Hannah Gal

James Lindsay:our kids’ education has been stolen

James Lindsay. Image by Gage Skidmore

“Woke is Marxism evolved to take on the West” warns a defiant James Lindsay, “our kids’ education has been stolen from them.”

James Lindsay’s The Marxification of Education:Paulo Freire’s Critical Marxism and the Theft of Education, is a wake up call to the West. Astoundingly knowledgeable and brutally frank, the New Discourses founder bravely pulls back the veil on Marxist praxis in education over the last five decades. What he reveals is troubling to the core. 

“Our children aren’t learning as they should be” explains Lindsay, “this much is clear, their mastery of Reading, Writing, Science, Math and History has declined to crisis levels, while their social activism is at an all time high – they are learning to  become activists for Marxist left-wing causes, to turn their backs on their society, nation, and even on their parents.”

According to Lindsay, instead of core knowledge subjects that will set them up for life, their curriculum is loaded with Social Emotional Learning, Critical Race Theory, Cultural Competence, Queer Theory, Radical Gender Theory, Decolonisation, and even drag queens.  

“This is happening because the children’s education has been stolen from them”, argues Lindsay, “for nearly five decades, activists have been transforming education into Neo-Marxist thought reform, following the work of a Brazilian Marxist educator by the name of Paulo Freire – our kids go to Paulo Freire’s schools.”

Hardly anyone knows who Paulo Freire is but his impact on schools, society and even Western civilisation is of immense, even pivotal significance. The Marxist educator’s theory of education (critical pedagogy, as it came to be called), has been adopted by Western schools, shifting education from the mastery of core knowledge as preparation for adult life, to political activism. It was Freire’s belief that “true education is political education.” Following his teachings, schools first “waken an awareness in the children that there’s a political undercurrent to everything, they then show the children why the political content of their own lives is problematic and filled with injustices, the next step is making it personal to the children, in order to activate and radicalise them – this is a cult initiation.”

Social activists masquerading as teachers

“Parents need to know that they are being deceived by schools’ ‘normal’ appearance” stresses Lindsay, “the outside has been purposely kept in tact, so that when parents look in, what they see is a normal lesson taking place, the reality however is starkly different, if they could look closely, they will see that Freire’s ‘generative themes’ are being practiced on the children, meaning that any given topic is turned into a political discussion. They need to know that in the classroom, a blatant political lens is used to interpret the entire world – that’s ideological grooming, and it should be intolerable.”

I talk to James Lindsay about his bid to inform parents and society of the ‘real reality’ of Western education, why he titled his book The Theft of Education, how Paulo Freire’s teachings came to take over Western schools, why Freire’s ‘democratic classroom’ is a devastatingly bad idea and why we must fight back.

HG You have explained how Freire’s ‘generative themes’ are used to hijack lessons. You gave a shocking real life example showing this robbery in action.

JL Yes, this is an actual example from a real state of Indiana teacher training. They teach the teachers to make the curriculum political, so that unless you were in the classroom witnessing it happening, you would never know this took place. Teachers lean how to transform a mundane mathematics word problem at the second grade level, into a plethora of political conversations – the question is simple, Johnny is riding in the car with his mom and dad on the way to an amusement park, the amusement park is 50 miles away and they have traveled 30 miles so far, how far do they have to go? Clearly, a subtraction problem of 50-30, but teachers are instructed to lead children to issues through questions so they ask: ‘how many of you have ever been to an amusement park?’ So now you’re going to talk about the content of the question itself, you’ve diverted from math. Some of the kids will raise their hand and some will not, in the United States second grade is seven years old so that’s at the age where some kids will have gone and some kids will have not, in other words, it’s tailored to a room where you’re pretty certain there’s going to be some division, some difference that you can play upon.

The teachers are taught to follow up with the question: ‘why is it that some kids get to go and other kids don’t?’ And they are instructed to continue to ask until a ‘useful’ answer arises for example, if one says ‘not everybody can afford it’, the door is now open to say: ‘not everybody can afford it, wouldn’t it be more fair if some kids had the government pay for it? What do you think we could do to make it so everybody could go to the amusement park so that it would be more fair?’.  Then the kids of course volunteer that rich people should pay for it or it should be free, or the government should do it – you have a successful intervention about socialism with something that might be a real part of their lives what Freire would call a generative theme.

But it doesn’t end there – a child might say that his parents won’t let me go ‘they said I’m not old enough’, and now you can argue about whether their parents should be able to make that decision, or maybe fairer if the school made those decisions instead of the parents, so now you talk about Mom and Dad: do all families look like that? And you have a conversation about feminism, sex, sexuality, gender and even the car  – environmental concerns.

If the initial question about amusement parks brought up a racial disparity in who raised their hands, you ask: ‘why does it look like the kids who are white have been and the kids who are are not white have not been? What do you think is going on?’ And now, you can have a conversation about critical race theory.

The teacher who relayed this example to me told me that at the end of about a few months of this training, they could have turned any academic material that you can possibly imagine into an excuse to have these political conversations.

Importantly, you’ll notice that at no point while you’re having your conversation about Socialism, or feminism, or critical race theory or environmentalism, or parental authority, or any of these other topics, you ever actually learn to solve the math problem. You end up with politically engaged, radicalised and brainwashed students, who don’t know how to do math – large numbers of our children are politically active, they want to protest but less than a third of them can read at grade level, or maybe less than 40 percent, I forget the exact number but in some districts it’s under 20, and sometimes even under 10 percent can read or do mathematics at grade level, and that’s indicative of what I said before that that’s a theft of their education – their education has been stolen from them. They kept the school and classroom facade, but the core knowledge content is all taken away – they are not just indoctrinated, they are brainwashed.

