Affluent prep school told students to stop saying ‘Newton’s Laws’ to ‘decenter whiteness’: Report
Mary Margaret Olohan, DCNF
- An affluent New York prep school reportedly told students to call Newton’s Laws of Motion the “three fundamental laws of physics” in attempts to “decenter whiteness.”
- “We don’t call them Newton’s laws anymore,” a student told writer Bari Weiss. “We call them the three fundamental laws of physics. They say we need to ‘decenter whiteness,’ and we need to acknowledge that there’s more than just Newton in physics.”
- Another student told Weiss that he struggles to avoid “identity classes” and take “the fact classes” at Fieldston.
- Weiss warns that the situation in elite private schools mirrors the situation in collegiate institutions across the United States.
An affluent New York prep school reportedly told students to call Newton’s Laws of Motion the “three fundamental laws of physics” in attempts to “decenter whiteness.”
Fieldston School in New York City offers elite academic and science programs for high schoolers, journalist Bari Weiss wrote in a Tuesday piece on “miseducation of America’s elites,” but the school reportedly fosters an ideologically charged environment that scares students from speaking out on their own viewpoints with the thought of social shaming.
“If you publish my name, it would ruin my life,” one student reportedly told Weiss. “People would attack me for even questioning this ideology. I don’t even want people knowing I’m a capitalist.”
The school has dropped Sir Isaac Newton’s name when discussing the famed scientist’s laws of motion, one student told Weiss.
“We don’t call them Newton’s laws anymore,” the student told Weiss. “We call them the three fundamental laws of physics. They say we need to ‘decenter whiteness,’ and we need to acknowledge that there’s more than just Newton in physics.”
Another student told Weiss that he attempts to avoid “identity classes” and take “the fact classes” at Fieldston.
“I took U.S. history and I figured when you learn about U.S. history maybe you structure it by time period or what happened under each presidency,” the student said. “We traced different marginalized groups. That was how it was structured. I only heard a handful of the presidents’ names in class.”
The school also reportedly offers an elective for juniors and seniors called “historicizing whiteness,” Weiss reported.
The writer said that the ideology being taught in schools like Fieldston “has changed children’s self-conception.” One student told Weiss that students are frequently told, “if you are white and male, you are second in line to speak.”
“This is considered a normal and necessary redistribution of power,” Weiss wrote.
Fieldston has not responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.
"'We don’t call them Newton’s laws anymore,' an upperclassman at the school informs me. 'We call them the three fundamental laws of physics… to ‘decenter whiteness,’ and we need to acknowledge that there’s more than just Newton in physics.'” https://t.co/HDrWa7WFBT
— Bari Weiss (@bariweiss) March 10, 2021
Weiss described similar anecdotes from parents and students at other New York and Los Angeles based prep schools, such as Harvard-Westlake and Brentwood.
“To speak against this is to put all of your moral capital at risk,” a New York teacher told Weiss.
“I came to this country escaping the very same fear of retaliation that now my own child feels,” one parent who was born in a communist country told Weiss.
“We need to feed our families,” another parent joked to the writer. “Oh, and pay $50,000 a year to have our children get indoctrinated.”
Weiss described how parents fear to even discuss the ideological content in schools with fellow school parents.
“That fear is shared, deeply, by the children,” Weiss wrote. “For them, it’s not just the fear of getting a bad grade or getting turned down for a college recommendation, though that fear is potent.”
“I am in a cult. Well, that’s not exactly right. It’s that the cult is all around me and I am trying to save kids from becoming members.” He sounds like a Scientology defector, but he is a teacher at one of the most elite NY high schools. My latest: https://t.co/HDrWa7WFBT
— Bari Weiss (@bariweiss) March 10, 2021
The writer and former New York Times Opinion editor warned that the situation in elite private schools mirrors the situation in collegiate institutions across the United States.
“These are America’s elites — the families who can afford to pay some $50,000 a year for their children to be groomed for the eating clubs of Princeton and the secret societies of Yale, the glide path to becoming masters — sorry, masterx — of the universe,” she wrote. “The ideas and values instilled in them influence the rest of us.”
“That is not the only reason this story matters,” Weiss added. “These schools are called prep schools because they prepare America’s princelings to take their place in what we’re told is our meritocracy. Nothing happens at a top prep school that is not a mirror of what happens at an elite college.”
One STEM teacher at a prestigious New York prep school reportedly told Weiss that “the colleges want children — customers — that are going to be pre-aligned to certain ideologies that originally came out of those colleges.”
“I call it woke-weaning,” the teacher said. “And that’s the product schools like mine are offering.”