Five tenets of CRT and what they mean

What makes discussions of CRT more complicated is that people are conflating teaching about CRT, which happens in law school, with teaching in CRT, which happens in grade schools and high schools.

When people say CRT isn’t being taught in grade schools, guess which sense they’re referring to.

One of the problems with discussing and debating CRT is that it’s a complicated set of teachings and beliefs about which people know very little, and which probably vary at least somewhat according to who is doing the trainings. The most pernicious aspects of CRT are often in the details of how the trainings and/or classes go.

Source: Five tenets of CRT and what they mean

Don’t Ban Critical Race Theory. Expose It

There’s a liberal way to fight illiberalism. And it’s beginning to work.

The stories in the mainstream media this past week about the broadening campaign to ban critical race theory in public schools have been fascinating — and particularly in how they describe what CRT is. Here’s the Atlantic’s benign summary of CRT: “recent reexaminations of the role that slavery and segregation have played in American history and the attempts to redress those historical offenses.” NBC News calls it the “academic study of racism’s pervasive impact.” NPR calls CRT: “teaching about the effects of racism.” The New York Times calls it, with a straight face, “classroom discussion of race, racism” and goes on to describe it as a “framework used to look at how racism is woven into seemingly neutral laws and institutions.”

How on earth could merely teaching students about the history of racism and its pervasiveness in the United States provoke such a fuss? No wonder Charles Blow is mystified. But don’t worry. The MSM have a ready explanation: the GOP needs an inflammatory issue to rile their racist base, and so this entire foofaraw is really just an astro-turfed, ginned-up partisan gambit about nothing. The MSM get particular pleasure in ridiculing parents who use the term “critical race theory” as shorthand for things that just, well, make them uncomfortable — when the parents obviously have no idea what CRT really is.

When pushed to describe it themselves, elite journalists refer to the legal theories Derrick Bell came up with, in the 1970s — obscure, esoteric and nothing really to do with high-school teaching. “If your kid is learning CRT, your kid is in law/grad school,” snarked one. Marc Lamont Hill even tried to pull off some strained references to Gramsci to prove his Marxian intellectual cred, and to condescend to his opponents.

This rubric achieves several things at once. It denies that there is anything really radical or new about CRT; it flatters the half-educated; it blames the controversy entirely on Republican opportunism; and it urges all fair-minded people to defend intellectual freedom and racial sensitivity against these ugly white supremacists.

….

And no, 6-year-olds are not being taught Derrick Bell — or forced to read Judith Butler, or God help them, Kimberlé Crenshaw. Of course they aren’t — and I don’t know anyone who says they are.

But they are being taught popularized terms, new words, and a whole new epistemology that is directly downstream of academic critical theory. Ibram X. Kendi even has an AntiRacist Baby Picture Book so you can indoctrinate your child into the evil of whiteness as soon as she or he can gurgle. It’s a little hard to argue that CRT is not interested in indoctrinating kids when its chief proponent in the US has a kiddy book on the market.

The goal of education of children this young is to cement the notion at the most formative age that America is at its core an oppressive racist system uniquely designed to exploit, harm, abuse, and even kill the non-white. This can be conveyed in easy terms, by training kids to see themselves first and foremost as racial avatars, and by inculcating in them a sense of their destiny as members of the oppressed or oppressor classes in the zero-sum struggle for power that is American society in 2021.

….

This is not teaching about critical race theory; it is teaching in critical race theory. And it is compulsory and often hidden from parents. It contradicts the core foundations of our liberal society; and is presented not as one truth to be contrasted with others, but as the truth, the basis on which all other truths are built. That’s why teaching based on CRT will make children see themselves racially from the get-go, why it will separate them into different racial groups, why it will compel white kids to internalize their complicity in evil, tell black kids that all their troubles are a function of white people, banish objective measurements of success to avoid stigmatizing failure, and treat children of different races differently in a classically racist hierarchy.

And this is why — crucially — it will suppress any other way of seeing the world — because any other way, by definition, is merely perpetuating oppression. As Kendi constantly reminds us, it is either/or. An antiracist cannot exist with a liberalism that perpetuates racism. And it’s always the liberalism that has to go.

….

What parents and principled teachers of all races can do is protest, show up to school board meetings, demand accountability and total transparency, share and spread the evidence of this indoctrination, demand answers from teachers and principals, and, if all else fails, pull their kids from public schools if necessary.

And what the rest of us should do is support them, come to the aid of fired teachers, shaken students, bullied educators, and intimidated mothers and fathers. And never, ever concede the idea that opposing critical race theory is racist. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Insist that you are not attempting to ban CRT but to allow it to be taught as one idea among many in a liberal education. And do not conflate CRT with honest, painful accounts of our history, which can be taught just as well within a liberal context.

