The Progressive Dystopia Of NEw York City Schools

Rod Dreher:

You have to read this long Atlantic piece by George Packer, in which he describes the disillusioning of him and his wife — good urban liberals — by the militant wokeness that overtook the New York City public schools that their children attended (and that their son still attends). The piece begins with Packer recounting the insane competition among the rich and connected to get their kids into private schools. The Packers ultimately opted out of that, and searched for a good progressive public school for their son (and later, their daughter).

They found an ethnically diverse one that satisfied them, though it was not without its challenges. All seemed relatively well. Until five years ago:

Around 2014, a new mood germinated in America—at first in a few places, among limited numbers of people, but growing with amazing rapidity and force, as new things tend to do today. It rose up toward the end of the Obama years, in part out of disillusionment with the early promise of his presidency—out of expectations raised and frustrated, especially among people under 30, which is how most revolutionary surges begin. This new mood was progressive but not hopeful. A few short years after the teachers at the private preschool had crafted Obama pendants with their 4-year-olds, hope was gone.

At the heart of the new progressivism was indignation, sometimes rage, about ongoing injustice against groups of Americans who had always been relegated to the outskirts of power and dignity. An incident—a police shooting of an unarmed black man; news reports of predatory sexual behavior by a Hollywood mogul; a pro quarterback who took to kneeling during the national anthem—would light a fire that would spread overnight and keep on burning because it was fed by anger at injustices deeper and older than the inflaming incident. Over time the new mood took on the substance and hard edges of a radically egalitarian ideology.