James Lindsay, Right, with Charlie Kirk. Photo by Gage Skidmore

HG Why did you choose the word theft?

JL I called it The Theft of Education following Freire’s idea is that you don’t use the educational material itself to educate, you use it as an opportunity to have so called engaging conversations – political conversations framed to get children to understand the realities of their lives from a Marxist perspective. It replaces education with brainwashing and radicalisation, but cunningly maintaining the outer form of education – this is full on Marxist indoctrination masquerading as education, so if any parent looks in, they see the children doing math, science, reading and history lessons, but those lessons are in fact being corrupted to do political indoctrination.

HG Freire’s disturbing Democratic Classroom states that the teacher is equal to the children, that the teacher is not an authority figure. Surely, ‘no adult in the classroom’ is a recipe for chaos.

JL It’s not possible to give enough criticisms of the so-called Democratic Classroom. Freire believes that the teacher and the students should be as equals, that they are both learning from one another, that the teacher’s role is actually to take information from the students and facilitate it toward political understanding. But of course, children need boundaries to operate within, they need direction, adult guidance and protection. The Democratic Classroom turns everything on its head so now the children are leading the lessons and the teacher learns from the students, literally replacing the teacher with a Pied Piper – it’s very confusing, very chaotic. 

But there’s another aspect – Democratic Classroom means you’re supposed to hear the voices of everybody and pay special attention to the least represented, make sure that their voice is equally represented, so what you always have to do is, whoever is complaining of not being heard, is elevated. So what you end up with is this morass where the lived experience of oppression bubbles to the surface, what you end up with is this whole psychological and social infrastructure that elevates the story of the oppressed victim, to the top of everything.

HG Has the UN adopted Freire’s preachings?

JL Yes, the United Nations is pushing it, the UNESCO website talks about Freire frequently, the UN has partnered with the other organisation that Freire worked with through the entirety of the 1970s while he was exiled from South America, The World Council of churches. Freire worked there for a decade he actually came up with most of the material that became The Politics of Education while working for them in Geneva, so this has been a partnership long in the making, there are other ties and partnerships as well, that has a lot to do with how it’s spread so vigorously through the West, especially once the United States and Canada took it up.

HG No structure or order – this is a jungle-like classroom. A denial of biology, evolution and children’s need for a reassuring guide – a relentless insistence on moulding reality to suit their vision.

JL What you are actually relaying here is that very clearly, the romantic philosophy is at odds with reality and human nature as well. One of Rousseau’s most famous remarks is men are born free but everywhere they are in chains, and the chains he described are actually the social strictures that we put on ourselves as civilised men. As a civilised man you have to be polite, reasonable, dress and act a certain way, so the strictures of society are like chains holding you down from who you could really be, so the romantic ideal is we’re going to break free of all of these chains and we’re going to live according to our own dictates and have this kind of broad expansive view.

Rousseau’s goal was to create this mixture of what he called savages made to live in cities, people who are as free as the savages but they get to live with the benefits of the city – this is what you see in this democratic classroom, this is why you came to instinctively compare it to a jungle – in the democratic classroom there is no order, hierarchy, structure or authority, what you end up with is this romantic idea that the uncontaminated child is living a more fully authentic life, a more sincere life. In fact, it’s a complete misunderstanding of what it means to be a person, society isn’t poisoning people’s minds and preventing them from being whoever they could possibly be, which is the Rousseauian romantic, ultimately gnostic belief. 

The reality is that these are little people who don’t know a lot of things yet, and don’t understand, and their brains aren’t fully developed yet, and they need a great deal of guidance to develop – it’s a complete misunderstanding of human nature, rooted in romanticism. Here, I would add that communism is a romantic idea, people don’t seem to understand that, it’s like the ugliest romantic concept, but it is a romantic idea that we’re ultimately perfectly social beings who can be liberated from the demands of a production economy, this is exactly a romantic idea, just really ugly and turned really violent to try to get what it wants – completely antithetical to human nature.

HG How did Freire’s pedagogy actually get into the classroom? how did it become the adopted method of teaching in the majority of U.S. schools?

JL This is mostly due to the effort of Henry Giroux,  a Canadian American scholar and social critic, who is an outright communist. In the 70’s he was doing all these innovative Progressive things in his Rhode Island classroom, but his principal was always objecting to it, and wouldn’t let him do it. Giroux got frustrated and was going to quit, somebody had given him a copy of Freire’s The Pedagogy of the Oppressed a couple weeks earlier. He reads the whole thing in one night has, an ecstatic experience, he is manic for days as he realises that he now has the solution, the Codex. He then went to colleges of education around North America, and got at least one hundred professors tenured – activists who relentlessly push the ideology and reject anyone objecting to it..with these ‘agents’ in place throughout the school system, when Paulo Freire’s next book came out in 1984, there were colleges of education with moles, literally inside, eagerly championing the book, the College of Education accepted it into its curriculum and it just kind of metastasises until it became a curriculum. They literally marched into the institutions, getting the right people into positions of administrative power, remember, you only need a few percent of these advocates in place, people who are pushing the ideology, and are absolutely intolerant of any objection to it, for the entire organisation to bend.

About the Author
Hannah’s credits include Quillette, The Critic, The SpectatorUS, UnHerd, Creative Review, The Guardian (Art&Design) and The Jerusalem Post among others. Hannah’s posts have been kindly retweeted and shared by Jordan Peterson, Douglas Murray, Warren Farrell, Sebastian Gorka, Will Knowland and Christina Hoff Sommers among others. Gal is a multi award winning documentary filmmaker.
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