An Asia Society effort – advised by several Chinese Communist Party-linked individuals – has partnered with schools across the U.S. to shape curricula and teaching faculty to become consistent with a “social justice” approach to education that encourages “teaching activism” in favor of left-wing causes such as “equity,” “globalism,” and “unraveling systemic racism.”
The group’s Center For Global Education outlines its mission as “transforming education to build a more just and equal society” and partners with schools and school districts throughout the U.S. to do so. The center is expected to reach 4,000,000 students and 100,000 educators through various partnerships including dictating curricula and establishing schools alongside the Department of Education in states such as Ohio and Colorado.
Serving on the center’s board, however, are several Chinese Communist Party apparatchiks. The co-chair of the effort, Yu Lizhong, is the former president of two Chinese Communist Party-run universities and has held leadership roles at several state-run groups:
Dr. Yu was the vice chairman of Chinese Geography Association. He is the chairman of Geographic Education Commission of Chinese Education Society, chairman of Shanghai Science Promotion Committee for Youth, and senior adviser of Shanghai Association of Science and Technology.
Advisors also include former President of state-run Shanghai Normal University, a former President of the Clinton Foundation, and former Director at Chinese the military proxy, China Mobile.
The map below demonstrates the coast-to-coast reach of the program, which arose out of a 2015 agreement between Asia Society President and CEO Josette Sheeran and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova. “Welcoming the agreement, the Director-General stressed the heightened relevance of global citizenship education for countering violent extremism and promoting human rights, respect for diversity and a sense of solidarity and shared responsibility towards the future,” a press release summarized.
One case study highlighted by the group reveals a high school math teacher introducing “discussions of social justice issues in her algebra classes”:
“Rachel Fruin, a high school math teacher in Naperville, Illinois, in the United States uses newspaper stories as the starting point for brief math-informed discussions of social justice issues in her algebra classes.”
The document also reveals how this ideology has even permeated the hiring process for teachers, as Denver Center for International Studies (DCIS) principal Vanessa Acevedo admits to hiring people who are “committed to social justice and equity”:
“In hiring teachers, Acevedo looks for candidates who have had experiences with other cultures, such as people who have served in the Peace Corps, or who have traveled extensively. “My hope is that, if you come to DCIS, you will have some passion about learning about the world, or are an avid traveler,” she says, adding that she also looks for people who understand how to teach in culturally responsive ways and who are committed to social justice and equity.”
Among the recommend “educator resources” are classroom exercises that have students craft a social media campaign aimed at “unraveling systemic racism in schools” and infographics that articulate “the challenges of xenophobia.” Another resource calls for “teacher activism” in the classroom, urging teachers to “suggest students write essays, blogs, pen letters to editors, and other types of advocacy”:
“There is a tendency to shy away from “teaching activism” in the classroom, due to beliefs that activism is too radical for a space like a school. The ultimate goal of developing global competence, though, is to grow students who can take action to improve their world. Educators should address the importance of disruptive protests to social movements throughout history, such as the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and ’60s. Help students navigate the complexity of viewpoints on organizing tactics, talking through the utility and potential consequences of differing approaches. As a possible resource, The Chicago History Museum has developed a lesson plan around protest in American history.
For example, what are the pros and cons of staging a counter-protest at a political rally for a politician who has been vocally anti-immigrant? Perhaps even help students understand what is involved in planning an action like this this, ensuring students are aware of the legal requirements (e.g., permits, types of allowed speech), and how to deal with counter-protestors, including safety issues in light of the recent violence against protestors at Donald Trump rallies.”
Teachers also inform students how to “critically examine issues such as poverty, trade, migration, inequality, environmental justice, conflict, cultural differences, and stereotypes” – even North Korea.
An Asia Society-recommended resource instructs teachers on how to get students to “look beyond the stereotypes” of the communist country:
“North Korea is the country everyone loves to hate. Be it their leader’s idiosyncratic behavior or their insistence on making and testing nuclear weapons, media and political leaders alike focus on the strangeness of North Korea and eagerly perpetuate superficial stereotypes about the country and its people. But by using the tools of global competence as a starting point, you can empower your students to consider North Korea beyond the stereotypes and gain a better understanding of the country.”
Other initiatives sponsored by the Asia Society include the “Education for Equity” initiative which seeks to develop “materials for teachers, parents and youth themselves that enable all students to understand and act on racism as an interpersonal and structural malignancy.” Another initiative – “Teaching Truth To Power” – “looks at the root causes of systemic racism in public education, identifies exactly what it looks like, and empowers parents and educators to do something about it.”
In addition to influencing curricula, the Asia Society is actively involved with the formation of new schools as part of its International Studies Schools Network (ISSN), which boasts about teaching students the “language of globalism”:
“Six years ago, we didn’t have anything,” Sharpstown International Principal Chang Yu says. Faced with a failing school, the Houston Independent School District asked Asia Society to help start a new small school, Sharpstown International School, in the same neighborhood. The idea was to use proven reform efforts to make unsuccessful schools successful. Chang adds, without prompting or hesitation: “Without the Asia Society we wouldn’t be here.” […]
It’s not that the meat and potatoes — reading, writing and arithmetic — are neglected; in fact, students’ performances on standardized tests have risen sharply. What’s different at Sharpstown is that the words “world”, “Asia,” and “global” are in the air, painted flags decorate hallway floors, and students are fluent not only in Mandarin, say, but in what you might call the language of globalism.
The Asia Society’s subversion of American classrooms with “social justice” teaching tactics and globalist ideology follows The National Pulse unearthing the organization’s ties to the Chinese Communist Party’s controversial Confucius Institutes and their K-12 counterparts, Confucius Classrooms.
These initiatives have been described by Chinese government officials as “an important part of China’s overseas propaganda set-up” – along with intellectual property theft and espionage per the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ).