Academic calls out colleges of education for prioritizing 'woke' activism

Dr. Lindsey Burke argued in a Wall Street Journal opinion article that education programs do not prepare teachers to educate.

School districts are beginning to ask more questions relating to race and equity during teacher job interviews, a special report by Education Week found.

Colleges of education are conditioning future teachers to become instructors of woke activism rather than teachers who know how to teach, according to a recent opinion letter published in the Wall Street Journal.

Dr. Lindsey Burke, a director at the Center for Education Policy at The Heritage Foundation, wrote in her letter that teacher certification programs actually "push aspiring teachers into colleges of education that are captive to the Marxist tenets of critical theory."

These colleges of education "lectur[e] about postcolonial theory, queer theory...and intersectionality, rather than foundational pedagogical concepts, lesson-plan design and classroom management," Burke added.

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Campus Reform reached out to The Heritage Foundation for comment. Adam Kissel, a Visiting Fellow for Higher Education Reform, responded: 

“Education schools have adopted a social justice mission of transforming society instead of the traditional academic mission of preparing young people for the society they will actually enter.” 

"The Educational Testing Service and the College Board found that education majors tend to have among the lowest SAT scores and IQs," he continued. "That may be a reason education schools focus on complaints about society instead of traditional pedagogy and content.”

School districts are beginning to ask more questions relating to race and equity during teacher job interviews, a special report by Education Week found.

Karen Rice-Harris of the American Association of School Personnel Administrators (AASPA) stated that, “Ultimately, when we’re looking for people to serve our students, my key questions are: Can you teach these students, even if they don’t look like you, [even if] you’re not familiar with their culture? How are you going to teach them as if they were your child, your cousin, your brother, your sister?”

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2020 study by Sage Journal said that, regardless of teaching methods or school curricula, teachers both implicitly and explicitly perpetuate racism in educational institutions. 

“In conclusion, we have found that teachers’ bias levels are quite similar to those of the larger population,” the study’s concluding paragraph stated. “These findings challenge the notion that teachers might be uniquely equipped to instill positive racial attitudes in children or bring about racial justice, instead indicating that teachers need just as much support in contending with their biases as the population at large.”

When asked how conservative students can counter wokeness in the classroom, Kissel told Campus Reform that “[c]onservative students can learn more than their woke peers in woke universities because they have many more opportunities to challenge and be challenged by others.”

“All students should vigorously research their positions using high-quality sources, admit they could be wrong, and develop their skills in reading, observing, memorizing, thinking, analysis, synthesis, writing, speaking, persuading, conversation, and peer critique,” said Kissel. 

Campus Reform contacted every mentioned university, organization, and individual. This article will be updated accordingly. 


Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article misattributed a quotation to Lindsey Burke. This article has been updated with the correct passage