Days before the Fourth of July, the famed KIPP charter schools announced they’d be abandoning their longtime slogan: “Work Hard, Be Nice.” In a statement, KIPP’s leaders said they were dumping the decades-old slogan because “Working hard and being nice is not going to dismantle systemic racism.”
KIPP lamented that the mantra encourages students to be “compliant and submissive” and “supports the illusion of meritocracy.” The missive closed by declaring that the slogan was at odds with KIPP’s goal: “Schools that are actively anti-racist.”
Slogans change from time to time—that in itself is fairly unremarkable. But KIPP’s stated reasoning puzzled many. “I have interviewed hundreds of teachers, students and staffers at KIPP since 2001,” wrote education columnist Jay Matthews at the Washington Post. “This is the first time I have heard any of them criticize the slogan.” Indeed, one might question why a four-word mantra should be burdened with having to “dismantle systemic racism” or how the nation’s largest charter school network decided working hard and being nice were at odds with its educational vision.
The answer lies with KIPP’s stated desire to be “actively anti-racist.” This summer, the tragic legacy of American racism came to the fore. This has created propitious, historic opportunities to confront real societal challenges. Yet “anti-racism,” for all its high-minded claims and surface appeal, proves to be, on close examination, a farrago of reductive dogmatism, coercion, and anti-intellectual zealotry that’s remarkably unconcerned with either improving schooling or ameliorating prejudice.
But the calls are coming from within the house! Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will grant interviews only to ‘Black or Brown journalists,’ local reporters say.
Chicago’s last Republican mayor left office in 1931.
DEMOCRATS ARE BECOMING THE PARTY OF WALL STREET, SILICON VALLEY, AND THE GENTRY CLASS: Democrats lost ground with non-college voters of color in 2020.
h/t Glenn Reynolds