Parents Sue PA School Districts Over New Woke, ‘Anti-Racist’ Guidelines

AP Photo/Jonathan Mattise

Sarah Arnold for Townhall
July 30, 2023

Parents, three school districts, teachers, and administrators are suing the Pennsylvania Department of Education over its new "woke" guidelines.

The parties filing the lawsuit argue that the new guidelines unconstitutionally force educators to teach socio-political beliefs unrelated to the state-approved academic standards.

Teachers will now have to "interrogate their biases and recognize inequality in schools and school systems," including "institutional racism," in the classroom.

Deputy secretary for the department's Office, Tanya Garcia, said the new standards would address the changing demographics of students who attend Pennsylvania's public schools.

State officials asked the CEO of the Philadelphia-based Center for Black Educator Development—Sharif El-Mekki—to help write the new standards. In a 69-page document, the group quotes fugitive cop killer Asatta Shakur, who was convicted of killing a New Jersey state trooper in 1973. The group bills Shakur — who escaped prison and was granted asylum by the Castro regime in 1979 — as a "civil rights activist." The document also talks about managing "the teacher-to-activist pipeline" so that teachers can encourage students to fight for "social justice."

"Many of the new teachers who come out of Pennsylvania's educator prep programs say that they are not prepared to teach anyone, but particularly not prepared to teach students from culturally diverse backgrounds," he said.

Additionally, the standards will include multilingual students who live in poverty or have "varying sexual orientations and gender identities" as potentially marginalized.

Thomas Breth, special counsel for the Thomas More Society and attorney for the plaintiffs, said, "This is the government saying, you will believe this, you will state that you believe this, or there will be consequences. I'm against that whether it's conservative, liberal, progressive, non-progressive."

The state Department of Education announced the new "culturally relevant" teacher training programs that will train educators in "anti-racist" ideology last year.

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