Parents and taxpayers need to know what’s going on in the Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD).
As an English teacher employed in the SMSD for 15 years, I can no longer stay silent about the state of our schools. I will be attacked and threatened, but for the good of our district and the students with whom we are entrusted, I must speak out. This is too important.
Amidst a worsening teacher shortage that saw SMSD pay $3.5 million to out-of-state agencies to recruit and retain more educators, we are losing good teachers because of an imposed divisive rhetoric that does not inspire mutual goodwill. In my school alone, three teacher-coaches left in March and recently, in one day, four more teachers said they are contemplating leaving the profession.
We are being manipulated and intimidated by a divisive “woke” ideology that is creating a culture of contempt and disrespect.
SMSD is fostering a toxic environment and requiring employees to attend Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) training and workshops centered around Critical Race Theory, including Black Lives Matter in the Classroom and Social Justice in the Classroom (using teachers’ “white privilege,” “white supremacy” and “de-colonizing our classrooms” propaganda).
There is repeated white shaming and a preoccupation with white people as the “oppressor,” including staff field trips with a focus on “systemic racism.” The white saviorism and virtue-signaling at DEI meetings is so condescending that many minorities and other staff members have stopped attending.
Our district is no longer academically focused. We are doing our students a disservice by allowing a biased curriculum to take over.
If parents knew what goes on in our schools, the majority would be appalled.
At a staff meeting this month, we were told we should refer to students by their preferred names and pronouns during the school day, but hide from the parents the fact that their minor children are transitioning at school. The district conceals the transgender policies from the public and will not release the DEI presentations we are compelled to watch.
Teachers who are simply doing their jobs are blindsided by false allegations of racism. Simple classroom management practices that were encouraged last year are grounds for accusations of discrimination this year. The students run the school and know there will likely be little accountability for their actions, while teachers are accused of discrimination, then written up for a policy that does not exist.
The administration and its legal staff ignore board policy in order to fault a teacher for using the student’s legal name or “incorrect” pronouns that match the student’s biological sex. There is no transparency, and the district hides the alleged complaints. Threats of discipline regarding vague or non-existent policy are used to unfairly target teachers who do not go along with the woke ideology.
There is a strong anti-capitalism, anti-conservatism, and anti-American bias in the DEI curriculum, with an emphasis on “white fragility” and “how to be antiracist.” I have been in workshops where teachers were discussing how to incorporate The 1619 Project into their English curriculum, and how to use Orwell’s book 1984 in class as propaganda against those of one political party.
One teacher referred to me as a “Nazi” and “fascist” for disagreeing with her views.
There is no ideological diversity; there is no substantial counter-argument allowed. It is wreaking havoc on morale.
SMSD is right to support efforts to encourage respect for others in the classroom, but the current approach (and the $400,000 Critical Race Theory curriculum) is having the opposite effect. Without a change, the teacher shortage will worsen; students will suffer even more; academic performance will further falter; and school culture will continue to decline.
If we want to stop losing quality teachers there needs to be a change. We must advocate for a healthy partnership with intellectual diversity between and among educators, students, and parents. Voters, taxpayers and parents, please recognize that this crisis will not stop unless people stand up to it and say: “No!”
I am just one voice within the public school system, but there are many teachers (and students) who, like me, feel silenced and ostracized.
Teachers, we need to support one another. The hypocrisy you are witnessing is not imagined. We need to be courageous and stand up for what is right. We can no longer tolerate a public education for our students that is agenda-driven and denies students the opportunity to cultivate their own views.
We need to take political ideology and indoctrination out of the classroom and institute an unbiased, whole curriculum that allows students to openly discuss the challenging issues of our time without fear of reprisal.