I sent the following today to FPS District Administrator Judy Mueller and all members of the Franklin School Board:
Due to a family commitment I am unable to attend tonight’s school board meeting. I am submitting the remarks I would have delivered.
I want to address two issues.
First, the Franklin school budget. At the June 23, 2021 meeting of the Franklin School Board a draft of next year’s school budget was presented that shows the tax levy will go down, according to the draft, 1.9%. I hope the final adopted budget reflects such a decrease that is warranted and doable.
The state budget signed last week by Gov. Evers includes an increase in state funding for education in addition to a $2.3 billion influx of federal COVID funding. WI school districts can and should use the guaranteed ongoing state money for ongoing expenses and the new one-time federal money for one-time expenses. A school tax decrease in Franklin is definitely in order.
Critical Race Theory (CRT). Like many other Franklin residents I strongly object to the instruction of CRT or any such theory under any other name or description in Franklin Public Schools.
Education officials in America claim CRT is not being taught. Such a claim is false and is insulting.
On July 6, the president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Randi Weingarten tweeted, “Critical race theory is not taught in K-12 schools.” In another tweet Weingarten wrote, “We don’t teach critical race theory in grade school. We teach history.”
Weingarten was guilty of major flip-flopping because just a few weeks before the tweets she boasted that “Critical Race Theory allows educators to give our students the opportunity to understand the full breadth and depth of the American society.”
The AFT also hosted a live stream conversation with infamous critical race theorist Ibram X. Kendi, whom the union called an “anti-racism scholar.” The teachers union even created a special-edition version of Kendi’s book “Stamped,” while stating in the live stream that their “goal is to get copies of this book into the hands of middle- and high-school students across the country.”
Also insulting, not to mention condescending, is the sentiment of many educators that the public doesn’t know what CRT really means. We know exactly what CRT is all about.
In essence, CRT teaches children to hate each other based on the color of their skin. CRT is an ideology that breaks Americans into groups based on race and skin color. Weingarten and others are now rebranding it as “common history.” Altering the language doesn’t change CRT’s cynical goal of tearing the country apart.
ACLU Wisconsin sent a letter this week the organization claims went to all superintendents, so I assume Judy Mueller you were a recipient. The ACLU contends in the letter (https://www.aclu-wi.org/en/news/aclu-wisconsin-wisconsin-school-districts-you-are-legally-obligated-teach-students-about-race) that school districts are “responsible for teaching issues and concepts of race and diversity.” The letter referred to “legal requirements” that districts or school policies needed to obey. Clearly the ACLU’s intent was to lobby through intimidation.
Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) President and General Counsel Rick Esenberg made an excellent response to the ACLU in a letter (https://will-law.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Open-Letter-Response-to-ACLU-re-CRT.pdf)
you may have seen. Esenberg writes, “Nothing in state law compels that they be taught and there is no evidence that they enhance student performance. (Indeed, to the extent that they mischaracterize certain values and attributes as ‘white,’ they harm student performance.) To the extent that the ACLU letter implies otherwise, it is bad and unsupported legal ‘advice’.”
Esenberg adds, “The ACLU letter observes that school districts are prohibited from creating a racially hostile climate. That’s true. But, to the extent that the letter implies that teaching these concepts derived from Critical Race Theory or similar ideologies is necessary to avoid such an environment or that restricting them creates one, the ACLU letter is not only wrong, it is dangerously wrong. It is dangerously wrong because it gets the matter exactly backward. While not all ‘CRT-based’ training necessarily creates a hostile environment, much of it does. This is particularly so when a school advocates for, presents as ‘truth’ or requires students to affirm the concepts outlined above. Teaching children that they are complicit in ‘systems of oppression’ or have certain qualities or faults based on their color of their skin can create a hostile environment…School districts should teach all of American history and they can certainly teach about race. But they need not teach a highly politicized and contested view of that history and of race. And they may not create a hostile environment based on race – even in the guise of a misguided (and misnamed) ‘anti-racism’.”
In closing, a Caledonia, Michigan father who is Black may have said it best when he spoke to his local school board.
“Who are you to teach our kids about life issues?” he stated. “That’s our job. Your job is to teach them math & science.”
NO CRT or whatever you want to label it in Franklin Public Schools.