Campus Reform | EXCLUSIVE: OSU elementary education program is obsessed with race, oppression, queer sexuality

EXCLUSIVE: OSU elementary education program is obsessed with race, oppression, queer sexuality

Courses in Ohio State University’s Early Childhood Education program center around social justice and woke identity topics.

One assigned reading is titled 'Queer and trans-themed books for young readers' while one handout claims that 'Voter ID Fraud' in the United States is a 'myth.'

The Early Childhood Education program at Ohio State University includes several courses that focus on racism, oppression, sexuality and privilege. 

The OSU Bachelor of Science in Education, Primary Education (P-5) program requires students to take “Equity & Diversity in Education,” “Teaching & Learning of Social Studies Grades PreK-5,” “Language and Word Study for All Learners” and “Diverse Literature and Comprehension” as part of their degree plan.

Teaching & Learning of Social Studies Grades PreK-5

For example, Teaching & Learning of Social Studies Grades PreK-5 is described as an “[opportunity] to examine interesting and effective social studies content knowledge, cultural understandings, and pedagogies for the early childhood learner within global contexts.”

Campus Reform obtained copies of worksheets asking students to respond to “myths” about voting in the United States.

One worksheet proposed that “The U.S. Constitution guarantees every citizen the right to vote” is a myth. Another said that “Voter ID Fraud is a big problem in the United States” is a myth.

Campus Reform also obtained photos of slides shown in class. 


Learning for Justice, a digital project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, was used to teach students about social justice. 

Learning for Justice's stated mission is “to be a catalyst for racial justice in the South and beyond, working in partnership with communities to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements and advance the human rights of all people.”

[RELATED: Here are the colleges offering 'social justice' degrees]

The idea of “white saviorism” was also taught to students. According to the slide, white saviorism is “the idea that some schools and/or students need to be rescued and I will be the one doing the rescuing” and it “pertains to perceptions about non-White Others.” 

Another slide titled “Learning through Activism” advocates for the “development of academic skills for justice” because it “empowers children and families.” 

Equity & Diversity in Education 

The Equity & Diversity in Education course is described as a focus on “issues of diversity, equity, teacher beliefs, and multicultural education. Emphasis is placed on the roles of identity and lived experience and its influences on approaches to teaching and learning in educational settings.”

Robin DiAngelo's Is everyone really equal?: An introduction to key concepts in social justice education and Stamped: Racism, antiracism, and you: A remix of the national book award-winning Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi are required and recommended textbooks for the course, respectively.

Weekly topics in the course include “Race & Social Identities, Power, Privilege, & Oppression, Systemic Oppression, Intersectionality, Equity, Allyship, & Action, and Equity & Education.”

One of the assignments requires students to write a paper about “who they are and what they bring to our shared learning space.” Potential identities include “race, ethnicity, religion, class, ability, gender, language, [and] sexuality.”

[RELATED: UConn creates Minor in 'social justice community organizing']

Another assignment requires students to “pick a social identity, form of oppression, or related concept from a provided list. Then, students will identify a current event or issue that involves that concept” and “develop a proposed solution or intervention.”

Likewise, Is everyone really equal? assumes that the reader is enrolled in a course that takes a “critical stance.” 

“By critical stance we mean those academic fields (including social justice, critical pedagogy, multicultural education, antiracist, postcolonial, and feminist approaches) that operate from the perspective that knowledge is socially constructed and that education is a political project embedded within a network of social institutions that reproduce inequality,” the textbook states.

“Throughout your course, you will likely be studying key concepts such as socialization, oppression, privilege, and ideology and doing coursework that challenges your worldview by suggesting that you may not be as open-minded as you may have thought,” it reveals.

Language and Word Study for All Learners

The course description for Language and Word Study for All Learners states that the course is a  “detailed examination of the ways that oral and written languages work and how this supports development of English word reading and spelling skills for learners who are monolingual speakers of Standard English as well as those who speak other languages and varieties of English.”

In a reading for the course titled “Understanding the Diversity of Children’s Language and Literacy Practices,” the authors advocate for educators to discuss the issues of race with young children because “research has shown that as early as 6 months of age, young children start attributing emotions to race.” 

