When KIPP charter schools announced in July, 2020, that they were dropping their long-revered slogan for kids, “Work Hard; Be Nice” because the motto “ignores the significant effort required to dismantle systemic racism, places value on being compliant and submissive, [and] supports the illusion of meritocracy…” did you think it might just be a short-term PR stunt? That it hadn’t signaled any actual change in the schools? So did I.
My name is Matt Moss, I’m a 48-year old father in East Los Angeles. I’ve lived here for the past 18 years with my girlfriend and 13-year-old daughter. My girlfriend is a long time California native, teacher and Latina. I came to California years ago at age 20 to pursue my dreams of being a rock star. I never imagined I would be getting so involved in my daughter’s schooling, but here we are.
My daughter went to a traditional public school here locally in East L.A. for kindergarten. It was a decent experience, nothing unusual for little kids as far as education goes. She’d already learned 300 sight words, so they suggested she skip to the first grade. They called me in and asked me if I thought she was ready to advance. Long story short, they listened to my kid, instead of me, the parent. I told her mother, and she agreed we would try to find a different elementary school.
We heard that the KIPP public charter schools were opening a new school in East L.A., due to the success of previous KIPP schools in the area. These schools receive state funding, federal grants and private donations. They are not unionized, and admissions are usually handled via a lottery system. But since this school would be new, and I was the fourth person signing up — we were in. I was so excited. I was even asked by the principal to testify in court so we could obtain property from the LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District). I was the last to testify; it was all recorded, and we got a unanimous vote to approve the sale. Everyone was excited.
My daughter’s fourth-grade year is when I started noticing politics creeping into the curriculum. It was all left-wing, one-sided, and biased. For example, the fourth-grade teacher started showing CNN Student News, (now called CNN 10), which consistently presented subjective opinions as facts. I complained, asking that they show both sides or nothing at all. (I would’ve preferred the latter.) One day in her fourth-grade class, they had a mock election between Trump and Hillary. Everyone voted for Hillary. My daughter said she felt bullied into voting for someone she didn’t like. She was afraid. As her father, this broke my heart. Every year since then, I’ve had to call the office, talk to the principal, and call out teachers — all about left-wing political ideology integrated into lessons.
Fast forward to now…. 2020. It is my daughter’s last year as a middle school student. Since COVID has us all in lockdown in L.A., the school system decided to do online, or distance learning. We are not an online school, so of course, there will be some challenges in getting everyone connected. The school has been great giving out Chromebooks and mobile hot spots to less fortunate students. Nice. Everything was going fine until all of the fourth day.
It was a Thursday, August 20th, 2020…8:30am, and they began with an “Advisory Class.” This is where they started pumping “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) material to the kids. My daughter took a screenshot of everything. I went in and saw a flier on her screen, telling kids how to get involved in BLM. Keep in mind, we have no black students — it’s a 95% Mexican, mostly Catholic population, most of whom also respect the nuclear family. BLM’s website clearly describes the nuclear family as an institution that needs to be disrupted. I didn’t think that would go over too well in East L.A., so I made a video exposing what they’re teaching in California schools on Twitter. It went viral. There were more than 500k views on Twitter in a week. I got nothing but positive support from parents around the country. What’s even scarier is the CTA (California Teachers Association union) has said they denounce “all lives matter” and endorse Black Lives Matter.
The new curriculum teaches my daughter and her friends to feel like any successes they earn through hard work would not only be divisive and hurtful to certain students who don’t put in the same effort — but that their accomplishments would represent some kind of proof of racial persecution. What gets me is that no parents voted or approved this; it was inserted quietly, and the results may be exactly what was intended. Many students are now depressed after having absorbed this zero-sum arithmetic that their achievements will simply be seen as further evidence of vile privilege.
Ironically, our principal is a white, Irish lady. I asked if she believes in the BLM curriculum, which calls out white privilege and white supremacy. If so, then she should resign. After all, she has the highest paying job and highest position, but hasn’t quite gotten around to applying such shame to herself.
Since this is a charter school, people have asked why not just pull your kid from the school? Why stay? Simple. If I leave, they’ll never hear the other side. They say they’re for diversity, I think me being here provides that. I have to say, I know so many parents, and I’ve never had a problem with anyone. They are all good people. I also told the principal that I would provide the alternate argument for free. I’m not the type to give up.
In short, parent power doesn’t have to just mean walk away. It can also mean advocate for what’s right.
What do I want to accomplish with all this? Simply for the parents to be informed about what their children are learning. Now, it’s being pumped right into our homes via the internet in lessons for junior leftists. I should be able to refuse any curriculum that promotes racism (like BLM), hatred of your country or fellow man. It does not benefit these kids. Our children belong to us; not the state. Not the education cartel. Not even a charter school. Our future depends on it.