Woke Extremism in Education: Navigating the Challenges for Centrist Families

Woke ideology has crept its way from the political discourse to the classroom throughout the 21st century.

Its presence is changing the way our children think, believe, and what they know. Rather than teaching on the wrongs of discrimination, schools across the world have fallen foul of submitting to woke extremism.

This, tragically, has had real-life consequences, such as the case of Richard Bilkszto. A passionate teacher who had served the Toronto District School Board for more than 24 years was “beloved by thousands of students whose lives he uplifted” until he fell afoul of his employer in two Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) sessions in 2021.

The former principal was berated for his defense that Canada was a less racist place than the United States, with the presenter at the sessions making his comments as examples of white supremacy. Despite his career-long efforts to combat discrimination, Bilkszto was alienated by his former colleagues which forced him into sick leave.

Two years later, Bilkszto took his own life.

The Fraser Institute said his death was the result “when school boards place an inappropriate emphasis on race and gender identity and make it their mission to ensure everyone thinks the same way”. Bilkszto did not discriminate with his comments, but was treated as the enemy for providing an alternative point of view – the fundamental basis of woke extremism.

The year 2023 saw multiple instances of the insanity of cancel culture. In May, Northwestern University’s Associated Student Government used emergency legislation to defund the campus’ Republicans chapter following a speech by prominent author James Lindsay. In California, Democrats sought to introduce a bill which would have seen parents charged, fined, and possibly jailed for causing “substantial disorder” at school board meetings.

This mentality throughout North America impacts education for children. Even in their adolescent ages, children hold views on how the world should be run. When woke extremism infects the classroom, children are ostracized for holding an alternative point of view – an ironic contradiction of the woke extremist ‘commitment’ to diversity and inclusion.

For conservative parents, woke extremism in education can be a daunting battle. Although cancel culture is often reserved for celebrities, parents can feel as if their personal or professional reputation is at risk, forcing them into silence.

Given the woke ideology to enforce its views on those it does not directly contact, parents should avoid challenging policies in other schools. Instead, conservative mothers and fathers can influence policy at their local school board meetings, challenging and questioning woke extremism when it tries to enter the curriculum.

This can also apply to students. Through critical thinking, conservative students can raise questions about certain teachings by exploring alternative ideas to those presented in the classroom. Albeit daunting, critical thinking and outspokenness is a life skill which will benefit children, teenagers, and young adults in their future careers.

Woke extremism is a challenge for parents and students alike. However, the Constitution protects free speech, and one should never feel afraid to use the rights which protect them.

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