Monday, May 31, 2021

Et Tu, Andover?


Welcome Instapundit Readers!

Our nation's most storied and elite schools are increasingly becoming a parody of themselves. What was once a completely proper effort to broaden horizons and become more inclusive has turned into a self-parodying fetish. Our schools are now full fledged participants in the drive to dismantle Western culture. 

Lots of people say to me, surely the pendulum will swing back. People are waking up, right?

Think again.

Sometimes, when pendulums swing too far and they become wrecking balls. There's nothing left to salvage. 

Someone reached out to me about the board chair of one of the schools I've been writing about recently, telling me she's a "perfectly lovely person." I'm sure she is, most of them are, but "perfectly lovely people" are presiding over the collapse of our culture.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, as they say.

Andover, possibly the most prominent secondary school in the country, is fully onboard the woke/CRT/anti-racism train. Their board backs the move entirely, as does the administration and presumably the teachers. Many of the kids do, too, but they're kids and they are only behaving the way Andover says they should.

It's child abuse.

Not all the alumni and parents are happy, though. I know this because some have reached out to me.

For starters, the board wrote the following to the Andover community (my comments in bold):

To the Andover Community:

On behalf of the Phillips Academy Board of Trustees, we acknowledge that this is a profoundly painful time in our country, marked by a series of tragic acts of violence against George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and countless other Black people in the United States. For those who are hurting, please accept our heartfelt compassion and support. In the face of widespread anger and chaos, we stand together in solidarity for what is right and just.

Breonna Taylor? The police were being shot at by her drug-dealing boyfriend. Tony McDade? Body cams show he was pointing a gun at the police, and he was a murder suspect. A grand jury fully cleared the officers. Ahmaud Arbery? Racism, although the police had nothing to do with it. George Floyd? Horrible, but very swift justice has been served - and zero evidence was ever presented that this had anything to do with racism. 

The fact is that the data do not support the narrative of the police out hunting unarmed young black people. Most think that thousands are shot every year, when the actual number last year was nineteen. More unarmed whites were shot than that. This is in the context of 10 million arrests.

We reaffirm Andover’s commitment to educate youth from every quarter, and in doing so, preparing students to combat systemic racism in our institutions and our country.

Racism exists in this country, absolutely, although it is far less prevalent than it used to be. But "systemic" racism? Absolutely not. Read this to understand why. We are a better country than that. But Andover is eager to join the parade of self-loathing.

Across generations of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents—of myriad races, cultures, and identities—we have gathered over these recent days to grieve, to express outrage and frustration, and to support one another. We have heard and read painful personal experiences shared in virtual gatherings and social media.

To the Black members of our community and beyond: We see you; we hear you; we are suffering with you. We acknowledge that Black Lives Matter and support the movement.

When you capitalize "Black Lives Matter," you are not making a generic statement supporting blacks. You are citing a specific movement run by a specific organization, one that is avowedly Marxist and wants to tear down the entire fabric and history of our country, right down to the nuclear family. This is not hyperbole, this is from their own statements and actions.

Our 2014 Strategic Plan, Connecting Our Strengths, placed Equity and Inclusion as a central pillar upon which we remain accountable. We must re-examine that pillar, with new context, and ask how Andover can have the greatest impact in the ongoing battle to dismantle systems of racism and oppression.

Andover is the most liberal, diverse place imaginable. It is run by progressives for progressives. If they are racist, it's progressives that are responsible. But consider that whites comprise a mere 29.6% of the students, despite being 76% of the U.S. population. Andover's "2021 State of the Academy" offers such demographic options such as "genderqueer," and 49% of the female students identify as one of the following: bisexual, demisexual, homosexual, pansexual, queer, or questioning. 72% are feminists. For good measure, 2.6% identify as communists. 

The headmaster is a black, married gay man and a school parent. The Dean of Students is a married gay woman with four kids who have attended. If a boy wanted to go to class every day in drag, I am assured there would be no objection. There are plenty of fully-out gay kids at Andover and I'm also assured by students that no one makes anything of it. And yet, Andover still feels the need to imagine itself as being part of the systemically racist/misogynist/homophobic American fabric. 

Andover is proud of its intentional diversity, and while we have made efforts to create an equitable and inclusive community, we know there is more we can and must do. Guided by the Equity and Inclusion Committee of the Board of Trustees and working closely with school leadership, including incoming Head of School Dr. Raynard Kington, Andover will take the following actions:

The concept of "equity," which very specifically means equal results, is completely at odds with the ideas of meritocracy and excellence, which are things I imagine Andover also claims to care about. (To understand fully what equity means, read this.)

