In the wake of the COVID-19, public schools are issuing electronic devices to hundreds of thousands of students for curriculum delivery. Parents who may have never cracked one of their children’s public school textbooks, now have a golden opportunity to truly discover what’s in all those books their children have been packing around for years. Parents are now able to read textbooks, watch classroom videos, and sit in on a teacher presenting a lesson. At this time, parents have an excellent opportunity to become involved with what their children learn, and at the same time, develop a prayer strategy for those in the textbook industry responsible for lessons presented in the classroom.
America’s textbook publishing industry consists of 5-6 companies; Pearson Publishing is the largest, but there is little philosophical difference among the companies. They embrace the concept of “Publisher Consciousness,” a phrase coined by John Taylor Gatto, author of Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling. Mr. Gatto explained that publishers who wish to short-circuit cultural change have found their best opportunities to do so through writing new social ideas into textbooks. Once in print, the ideas found their way into classrooms filled with young, eager to learn, students.
An excellent example of “Publisher Consciousness” is The 1619 Project, constructed by New York Times writer Nikole Hanna-Jones. The 1619 Project, a series of four podcasts, that places 1619 as the beginning date of America’s history, the year the first slaves arrived on America’s shores. Consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans are placed at the center of America’s narrative. Available to download for free, the material is currently in over 3,500 public schools in all 50 states. Textbooks are in the works and scheduled for release in time for the 2020-2021 school year.
The 1619 Project’s purpose is to tell America’s history and reframe that history to teach that the Africans who were brought to America as slaves are the ones who made America great, who gave us a democracy and shaped the morals we embrace. This history has some gaping inaccuracies, but because it makes the “cultural statement” that we are all guilty of the sins of our fathers, it seems to receive a pass from critical review. Slavery should be taught in schools, but is it developmentally appropriate to ask students to enact a slave auction, as well as other like scenes?
We put a tremendous burden on our students when they are made to feel guilty for historical events over which they had no say, or control. We are opening a sore that can never heal, with a curriculum based on blame.
When presented in the classroom, our youth will no doubt feel the cultural impact and responsibility for the sins of past generations who embraced slavery.
By all accounts, The 1619 Project, a series of podcasts by Nikole Hanna-Jones, meets much of the following mainstream criteria to assure its success:
- Publisher has a cultural bias. The 1619 Project is sponsored and published by the New York Times (NYT), known for its liberal bias. The results may produce more racial disharmony than harmony in our nation.
- Publisher located in New York City. It is rare to find a significant publisher outside New York City. When strongholds show up, they are often near other like-minded publishers.
- Publisher’s project rewrites history or promotes a social agenda. The following quote is on the NYT’s website: “The goal of The 1619 Project is to reframe American history by considering what it would mean to regard 1619 as our nation’s birth year.” Major publishers who want to “rewrite” history have followed the same path. For example, Howard Zinn’s “A Peoples’ History” follows the same marketing pattern as Hanna-Jones. They make materials free, downloadable, and pushed through blogs, podcasts, and other social media. They do not go through the normal path to publish a textbook. They appeal to teachers who believe America was settled by greedy, white Europeans, who came to our shores for the sole purpose of making money.
- Publisher is connected to an extensive network to assist in spreading the idea. The NYT has a circulation of over 500,000 daily copies and over 3 million digital-only subscribers. If the NYT proposes an idea, other like-minded news outlets will pick up the NYT project and promote, often for free. Lance Wallnau explains how this works in his teachings on the 7 mountains of culture. The top 11% of a cultural mountain determines the culture of the mountain, and the top 11% of the elite of one mountain interfaces with the top 11% of the other mountains. Educational elites interface with the top 11% of the media elite, who interface with the top 11% of the elite of the government mountain, etc. This pattern is how they accomplish so much with so few people.
- Publisher’s author is considered an academic elite. Ms. Hanna-Jones has multiple degrees and has received numerous academic awards. She has the kind of resume that gains credibility with liberal elites.
For the Christian parent, the discovery of questionable content presented in the classroom can be shocking. Many will have their suspicions verified that there is an “Education Cartel” in this country aimed at furthering a social and political agenda rather than the promotion of literacy, historical facts, and scientific knowledge. This cartel derives its power from those who stand to benefit financially and politically from ignorance and educational misinformation.
Parents, with greater ease than ever before, can investigate the educational content presented to their children. Parents who recognize the spiritual battle in which we are engaged will pray, not to demolish publishing companies, but rather attack the spiritual structures in which those businesses trust. Now is an excellent time to develop prayer strategies that establish godly principles and accurate knowledge in the school curriculum.
Father, we attack the city of the mighty and pull down the stronghold in which they trust (Prov. 21:22). We thank you that you have chosen to “reset” education in America. I ask that You dismantle the strongholds of textbook publishers who present antigod, anti-American, and antifamily material to our children. We ask for a new wave of textbook publishers who will acknowledge God and promote patriotism across our land. Amen.