Much has been made about Critical Race Theory (CRT) in schools, with liberal politicians, teachers, and activists using the controversial curriculum as a political football to punt at outraged parents, but few have bothered to look at how kids have responded to it.
Reporter Robby Soave, in a new article for Reason, did, and the answer is simple: They hated it.
Soave shares the story of Kali Fontanilla, a high school ESL (English as a second language) teacher in California’s Salinas school district, who wanted to know why so many students were failing their required ethnic studies class. Though the students were learning virtually due to COVID lockdowns, she was disturbed to see so many of her all-Hispanic students receiving F’s in their other class, so she decided to take a closer look at the course materials and lesson plans her fellow teachers had posted.
What she learned left her stunned.
“This was like extreme left brainwashing of these kids,” said Fontanilla, who is herself of Jamaican descent. “Critical race theory all throughout the lessons, from start to finish. The whole thing.”
For those still unfamiliar with CRT, it is the foundation for “diversity workshops” that has now infiltrated corporations and institutions — including K-12 schools.
“Originally an obscure, left-wing body of thought that mostly appeared in graduate schools, critics charge it with influencing diversity workshops for major corporations, training seminars for teachers, and even K-12 curricula,” writes Soave.
“Parental concerns about CRT became a major flashpoint in the 2020 Virginia gubernatorial race,” Soave notes. “After winning the race and taking office, Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin’s first act was to ban CRT.”
Even while defending its merits, many Democrats have denied its existence. Those who have acknowledged it have insisted it isn’t taught in primary schools.
Fontanilla knows better, and she has produced the lesson plans to prove it. Slides featured in Soave’s article show the ethnic studies class in Salinas refers to it by name.
Included in the lesson plan was the “Four I’s of Oppression,” which Fontanilla says the kids were forced to learn.
“The four I’s were institutional, internalized, ideological, and interpersonal oppression,” explains Soave.
“And then there was a presentation on critical race theory and they actually had the students analyze the school through critical race theory,” says Fontanilla.
In the disingenuous quest for inclusivity, diversity, and equity, students are taught that the world of whites is inherently and systemically racist and anyone who isn’t white is being oppressed by a mythical privilege bestowed only upon Caucasians.
“The kids don’t even want this stuff,” says Fontanilla. “Most of them are just like, ‘Why do we have to take this class?'”
The answer, of course, is because California’s perennially progressive governor, Gavin Newsom, and his Democratic-controlled legislature said so.
“Beginning with the class of 2030, all public high school students will now have to enroll in the same sort of course that Fontanilla’s students already took,” Soave writes.
Despite clear proof that CRT is an integral part of the ethnic studies class, the superintendent of Salinas Union High School, Dan Burns continues to deny it forms the foundation of the mandated class.
In an emailed statement to the Epoch Times, Burns insisted, “The course was not developed based on Critical Race Theory.”
“CRT does not have a single definition,” Burns said, “and what is lost in ideological interpretation is why schools are offing this course.”
Burns does, however, concede that “CRT is addressed in our course as one of the frameworks within the K-12 Ethnic Studies Outcomes list.”
“It’s hyper-race-focused,” says Fontanilla. “And whenever there’s hyper race focus, racism will follow.”
The ESL teacher objected so strongly to the ethnic studies curriculum that she wrote a letter to the school board. When it was read aloud at a meeting in June, parents in attendance erupted in cheers of support.
“In response,” writes Soave, “the school board prohibited anti-CRT comments at its next public gathering.”
In spite of the parents’ support, Fontanilla received so much backlash for her bravery, she left the state in which she had been teaching for 15 years and moved to Florida.
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