The world’s largest education-content publisher made a commitment to “embedding anti-racism” in teaching and learning, an upcoming Heritage Foundation report shows.
The report from the conservative think tank, “World’s Largest Education-Content Publisher Promotes Radical Political Agenda in U.S. Schools and Government,” argues that policy guidance from Pearson amounts to a pledge to incorporate critical race theory into its educational material, like textbooks for K-12 classes. A spokesperson for the British-owned publishing giant denied that CRT is included in public schools in a statement to Fox News.
“Pearson wants consumers of its materials to be social justice warriors,” the report’s author, Heritage senior research fellow Jonathan Butcher, told Fox News.
The Heritage report, reviewed by Fox News and scheduled for a Thursday release, highlights editorial guidance Pearson published in September 2021.
Pearson used “buzzwords found in the prevailing woke orthodoxy that falsely maintains that America is systemically racist and that its system of laws perpetuates a culture that oppresses women, people who are confused about their sex (‘trans’ individuals), and ethnic minorities,” Butcher told Fox News.
“Anti-racism is critical race theory,” he added. “The term is used throughout critical race theory literature, including ‘Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings that Formed the Movement,’ which is the main text for understanding critical race theory and written by critical race theorists,” he added in a statement.
“Why would they say they are embedding the idea in everything they produce if they were not embedding it in K-12 curriculum?” Butcher said. “I don’t see in Pearson’s statements that K-12 content is an exception.”
Pearson is the largest publisher of college textbooks, has contracts with the U.S. government, owns the largest virtual charter school network in the U.S and has an online subscription service that provides textbooks and educational videos, the Heritage report notes. More than 160 million people use Pearson’s products, according to its website.
Butcher cited another statement in Pearson’s editorial policy pledging to strive to “practice principles of social equity.”
Jonathan Butcher, the Will Skillman Senior Research Fellow in Education at the Heritage Foundation, authored a report arguing that Pearson’s anti-racism committment equated to pushing critical race theory. (Fox News Digital)
“Intersectionality lies at the center of the contemporary radical narrative claiming that ethnic minorities and those who assume different genders face multiple levels of oppression when public policies result in disparate outcomes—dividing individuals into groups who claim varying levels of oppression,” he wrote in the report.
The report quotes a video on Pearson’s YouTube channel, “A History of Protest Movements.” In it, LaWada Stone, the former director of Pearson’s corporate affairs, says “systemic racism is holding back Black and other ethnically diverse people in a vicious cycle.” The video has since been made private.
“A book featured among Pearson’s DEI resources—Sociology: Structure and Change—promotes the use of gender identity over biological sex to describe individuals,” reads the report. “The book approvingly cites the work of Alfred Kinsey, a trained zoologist who used poorly designed research methods in an attempt to prove that children of all ages can benefit from sexual activity.”
The Heritage report warns federal hiring managers and education officials to take notice of Pearson’s gender and race-related content, claiming it “may violate state and federal civil rights laws by promoting unlawful discrimination.”
Residents of Loudoun County, Virginia, helped make critical race theory a national conversation in 2021. (REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein)
“If Pearson wants to create this material, that’s their right,” he said. “But taxpayers should not have to pay for it.”
The report recommended Congress investigate material Pearson plans to create for the federal workforce and that state lawmakers require education officials to review the publisher’s content and reject any that violate discrimination laws or apply CRT. It also recommends prohibiting any material that includes gender ideology “at least in elementary schools.”
Ramiro Vargas contributed to the accompanying video.