The latest battle between the left and the right? Critical race theory (CRT). The opposing political ideologies are engaged in a fight about whether to teach the young generation of students about race functioning as a social construction and racism being legally codified in the United States. Critics purport that CRT rejects truth and reality in favor of narratives and storytelling, serving to divide the nation and appease a vocal minority. Supporters aver that it is as essential as mathematics and English because teaching children about CRT can potentially resolve racial disparities, discrimination, and disadvantages. Despite vigorous opposition, particularly from parents, kids might be taught CRT soon if a powerful union has its way.
NEA Endorses Critical Race Theory
Over the Fourth of July long weekend, the nation’s largest teachers’ union, the National Education Association (NEA), announced that it plans to teach critical race theory in all 50 states and more than 14,000 school districts. In addition, during its annual representative assembly, the NEA approved two items that would impose CRT into the K-12 classroom.
According to the NEA’s pledge, the union will “share and publicize” CRT information, including “what it is and what it is not.” The group will maintain a staff dedicated to giving members information required to “fight back against anti-CRT rhetoric; and share information with other NEA members as well as their community members.” Its leadership desires for “accurate and honest teaching,” promising to “oppose attempts to ban critical race theory.”
The NEA plans to move beyond the classroom, too. It will partner with various race-related organizations, including Black Lives Matter at School and the Zinn Education Project. One of its first public acts will be to endorse Oct. 14 – George Floyd’s birthday – as a “national day of action to teach lessons about structural racism and oppression.” NEA President Becky Pringle also has committed to presenting statements to the media “that support racial honesty in education including but not limited to critical race theory.”
A separate item from the conference suggests that the NEA will engage in opposition research on entities that are against CRT. It claims that the most prominent critics of CRT are “well-funded” conservative organizations, including the Heritage Foundation. The union stated:
“NEA will research the organizations attacking educators doing anti-racist work and/or use the research already done and put together a list of resources and recommendations for state affiliates, locals, and individual educators to utilize when they are attacked.
“The Association will further convey that in teaching these topics, it is reasonable and appropriate for curriculum to be informed by academic frameworks for understanding and interpreting the impact of the past on current society, including critical race theory.”
Overall, the initiative of carrying out the CRT strategy will cost the union of three million members approximately $127,000.
Woke Teaching Goes Mainstream?
Xi Van Fleet, a Chinese mother who fled the communist dictatorship of Mao Zedong, generated national buzz when she compared the anti-racist instruction to Mao’s Cultural Revolution. As Liberty Nation’s Pennel Bird recently reported, Van Fleet is far from the only parent expressing consternation to local school boards about critical race theory. But teachers are ostensibly confused on the matter.
NBC News reported on a survey among K-12 teachers nationwide that found classrooms are neither mandated nor pushed to teach elements of CRT. The same Association of American Educators (AAE) poll discovered that most respondents were against adding CRT to the curriculum. Lynn Daniel, a ninth-grade English teacher in Phoenix, AZ, told the cable news network: “We’re saying, ‘What is the fuss about?’ We don’t get it. This objection is being pushed upon us, and it’s not even happening in our classes. I don’t understand it.”
But others express a desire to teach CRT. Megan Geha, a special education teacher in Des Moines, IA, went viral on TikTok for ranting that she could not teach CRT at her high school, but she must recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Geha also griped that she could no longer be an activist in the classroom, telling her industry colleagues, “This is a call to action, teachers. We really need to stand up and fight for our kids.” Moreover, a May news article on National Public Radio (NPR) titled “Teachers Say Laws Banning Critical Race Theory Are Putting a Chill on Their Lessons” quoted U.S. schoolteachers as saying students are essentially demanding to be taught this lesson plan.
Will CRT come to elementary and secondary classrooms in the fall of 2021 or 2022? For many jurisdictions, no. Several states, including Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Oklahoma, and Texas, have prohibited the academic theory. Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) vowed “to make sure that we’re providing access to education, but solid education, free of some of this ideology that people are trying to shove down everybody’s throats.” More bills are being introduced in state legislatures, such as in Arizona, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
Are Americans Talking Past Each Other?
Liberty Nation’s Jeff Charles has described the nation’s reaction to CRT as “fearmongering” from the left and the right, noting that “both sides are talking past one another, which leads to misunderstandings and misinterpretations.” Former Virginia governor and current gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe (D) argued that CRT is “another right-wing conspiracy theory” that was “totally made up by [former President] Donald Trump.” MSNBC personality Chuck Todd said CRT is being “manufactured” by the right. When leading leftist figures cannot differentiate fact from fiction on this front, perhaps more conversation is needed to make sense of critical race theory.
Read more from Andrew Moran.