American parents and communities are increasingly rejecting “Critical Race Theory (CRT).”
Two representative cases are stunning examples of this rejection. In the Rockwood School District in Missouri, administrators tried to sweep CRT under the rug. In the Carroll Independent School District in Texas, voters openly rejected it. Both reactions resemble the recent rejection of the late and unlamented “Common Core.”
Never forget that this battle is far from over. The forces behind Critical Race Theory have come too far to abandon their cause. However, Parents and communities can prevail if they are awake to the threat.
Pretty and Meaningless Words
The Rockwood School District (RSD) is an excellent example of a good reaction. The district consists of several suburbs on the west side of greater St. Louis, Missouri.
When CRT and its companion concept of “Intersectionality” became the ideology du jour, RSD jumped on the bandwagon by quietly overhauling its curriculum.
At the same time, Covid-19 mandates demanded “distance learning.” The district used a computer platform called “Canvas” to facilitate the transmission of information and assignments. The laptop computer replaced the classroom. Interested parents could observe the lessons and read the handouts.
When parents saw the CRT-laced lessons, many complained.
Trying to Sweep it Under the Rug
Natalie Fallert, RSD’s “literacy speech coordinator,” responded by sending out a memo to middle and high school English teachers that leaked out to parents and media. WND quotes much of that memo.
The memo listed the parents’ complaints and belittled them. Among the headings were: a) “We are pushing an agenda.” b) “We are pushing Critical Race Theory.” c) “We are making white kids feel bad about their privilege.” d) “We are teaching kids to be social activists.”
Miss Fallert feigned ignorance of CRT, adding parenthetically, “I had to look this one up!” However, she is either pulling the teachers’ legs or is remarkably ignorant. As of May 2021, the national newspaper of school administration, Education Week, has published 463 stories featuring CRT, many with the term in the title.
She told teachers to disguise CRT. As her memo continued, “Just pull the resource off Canvas so parents cannot see it…. Prior to the pandemic, you didn’t send everything home or have it available. You taught in your classroom and things were peachy keen. We are going old school….”
The Administration Caves
How the “secret” memo became public is a mystery, but storms of protest erupted. The Daily Wire quoted Assistant Superintendent Sherry Willott’s response.
“Yesterday an email was sent to middle and high school English Language Arts teachers…that suggested teachers hide or alter content visible to parents…. We want to assure you that the message was not reviewed or approved by anyone before it was sent…. We regret that this happened for many reasons…. Although we cannot share specifics related to a personnel matter, we can assure you that we find the email unacceptable, and it is certainly being addressed.”
Natalie Fallert committed an unforgivable error in the world of school administration. She told an unpopular truth in writing.
The state of Critical Race Theory in Rockwood is uncertain, but now parents know about it. The school system has two options. It can either try to hide it again or get rid of it. Given the parents’ reaction, the chances are good that it will choose the latter option.
Carroll Independent School District
Critical Race Theory faced greater opposition in the Carroll Independent School District, about thirty miles northwest of Dallas, Texas. The school system’s “cultural competence action plan” became a major issue in the May 3 municipal elections.
Voters discovered that the action plan borrowed heavily from the tenets of Critical Race Theory. The system developed the plan after a 2018 video surfaced, showing several district students making racist and defamatory statements.
The thirty-four-page plan contained four “Key Messages.” Three of them were common educator talk about “secure environments” supporting student “well-being” and cultivating “unique gifts and abilities.” Message number four was problematic. “Carroll ISD is committed to implementing a cultural competence action plan that provides ongoing training and skills for staff and continuous open dialogue opportunities for students as a means to demonstrate our commitment to understanding differences and embracing diversity.”
Another section of the plan spelled out the perceived need for training sessions.
“The district had little to no diversity or equity training for employees in place when the 2018 video was posted. Any training and/or programs that were in place lacked evaluative measures and/or consistency. Many parents at the November 2, 2018, special School Board meeting indicated that their children had experienced numerous microaggressions in the past while at school, sometimes remaining silent and/or feeling marginalized and unheard. Students shared personal experiences of racial, religious, gender and sexual orientation biases. Most of the incidents shared on November 2, 2018, involved the use of insensitive racial slurs or hate speech by Caucasian students.”
