The State spends $1.5 million on teaching critical race theory and transgenderism to toddlers.
by: Sloan Rachmuth
Waterford Upstart is a national online preschool billed to prepare children for Kindergarten and families enrolled in Upstart receive a free laptop and internet access. The program is run by the nonprofit Waterford.org, which boasts serving 300,000+ children across 40+ states.
Back in the Spring of 2019, North Carolina Representatives Craig Horn (R), John Fraley (R), Harry Warren (R), and Marvin Lucas (D) sponsored a bipartisan bill that began a three-year virtual early learning pilot. Waterford Upstart was positioned as an accessible learning option for Military families and "at-risk" preschool-age children to prepare them to enter Kindergarten. HB485 provided for funding of the program at $500,000 each year, as of 2019-20 school year.
According to earlier reporting by reporter Greg Childress, Columbus and Duplin county schools are piloting Waterford Early Learning (WEL) curriculum for K-2, and Chatham, Durham, and Robeson county schools are using Waterford's SmartStart PreK curriculum.
Upstart's model is appealing - it has children working for 15 minutes a day, five days a week, online with the help of parent coaching. And Upstart's parent surveys in states like South Carolina, Wyoming, and New Mexico indicate that the program is wildly popular. But remember, the program is free, and many families receive free internet and a computer.
What is not appealing is Waterford Upstart's parent coaching based in critical race theory (CRT). The program's parent guide teaches that toddlers are race conscience and that when caregivers do not provide "anti-racist" training or use "colorblind" language, they reinforce racial prejudice in children. This noxious notion comes right from CRT guru Ibram X. Kendi, who maintains that adults must pound kids with racial messaging and bias training.
For Waterford, one cannot start reminding children that theirs is a racist, white supremacist nation too early. Upstart cherrypicks studies to uphold the idea that around age 3, kids begin choosing playmates based on skin color and harbor racist tendencies. The program tells parents that babies as young as 6 months "can notice race-based differences, and they can internalize racial bias by the age of 2," without offering a scintilla of proof of where or how babies develop this supposed prejudice.
As for training toddlers to be anti-racist warriors, the American Psychological Association recommends children should be 5 years old before the subject of race should be discussed with them.
In addition to featuring critical race theory, Upstart heavy-handedly promotes Transgender ideology - to 3 year-olds. Upstart's Equity and Equality pamphlet takes its cues from Planned Parenthood's guide to teaching "gender" to kids:
"Gender is here defined as a student's social identity as male, female, or non-binary—the last of which refers to students who identify as a gender other than "male" or "female." Gender definitions also include transgender students, who identify as a gender that is different from their biological sex."
"As a teacher, you'll work with many students, some of whom might have trouble understanding their own or other students' gender. That's why it's so important to be aware of and find ways to affirm your students' identities."
No doubt the legislators who brought Waterford's Upstart preschool to their states had any inkling that the program would guide parents to "socially transition" their kids as transgender instead of, say, teaching phonics.
But Upstart's addition of Transgender studies appears to be a recent, on-trend upgrade to its offerings. Venerable institutions like the Mayo Clinic and John Hopkins Children Services uphold that youngsters should have their "gender preferences" shaped and affirmed. Even if true, should a preschool be promoting these concepts as part of a Kindergarten-readiness program?
he more important question is, why are North Carolina's taxpayers being forced to pay $1.5 million to promote Transgenderism and critical race theory to toddlers?