  1. 1.  Reaffirm the Board of Trustees’ commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I). This will include re-examining the board’s efforts to enhance its own diversity and make changes where necessary, increasing efforts to embrace equity and inclusion in all board endeavors, requiring anti-racism education for all trustees, and extending the charter of the Committee on Equity and Inclusion.
  2.      Will the white board members resign to protest their own presence? 
  3. 2.  Dedicate a task force to establish Andover’s strategic focus on anti-racism. The task force will review recently collected data and feedback from students and campus adults; critically examine current practices, systems, and structures; and analyze results to determine what actions Andover must take to build upon its broad and deep work in equity and inclusion. The task force’s formal charge and membership will be considered by Dr. Kington after his arrival this summer. We seek a report, with recommendations, in the fall.
  4.      Words matter. "Anti-racism" does not mean "not being racist." Anti-racism is the practical application of Critical Race Theory, which very specifically says that the only solution for "systemic" racism is to institute a wide-ranging system of reverse racism (against whites, if you haven't been following along).
  5.      Assess and deepen the intellectual pursuits of the 2014 Strategic Plan pillar of Equity and Inclusion. Andover will take measure of academic and co-curricular programs, including Empathy, Balance, and Inclusion courses to expand its commitment to anti-racist education. We will build on efforts of the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies to embed inquiry of race and ethnicity within the core curriculum.
  6.      This is the part where the entire curriculum gets politicized by DEI consultants like Pollyanna.
  7.      Expand Community and Multicultural Development (CAMD) initiatives, including support for affinity groups that underpin identity development and affirm students of color. Continue CAMD’s justice series, which examines anti-black and white supremacist ideologies in the criminal justice system, economic and educational institutions, and voter disenfranchisement.
  8.       So, if your kid is spending half the day studying "white supremacy" and "voter disenfranchisement," what is getting crowded out? Shakespeare? Calculus?
  9.      (The points go on. Trust me, more of the same. I'm truncating this part in the name of brevity.)

We will continue to hear one another and expand upon what we’ve learned from the scholars and educators who have engaged with our campus community. We are especially inspired today by the ideas and work of Patrisse Cullors and Ibram Kendi and the perspective of author Robin DiAngelo.

Cullors is an avowed Marxist who has somehow enriched herself since starting BLM, buying millions in real estate. She is resigning over the controversy. Kendi says that anytime blacks aren't 13% of an outcome, there is by definition systemic racism. No allowance for other factors like culture, personal choices, random chance, or anything else. Your company doesn't have 13% blacks? Racist. Your town comes up a bit short? Racist. He believes the only solution is reverse racism. Martin Luther King be damned. DeAngelo is a big CRT advocate who wrote White Fragility, pioneering the convenient intellectual mousetrap that white people who object to CRT are themselves, ipso facto, racist.

Charting a way forward is the responsibility of every one of us—and needs the strong minds and generous hearts of our campus community and our extended family of alumni and parents. This work is especially crucial for our students, who will apply what they’ve learned on and off campus across a spectrum of urgent societal needs.

Andover has made deep and meaningful progress to date. In these challenging times, Andover must stretch itself in the pursuit of excellence and its mission of achieving knowledge for a greater good.

Again, you cannot pursue excellence and achieve equity at the same time. They are mutually exclusive.

Sincerely,

Amy Falls ’82, P’19, ’21
President-elect, Board of Trustees

Gary Lee ’74
Chair, Trustee Committee on Equity and Inclusion

Jim Ventre ’79
Interim Head of School

Brainwashing Works


The students also seem on board with all this, other than the closeted conservatives (95.2% of whom say they self-censor). Just recently, four members of the girls lacrosse team resigned as a "direct response to the racism, homophobia, and classism upheld by both the lacrosse program and Andover athletics."


They called for students to dress in all black to express their solidarity with all those athletes who have felt "othered."


As day follows night, the Andover administration put out a statement of solidarity.


I don't blame these girls, which is why I'm not naming them. They are perfectly distilled products of their environment, utterly convinced of the presence of racism in the very air we breathe. If they didn't arrive at Andover that way, Andover made sure they got that way.


As a generation of these students graduates from Andover and other institutions, it will be interesting to see how many choose to give back to schools that told them they were hopelessly racist.


Of note: it was only before the last game of the year that these girls decided to make their statement, having otherwise enjoyed a full season. Presumably the racial makeup of the team was the same for the first dozen games.


Alums and parents: STOP FUNDING THIS!


