How L.A.’s Brentwood School Became a Battleground in the Culture Wars

How L.A.’s Brentwood School Became a Battleground in the Culture Wars

Until very recently, Brentwood, like most prep schools, had prided itself on its exclusivity, not inclusivity. “The joke is that these [schools] are engines for sustaining and strengthening the plutocracy,” one former prep-school administrator explains. “These schools lecturing about equity and justice is like listening to Swiss bankers and asset managers lecturing the world about tax transparency.”. …

Somehow, despite its best efforts, Brentwood has managed to offend all sides of the debate, infuriating both the forces of wokedom, who claim to have been frozen out of the school’s anti-racism curriculum changes, and the battalions of parents who don’t understand why their kids aren’t reading Harper Lee (or Arthur Miller or William Golding) in class anymore. As one exasperated parent tells Los Angeles, “George Floyd dies, our kids show up for school two months later, and every book that’s been read for the last 20 years is out.” …

Kate Savage, who taught art at Brentwood for almost two decades before leaving in 2018, puts the school’s dilemma succinctly: “Brentwood is trying to be all things to all people,” she says. “It wants to cater to the families that want a traditional prep-school education so that they know their kid can go to Stanford, Yale, and Harvard. But they also want to be a school for a diverse population. And therein lies the struggle.”

By Max Kutner, LA Magazine

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