Local school board policies that affect our young children increasingly bear watching.
Why? Because school boards, made up of locally elected individuals, have powerful jurisdiction over curricula, hiring, expenditures, and much more.
And today, as more and more school districts adopt the highly controversial “Critical Race Theory” (CRT) curricula, more and more parents across the country are standing up to what they see as rampant indoctrination of their children—not education.
It’s not just parents who are standing up to this, by the way. Last week, Chris Carr, Georgia’s attorney general, said he was joining a group of 20 other attorneys general in urging the Biden administration to reconsider proposals that would impose the teaching of CRT and the 1619 Project in classrooms across the country. U.S. Department of Education officials have woven such goals “into a proposed rule” that establishes “priorities for grants in American history and civics education programs,” according to a press release Carr put out on May 19.
Consider the following three examples of the battle for the soul of our children today—and indeed, the future of our country.
While they’re by no means the only ones, they’ve bubbled to the surface—and they’re worth attention, notice, and reflection.
ONE: In Springfield, Mo., dozens of local residents stood up to what they believe are the plans of Springfield Public Schools to add CRT to the curriculum or to teacher training, as reported by OzarksFirst and other outlets.
The publication said that protesters “believe CRT is rewriting American history and [that it] shames white students for actions in the past.”
It also quoted David Nokes, a retired Springfield Police officer, who said bluntly of CRT, “What it does is it puts people in groups of people, on their skin color, and it gives them characteristics based on their skin color.”
Calvin Morrow, with Christians Uniting for Action, told the outlet, “They’re teaching kids to hate one another, to hate your country, and to hate policemen.”
Here is what a spokesperson for the Springfield Public Schools said in response to the claims, as the same outlet noted: “I believe that that is a word that is being used as an umbrella term all across the country right now, to apply to anything related to equity and diversity work. And I think there’s a great deal of misunderstanding regarding what that [CRT] is. But what I can assure you, is it has nothing to do with the training that we are talking about, which is for staff only. This is not curriculum designed for students.”
See this related tweet about CRT and Springfield, Mo.:
TWO: In Cobb County, Ga., “highly charged comments from parents” and a response from a school board member on the subject of CRT have attracted plenty of attention—and the Cobb school superintendent, Chris Ragsdale, then weighed in, according to reporting by East Cobb News. (Cobb County is northwest of Atlanta.)
“At Thursday’s Cobb Board of Education meetings, Ragsdale said that ‘as long as I am superintendent, I will commit to keeping any theory or curriculum, which is not part of Georgia’s standards, out of every Cobb County classroom,’” the outlet reported.
The same outlet also noted that “a number of parents” spoke to the Cobb school board about CRT at those meetings this past Thursday—and noted that CRT “asserts that racism is a social construct and has led to ‘systemic racism’ that pervades law, policy, culture, and other aspects of American society.”
One parent, Jeff Clark, said that while “we need an honest conversation about race, this isn’t it. This is indoctrination,” the same outlet noted.
He also said that “radical members of this [school board] are holding our children hostage … Let us teach Dr. King’s message, not Mao’s.”
And East Cobb parent Amy Henry called CRT “child abuse,” the outlet also reported.
See this related tweet about CRT and Georgia-based schools:
THREE: In Fairfax County, Va., a former school board member, Elizabeth L. Schultz, said that the coronavirus pandemic has revealed to many parents today that “our education system is being weaponized by school boards” for their own political and cultural purposes.
She said last week that local school boards today “need parental supervision,” as Fox News reported.
“This is a serious problem that parents are realizing across the country,” Schultz told “America’s Newsroom.” “The pandemic has revealed that our education system is being weaponized by school boards. School boards like [those in] Fairfax County—that is certainly a bellwether district for what’s happening in this country … are taking this time not to get our children back in school and learning in the classroom, but weaponizing their time and using taxpayer money to embed things like critical race theory by outsourcing this to consultants from New York City and beyond.”
Together with Asra Q. Nomali, Schultz wrote an op-ed recently published in Real Clear Education, which said bluntly, “Follow the money, and the infiltration of critical race theory into the country’s tenth-largest school district tracks back to Purchase Order No. 8500457546.”
They went on, “In that transaction, dated Feb. 8, 2021, Fairfax County Public Schools agreed to pay the Leadership Academy, an ‘equity’ consulting firm based in Long Island City, N.Y., $49,600 in an ‘informal competitive process,’ according to documents received by Parents Defending Education, a new national advocacy group, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. The Fairfax County school district hired the outside group for its new ‘Anti-Bias Community Engagement Policy,’ including the cost of doing ‘survey and policy work.’”
It goes on as follows, in regard to CRT: “Recently, Fairfax County parents—including both of us—got a look at the survey, which is available for anyone to take online. It asks respondents biased, unscientific leading questions about upending a policy that requires teacher impartiality in discussing ‘controversial issues’ and creating a new ‘Anti-Racist, Anti-Bias Curriculum.’ That supposedly anti-biased curriculum consists, in reality, of the divisive and racist ideas of critical race theory, which judges people based on the color of their skin.”
See this related tweet about CRT and Fairfax County schools:
As these and plenty of other examples across the country indicate, school boards and other such local organizations may be one of the most important battlegrounds for Americans right now.
As the organization iVoterGuide noted in a recent release, “American voters seeking to wield important influence in their home districts should look no further than the role they play in school board elections. Not only do school board officials help determine property tax rates, they also create and implement vital district policy on a wide variety of educational matters, impacting local schoolchildren every single day—and iVoterGuide is providing critical background data to assist voters in making the most informed decisions possible about those seeking that authority.”
The group went on: “Many such school-based educational initiatives, after all, are not only implemented with school board approval as gatekeepers and watchdogs—such programs also go directly against Christian values.”
See these additional tweets for more information and perspective.
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Maureen Mackey is a writer, editor, web content executive, and regular contributor to Christian News Journal.