As always, I will finish with the names of the Perfectly Lovely People, otherwise known as the Andover board. These are the people who could stop this blatant divisiveness, but instead choose to promote it.


Amy Falls ’82, P’19, P’21
Charter Trustee
President, Board of Trustees

New York, NY

Chris Auguste ’76, P’09, ’12
Charter Trustee
New York, NY

Joseph Bae ’90, P’21, 23
Charter Trustee
Hong Kong

Gil Caffray ’71, P20
Charter Trustee
Greenwich, CT

Robert J. Campbell ’66
Charter Trustee
Rockport, ME

David Corkins ’84
Charter Trustee
Denver, CO

Patricia Doykos ’82, P15
Alumni Trustee
Titusville, NJ

Louis G. Elson ’80, P12, 15, 17
Charter Trustee
London, England

Dr. Keith Flaherty ’89, P’23
Charter Trustee

Cambridge, MA

Stefan Kaluzny ’84
Charter Trustee
New York, NY

Dr. Raynard Kington P’24
Head of School
Andover, MA

Dan Lasman ’73, P’06
Alumni Trustee
Boston, MA

Chien Lee ’71
Charter Trustee
Hong Kong

Gary Lee ’74
Charter Trustee
Tulsa, OK

Chris Leggett ’78
Alumni Trustee
Duluth, GA

Tristin Batchelder Mannion ’82, P’19
Charter Trustee
Boston, MA

Stephen Matloff ’91
Alumni Trustee
Alumni Council President
Los Angeles, CA

Tammy Snyder Murphy ’83, P’15, 17, 19
Charter Trustee
New Jersey

Tamara Elliott Rogers AA ’70
Charter Trustee
Cambridge, MA

Karen Humphries Sallick ’83, P14, 17
Alumni Trustee
Westport, CT

William Tong ’91, P24
Alumni Trustee
Stamford, CT

Yichen Zhang ’82, P’18, ’20
Charter Trustee
Hong Kong

Eric Zinterhofer ’89, P’18, ’19
Charter Trustee
New York, NY


31 comments:

  1. Will the endowments eventually dry up? How long can scholarships for these young people be sustained when donations stop flowing from pampered malcontents?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why would they dry up? There are all too many rich progressive alumni who are totally on board with all of this and stand ready to put their money where their mouths are.

      Delete
  2. "The drive to dismantle Western culture" hahaha OK dude. This is so unbelievably pathetic.

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    Replies
    1. That's exactly what is going on in the country, dude. Nothing ha ha ha about it, what are you, 14 years old? Recommend you do some reading - yes, read - instead of listening to CNN talking points.

      Delete
    2. If Western Culture can be threatened so easily and dismantled by a few left wing activists, then that's truly pathetic. Also, I have no idea what CNN has to do with any of this. You people really aren't the brightest, I know.

      Delete
    3. If Western Culture can be threatened so easily and dismantled by a few left wing activists, then that's truly pathetic. Also, I have no idea what CNN has to do with any of this. You people really aren't the brightest, I know.

      Let's hear some substantive arguments from you, not ad homs and shizzy debater's parries 'ere you go about impugning the intelligence of others.

      Delete
    4. "...hahaha OK dude." Anonymous June 1, 2021 at 7:25 a.m. - really appreciate the insightful, intellectually rigorous and erudite comment you posted! Your rebuttal to Mr. Johnston's thesis is, well, what? Or, as is most likely the case, you are simply an intellectual midget know-nothing.

      Delete
    5. This is the best that anonymous can do, eh.

      Delete
  3. You're the saddest person I know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One of the smartest people I know, and has his finger right on the pulse of what should be extremely scary for anyone who cares about America. I can't comprehend how anyone could read what Andover is doing and come up with a response other than "WTAF is this???". Please point out where Mr. Johnston is wrong, because from where I sit, he's 100% right and I'm grateful he is paying attention.

      Delete
    2. Not getting you your job back, Mr. Best. You're 55 years old and unemployed. Get used to it.

      Delete
    3. For the record, I rarely comment on my own posts, and when I do, I use my name.

      -Scott

      Delete
    4. You'll notice that someone under an 'anonymous' handle has posted six antagonistic comments, all of them drive-by insults. You're getting an education in who initiates and maintains these programs aside from the usual drones: arrested development cases.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous June 1, 2021 at 6 :49 AM - I have a recommendation for you - my advice is that you should try to move out of your Mother's basement and even get a full time job. If I were you, I would set a goal of taking these actions no later than December 31, 2022.

      Delete
  4. Sooooo, dating a woman at Andover is NOT a good idea, I take it.

