by UnHerd
Friday, 28
May 2021

Parent: Why I pulled my daughter out of antiracist school

Freddie Sayers spoke to Andrew Gutmann about his decision
by UnHerd

Brearley is one of the most prestigious private schools in America. Based in the Upper East side of Manhattan, where the children of plutocrats and power brokers attend, the $54,000 a year all-girls school ranks among the likes of Spence, Chapin and Groton.

It is also one of the most difficult schools to get into, but one parent made headlines by taking his daughter out. Writing an open letter, Mr Gutmann complained that the antiracist policies of Brearley were “misguided, divisive, counterproductive and cancerous” and attacked it for “insisting on the indoctrination of its students, and their families, to a single mindset, most reminiscent of the Chinese Cultural Revolution”.

In an interview with Freddie Sayers on LockdownTV, he explains why he had to take the “extreme” option and take his daughter out of school. Key quotes below:

On the antiracist ‘pledge’:
Firstly we had to sign a pledge at the beginning of this school year, which we refused to do. It was a community agreement saying that we would not only support these antiracism initiatives in the school, but we would help teach this at home.
- Andrew Gutmann, UnHerd

On the new school curriculum:

They’re also changing curriculums. For example, in English, of the five books in my daughter’s sixth grade curriculum that they normally have taught, only one remains. The one that remains is ‘The Odyssey’…

It’s not just racism, there’s a lot of age-inappropriate sexual content that a lot of parents are upset about. And this is starting as early as kindergarten. There are five and six year olds coming home and saying: “I feel guilty about the colour of my skin. Why are we so racist?” 

- Andrew Gutmann, UnHerd

On kindergarten teaching:

When my daughter was in kindergarten she had to do a self-portrait. She was told: “draw anything you want, draw your freckles, draw the hair of the whatever way you want to draw…The only thing that matters is getting your skin tone right”.
- Andrew Gutmann, UnHerd

Do parents know?

A lot of parents don’t realise this is happening. Now in Covid times where kids have been in school via Zoom or at home,  we overhear the stuff that our kids are learning and we were able to see it. Obviously, our daughter tells us some things that are going on too.
- Andrew Gutmann, UnHerd

How are parents responding?

The wealthier the family, the less likely they are to speak up because they feel they have more to lose…It is very hard for these people who are on the board of trustees to speak up against what’s going on, even if they are not in favour.
- Andrew Gutmann, UnHerd

On the reaction to his letter:

I received thousands of emails from parents, grandparents and teachers from all over the country. They are all telling the same stories of their kids coming home saying they are being taught to feel guilty for the colour of their skin. And that there’s some crazy stories out there — parents are desperate to know what to do about this.
- Andrew Gutmann, UnHerd

A resistance is forming:

We are up against a small minority of very progressive, illiberal, not very well0educated and frankly Marxist group that is pushing this…and they’re able to bully the rest of us into silence. Now there is a realisation that this is happening in schools in New York City and elsewhere…Absolutely there is beginning to be a resistance.
- Andrew Gutmann, UnHerd

On setting up his own school:

We are very much in the ideas stages… But it will be a secular classical education, which doesn’t really exist in New York City because a lot of what is called classical education tends to be religiously oriented. So this has to be based on the classics of the western civilisation type, with a much stronger focus in history and civics, which I think are the most important things that kids should learn.
- Andrew Gutmann, UnHerd

Join the discussion

  • Gutmann seems like he would have been fine with actual anti racist policies. But that isn’t what Brearley was implementing. Its policies were distinctly racist. Just calling them anti-racist when they were, in fact, the very opposite, is designed to squelch dissent against racist policies. Bravo to Mr Gutmann for standing up to them.

  • I never had a problem telling my son from a young age that his (London, state school) teachers could be wrong about stuff.

    It is a question of degree. To say that a teacher got a fact wrong or made a spelling mistake – fine.
    To say that a large number of the teachers in a school are constantly repeating wrong things on important matters, and their views on life in general are valueless, nay harmful – that is different.
    One memory my wife has was a primary school teacher telling her how lucky we were that the children in the school spoke lots of different languages – and of course, virtually daring my wife to disagree that there could be downsides to such a Tower of Babel. And that is just a minor example.

  • “teaching very young children that Jesus was non-binary and wore a dress”

    My guess is they will not go into explaining Mohammad wearing a dress as well, but keep him in his dishdasha. Purely to be culturally sensitive, and to avoid any inconvenient beheading.

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