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Turmoil erupts in school district after claims that critical race theory and transgender policy are being pushed.
How to sneak critical race theory into the classroom
June 23, 2021 | 2:52 pm
By Amber Athey
(Red emphasis mine)
‘Who are you going to believe, me, or your lying eyes?’ Poway Unified School District in San Diego, California all but told concerned parents who say the school is injecting critical race theory into two new elective courses on offer to students.
The two courses, ‘Ethnic Literature’ and ‘Ethnic Studies’, were made available to high school students ‘in response to our racial equity plan and community conversations held with students, staff and families’, according to the school district’s Facebook page. Ethnic Literature, a course guide says, seeks to promote ’empathy’ by examining how ‘systems of power in the United States’ have affected various minority groups. Students will also dive deep into their own ‘implicit biases’ and ‘privilege’ and be asked to create an action plan to be ‘agents of change’ in their communities. Ethnic Studies will similarly encourage students to explore how their immutable characteristics, like race, gender, and ethnicity, influence their ‘identity’. It will also teach them how to ‘advocate for social justice’.
Poway Unified School District ‘Ethnic Literature’ Course Goals (Parents Defending Education)
Critical race theory charges that racism and inequality are inherent to American society and that even white people who are not outwardly racist still enjoy ‘privilege’ due to the systemic oppression of minority groups. The Poway courses promise that students will ‘deeply examine their own individual identity’ and ‘explore the presence of their power in society to help address discrimination and serve as an ally’, which smacks of CRT fundamentals.
District chief of communications, Christine Paik, nonetheless, insisted earlier this month that the school is not teaching CRT:
‘We want to make it clear that Poway Unified School District is not teaching critical race theory. What we are doing is working very closely with students, staff, and community to make sure all of our students in our classroom feel valued for who they are.’
Will white, male, straight, or all of the above students be made to feel ‘valued’ when they are taught that they are contributing to and benefiting from a racist system?
It is a common trick for various school districts to avoid actually using the phrase ‘critical race theory’ when implementing these lesson plans so that they have plausible deniability when facing angry parents. Fairfax County and Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia used a similar tactic when implementing their so-called ‘equity’ programs. But no amount of language manipulation can hide what these school districts are doing.
‘Since school districts and members of the public seem to be increasingly talking past each other, it makes the most sense to look at primary source documents to see what is and is not being taught in schools,’ Erika Sanzi, director of outreach for Parents Defending Education, told The Spectator. ‘It is quite obvious based on the course overviews that Poway Unified Schools have, wittingly or not, adopted a critical race ideology for these courses. Their claims to the contrary are easily debunked with a quick look at their own documents.’
Couching CRT courses under terms like ‘equity’, ‘inclusion’ and ‘diversity’ is especially insidious because it implies that anyone who opposes the lessons is a racist. As such, many concerned parents are afraid to speak out on behalf of their children. ABC 10News acknowledged that several Poway parents refused to talk to the media about their opposition to the new elective courses because of how charged the issue has become.
That hasn’t stopped parents in other parts of the country; nearly 300 community members showed up to a Loudoun County school board meeting Tuesday night to speak out against the district’s CRT curriculum as well as its transgender ‘inclusion’ policy. The meeting was eventually shut down over claims that it had become too rowdy.
—Amber Athey is The Spectator’s Washington editor. She is a Tony Blankley fellow at the Steamboat Institute.