Columbia University: K-12 Teachers Should Be ‘Agents of Social Justice’

In this Sept. 18, 2013 photo, Shelly Ellis teaches fourth-grade students in a newly air conditioned classroom at Bement Elementary School in Bement, Ill. The results of the latest Nation’s Report Card are in and the news isn’t good. Fourth-graders made no improvements in math or reading, while eighth-graders’ scores …
AP Photo/David Mercer

A recent workshop offered to K-12 teachers at Columbia University sought to teach them how to be “agents of social justice.”

A workshop offered to K-12 teachers by the Teachers College at Columbia University has a bizarre slate of lesson plans. The workshop, which was originally reported on by Rob Shimshock of the Daily Caller, will feature courses on topics such as “decenter(ing) whiteness,” and “post-whiteness” politics.

The workshop also aims to help K-12 teachers become “agents of social justice.” It also aims to teach them how they can incorporate “critical race theory,” a campus strain of radical identity politics, into their K-12 lesson plans.

In a comment to the Daily Caller, Columbia University spokesperson Caroline Adelman said that the Teachers College is not directly associated with the other graduate schools at Columbia. “While Columbia appears in the name, Teachers College is an independent entity (different from Columbia’s other professional schools) with its own president and board,” Adelman said.

Teachers College spokesperson James Gardner told the Daily Caller that the workshop aims “to equip educators with the research-driven and evidence-based strategies and tools to engage students from all backgrounds and optimize learning so that every child excels academically and flourishes.”

“That’s the ultimate objective of Reimagining Education, which this year has drawn more than 400 educators from 24 states and 13 countries,” Gardner added. “TC is accredited to grant professional development credits to teachers. We follow the New York State and national guidelines for the number of hours and types of workshops in which they’re required to participate.”

The Columbia workshop is just another example in a string of stories that reveals academia’s partisan activism. Although the partisan activism in academia if often more subtle and covert, other educators in higher education, like those running this workshop, are more willing to express their partisan motivations.

In 2017, a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania bragged on Twitter about prioritizing students based on race and gender. Lecturer Stephanie McKellop tweeted that she only called on white male students as a last resort: ““I will always call on my Black women students first. Other POC get second tier priority. WW [white women] come next. And, if I have to, white men.”

At Brandeis University, school officials shut down a play by Academy Award-nominated writer Michael Weller because it was critical of the activism tactics employed by Black Lives Matter.


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