The legacy of this country’s profound racism, the deep and abiding shame of its genocidal slavocracy, the atrocities, such as Tulsa, which have been white-washed, the appalling record of lynchings and beatings, the centrality of African-Americans to the story and success of this country: all this must be better explored and understood. There is nothing wrong and a huge amount right about black scholars taking the lead in shining light on what others might miss, building on past knowledge, helping us better account for it. White scholars, like the hundreds of thousands of white citizens who gave their lives to end slavery, have a crucial role to play as well.

But we must also unequivocally insist that all of this is only possible within a liberal system — that sees the individual and reason and equality as our foundations. Liberalism can live with critical race theory; but critical race theory is committed in its foundational texts to the overthrow of liberalism. And this matters.

It’s not just a culture war gambit. It’s a deep defense of our liberal inheritance. Once a generation grows up believing that there is no such thing as reason — just “white thinking” and “black thinking”; once it grows up believing that free speech is a device for oppression not liberation; once it sees our founding documents as cynical lies to perpetuate slavery and “white supremacy”; once it believes that no progress has ever been made in race relations, because the “systems” sustain unaltered “white supremacy” for ever, then we have detonated the foundations of a free society.

Source: Don’t Ban Critical Race Theory. Expose It

A cry from the heart against rot in education

The Brearley School is a private all-girls school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It costs $54,000 a year to attend and, according to Bari Weiss, prospective families apparently have to take an “anti-racism pledge” to be considered for admission.

Brearley’s supposed commitment to anti-racism does not prevent it from discriminating on the basis of race in admissions and hiring. Nor does it stop the school from indoctrinating its students in the racist doctrines of critical race theory.

One parent has had enough. Andrew Gutmann has pulled his daughter out of Brearley and sent a letter explaining his decision to the families of every student body member (around 600 of them).

Bari Weiss presents the letter on her website. This is the full text:

Dear Fellow Brearley Parents,

Our family recently made the decision not to reenroll our daughter at Brearley for the 2021-22 school year. She has been at Brearley for seven years, beginning in kindergarten.

In short, we no longer believe that Brearley’s administration and Board of Trustees have any of our children’s best interests at heart. Moreover, we no longer have confidence that our daughter will receive the quality of education necessary to further her development into a critically thinking, responsible, enlightened, and civic minded adult.

I write to you, as a fellow parent, to share our reasons for leaving the Brearley community but also to urge you to act before the damage to the school, to its community, and to your own child’s education is irreparable.

It cannot be stated strongly enough that Brearley’s obsession with race must stop. It should be abundantly clear to any thinking parent that Brearley has completely lost its way. The administration and the Board of Trustees have displayed a cowardly and appalling lack of leadership by appeasing an anti-intellectual, illiberal mob, and then allowing the school to be captured by that same mob. What follows are my own personal views on Brearley’s antiracism initiatives, but these are just a handful of the criticisms that I know other parents have expressed.

I object to the view that I should be judged by the color of my skin. I cannot tolerate a school that not only judges my daughter by the color of her skin, but encourages and instructs her to prejudge others by theirs. By viewing every element of education, every aspect of history, and every facet of society through the lens of skin color and race, we are desecrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and utterly violating the movement for which such civil rights leaders believed, fought, and died.

….

Source: A cry from the heart against rot in education

I Refuse to Stand By While My Students Are Indoctrinated

As a teacher, my first obligation is to my students. But right now, my school is asking me to embrace “antiracism” training and pedagogy that I believe is deeply harmful to them and to any person who seeks to nurture the virtues of curiosity, empathy and understanding.

“Antiracist” training sounds righteous, but it is the opposite of truth in advertising. It requires teachers like myself to treat students differently on the basis of race. Furthermore, in order to maintain a united front for our students, teachers at Grace are directed to confine our doubts about this pedagogical framework to conversations with an in-house “Office of Community Engagement” for whom every significant objection leads to a foregone conclusion. Any doubting students are likewise “challenged” to reframe their views to conform to this orthodoxy.

I know that by attaching my name to this I’m risking not only my current job but my career as an educator, since most schools, both public and private, are now captive to this backward ideology. But witnessing the harmful impact it has on children, I can’t stay silent.

My school, like so many others, induces students via shame and sophistry to identify primarily with their race before their individual identities are fully formed. Students are pressured to conform their opinions to those broadly associated with their race and gender and to minimize or dismiss individual experiences that don’t match those assumptions. The morally compromised status of “oppressor” is assigned to one group of students based on their immutable characteristics. In the meantime, dependency, resentment and moral superiority are cultivated in students considered “oppressed.”