NBC News described the conflict in the class- and race-dominated terms that modern socialists favor.
“The elite, mostly white suburb 30 miles northwest of Dallas has a reputation as one of the best places in the country to raise a family, thanks in large part to its highly ranked public school system: The Carroll Independent School District, home of the Dragons, where the median home costs $650,000 and average SAT scores are good enough to get students into top-tier universities.”
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram lined up behind NBC’s attitude, citing as their expert pop star Demi Lovato, the songstress who sang the 2021 hit songs, My Girlfriends Are My Boyfriends and The Kind of Lover I Am. “It is horrifying to see how some of the parents…are literally FIGHTING to uphold white supremacy and are resisting the anti-racism work that is so needed.”
Victory at the Polls
The voters brushed off the leftists’ veiled insults. Writer Noah Rothman summed up the election results.
“Opponents of this philosophy won, and by no small margin. The slate of candidates arrayed against these ideas beat out opponents by roughly 70 to 30 percent, taking two school board seats, two city council seats, and the mayoralty. What’s more, turnout in this unconventionally timed race ballooned by as much as three times the rate at which voters typically participate in Southlake, Texas municipal elections.”
In Commentary magazine’s daily podcast, editor John Podhoretz pointed out that this result took place in an area where forty-eight percent of the voters had voted for President Biden. Similar numbers had voted for the very liberal Beto O’Rourke against Senator Ted Cruz. Some opposition to CRT clearly came from Democrat voters.
The Administrative Mindset
For most school administrators, both rebuffs represent their worse nightmare.
CRT opponents must let district administrators know that it is a hot button issue. Superintendents hate hot button issues. When exposed, they often cave like a house of cards to public opinion. The CRT is perfect for exposure since it is only popular with a small number of activists. Most voters and taxpayers despise its anti-American and racist underpinnings.
Most superintendents’ perches are surprisingly tenuous. In 2018, Education Week reported on a 2014 study done by the “Council of Great City Schools,” a consortium of “the nation’s largest urban school systems.” As Education Week reported, “The Council did a survey…and found that superintendents were in their current jobs for an average of 3.18 years, while the average completed tenure was 4.5 years.” The third-largest school system in the U.S., Chicago has had six superintendents since 2008—an average of fewer than 2.2 years for each. The incumbent announced her resignation after three years on May 3, 2021.
Critical Race Theory may be popular among leftist politicians, journalists, celebrities, school administrators and college professors, but it falls flat when parents get a chance to voice their concerns. It can be defeated when groups of parents and other community members refuse to allow it.
The real difficulty is recognizing CRT in a school’s curriculum. Parents should know that it most often infiltrates schools in English or social studies classes. Parents should scrutinize materials from those classes. They should also listen to the students for telltale CRT words or expressions. Even if adolescents are not eager to share the information, they will often drop hints in conversation. Parents should take those hints seriously.
Also, do not assume that all teachers agree with CRT. Their frustrations can often reach other community members.
Fortunately, it does not take much hard information to send the administrators scurrying for cover. A single memo, worksheet, reading or recording of a distance learning session can bring down the whole CRT structure. Many schools post their curricula on the Internet to comply with state public disclosure laws. A simple search on the school system’s website often yields valuable insights. Attendance at a local school board meeting can also deliver results. If an administrator mentions terms like anti-racist, equity, inclusion, intersectionality, oppression, social justice, microaggression, etc., the chances are great that CRT has infected the system.
Courage is one essential element in this battle. CRT backers are adept at implying that objectors are racists, bigots, and so on. When personal attacks happen, turn the spotlight back where it belongs by referring to the program saying, “This curriculum is the racist thing,” and then show that it is.
Critical Race Theory is so contrary to Christian and traditional civic values that it is easy to destroy once exposed. Of course, the only real answer to the problems raised by racial issues is a return to the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church that informed Christian civilization. United by the love of God and each other, the Church has always held out the promise of dignity for all, regardless of race or ethnicity. The Marxist roots of Critical Race Theory, motivated by hate and extreme egalitarianism, can never create the unity they pretend to espouse.
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