Schools are inviting in the Black Lives Matter (BLM) agenda, re-packaged in its pedagogical form, Black Lives Matter at School. Family Policy Institute of Washington Executive Director Mark Miloscia spoke with me about the shortcoming of Black Lives Matter and shared what he’s doing to fight for families.
According to Washington State’s Edmonds School District’s (ESD) website, they adopted BLM Month of Action initiatives that volunteers reading BLM aligned books to children, a student talent showcase, and seminars on Black Lives Matter for educators looking to learn more about the BLM Week of Action. There was also a film showing of the documentary “Major!” for seventh grade and up. “Major!” is about a Black transgendered woman and her life from working in the sex industry to being incarcerated to being an activist for transgender rights.
The “four demands” listed on the BLM in school website include “hiring more black teachers” and “mandating Black history and ethnic studies in K-12 curriculum.” While Black history is American history and should be taught, why mandate this? Let school leadership make curriculum decisions on their own without government intervention.
The BLM Month of Action is part of BLM’s growth as an organization and efforts to implement into schools. Coincidentally, at the same time, a handful of Critical Race Theory (CRT) related bills were being discussed and voted on in legislation.
Senate Bill (SB) 5044 concerning professional learning, equity, cultural competency, and dismantling institutional racism in the public school system for public early learning and K-12 education was passed with 30-19 vote on Jan. 27. Other bills that pertain to CRT in Washington State are SB 5194, “providing for equity and access in the community and technical colleges,” SB 5227, “requiring diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism training and assessments at institutions of higher education,” SB 5228, “addressing disproportionate health outcomes by building a foundation of equity in medical training,” and SB 5229, “concerning health equity continuing education for health care professionals.”
Regardless of the intention of each bill, they collectively represent the government once again seeking to overstep into the education system with these pages and pages of legislation, regulation, and mandates. Perhaps they’re laudable goals. Let individual districts, families, and teachers decide. Why force other school districts to conform if the stakeholders within different districts don’t see it fit for their community?
Mark Miloscia of Family Policy Institute of Washington
I had the chance to speak with Mark Miloscia, a former substitute school teacher and executive director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington (FPIW), an organization that studies policies to remediate homelessness, the welfare system, criminal justice, addiction, and education. I asked for his opinion on the implementation of BLM into schools and the new policies pertaining to CRT that are taking place in Washington State.
“We [FPIW] believe in policy making — saying you support Black Lives Matter accomplishes nothing,” stated Miloscia. “BLM points out real problems,” he added, validating the movement’s supporters’ views and desire to do something about it. “We would love to get into a policy conversation on what to do.”
One idea, in particular, that Miloscia mentioned is giving families’ school choice, which allows parents to have more educational choices for their children, to put them in schools that aren’t failing. Choice increases competition that would push schools to be better.
He also addressed the need for children to be taught, “virtues, personal responsibility and how to live a good life.” All of which can be greatly neglected in fragmented families. “70% of fatherlessness affects the Black community,” Miloscia continued, adding in that this is one of the biggest negative impacts on the community.
“FPIW supports the nuclear family as opposed to disrupting the nuclear family,” stated Miloscia, in reference and opposition to one of BLM’s self professed goals. Miloscia expressed his willingness to work with others to solve problems and collaborate to make a tangible difference. Perhaps these policies would accomplish more justice in our society than a few ideologically approved lesson plans.