Lack of Attention Allowed Special Interests to Take Over Schools: Journalist Luke Rosiak

By Masooma Haq
Masooma Haq
Masooma Haq
Masooma Haq began reporting for The Epoch Times from Pakistan in 2008. She currently covers a variety of topics including U.S. government, culture, and entertainment.
and Jan Jekielek
Jan Jekielek
Jan Jekielek
Senior Editor
Jan Jekielek is a senior editor with The Epoch Times and host of the show, "American Thought Leaders." Jan’s career has spanned academia, media, and international human rights work. In 2009 he joined The Epoch Times full time and has served in a variety of roles, including as website chief editor. He is the producer of the award-winning Holocaust documentary film "Finding Manny."
April 13, 2022Updated: April 13, 2022

Investigative journalist and author of the book “Race To the Bottom: Uncovering the Secret Forces Destroying American Public Education,” said he started to notice a disturbing trend of special interest groups taking over the public schools to implement their radical agenda prior to the pandemic, which they only advanced further during the lockdowns.

“I basically saw that something was coming, that schools mattered, and that no one was paying attention to them. And because of that, special interests had really started colonizing these schools,” Rosiak told EpochTV’s American Thought Leaders program in a recent interview. “It was almost everywhere.”

Funders, teachers’ unions, and associations are working together to inculcate an extreme ideology in public schools in the name of “equity” or critical race theory (CRT), which was partially exposed when children were home during the pandemic.

“So, I mean, one of the most important concepts to understand is equity,” said Rosiak, they don’t call it CRT. “But almost every school district in the country is on record supporting equity, and equity is a very bad thing. It means equal outcomes by race.”

He likened the equity agenda to communism, saying, “that means forcing equal outcomes by either bringing the top performers down or by just rigging the stats.” The stated goal of communism is to eliminate any economic disparities, having everyone be equal, no matter the effort.

In the name of equity, during Barack Obama’s second presidential term, the Department of Justice sent a letter to every school district telling them they will “be investigated unless your discipline rates were the same for all races,” said Rosiak. As a consequence, discipline was severely limited, and learning in classrooms was impacted.

Epoch Times Photo
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, right, and President Barack Obama during an announcement in the State Dining Room of the White House to announce Holder was resigning, on Sept. 25, 2014. (Evan Vucci/AP Photo)

The 2014 DOJ letter states: “Regardless of the program adopted, federal law prohibits public school districts from discriminating in the administration of student discipline based on certain personal characteristics.”

“The Departments initiate investigations of student discipline policies and practices at particular schools based on complaints the Departments receive from students, parents, community members, and others about possible racial discrimination in student discipline,” the letter reads.

Rosiak has found that special interest groups running schools have installed equity departments, which have authority over all school policies, to ensure their equity agenda is advanced.

“But what they do is they implant the equity stuff above it all,” Rosiak said. Every decision from every department has to then be cleared by the equity department because of its impact on race, he said.

Two of those equity groups are called Policy Link and The Government Alliance on Race and Equity (“a national network of government working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all”), which are two nonprofits many school districts use.

Rosiak said that instead of implementing rigorous academic programs, district and teacher union heads are pushing for equity initiatives that lower the bar for students. Some of these actions include lower testing requirements or getting rid of certain types of tests altogether.

“So essentially, yeah, in pursuit of equity, they have stopped measuring things, they started cooking the books, they started orienting everything around the lowest common denominator,” said Rosiak.

“We’re not even trying to get them to be smart, because it’s better for the teachers to look like they’re succeeding, and that they’re not failing these kids, and they’re not creating these disparities.”

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Students leave Stuyvesant High School, one of the nine specialized public high schools in New York City, on March 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

He said New York City’s Stuyvesant High School is a school where standardized testing was required for merit-based entry and kids had to be skilled but because of pressure from racial equity activists, they stopped using the standardized test.