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    Replies
    1. There are no women at Andover, they are children, because it's a HIGH SCHOOL, and the fact that you all are so obsessed with this is beyond creepy.

      Delete
    2. No, you're stalking the moderator and offering no substantive arguments is what's creepy.

      Delete
  5. Again,< 1% of the youth population attends fancy boarding schools and the value-added incorporated into their specific pedagogy is dubious. If the alumni and parents aren't going to demand they remain academically and morally serious places, scroom. It's sad to see antique institutions go, but if they're not enriching the common life, we're better off without them.

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  6. George Floyd? Horrible, but very swift justice has been served - and zero evidence was ever presented that this had anything to do with racism.

    What's horrible is that an innocent police officer is going to prison for a long time for 'kllling' a man who died of a self-administered dose of fentanyl.

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  7. The headmaster is a black, married gay man and a school parent. The Dean of Students is a married gay woman with four kids who have attended.

    Both of whom are engaged in socially-sanctioned aggression against others. Again, you run a risk with certain sorts of people and you'd best not hire them unless they satisfactorily answer some hard questions in an interview. That's what interviews are for. It shouldn't be that difficult to screen out people who are not focused on the schools supposed mission, which is teaching academic subjects.

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  8. My hubby was a third generation Andover grad in the 1960s. His grandfather and father proudly went before him. There was no discussion then about where to go to school. It was off to Andover, and he went happily. Loved his four years. Still has great friends from those days. Got a fantastic education. And until last year, he gave $ annually. Never missed giving once since his graduation. Now he’s done. Andover is nothing to him now. No more money. When he read this post, he was simultaneously angry and sad.

    Our children didn’t choose Andover but the boarding schools they did attend are now equally woke. The bulletins from each school could have been written by one person. All the same malarkey. Social Justice.

    Make it stop.

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    Replies
    1. I'm sorry that you're so upset about your snotty boarding school letting the Blacks in. And the fact that you even donated money to these places says a lot about you. God forbid little Hunter and Muffy have to attend a public school with "those people." Cry harder

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    2. sounds like you are well familiar with Andover's long involvement with founding of "A Better Chance," "Institute for Recruitment of Teachers," and other organizations. As well, it was first and only secondary school with needs-blind admission (with 47% receiving financial aid). What people should "cry harder" about it Library's completely one-sided reading list re racism and "defunding police," etc. Along with "mock election" last November showing 88% of faculty voting for Pres. Biden, is there now "diversity" beyond a "CRT/woke" message? And would such dissent be even tolerated?

      Delete
    3. I'm sorry that you're so upset about your snotty boarding school letting the Blacks in. And the fact that you even donated money to these places says a lot about you. God forbid little Hunter and Muffy have to attend a public school with "those people." Cry harder

      The snotty boarding school in question almost certainly had black students 50 years ago. What they did not have was people pretending indoctrination into their grift / loopy religious cult constituted an academic education.

      Sorry you're too vulgar to actually provide that sort of education, which is the only thing which would justify the inflated salary you're paid. If your school cared about it's institutional mission, you'd be out the door and a real teacher would be hired to replace you.

      Delete
    4. https://phillipian.net/2004/05/23/a-look-at-integration-at-phillips-academy/

      The first black student at Andover graduated in 1865. The black teacher mentioned in the article was born in 1940 and died in 2013. He was on the faculty of Andover from 1985 to 2004.

      Delete
  9. "So, if your kid is spending half the day studying "white supremacy" and "voter disenfranchisement," what is getting crowded out? Shakespeare? Calculus?"

    13 months ago I would have thought that it would be impossible for schools to eliminate Shakespeare and calculus. But just a few weeks ago, Princeton eliminated the study of Greek and Latin from the requirements of a degree in Classics, even while adding to its Classics program a "race and identity track": https://paw.princeton.edu/article/curriculum-changed-add-flexibility-race-and-identity-track

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what you get when the board is composed of unserious people. Were it composed of serious people, the classics faculty would be informed that their department was shut down, and, as the school doesn't teach classics anymore, they're redundant and thus (see provision in faculty handbook) no longer employed.

      Delete
  10. "Sometimes, when pendulums swing too far and they become wrecking balls. There's nothing left to salvage."

    Good metaphor. To which I would add that sometimes the pendulums take 30-50 years to make a complete circuit.

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  11. The only saving grace I can see is that a number of those trustees are from Hong Kong. Exporting this belief system to our main geopolitical foe might be our only chance.

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  12. You want Gucci. You got Gucci.

    ReplyDelete