Student at elite NYC private school rails against 'far-left faculty's political bias'

A student at an elite New York City private school accused a ‘far-left faculty’ of pushing their political biases on students and forcing the kids to censor themselves so as to not antagonize their teachers. 

Horace Mann senior Ryan Finlay blasted the $55,000-a-year academy in an op-ed piece in his school’s paper, claiming teachers were ‘vilifying’ conservative beliefs and putting pressure on students to conform to left-leaning ideology. 

‘Every classmate I know who is not progressive self-censors in class during discussions of current events and politics,’ Finlay wrote. 

‘At the end of the day, the impulse to self-censor is fueled by risk assessment: it is not worth jeopardizing academic success at HM [Horace Mann] in exchange for political expression.’  

Horace Mann senior Ryan Finlay wrote in his school paper that the school was allegedly forcing students to conform to far-left ideology

Horace Mann senior Ryan Finlay wrote in his school paper that the school was allegedly forcing students to conform to far-left ideology

The $55,000 private school, pictured, is based in the Bronx. Finally claimed teachers were 'vilifying' conservative beliefs and believed it was their duty to 'open students' eyes'

The $55,000 private school, pictured, is based in the Bronx. Finally claimed teachers were ‘vilifying’ conservative beliefs and believed it was their duty to ‘open students’ eyes’

In his op-ed piece, published last week, Finlay claimed the Bronx school fostered a learning environment that ‘is hostile to those who do not subscribe to progressive politics.’ 

Finlay said he spoke to a faculty member who told him teachers feel ‘obligated to open students’ eyes to the inequality that surrounds them,’ but when students speak out against these ideas, Finlay said they are ‘criticized for failing to recognize the lived experiences of others.’ 

‘Students who agree with these arguments have the school’s unspoken authorization to attack opposing ideas on the grounds of righteousness,’ Finlay wrote. 

‘This training in moral protectionism begins early, as I recently heard one student explain: “I remember being introduced to the equity versus equality diagram back in the Middle Division. Teachers made clear that their was a right system and a wrong system.”‘ 

Finlay also claimed that at least thirty-percent of the school is at odds with the school’s alleged politics. 

‘Many non-progressive students at HM are terrified by the ambiguity of an administration that preaches independent thought but permits and encourages attacks on it,’ he wrote. 

‘As far as many students are concerned, the administration has practically endorsed cancel culture through its silence on the phenomenon. 

‘Currently, students’ conclusion is: watch yourself and censor yourself; you are not protected.’

Horace Mann administrators did not reply to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.

Finlay claimed that about a third of the student body opposes the politics in the school but don't speak up because they're of the consequences

Finlay claimed that about a third of the student body opposes the politics in the school but don’t speak up because they’re of the consequences 

Golden Girl Betty White was a lead in the school play at the Bronx school

Wayward writer Jack Kerouac, who wrote 'On the Road' went to Horace Mann

Golden Girl Betty White (left) was a lead in the school play at the Bronx school, which was also attended by famed writer Jack Kerouac (right)

Horace Mann boasts many famous alumni, including ‘On the Road’ writer Jack Kerouac and ‘Golden Girl’ Betty White, as well as disgraced New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer. 

This is not the first time the private school has been slammed for ‘wokeness,’ as many criticized it for threatening to expel students who dismissed its masking mandate last December. 

In an email to parents, Horace Mann in the Bronx said: ‘There will be no debating whether a prompt was once, twice, or thrice, if you need to be told to wear your mask appropriately, you spend two days at home, and if it occurs a second time you are telling me that HM is not the school for you.’

The email was sent following a spate of controversies last year among the city’s elite private schools as parents criticized the institutions for trying to spread woke ideology on race.  

At the Heschel School, in the Upper West Side, parent Harvey Goldman said he pulled his daughter out of the $43,000-per-year academy after learning that the fourth-grader was being tutored on her ‘white privilege’.  

