Pushing aside a lesson on the Indian Removal Act, teacher-activist Caneisha Mills, who teaches eighth grade social studies at a public school in Washington D.C., chose to further her own agenda by forcing students to criticize the President, the U.S. government, and what she calls “racist capitalism.”
Of course, the Zinn Education Project, who never fails to turn any situation into a piece of anti-capitalist propaganda, is promoting this lesson to over 100,000 teachers who follow them. In what is set up to look like an inquiry question, the lesson titled “Who’s to Blame? A People’s Tribunal on the Coronavirus Pandemic” is nothing more than another attempt to “abolish” capitalism. With Mills’ selection of materials for investigation, the title of the lesson is not representative of the aim, which is to ensure her students will be socialists even if it means having to lie to them.
Though she tries to act unbiased and as if this were a true inquiry, her own contradiction speaks for itself. “The important thing I want to emphasize here is that the aim of the lesson is not for students to arrive at some predetermined “correct” verdict. What is essential is that students grapple with making explanations for profound social injustice.” This is also interesting because as students were reluctant to blame capitalism, Ms. Mills kept finding this an issue within the lesson and took steps to correct her students’ thoughts.
The following quotes show how true Mills stayed to her claim that she was not pushing an agenda on her students:
“I wanted to open the virtual doors of communication and knowledge and point out that the capitalist system was behind the pain, trauma, isolation and destitution they were facing.”
“I as an educator let my students take the lead in the fight against a racist capitalist system that harms us all.”
The lesson is set up as a tribunal with defendants: Mother Nature, Gen Z/millennials, the Healthcare Industry, Racism, the Chinese Government, the U.S. Government, and the Capitalist System. Students were told that each defendant was charged with murder.
Her students did have one concern: they needed more information on capitalism so they could attack it in order to do well on the assignment. Mills provided them with only the most reliable sources, of course, including quotations from Michael Moore’s film Capitalism: A Love Story, and a piece from the 1619 Project by Matthew Desmond titled “American Capitalism is Brutal.” Laughably, Mills suggests reviewing outside sources used by students for credibility.
Surprisingly, students deemed the U.S. Government guilty due to their responsibility in “[spreading] the virus,” and not taking seriously the abundant warning signs so generously given to the world from China. Xenophobia and racism also came up, which is interesting because that’s what they accused President Trump of when he took actions to prevent widespread infection in the United States, but that information is of course left out.
The lesson resulted in this: “My students agreed that you could not put a system in prison, and they had trouble making the capitalist system and the U.S. government separate entities. They wanted to put Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and all members of the federal government in jail. Or they wanted to ask more questions about capitalism and how to change it. They recalled ideals from the Declaration of Independence: If a government is corrupt, the people have the right to alter or abolish it. But they wanted to know how.”
Mills wished she could have kept this lesson going. “Like most teachers, I was nervous about what would happen if I continued to 100 percent not follow the curriculum. So, after a day and half I moved on, which in hindsight was a mistake.” Don’t worry Ms. Mills, we’re sure every lesson you teach will still attack capitalism and bring about a socialist revolution, no need to dwell on your exploitation of coronavirus.