By Jonathon Van Maren
In the October edition of The Atlantic, there is a fascinating and revealing long-form essay by George Packer titled “When the Culture War Comes for the Kids.” Packer, who appears to be an old-school liberal with a few progressive sympathies, writes about his family’s decision to remove his son from an elite private school and send him to a public school in New York City, where he will be exposed to more diversity and give the family a chance to participate in a community. For the first several years, he writes, they were happy with their choice—until, around 2014, the school community began to be seized by wokeness.
The first sign of this was the school’s attempt to do away with traditional grading systems as well as test-taking. Test-taking, the parents were told, was too stressful for children and often discriminatory towards minority students (the racism of low expectations present in this surge of sympathy, as always, went unnoticed). Soon, the staff were actively discouraging parents from permitting their children to take tests, and there was enormous pressure to get with the new political program.