Jonathan Small | August 23, 2021

OEA’s warped priorities evident in symposium

Jonathan Small

A growing number of parents, in Oklahoma and nationwide, worry that their local schools are increasingly focused on political indoctrination rather than teaching core academics. Those fears were validated by a recent symposium conducted by the Oklahoma Aspiring Educators Association, an affiliate of the Oklahoma Education Association, which is itself the state affiliate of the National Education Association.

During the “Racial and Social Justice Symposium” for college students who plan to become teachers, union presenters told attendees that police or school security “have always been brought into schools as a way to oppress, suppress, beat, and harm our black, indigenous, and students of color.”

They were told the main reason teachers request assistance from security is because they “interpret things through our own lens of whiteness.”

The fact that many teachers are white women was declared a problem that has “embedded this deep layer of implicit bias” in public schools. One presenter said teachers who don’t embrace “antiracism” need to “get out of the profession” because they “perpetuate white supremacy and inflict harm on students of color.” Another presenter labeled such teachers “enemies teaching our children.”

Those in attendance were informed that “white supremacy culture practices” include “objectivity” and that the “pillars of white fragility” include being “taught to see themselves as individuals rather than as part of a racially socializing group.”

Attendees were told one reason that “white people get defensive about the suggestion that they benefit from, or are complicit in, a racist system” is that they are under the “delusion that they are objective individuals.”

One slide declared that “only white people can be racist in our society, because only white people as a group have that power.”

Attendees were told that teachers’ primary focus is “not teaching content or subjects” and the “work in education is not curriculum.” Concerns about COVID-related learning loss were dismissed as “completely centered in whiteness.” One presenter even said it is “just white learning that’s been lost” while another said the “standards of achievement are inherently racist.”

Put simply, the teachers’ union thinks classrooms should not solely focus on helping children learn to read, do math, apply science, or prepare to become productive members of society as adults. Instead, the OEA focused on how to fracture society along racial lines in a children’s classroom based on evil theories.

Under our current education system, children are assigned schools (and ultimately teachers) based on geographic proximity, unless a family has the financial means to afford private school. The only way to keep the OEA and likeminded groups from turning classrooms into academic wastelands defined by racial “struggle sessions” is to allow tax dollars to follow the child and allow parents to send their children to any school, public or private.

School choice provides parents options and leverage. The OEA has shown what awaits if parents have neither.

Jonathan Small President

Jonathan Small


Jonathan Small, C.P.A., serves as President and joined the staff in December of 2010. Previously, Jonathan served as a budget analyst for the Oklahoma Office of State Finance, as a fiscal policy analyst and research analyst for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and as director of government affairs for the Oklahoma Insurance Department. Small’s work includes co-authoring “Economics 101” with Dr. Arthur Laffer and Dr. Wayne Winegarden, and his policy expertise has been referenced by The Oklahoman, the Tulsa World, National Review, the L.A. Times, The Hill, the Wall Street Journal and the Huffington Post. His weekly column “Free Market Friday” is published by the Journal Record and syndicated in 27 markets. A recipient of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s prestigious Private Sector Member of the Year award, Small is nationally recognized for his work to promote free markets, limited government and innovative public policy reforms. Jonathan holds a B.A. in Accounting from the University of Central Oklahoma and is a Certified Public Accountant.

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