….

Recently, I raised questions about this ideology at a mandatory, whites-only student and faculty Zoom meeting. (Such racially segregated sessions are now commonplace at my school.) It was a bait-and-switch “self-care” seminar that labelled “objectivity,” “individualism,” “fear of open conflict,” and even “a right to comfort” as characteristics of white supremacy. I doubted that these human attributes — many of them virtues reframed as vices — should be racialized in this way. In the Zoom chat, I also questioned whether one must define oneself in terms of a racial identity at all. My goal was to model for students that they should feel safe to question ideological assertions if they felt moved to do so.

It seemed like my questions broke the ice. Students and even a few teachers offered a broad range of questions and observations. Many students said it was a more productive and substantive discussion than they expected.

However, when my questions were shared outside this forum, violating the school norm of confidentiality, I was informed by the head of the high school that my philosophical challenges had caused “harm” to students, given that these topics were “life and death matters, about people’s flesh and blood and bone.” I was reprimanded for “acting like an independent agent of a set of principles or ideas or beliefs.” And I was told that by doing so, I failed to serve the “greater good and the higher truth.”

He further informed me that I had created “dissonance for vulnerable and unformed thinkers” and “neurological disturbance in students’ beings and systems.” The school’s director of studies added that my remarks could even constitute harassment.

A few days later, the head of school ordered all high school advisors to read a public reprimand of my conduct out loud to every student in the school. It was a surreal experience, walking the halls alone and hearing the words emitting from each classroom: “Events from last week compel us to underscore some aspects of our mission and share some thoughts about our community,” the statement began. “At independent schools, with their history of predominantly white populations, racism colludes with other forms of bias (sexism, classism, ableism and so much more) to undermine our stated ideals, and we must work hard to undo this history.”

Students from low-income families experience culture shock at our school. Racist incidents happen. And bias can influence relationships. All true. But addressing such problems with a call to “undo history” lacks any kind of limiting principle and pairs any allegation of bigotry with a priori guilt. My own contract for next year requires me to “participate in restorative practices designed by the Office of Community Engagement” in order to “heal my relationship with the students of color and other students in my classes.” The details of these practices remain unspecified until I agree to sign.

Source: I Refuse to Stand By While My Students Are Indoctrinated

Number One Pick going for W, M

Scott Alexander writes about Freddy DeBoer’s The Cult of Smart.

If the season had started, and if DeBoer were on someone’s team, Alexander would get a Win. In response to DeBoer’s case for the Null Hypothesis that successful school reform is not scalable, Alexander writes

These are good points, and I would accept them from anyone other than DeBoer, who will go on to say in a few chapters that the solution to our education issues is a Marxist revolution that overthrows capitalism and dispenses with the very concept of economic value. If he’s willing to accept a massive overhaul of everything, that’s failed every time it’s tried, why not accept a much smaller overhaul-of-everything, that’s succeeded at least once?

Later in the essay, Alexander creates a candidate to score a Meme.

School is child prison. It’s forcing kids to spend their childhood – a happy time! a time of natural curiosity and exploration and wonder – sitting in un-air-conditioned blocky buildings, cramped into identical desks, listening to someone drone on about the difference between alliteration and assonance, desperate to even be able to fidget but knowing that if they do their teacher will yell at them, and maybe they’ll get a detention that extends their sentence even longer without parole. The anti-psychiatric-abuse community has invented the “Burrito Test” – if a place won’t let you microwave a burrito without asking permission, it’s an institution. Doesn’t matter if the name is “Center For Flourishing” or whatever and the aides are social workers in street clothes instead of nurses in scrubs – if it doesn’t pass the Burrito Test, it’s an institution. There is no way school will let you microwave a burrito without permission. THEY WILL NOT EVEN LET YOU GO TO THE BATHROOM WITHOUT PERMISSION. YOU HAVE TO RAISE YOUR HAND AND ASK YOUR TEACHER FOR SOMETHING CALLED “THE BATHROOM PASS” IN FRONT OF YOUR ENTIRE CLASS, AND IF SHE DOESN’T LIKE YOU, SHE CAN JUST SAY NO.

He also has a lot to say about charter schools.

Source: Number One Pick going for W, M

Are the Woke a False Flag Operation of White Supremacists

It is hard for me to imagine anything that white surpremacists could do to permanently impoverish African-Americans than some of the things the woke are supporting. Case in point is this story from Oregon :

The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) recently encouraged teachers to register for training that encourages “ethnomathematics” and argues, among other things, that White supremacy manifests itself in the focus on finding the right answer.

