Anastasia Higginbotham, a white children’s book author from Brooklyn, knows what New York City kids need to learn. Neither math nor English nor science. No: they need lessons on racism. And rarity. And liberation.
All are topics in his book “What You Don’t Know,” a book that has earned the city Department of Education’s seal of approval and is now on a fifth-grade reading list.
If you don’t think reading about queerness and liberation is appropriate for 10-year-olds, then you (in the author’s opinion) “hold on to the oppressive and dying institutions of patriarchy and white supremacy.”
Look: New York is educationally failing its students. Half of students statewide fell below benchmarks in reading, and 40% below math benchmarks, as of this winter according to a massive data set analyzed by Renaissance Learning. The state Board of Regents just canceled their US history exam. while pushing down the standards for other tests it oversees. Enrollment in the city’s public schools is in free fall.
And these trends hurt black and Hispanic students the most, the very groups on whose behalf Higginbotham and his collaborators profess to be offended and concerned.
Giving kids a book or two on racism or gender in the mix of homework is appropriate, but many kids feel like they’re being force-fed a monotonous diet of ultra-awakened nonsense.
Our children need instruction, not indoctrination (the book literally glorifies AOC and other team members). Especially now, as the city struggles to overcome a learning deficit caused by disastrous COVID policies inflicted by the same coalition that imposes propaganda nonsense like this on our children.
If Anastasia Higginbotham really cared about helping Black and Latino people, she would be on the front lines demanding better, more rigorous schools in New York, free from political interference.
That she doesn’t tell you everything your I need to know.