Last night, Rep. Kim Fiorello hosted a talk with Ian Rowe about his new book, Agency: The Four Point Plan (F.R.E.E.) for ALL Children to Overcome the Victimhood Narrative and Discover Their Pathway to Power.
It’s important to understand that Rowe does not believe America itself is flawed, or that it's inherently an oppressive country based on race, gender or some other superficial characteristic. Neither does he believe that the system is rigged against anyone based on those attributes. He doesn’t buy into the concept of systemic racism.
His book is about agency, which Rowe defines as "the force of your free will guided by moral discernment.” He reminded us that as human beings, we all have free will… but free will unencumbered is not actually true freedom, since you still have to operate within a set of rules, guidelines and expectations.
He tells us that you can think of agency as a vector — it’s not just about speed, it's about speed and direction. If you have free will, then where does the ability to become morally, discerning, come from? To answer this question, Rowe presents his “F.R.E.E." framework, which addresses four key pillars: family, religion, education and entrepreneurship.
He made an interesting point around the word “equity” and the meaning it currently holds. Equity now means equality of outcomes measured by race, as opposed to 100% achievement for all students. He believes we should be focused on measuring each child against the standard of excellence, rather than looking for race-based solutions to perceived race-based problems. That approach just ends in mediocrity.
Parents shared frustrations with the constant focus on equity in schools, so Rowe shared an inspiring personal story about his own children (ages 10 and 12), their school, and how he got involved.
Turns out, his town did an equity audit due to supposed issues around gender and race. The town hired a consultant to find this racism, and then draft a report that supported bringing the “DEI industrial complex” into the district. Rowe responded with a 9-page report critiquing the equity audit, he posted it on the town’s Facebook page, and started a dialogue in his town about it.
Then he ran for the school board with a friend, and they won. This year, three more people who shared Rowe’s concerns ran for the school board and won.
Of course, running for the school board might not be for everyone, so Rowe offered other options for standing strong in your beliefs.
But at the end fo the day, how we raise our children in values and morals is what it’s all about.
What a powerful, and timely message.
P.S. If you missed the discussion last night, it was recorded and we will share the replay once it’s available. You can also come to see Ian Rowe in person at his book signing event in Stamford on June 29th… the first 20 people to sign up will get a free copy of the book!