‘First and foremost, neither I, nor my child, have ‘white privilege,’ nor do we need to apologize for it,’ Goldman wrote in a letter to the school that was made public in April 2021. ‘Suggesting I do is insulting. Suggesting to my nine-year-old child she does is child abuse, not education.’

At Riverdale Country School, in the Bronx, parent Bion Bartning was also so upset with the ideologies being taught there that he pulled his children out of the $54,000-a-year school. 

Harvey Goldman

Bion Bartning

Harvey Goldman and Bion Bartning both pulled their children out of elite New York private schools after learning that they were being taught about their ‘white privilege’

Goldman said he pulled his daughter out of the $43,000-per-year Heschel School (above) and moved the family to Florida to enroll in a free public school

Goldman said he pulled his daughter out of the $43,000-per-year Heschel School (above) and moved the family to Florida to enroll in a free public school

Riverdale Country School parent Bion Bartning was so upset with the ideologies being taught there that he pulled his children out of the $54,000-a-year school (above)

Riverdale Country School parent Bion Bartning was so upset with the ideologies being taught there that he pulled his children out of the $54,000-a-year school (above)

Bartning then went a step further, founding the Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR) to fight back against what he calls a dangerous new ‘orthodoxy’.

Bartning, who is Mexican and Yaqui on one side and Jewish on the other, said he was shocked to learn that schoolchildren are being forced to label themselves as privileged or oppressed by skin color.

‘I don’t fit into any of those race buckets,’ Bartning told the Post. ‘I think it is wrong to be teaching kids these socially constructed race categories.’ 

‘It’s a destructive ideology, teaching children to be pessimistic and full of grievance rather than being optimistic and full of gratitude. It goes against all the values I was raised with, and there are many out there who feel as I do,’ he said.

Bartning said he had even encountered instances of children being given color palettes to match with their skin tone to assess their level of privilege. 

Paul Rossi, a math teacher at Grace Church High School in Manhattan's NoHo neighborhood, publicly blasted his employer in a public blog post on Tuesday

George P. Davison, the head of the Grace Church High School in Manhattan

George P. Davison (right) the head of the Grace Church High School in Manhattan, sent a letter to parents and staff saying he was ‘disappointed’ math teacher Paul Rossi (left) had publicly blasted the private school in a blog post

Grace Church High School is a $57,000-a-year private school whose famous alumni include actor David Duchovny and New York Times columnist David Brooks

Grace Church High School is a $57,000-a-year private school whose famous alumni include actor David Duchovny and New York Times columnist David Brooks

Last April also saw Grace Church School teacher Paul Rossi ousted from the classroom after he accused the $57,000-a-year school of indoctrinating students. 

Topher Nichols, the school spokesman, told DailyMail.com that Rossi was ‘relieved of his teaching duties,’ because ‘numerous students requested to be removed from his class because of his unprofessional conduct and because he demeaned them in the press.’ 

It came after Rossi came forward because he could no longer stay silent while ‘witnessing the harmful impact’ that anti-racism instruction has on children.

He claim headteacher, George P. Davison, privately agreed the school is ‘demonizing white people for being born’. That accusation came in response to a letter by Davison said to have been shared with staff. 

That note from Davison is said to have read: ‘You should know that Paul has declined his contract so will not be returning in the fall.

‘The wellbeing of our community is our first priority, and we take it seriously whenever students raise concerns about the professionalism of a teacher. 

‘It is clear to me that Paul cannot be effective as a teacher at Grace any more. I have informed him that he is relieved of his teaching duties, and we’ve asked two support teachers to take over his math classes for the final quarter.

‘He has been asked to not come into the building without prior coordination.’ 

KEY SECTIONS OF SENIOR RYAN FINLAY’S OP-ED PIECE SPEAKING OUT AGAINST ‘POLITICAL BIAS’ AT HORACE MANN SCHOOL 

‘Here is the problem: HM [Horace Mann], like so many other academic institutions today, fosters a learning environment that I believe is hostile to those who do not subscribe to progressive politics. This includes not just conservatives but also centrists and moderates on the left. As a result, our school has developed a political bubble in which the majority of the views expressed in classrooms are far to the left of the mainstream views of both the American public and the actual political average of the student community. A fantasy is built for progressive members of the student body, making them believe that their most radical opinions are far closer to the mainstream than is actually the case. 

