In a rare turn of events, the conservatives have placed the left on defense as it tackles the issue of Critical Race Theory (CRT) being taught in America’s classrooms. Outraged parents across the country have rallied to their school board meetings, decrying the woke pedagogy being foisted upon their children. Several red states have passed legislation that bans the theory from public school curricula – but is the left gearing up to fight back?
Teacher’s Union Threatens Retaliation
A prominent Washington newspaper reported that Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, declared that the organization would be taking legal action against states that passed anti-CRT legislation and others who oppose the teaching of its tenets in K-12 classrooms. During a virtual professional development conference, she deceptively claimed that the theory is only taught at the university level. “But culture warriors are labeling any discussion of race, racism or discrimination as [critical race theory] to try to make it toxic,” Weingarten said. “They are bullying teachers and trying to stop us from teaching students accurate history.”
She also stated that the teacher’s union, which is the second-largest in the U.S., is “preparing for litigation [to counter these laws] as we speak.”
Weingarten’s spokesman, Andrew Crook, chimed in and explained that the organization has not yet identified specific targets. However, the president said the group, which has about 1.7 million members, has “a legal defense fund ready to go.” The general legal fund comes up to about $10 million, but they’ve added another $2.5 million specifically for fighting anti-CRT bills.
So far, five states, including Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas, Iowa, and Idaho, have passed their own versions of anti-CRT legislation. More are expected to impose similar measures in the not-too-distant future. Those opposing the teaching of Critical Race Theory in classrooms argue that educators including elements of the ideology are persuading children to separate themselves into categories based on skin color. Several different news stories have surfaced demonstrating that some teachers have labeled white students as “privileged” or “oppressors” while portraying minorities as “oppressed.”
Weingarten insisted that they “want our kids to have an education that imparts honesty about who we are” and that, “We want to raise young people who can understand facts, study the truth, examine diverse perspectives and draw their own conclusions.”
The Battle Isn’t Over
While more states are expected to impose bans on CRT in the classroom, the debate continues to rage. In all likelihood, there will be other organizations that attempt to use the legal system to strike down these laws and to attack those fighting against the proliferation of the theory’s ideas in the educational system.
Still, it is also important to remember that individuals on the right have not shied away from using the courts to punish schools and districts that promote a curriculum that applies labels based on melanin content. With the majority of Americans disapproving of this type of pedagogy, it seems that conservatives have the upper hand so far. But can they keep it?
Read more from Jeff Charles.