If you’re a parent, you’ve probably heard of Andrew Gutmann. In April 2021, he was one of the very few who stood in the breach and did the unthinkable -- attacked his daughter’s private school. Prior to Gutmann, this was unheard of because of the frenzy parents went through to get their kids into a private school as the public school system is broken. He sent letters, we’re talking snail mail, to 656 families blasting Brearley’s dereliction of duty. He accused the school of “brainwash[ing]” kids with woke ideology and indoctrinating the student body, teaching them what to think and not how to think for themselves.
Eloquent and alarming, Gutmann’s letter went viral. He didn’t just put Brearley on notice, blaming its “cowardly and appalling lack of leadership [for] appeasing an anti-intellectual, illiberal mob”, he upended how parents regard the New York City private school institution. His letter broke the dam, helped to spark a national conversation, and this set off a chain of events that caused some of the exposed private schools in New York City to pivot.
One father confirmed what so many other parents suspected; schools were no longer safe or focused on core curriculum.
Since Gutmann came forward, other elite New York City private schools have been exposed; principals have been fired, “teachers” placed on leave, and class syllabuses leaked.
“Pornography Literacy: An intersectional focus on mainstream porn,” taught by Justine Ang Fonte, the director of Health & Wellness at elite prep school, Dalton, teaches the “‘three big male vulnerabilities’; statistics on the ‘orgasm gap’ showing straight women have far fewer orgasms with their partners than gay men or women; and photos of partially-nude women, some in bondage, to analyze ‘what is porn and what is art.’... One slide cited various porn genres such as ‘incest-themed,’ consensual or ‘vanilla,’ ‘barely legal,’ and ‘kink and BDSM’ (which included ‘waterboard electro’ torture porn as an example). As per the NY Post, “‘This is all part of an orthodoxy that has taken over schools across the country,’” [said] a spokesman for FAIR, the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism. “‘Millions of kids are being experimented on with a new curriculum that racializes and sexualizes young children, labels them by traits like skin color, gender or sexual orientation, and tells them the paths of their lives are determined by those traits.’” https://nypost.com/2021/05/22/columbia-prep-students-parents-reel-from-porn-literacy-class/
Fast forward to 2023. As per Education Week, since January 2021, 44 states have introduced bills or taken other measures to restrict teaching CRT (critical race theory) or limit how teachers can discuss racism and sexism. Eighteen states have banned CRT through legislation or other avenues.
The failure of woke, Marxist ideologies, seeking to create chaos by fomenting racism and promoting sexual exploitation of children is quantifiable. New York City public school students are in the bottom half of the nation for reading and writing. 65% of all U.S. fourth graders scored “below proficient,” which means that they are not reading at grade level. Depression amongst youths has spiked. The HHS (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) reports significant increases in the number of children diagnosed with mental health conditions. The study finds that between 2016 and 2020, the number of children ages 3-17 years diagnosed with anxiety grew by 29%.
Gutmann says, “In the private school world, we’re in a worse situation [than before the agenda was unveiled to the public, between June 2020 and April 2021]. Independent schools have done three things. First, they’re hiding much better what they are doing. We used to get weekly DEI (diversity equity inclusion) emails; now they’ve stopped things like that. Parents think the schools must have gotten the message and pulled back. But they’ve doubled down and are hiding it much much better from the parents. Second, they’ve absolutely terrified parents from speaking out, threatening to kick families out of school. Enrollment contracts are much more draconian; kids can be expelled for any reason, which has had a silencing effect on parents speaking out as I did. Third, a lot of parents, like myself, have left. The very few that were willing to fight the schools have moved.”
Gutmann explains, private schools are not beholden to the shareholders, the parents, who keep tony institutions afloat. “They’ve a line out the door of people willing to pay $60,000 a year per student and give generous donations in order to secure a spot. Private schools don’t care if families leave; they want those critiquing the agenda to go, creating openings for those that will go along with anything to attend. I know of cases where trustees or very wealthy families have promised to write seven figure checks but because they’ve been vocal, the school says, ‘bye-bye’, others will fill this role. They don’t want the parents involved.”
Gutmann says he “takes issue with people like Elon Musk calling this a ‘mind virus.’ Woke is not a ‘mind virus’, woke is an institutional virus that has infected almost every institution of America. It’s a very deliberate effort by Marxists that know, if you want to take over society, you take over the culture. How do you take over the culture - take over the education system.”
So what can parents do that haven’t yet fled to one of the states that have banned the hostile takeover of our children? There’s no easy answer. Gutmann acknowledges homeschooling is a full-time job for at least one parent. Relocation isn’t an option for many. Public schools are Federalized, prioritizing Marxism.
Gutmann recommends, “Fight as much as you can”, though he recognizes the uphill battle. “Cancel culture makes it very difficult, especially for parents with children enrolled in prestigious private schools because the risk of getting fired from a high powered job is real. Until we solve the cancel culture issue, we’re not going to solve the woke issue.”
Gutmann notes the first thing parents must do is educate themselves on what certain terms mean, like CRT, DEI, and SEL, their derivation, and how these terms are manipulated by the educational complex. “Schools use language that means something very different from the actual intent and definition. Now we know that SEL (social emotional learning) is a gateway to indoctrination.” Parents must engage with their children and explain what is going on inside the schools and present a compelling counter argument to complex issues. “This, too, is not easy; parents don’t really understand what’s going on”, says Gutmann. Imagine the position a parent is in having to explain to his or her kindergartener that “cream pies”, “anal sex”, and “butt plugs” taught in porn literacy class is wildly inappropriate and really only useful if going into sex work, applying to an ivy league university, or the Federal branch of government.
Gutmann says that girls are especially susceptible to woke ideology, specifically once they get to middle school. “Boys don’t buy into the woke stuff as easily. It goes in one ear and out the other.” Parents should pay careful attention to the sex education curriculum. Find out at which grade it’s introduced and ask for a syllabus. Stay vigilant regarding how your child uses pronouns to describe him or herself as well as others. Regarding CRT, Gutmann mentions the term “privilege blocks”, a tool educators use to demonize whites, victimize blacks, and sideline Asians. “Look out for changes in your children, changes in their attitude. Are they coming home and talking about oppression and white privilege?”
You can find out more from Adam Gutmann at https://speakupforeducation.org/about-me/