Michael Matteo: The CRT denial game

Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

Many state legislatures are banning CRT from being taught.  Will this put an end to the teaching of CRT in American classrooms?  Don’t bet on it.  One Loudon County middle school teacher tweeted, “The best thing about summer is that I can spend all my time planning how to incorporate critical race theory in my lessons.” We have all seen the viral videos of teachers who have pledged to “continue” to teach social justice in their classrooms, even though so many people say it isn’t being taught in grades K-12 schools.  Some teachers have stated that “there are ways of getting around any state mandate that prohibits them from teaching CRT” and it doesn’t take someone with an advanced degree to figure out how to do this because it follows the PC model of using semantics to teach the principles of CRT without using the actual words, “Critical Race Theory.”  

The disingenuous nature of educators who don’t have the guts to be honest about what they are teaching and have advised students to keep secret what is said in their classrooms is the moral equivalent of child molesters who abuse their victims and threaten to do even worse things if the children tell anyone what their abusers did to them.  Christopher Rufo of the Manhattan Institute has been a leading opponent of CRT being taught and reported that 30 public schools in 15 states are using a book titled Not My Idea, which describes “whiteness as a bad deal.” The book even shows a contract for whiteness and tells readers that “whiteness gets you stolen land, stolen riches and special favors.”  

In August of 2021, two leading educational policymakers for the Indianapolis Public School System sent an e-mail to principals telling them to deny CRT was being taught and even provided the principals with a document that instructed them how to respond if parents questioned if CRT was being taught at their schools. The school district then hosted a racial equity training for teachers that feature leading CRT proponent, Gloria Ladson-Billings to speak to teachers about “culturally relevant material.”  In one teacher “training” the teachers were given an Equity Lab Workbook, which asked them to identify as either “privileged” or “marginalized” and were told that being married, male or straight made them “privileged.”

In school districts throughout the country, a semantic game is being played.  Many school districts have an Equity Agenda and established Equity Boards and the battle cry of these boards is “Equity, Inclusion, Diversity and words like antiracism, implicit bias and white privilege are an important aspect of what is being implemented into the curriculum, however, most notably absent are the specific words, “critical race theory.”  In principle, equality, fairness and honesty are vital to what is taught in a classroom, yet, these words are being bastardized by those who are redefining words to indoctrinate students to believe in the tenets of fallacy-ridden theories that lack any semblance of academic merit.   In some places, the name Critical Race Theory (CRT) has been changed to Culturally Responsive Teaching because critical race theory is recognized as being negative by many parents.  

The social justice agenda of many educators is anything but just.  It is an attempt to vilify those who will not accept the agenda of white guilt, brainwashing of children and the basic idea that people should be judged by the content of their character.  Two of the basic tenets of CRT is that America is systemically racist and there is no such thing as color blindness.  

Wisconsin is a state that promotes an Equity Agenda and the superintendent, Vince Bruenig has publicly stated that “Equity is based on backgrounds.”  The school district provided the following statement about equity: “As a District committed to equity, we seek to eliminate opportunity gaps based on student and family identities and their intersectionality such as, but not limited to, race, color, creed, national origin, citizenship status, ancestry, religion, sexual and gender identity, economic status, linguistics, age and physical, mental, emotional, learning disability status so that all students thrive.” Unfortunately this is exactly what happens when, under the guise of diversity, opportunities are granted to minority students simply because of their racial makeup.  On the surface who can argue with these “noble” ideals.  Yet if you dig a little deeper into the actions of many Wisconsin school districts you find that the words don’t match the actions.  

At the LaCrosse Area School District of Wisconsin the superintendent agreed to sponsor a White Privilege Symposium that was titled: “A Vision for Racial Equity: History, Truth and a Call for Action.”  The Dane County Equity Consortium has 29 School Districts and the mission statement says nothing about CRT, but its opening sentence is promoting a basic idea of CRT: “The Dane County Equity Consortium, a representative body of the school districts across Dane County and beyond, is committed to creating equitable opportunities and taking collective action against the deep-rooted institutionalized racism present throughout our society and in our schools.”  In an Elmbrook, Wisconsin biology classroom there was a presentation about equality vs equity (I’m still trying to figure out what this has to do with teaching biology?) and students were shown the following distinction between equality and equity: “Equality has to do with giving everyone the exact same resources, whereas equity involves distributing resources based on the needs of recipients.”  In other words, a society that strives to provide equal opportunities isn’t good and it’s up to the society to “distribute” resources based upon needs.  (Karl Marx would be very proud to take ownership of this statement.)

In other places throughout the country administrators are pushing what appear to be gallant goals with wording that makes opponents look like racists, bigots and reactionaries.  It’s an effective tactic because on the surface the words appear positive, but they are disguised to promote an anti-white, anti-western and an anti-capitalism agenda.  New York City has committed to spending $200 million to create a “culturally responsive curriculum” by 2023. What does this mean?  Who is to say what is culturally responsive and will it involve the ideas of CRT. My guess is most definitely?  

Parents across the nation have wised up to the wordplay game of progressive educators who, given the statistics of where US education lies when compared with other nations, are incapable of teaching students to read, write or do math problems.  I’ve seen numerous articles claiming that math and grammar are racist, which justifies the replacement of math and English with social justice.  While Chinese, Japanese and Russian students are learning necessary skills that will help them compete in the future, educators in America are more focused in fighting for genderless bathrooms, vilifying anything that was created by white men, and telling their students half-truths about socialism.  This is a prescription for America’s downfall and it is time that disingenuous educators be purged the same way that pedophiles are denied access to areas with children.  So the next time someone denies that CRT is being taught ask them if their school districts are employing equity boards, teaching about anti-racism/white privilege, utilizing diversity, equity and inclusion committees or employing culturally responsive curriculum writers and you’ll have your answer.

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