By Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-33)
Should a middle school student in Pennsylvania be taught he’s partially to blame for racism in America simply because of the color of his skin? Should an elementary school student be taught it’s OK for her to choose her own gender?
Perhaps most importantly, how can parents stand up for their students if they don’t know what is being taught in our schools?
Parents across Pennsylvania have become outraged by the recent movement by activists to indoctrinate, rather than educate, our children.
Opponents of traditional values used to argue that school was no place to teach morality. They claimed schools should focus on teaching students their ABCs and 123s, and leave moral teaching to the parents.
That was the excuse they used to kick traditional values out the front door of our schools. Now, they’re trying to sneak cultural Marxism through the back door.
Critical Race Theory (CRT) concepts have become commonplace in school districts across Pennsylvania. These concepts are sometimes disguised as “diversity, equity and inclusion” as a way to sound less controversial.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education actively promotes a “toolkit” for teachers on its public website as a guide for them to discuss racial and ethnic identity. The toolkit includes a long list of radical resources that encourage students to evaluate their peers based on the color of their skin rather than the content of their character.
An elementary school teacher in Montgomery County was exposed for having children participate in “privilege walks” as part of a broader CRT curriculum. The walks teach children that some of them are “privileged” based on the color of their skin, gender, sexual orientation or economic status.
In Tredyffrin/Easttown School District, a lawsuit revealed school officials participated in exercises on “walking through the barriers to teach CRT at your school” and “CRT is a vital step in your school transformation action plan.”
CRT isn’t the only threat facing students and parents. Gender theory also is spreading across the commonwealth.
Gender theory is a dangerous philosophy that teaches gender is a “social construct,” labels of male and female are not assigned at birth, and children may choose to identify with whatever gender they prefer.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education (DOE) website last year listed different lesson plans for teachers to discuss the difference between assigned gender, binary gender and biological sex.
The “preferred personal pronouns” definition introduces gender-neutral pronouns such as “ne, ve, ze/zie and xe.” Teachers are advised to ask students which pronouns they prefer. The department has since deleted the page after outcry from concerned parents.
Great Valley School District last year instructed its elementary school teachers to withhold information from parents about children questioning their gender.
Greater Johnstown School District recently created a “gender transition plan” and a “gender support plan” for students, which encourages schools to keep students’ gender identity information secret from their parents.
DOE also is ensuring the next generation of teachers is fully trained in CRT and gender theory before they begin their first day in the classroom. It published new regulations last year regarding teacher certification guidelines.
The new rules require teachers to know and acknowledge racial biases exist in the educational system. Teachers must understand the importance of social markers, such as race, skin color, ethnicity, gender identity, age, nationality, language, class, economic status, ability, sexual orientation and religion. Teachers also must be able to identify systems, structures, practices and policies that exclude and marginalize minority and multilingual families and families with varying sexual orientations and gender identities.
With all of this going on, parents must be armed with fundamental rights to be informed about the ever-evolving radical theories being advanced in school districts across the commonwealth.
That is why I recently introduced Senate Bill 340 to require schools to post on a publicly accessible website an internet link or title from every textbook used, a course syllabus and the state academic standards for each instructional course it offers.
Schools would be required to update this information no later than 30 days after any revision to ensure parents are aware of any changes during the school year.
I’ve heard from many parents who have no idea what is being taught until they see their children’s homework. This legislation would provide parents with the tools they need to be informed.
I also introduced Senate Bill 444 to make it clear that state government and its political subdivisions – including school districts – may not infringe on the fundamental rights of parents to direct the upbringing, education, health care and mental health of their children.
This bill would provide parents with the legal protection they need when overreaching bureaucrats attempt to overrule their voice. Similar parental rights provisions already exist in 15 other states.
As activists continue to invade academia with their divisive politics, parents need these tools to help them stand up and fight for their sons and daughters.
Parental rights must be fortified in Pennsylvania.
Sen. Doug Mastriano represents the 33rd Senatorial District, covering Adams and Franklin counties.
Media contact: Josh Herman