it, is accepted as fact without proof.

As woke as Pearson clearly is, that’s not nearly enough for academica:

While publishers want to address systemic racism, many are not doing so effectively, said Laura Jiménez, department chair for language and literacy education at the Wheelock College of Education and Human Development at Boston University. Public-facing documents featuring stock images of models from different ethnic backgrounds that look like they came from a ‘United Colors of Benetton ad’ are often done for show, with few changes behind the scenes.

‘I’ve seen quite a few of these kinds of things in the past six months, maybe a year, since white folks woke up to the horror that is, you know, the world, and they all share very similar messaging,’ Jiménez said.

Public-facing communications from publishers in both educational and book markets often take a very ‘neutral stance on oppression — they state that oppressions exist but don’t name who caused them,’ Jiménez said. Instead of talking about people who are members of minority groups being underrepresented, for example, she said publishers should name the overrepresentation of white, male, heterosexual perspectives.

In the Pearson guidelines, the words ‘minority’ and ‘minorities’ are used dozens of times, but this may not have been the best word choice, Jiménez said.

‘Minority is a neutral fact. You either have less of something or you have more. But marginalized means that something’s happened — it’s an active word, somebody has been marginalized,’ Jiménez said. ‘I find that blameless neutrality very disturbing.’

Of course, because as we all now know, math is racist, and so, obviously, is the study of statisticsOne can never know which terms are racist from day to day, so an entire industry has sprung up to tell us.  Entirely woke educational publishers are not nearly enough; all teachers must drink the woke Kool-Aid:

Changing something in a textbook doesn’t necessarily mean changes in the classroom, said Shaun Harper, a professor and executive director of the University of Southern California’s Race and Equity Center.

‘Perhaps these guidelines will result in the production of textbooks that are more diverse and inclusive,’ Harper said. ‘But someone has to teach the adopters of these books how to meaningfully engage the new material. We ought not assume that instructors will teach these topics well simply because the publisher updated the book.’

It will take more than a new textbook edition to change old teaching habits. Faculty members must also be asked to change.

‘Beyond new textbooks, faculty members need rigorous professional learning experiences on the teaching of diversity, equity and inclusion topics,’ Harper said. ‘Just like we require students to buy books, we should be required to participate in workshops on teaching DEI more effectively in our courses.’

None will be allowed to escape.  All must be indoctrinated.  Local control must be eliminated, and all must embrace the true, anti-racist faith.

Flooding the market with woke materials and indoctrinating teachers is far from the complete reach of this movement.  It will infect mandatory, high-stakes testing as well.  To read my five part series on testing, enter “tyranny of testing 2020” into the SMM homepage search bar.  Circa 2021, such testing has, as with the rest of education, been more or less paused, but Pearson makes enormous profits in this market.

What can be expected is the rewriting of such tests to reflect woke sensibilities.  As I’ve often written, even the mostly non-woke tests are deeply flawed instruments if one is seeking to assess kid’s actual knowledge and abilities.  Make those tests fully woke and all they’ll assess is a child’s ability to parrot woke propaganda.  How that which must not be graded will be graded remains to be seen.

Final Thoughts:

One begins to wonder if even the marketplace can make a difference?  If school districts refuse to buy Pearson’s woke products, will they return to the Western canon to restore profits, or merely double down on woke?  Will government, long in league with such as Pearson, allow a retreat from the racial hate of wokeness?

The more woke our children’s texts and supporting materials become, the more power will shift from local school boards to federal educrats and the national and multinational corporations that nurture and employ them when they leave government service.  A society without an appreciation of merit, a society that is entirely self-loathing, a society that thinks itself brilliant, but knows little but racist propaganda is not, even in woke terms, sustainable.  It is also destined to be short lived.