I think it is fair to conclude at this point (if it was not already obvious) that the American Civil Liberties Union has abandoned its original mission of being a neutral and non-partisan guardian of individual rights to being one more activist political tool of the Left. Its hostility toward transparency for school curricula marks a 180 decree turnaround for the ACLU, which has traditionally argued for government transparency in all its activities, including public school education.
One more time, the corrupting influence here is race and “social justice,” which increasingly are regarded as taking priority over all else. Enacting the racial agenda of Black Lives Matters and its allies (like the Democratic Party) now justifies tactics and activities that the ACLU once opposed consistently. Government indoctrination is no longer an offense to freedom of speech and thought, apparently. The ends justify the means.
Once upon a time, Nevada’s ACLU fought fought for transparency when The Silver State’s schools were establishing their sex education lesson plans. Staci Pratt, Legal Director of the ACLU of Nevada, said at the time, “The days of back door decision making are over. Compliance with the open meetings law is meant to secure the opportunity of parents, students, and community members to have a meaningful impact on the development of policy. We are all well served when decisions on the appointment of sex education advisory committee members is subject to public scrutiny, rather than the result of the presentation of a narrow range of interests.” The ACLU of Kentucky used records requests to uncover curriculum plans in all of Kentucky’s 173 school districts, seeking to find evidence of religious instruction:
The ACLU-KY sent requests to all of Kentucky’s 173 school districts seeking policies and curriculum for “Bible Literacy” courses. While most districts are not offering these courses, the ACLU-KY found many of the courses that are being offered do not fall within constitutional strictures, which require any use of religious text in the classroom to be secular, objective, nondevotional, and must not promote any specific religious view.
The investigation uncovered public school teachers using the Bible to impart religious life lessons (Barren, McCracken, and Letcher Counties), use of online Sunday School lessons and worksheets for course source material and assignments (Letcher and Wayne Counties), and rote memorization of Biblical text (McCracken County) — practices which fall far short of academic and objective study of the Bible and its historical context or literary value.
But that was baaad indoctrination, you see. Teaching Critical Race Theory-ish interpretations of American history that tar whites as intrinsically racist, blacks as handicapped by intransigent systemic racism, and, as a special bonus, that a person is whatever gender they decide to be are all good indoctrination, and if overly conservative, contrarian or controlling parents are inclined to interfere, well, the ACLU holds that schools are justified in making sure the Neanderthals don’t find out what’s being taught.
I blame Darwin for all of this—well, Darwin and the lack of integrity in the ACLU. The Theory of Evolution was viewed by some rigid religious sects as hostile to a literal reading of the Bible, and families in those sects did not approve of their children being taught that their parents were wrong and their religion was bunk. Thus laws were passed to ban the teaching of Darwin’s theories (which are more than theories, forming the basis of a large portion of modern science). Those laws couldn’t stand constitutional scrutiny, but the alternative religious argument, so-called “intelligent design,” was problematically declared a taboo topic in public schools, which cannot, it has been decided, “promote religion.” Darwin himself mused about intelligent design, wondering, in one famous example, how natural selection could explain the Venus Flytrap. But the Courts ruled that such subversive ideas weren’t allowed in the classroom.
However, there is a crucial distinction between teaching science as it is understood at a given time and teaching political and social theories involving race and gender. There is no reason for the public schools to be teaching about race and gender at all, except regarding historical events and legal principles. Opinions and theories regarding the influence of race and gender on American society are beyond the expertise of public school teachers to explore, and beyond the maturity of 1-12 grade students to assess. If a school or a teacher proposes to venture into such metaphorical landmine littered grounds, parents certainly have the right to be fully aware of what will be taught. They should also have a veto.
The ACLU’s tweet is a clarion call for the government to decide what America’s children should think as determined by the government’s agents. The education establishment’s obsession with race and gender propaganda should be chilled, if students’ parents choose to chill it. The ACLU is now on the side that embraces government indoctrination in areas previously reserved for responsible parenting.
That means that it is the ACLU is name only. At this point, the U.S. has no guardian of its civil liberties, at least no trustworthy one.