Key learning objectives for one week of the class includes “Define and provide examples of language ideologies, linguistic discrimination, and privilege,” “recognize and critically reflect o consciously and subconsciously held language ideologies,” and “articulate ways that privilege shapes language varieties and literacy practices that are valued in schools.”

Diverse Literature and Comprehension: Elem-Middle Grades 

The Diverse Literature and Comprehension: Elem-Middle Grades course “meets state requirements for understanding theory and methods linking the teachers' understanding of diverse literature with comprehension theory and practice and the related construction of literate environments.” 

Students are instructed to read an article titled “Queer and trans-themed books for young readers: a critical review.” 

The stated purpose of the article is to “consider how these texts, and others, may begin to form a pedagogy of possibility that is rooted in gender equity and social justice.” 

Additionally, students were assigned to read “Fear of the Other: Exploring the Ties between Gender, Sexuality, and Self-Censorship in the Classroom,” “Performing Gender in the Elementary Classroom” and “Books with LGBTQIAP+ Characters” 

[RELATED: University students will learn about ‘Queer Feelings’ & ‘activist skills’ this fall]

Students are also assigned a reading called “Silenced Memories: An Examination of the Sociocultural Knowledge on Race and Racial Violence in Official School Curriculum,” which argues that there is a “limited representation of racial violence” portrayed in “elementary level and middle school level social studies textbooks.” 

Robin DiAngelo’s “Calling in: Strategies for Cultivating Humility and Critical Thinking in Antiracism Education” is also assigned. 

“As educators who teach antiracism education, we seek to interrupt relations of racial inequity by enabling students to identify, name, and challenge the norms, patterns, traditions, structures, and institutions that hold racism and white supremacy in place,” the article states.

Teaching and Learning of Mathematics in Grades PreK-5  

Campus Reform obtained a copy of the syllabus for the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics in Grades PreK-5 course. In a section called “Professor Smucker’s Accountability to You,” the professor outlines questions students should use to “hold [her] and this course accountable for [their] education.” 

“Does my methods instruction address the racial and cultural mismatch of the largely white teacher population and increasingly non-white student population in the US?,” the syllabus reads. 

[RELATED: Math education prof: 2+2 = 4 'trope' 'reeks of white supremacy patriarchy']

“Are there ways my methods instruction contributes to the white supremacist capitalist patriarchy… or the white institutional space… of mathematics education? Even if I myself am neither white nor male?,” it continues. 

The description of an assignment titled “Digital Mathematics Teacher Stories” states that “we cannot begin to see ourselves as mathematics teachers until we confront the many intersecting identities.” 

Composing for Print + Digital Multimodal Texts 

The Composing for Print + Digital Multimodal Texts course assigns students an activity called “I feel bad I have this color now,” which requires students to watch a YouTube video of two elementary aged children and a teacher “talking about race.”

Additionally, students are assigned to read “Nice is Not Enough: Defining Caring for Students of Color,” which discusses how “we are all situated within a racially unequal structure that we often unwittingly perpetuate.” 

The text reads:

Teaching and Learning of Science in Grades PreK-3 

A reading titled “Grappling with racism as foundational practice of science teaching” is assigned in OSU’s Teaching and Learning of Science in Grades PreK-3 course.

“[Current science teacher education frameworks] do not substantively engage with how racism organizes science teaching and learning,” the textbook reads. 

[RELATED: OSU news outlet: 'Conservatives more susceptible to believing falsehoods']

Students were also instructed to “create a short picture book that creatively teaches a science concept and promotes equity/social justice.” 

“STEM, as a field, is notoriously disenfranchising for non-White, non-male students,” the assignment handout states. 

Literacy Methods

Another course, "Literacy Methods," requires students to read an article called “‘How Could You Let This Happen?’ Dealing with 2nd Graders and Rape Culture.” 

Additionally, students are to read “Opponents of Critical Race Theory Don’t Even Know What It Is. They just don’t want students to engage with the concept of racism” and “Black Boys in White Spaces.”

Ohio State University and the OSU Education department did not respond to Campus Reform’s requests for comment.