‘I recently spoke with a faculty member about the school’s political bias. This faculty member made the case to me that many teachers feel obligated to open students’ eyes to the inequality that surrounds them, as though taking off the horse blinders that supposedly plague children of economic privilege. Something is clearly being lost in translation. The result is a continuous pressure in the classroom to embrace visions of wholesale societal reform. Time and time again, when students attempt to contradict these ideas, they are criticized for failing to recognize the lived experiences of others, as if the lived experiences of their own families are irrelevant. At the end of my conversation with this faculty member, they estimated that perhaps ten percent of the student body is at odds with the politics of the school. I disagree; after four years and hundreds of conversations out of earshot from teachers, I propose a figure closer to thirty or forty percent, a sizeable portion of the student body, one composed not simply of white males of privilege as some might claim, but rather a diverse collection of students from different ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. 

‘When issues of politics or social reform are raised in classroom discussions, there is a certain approach HM students are accustomed to expect from the faculty. While the specific strategies depend on the context and the individual issue, there is a common reliance, in the majority of cases, on preaching right versus wrong. 

‘A perfect example would be the equality versus equity comparison. Every junior and senior is well acquainted with this cartoon graphic; the school makes sure of it in Seminar on Identity. For those who are not familiar with it, spectators of different heights watch a baseball game from behind a fence. On one side, labeled ‘Equality,’ each spectator stands on a box of similar size. As a result, only the tallest can see the game. On the other side, labeled ‘Equity,’ the shorter spectators are supplied with appropriately sized boxes so that everyone can watch the game from an equal vantage point. As the tallest spectator can see over the fence without a box, they receive none. Everyone is exposed to the graphic at some point during their HM education and told to recognize the inherent superiority of the equity model. In other words, equity is taught as a moral imperative.

‘The gravity of the graphic’s message is easy to miss. When it’s displayed to students, the struggle between the two choices is made cartoonishly simple, literally. The choice of equity seems so plainly obvious that if you argue for equality, it appears as if you are an elitist who doesn’t want people without certain resources to enjoy their lives. There is never any dynamic discussion on the real effects of either choice. Equality and equity are philosophies on access, but the real pros and cons of choosing one over the other, details which are decidedly complex and unable to be reduced to childish cartoons, are practically ignored. When the principle of the sports game is applied to the real world, it proposes either a rejection of meritocracy, or a denial that it exists in the first place. This approach gets students bogged down in a false impression of simplicity, leading to such conclusions on meritocracy that frequently include: the system is broken, unable to be reformed, rotten to the core, and deserving of demolition.

Students who agree with these arguments have the school’s unspoken authorization to attack opposing ideas on the grounds of righteousness. This training in moral protectionism begins early, as I recently heard one student explain: ‘I remember being introduced to the equity versus equality diagram back in the Middle Division. Teachers made clear that there was a right system and a wrong system.’ 

Signs of indoctrination manifest across campus. More concerning, though, is that some of the students seem comforted by it and rely on their teachers to feed them opinions. I once heard a classmate ask their history teacher — word for word — to ‘tell us what to believe,’ concerning a recent civil rights issue, as if it were teachers’ responsibility to shape students’ politics. It is not. We ought to think for ourselves, and the school ought to encourage independent inquiry.

The structure of the bubble leaves students with other views in a delicate position. So many of us want to resist and be open with the HM community about who we are and what we believe. At the same time, we must grapple with the vulnerability that comes with many faculty openly opposing our politics. At the end of the day, the impulse to self-censor is fueled by risk assessment: it is not worth jeopardizing academic success at HM in exchange for political expression. Unfortunately, by protecting ourselves, we reinforce the illusion that we are a small minority of limited conviction.

—Ryan Finlay

Source: Student at elite NYC private school rails against 'far-left faculty's political bias'

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