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Peter Greene writes here about the growing ferocity and viciousness of the rightwing crusade against “critical race theory.” Leave aside the fact that 99% of teachers have never heard of CRT, the crusaders are targeting teachers who are suspected of teaching about racism and social justice.
The crusaders operate on the assumption that teaching the actual history of racism, segregation, and Jim Crow is subversive and unpatriotic. Nothing negative ever happened in the U.S. It was all good.
Anti-Critical Race Theory warriors are coming for schools, and for the teachers in them.
In New York City, the group Free To Learn is spending millions of dollars on ad buys to target NYC schools (including some private ones) who are accused of indoctrinating children. The group says it supports the basic principle that students should be free to ask questions, develop individual thoughts and opinions, and think critically–but not about that race stuff, apparently. It’s not obvious whose deep pockets are involved in funding this group, but it’s led by Alleigh Marre, who’s been in politics for a while, working on campaigns for Scott Walker and Scott Brown, as well as serving on Donald Trump’s transition team.
But Free To Learn is just targeting schools. Others are targeting individual teachers. I do believe there are people with reasonable, reasoned concerns about CRT and its influence on education, but they’re a small group, and their voices have been pretty much drowned out by the mob (and the GOP politicians trying hard to draw power from it).
Amy Donofrio found herself re-assigned and then held up as a target by Florida’s education commissioner. Misty Cromptom found she was being used as a campaign talking point in New Hampshire. On Twitter, a teacher reported to me that in her area, the No Left Turn group had taken screen shots of posts by teachers and administrators and used them in a presentation of evidence of indoctrination, with names highlighted and schools listed.
No Left Turn is another one of these culture warrior groups, this one spearheaded by Dr. Elana Yaron Fishbein, who pulled her children from school in Gladwyne PA because of a Cultural Proficiency Committee formed in the wake of the murder (she says “death”) of George Floyd. They set up lessons that were unlike “the wholesome teaching of MLK, Jr. The group wants to “revive” education’s fundamental discipline of “critical and active thinking which is based on facts, investigation, logic and sound reasoning,” but they also include on their list of objectives, “Restore American patriotism in the classroom, including presenting our nations as consistently forward-thinking in its elevation of individual liberty and democratizing traditional Liberalism.”
The Central Virginia chapter, the one that went Twitter hunting, has a Facebook page headed by an MLK Jr. quote. Facebook is apparently a nexus for many of these groups, and while this may seem like it’s coming together quickly, many of the connections were already in place. The woman leading the Virginia No Left Turn crusade against CRT was, just a short while ago, leading the charge against masking and school closures.
(Open the link and keep reading.)