Glenn Youngkin’s first Executive Order as Governor of Virginia was to ban Critical Race Theory in public schools. Good.
Many opponents to this move will argue CRT isn’t real or isn’t being taught in public schools. I’m not really sure who’s in charge of messaging for this crowd, but whoever is needs to get them all on the same page. An even more infuriating argument in opposition to the banning of CRT is the idea that K-12 public schools are a marketplace of ideas and it is an affront to the First Amendment if we ban certain ideas and speech from being freely discussed.
To all of these arguments I say, No.
Let’s tackle the first one: CRT isn’t real. Yes it is. Education law and policy expert Bob Kim defines CRT as “a school of thought that explores and critiques American history, society, and institutions of power (including government and legal systems) from a race-based perspective.” So now that we know CRT is real, let’s take a look at the next issue: is it being taught in schools?
The answer to this question is, emphatically, Yes. And not just law schools! Consider A.M. Kulp Elementary School in Montgomery County, PA. At a recent school board meeting, a mother slammed the members of the board, saying she pulled her daughter out of the school “because of the fifth grade teacher who lined those students up from lightest to darkest, made them turn around, and the white ones needed to apologize to the black ones.” Pretty damning.
Many people might argue this school has nothing to do with Virginia; it’s in Pennsylvania! Okay.
In 2015, under former Governor Terry McAuliffe, the Virginia Department of Education told public schools to “Embrace Critical Race Theory” in order to “Re-engineer attitudes and belief systems.”
Ask yourself, What is the purpose of race-conscious teaching/learning? Do you really think these government eggheads implementing such curricula are too stupid to believe children can’t tell that other students might have differently-pigmented skin? Or that their last names might sound different from their own? The push for this “race-conscious” stuff isn’t to educate about “diversity” or whatever excuse they might give. Kids know there’s diversity and they make friends with each other regardless! CRT in education is purely about division, as the incident from the Pennsylvania school clearly demonstrates.
It might also be prudent to wonder, Which attitudes or belief systems ought to be re-engineered? Or maybe even, Whose? Could this all possibly have something to do with a push to minimize parents’ influence on their children? Why is it public schools’ duty — or even right — to re-engineer children’s belief systems? What attitudes does a K-12 student have, on race in particular, that might need to be re-engineered? Again, this is purely about division, and maybe in more ways than one…
That brings us to Youngkin, who just banned Critical Race Theory from public schools. To those who still claim it “was never previously taught in public schools,” even though I’ve disproven that narrative, I’d say it’s a good thing he did so because of its divisive manifestation in the classroom. We’ll call it a preemptive strike. It was never taught, and it never will be! And to those who think it is a travesty that CRT has been banned, either because you consider it a good thing or you think K-12 schools are a marketplace of ideas, I have more to say to you.
CRT is bad. Blaming white kids for America’s history is bad. Making white kids apologize to black kids for the history of the country both groups of students share is bad. Promoting books such as White Fragility, White Rage, and How to Be an Antiracist — all of which sow racial division — is bad. Paying the authors of these books $541 per minute to discuss “racial equity” — especially without also giving such a platform to prominent anti-CRT figures — is bad. There is not much more I need to say on this matter. It’s all pretty intuitive. We all get this. If you don’t get it, you have some serious self-reflection to do.
Ah, finally, the David Frenchists, we’ll call them: those who don’t necessarily give their opinion on CRT itself, but who nonetheless believe it should still be taught in schools, or at least not explicitly be banned. To them I ask, Why? Seriously. CRT is neither true, nor good, nor beautiful. What good is an education if it isn’t those things? (This is not to say we shouldn’t teach and learn about the less glamorous moments in history; it is to say we shouldn’t view history through a false, evil, and ugly lens). Let’s think back to the Pennsylvania mother at her school board. Were the white students responsible for what they were told to apologize for? No. Ergo, CRT espouses lies. Is it good to compel people to apologize for something they didn’t do? Also no. Teaching lies is an ugly thing to do and will lead to an ugly society. QED. So, is it just that these David Frenchists don’t think new laws ought to be passed? Again I ask, Why? The current laws on the books obviously aren’t being enforced, and for parents to file lawsuits takes time and money and puts the onus on them to solve an issue created and exacerbated by the government. Public schools are government-run, which is why it is the responsibility of governors and state legislatures to address this issue. Proper enforcement of the law is also essential; what if the schools defy this E.O., like they’re currently doing with the masks? Finally, K-12 schools are not a “free marketplace of ideas.” They never have been, they never will be, and we need to rid ourselves of this belief. There have always been standards, and there will always be standards.
Which standards are we going to uphold? The ones that say parents should not be involved in their children’s education, or the ones that got Northern Virginia parents to elect Glenn Youngkin?