Writes Rick Hess, American Enterprise Institute resident scholar and Education Policy Studies director:
Media is ablaze with coverage of the heated resistance to ‘anti-racist’ education and Critical Race Theory (CRT). Much of the discourse, at least in education circles, reads like an angry lament that parents and policymakers, troubled by all this, are playing political games and just need to be enlightened about the finer points of CRT scholarship and anti-racism, or are out-and-out racists.
While the opposition surely includes opportunists and extremists (welcome to American politics in 2021), I think the champions of anti-racism fundamentally misconstrue the legitimate concerns. This failure to appreciate what’s fueling the resistance is unfortunate, destructive, and obscuring opportunities for constructive engagement…
The opponents are reacting to the ideas and education practices promoted by some of anti-racism’s most visible and ardent adherents—ideas at odds with the values and beliefs of most Americans…
Hess further notes, for instance, that more than 80% of parents—of any race— “endorse concepts like ‘hard work,’ being well-mannered,’ and ‘persistent. In fact, Black parents are reportedly slightly more likely than white parents to believe that such traits are important.
Nevertheless, he notes, “The leaders of the famed KIPP charter schools last year abandoned its slogan ‘Work Hard, Be Nice’ as an ‘anti-racist’ blow against ‘white supremacy’ culture.”
Plus, Hess notes, “popular teacher training manuals hold objectivity and politeness as hallmarks of white supremacy culture.”
- 66% of adults oppose having schools tell students America was founded as a racist nation.
- 70% don’t want students taught that their race is the most important thing about them.
- 80% oppose using classrooms to promote political activism.
Nevertheless, during the 4th of July weekend’s National Education Association‘s annual representative assembly, it pledged to:
- “Share and publicize” available Critical Race Theory information and inform its teaching members how to “fight back against anti-CRT rhetoric.”
- Promised, in the name of “accurate and honest teaching to oppose attempts to ban critical race theory and The New York Times’s 1619 Project.”
- Vowed to team up with Black Lives Matter at School and the Zinn Education Project. (Howard Zinn was an American historian and college professor who described himself as “something of an anarchist, something of a socialist. Maybe a socialist democrat.”)
All in favor say, “Aye;” all opposed say, “Nay.”
~ With thanks, Carol