Why are public schools the frontline in the battle over critical theory? Here's what we found.
Public school educators are in a very tough position. Unlike many private sector jobs, if they disagree with their organization's views they can't just find a different job down the street. They would have to go to another school district, possibly in another state. We love our educators and appreciate all they do to help raise the next generation of our nation, and we need to ensure they have the same rights and protections as the rest of us.
According to a national survey of public school educators and administrators in 2017, they voted nearly 2:1 for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. There's long been clear evidence showing public schools and the unions that represent them are more "left leaning", which itself is not an issue of course! The point is simply to show this segment of our community is more open to be early supports of progressive ideas.
This varies state by state, district by district for some, but you'll regularly see public schools reviewing and adopting new curricula. They also conduct and support training for their educators, which is often tied to maintaining their teaching credentials. They are used to a flow of new concepts, new ways of teaching, etc. So some educators argue that critical race theory and anti-racism aren't movements or ideologies but just a new brand or twist on teaching about our racist past, the civil rights movement, and so on.
If you haven't ever used the Internet Archive (aka Wayback Machine), then wow do we have a treat for you! Just type in a website or web page URL and you can easily access past versions of that site, even from many years ago!
Why bring this up? Well we used this to go back in time in our research. Interestingly enough, many of the school districts pushing anti-racism/CRT have only started referencing it in the past 1 to 2 years. To use an analogy, systemic racism has become the "hammer" and every perceived problem is a "nail". So forget about poor education funding, questionable spending, and broken strategies... As CRT preaches that racism is present everywhere at all times, it must be the cause for all problems! Oddly though, only school districts in liberal states or cities seem to have learned this. And yes, we're being sarcastic.
Have you ever asked a school board member, educator, or administrator if they have any examples where critical race theory has been applied to public education and actually produced something? You totally should! Better yet, ask if they can provide any scientific, evidence-based support that shows implementing CRT (aka anti-racism or Educational Justice) improves any student outcomes. If you do though, just be prepared to be called a racist as that's what happened to us more times than we want to count. It's the go-to response when challenged to provide their logic.
Ok, we'll admit this last section is going to sound a whole lot like a conspiracy theory. And of course that's been another go-to method used by CRT advocates to try and shut us down.
We've done extensive research. We've talked with educators, administrators, and school board members with all sorts of different beliefs and viewpoints. With that we'd just ask you to have an open mind and channel any concerns you have into learning more about all of these topics.
The short game - instant activists. Let's use the state of Oregon as an example as there's been quite a bit of coverage on state and local events surrounding critical race theory. The Oregon Department of Education has mandated that school districts adopt critical race theory (although it is referred to as anti-racism, Educational Justice, etc.) In one of Oregon's largest school districts, the superintendent made it clear to the staff that if they don't get onboard with critical race theory then he'll show them the door. So grab your copy of "How to be an Antiracist", acknowledge your white privilege & white supremacist thinking, and keep your questions to yourself. And yes, sadly, this was one of the first steps in the mandatory training they did in March 2021.
The long game - our next generation. This one is simple folks. We don't have to guess what happens when you indoctrinate youth into this new movement, this new faith. As we've pointed out earlier and you've likely seen elsewhere, these critical theories have been in higher education for years now. The push is now to reach more children and to get to them earlier.
Here's one example of the constant controversy that follows critical theory wherever it goes, courtesy of the Beaverton School District of Oregon.