“And it (merit-based entry) was really a way to keep the elites from capturing the school. And the merit, was the great equalizer, and it brought this very rigorous school to the middle class and the working class,” said Rosiak. “Don’t use the exam to get into the math school, because asking kids to answer math questions is not a good way to determine whether they know math.”

Rosiak said all this effort is to make the schools look like they are not failing to teach, the one million students in New York, especially minority students. This is even more outrageous when you know that each student cost the NYC taxpayers, $29,000 per year.

“So why did they care so much? What happens to these 20,000 kids at the specialized schools? And the answer is because it’s the optics, when you look at Stuyvesant, what you see is sort of a big picture of how kids are doing in New York City as a whole.”

The equity framework being pushed by schools puts subjective truth above objective truth, said Rosiak.

“A society can’t function on some philosophical framework that rejects objectivity, but that’s what CRT does. It positions ‘lived experience’, which is just whatever you say it is, and how you feel. So that’s what ‘counter storytelling’ is.”

According to Columbia University Storytelling (page 142) Project Curriculum, “Counter stories are new stories that we deliberately construct to challenge the stock stories, build on and amplify resistance stories to interrupt the status quo and work for change.”

In counter story-telling, “subjectivity, preempts objectivity, but only if it furthers critical race theory. So, in other words, both of our feelings matter, but our feelings only matter if they serve the ends of CRT. And if your lived experience is something that doesn’t help advance the CRT takeover, then your lived experience doesn’t matter,” Rosiak added.

During the pandemic, school officials pushed through more of this agenda including, converting letter grades to standards-based assessments.

“And so, they have all these different schemes that they had always been wanting to do for like 10 years, and during coronavirus you see them, ramming them through all at once,” he said.

“We can’t do the tests, and therefore, we can’t have gifted and talented and magnet schools because there are no tests. We’re not going to do letter grades because a lot of kids are just being totally failed by remote learning.”

Wealthy Foundations Funding School Associations

“So, there are radical ideologues that have taken over all of the associations, and the groups that are doing that are basically the philanthropic foundations like the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Foundation, Kellogg Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation,” said Rosiak.

The foundations, work with the teacher’s associations to further the funders’ racist agenda and hide the fact that the teachers/schools are failing students, which Rosiak calls the “alliance of convenience”.

“When there is a jurisdiction that does these radical policies, the associations can then replicate it all over the country,” said Rosiak. “What they do is they say it’s best practices because another district has done it. But it doesn’t actually have to be effective.”

Rosiak said the evidence he has found, points to the fact that the wealthy elite class wants to preserve their status.

“So, it was basically social Darwinism…,” said Rosiak. “One of the things they may want to do is preserve the status quo of the elites at the top, and then this permanent black underclass, the best way to preserve a permanent black underclass is to completely refuse to educate them properly.”

An example Rosiak gives, of this ideology is schools labeling habits that help high achievers, as being a part of white supremacy.

“And so, when they say things like blacks can’t show up on time, or can’t be expected to get the right answer or worship of the written word, that’s a function of whiteness, like these are insane, racist ideas that are just saying blacks aren’t good enough. It’s horrible.”

These foundations have always given out money and propagated their ideas but more recently they have consolidated their efforts, Rosiak said.

Epoch Times Photo
Celeste Fiehler protests outside the Desert Sands Unified School District board meeting in La Quinta, Calif., on Oct. 5, 2021. (Courtesy Celeste Fiehler)

“I think of it as like a multi-headed monster, it brings together all the foundations and it actually serves as a vehicle through which they can all coordinate.”

He said one of these ventures is called the HUB project.

“And so, they do things like they run fake news, websites that purport to be like a local news source covering maybe your local school board election, but it’s really a completely contrived thing for the purposes of pushing these political ideas.”

Rosiak urges parents and any taxpayer who cares, to start going to school board meetings and questioning schools and hold these groups accountable for the poor and skewed education children are receiving.

“Because paying an average of $17,000 per student per year, which is what we pay, and getting an average of 36 percent literacy among 12th graders 24 percent proficiency in math, that’s a completely untenable reality. And once we realize it, something’s going to have to change.”