An ODE newsletter sent last week advertises a Feb. 21 “Pathway to Math Equity Micro-Course,” which is designed for middle school teachers to make use of a toolkit for “dismantling racism in mathematics.” The event website identifies the event as a partnership between California’s San Mateo County Office of Education, The Education Trust-West and others.

Part of the toolkit includes a list of ways “white supremacy culture” allegedly “infiltrates math classrooms.” Those include “the focus is on getting the ‘right’ answer,” students being “required to ‘show their work,'” and other alleged manifestations.

“The concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false, and teaching it is even much less so,” the document for the “Equitable Math” toolkit reads. “Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuate objectivity as well as fear of open conflict.”

And the link at the word “toolkit” leads to the document that describes the ways mathematics instruction is racist.

On page 7, we see:

DISMANTLING WHITE SUPREMACY IN MATH CLASSROOMS

We see white supremacy culture show up in the mathematics classroom even as we carry out our professional responsibilities outlined in the California Standards for the Teaching Profession (CSTP). Using CSTP as a framework, we see white supremacy culture in the mathematics classroom can show up when:

The focus is on getting the “right” answer.
Independent practice is valued over teamwork or collaboration.
“Real-world math” is valued over math in the real world.
Students are tracked (into courses/pathways and within the classroom).
Participation structures reinforce dominant ways of being.

On page 66, we have:

White supremacy culture shows up in math classrooms when…

The focus is on getting the “right” answer.

The concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false, and teaching it is even much less so. Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuate objectivity as well as fear of open conflict.

Instead…

Choose problems that have complex, competing, or multiple answers.
Verbal Example: Come up with at least two answers that might solve this problem.
Classroom Activity: Challenge standardized test questions by getting the “right” answer, but justify other answers by unpacking the assumptions that are made in the problem.
Classroom Activity: Deconstructed Multiple Choice – given a set of multiple choice answers, students discuss why these answers may have been included (can also be used to highlight common mistakes).
Professional Development: Study the purpose of math education, and re-envision it. Schooling as we know it began during the industrial revolution, when precision and accuracy were highly valued. What are the myriad ways we can conceptualize mathematics in today’s world and beyond?

Engage with true problem solving.
Verbal Example: What are some strategies we can use to engage with this problem?
Classroom Activity: Using a set of data, analyze it in multiple ways to draw different conclusions.
Professional Development: Study the art of problem solving by engaging in rich, complex mathematical problems. Consider whether your own content knowledge is sufficient to allow you to problem solve through math without the strategies you typically use

Somehow, I can’t see this working when you’re running fourth-graders through a sheet of long division problems.

Source: Are the Woke a False Flag Operation of White Supremacists

Why Math Is Racist

(John Hinderaker) This is actually a claim that is being made often these days: the sciences in general, and math in particular, are racist. The latest comes from Oregon :

The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) recently encouraged teachers to register for training that encourages “ethnomathematics” and argues, among other things, that White supremacy manifests itself in the focus on finding the right answer.

….

Liberals believe that scientific and mathematical talent are distributed unequally among the races, with Asians being well-endowed in those areas, and blacks below average. Therefore, it is appropriate to discriminate against Asians and to lower standards for blacks–e.g., by pretending that it is unimportant to get the right answer to a math problem.

Source: Why Math Is Racist

Have Teachers Unions Finally Overplayed Their Hand?

According to the most recent data from School Digger, a website that aggregates test score results, 23 of the top 30 schools in New York in 2019 were charters. The feat is all the more impressive because those schools sported student bodies that were more than 80% black and Hispanic, and some two-thirds of the kids qualified for free or discount lunches. The Empire State’s results were reflected nationally. In a U.S. News & World Report ranking released the same year, three of the top 10 public high schools in the country were charters, as were 23 of the top 100—even though charters made up only 10% of the nation’s 24,000 public high schools.

We are told constantly by defenders of the education status quo that the learning gap is rooted in poverty, segregation and “systemic” racism. We’re told that blaming traditional public schools for substandard student outcomes isn’t fair given the raw material that teachers have to work with. But if a student’s economic background is so decisive, or if black students need to be seated next to whites to understand Shakespeare and geometry, how can it be that so many of the most successful public schools are dominated by low-income minorities?

Some will argue that charter schools obtain these results by picking the best students, which isn’t true. Of the 43 states that have charters, all but three—Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming—mandate that lotteries be used to choose students randomly. Washington Post education writer Jay Mathews reports that even states that don’t officially require the use of lotteries use them anyway or employ “other impartial ways of admitting students.”

A second popular argument against charter schools is that they benefit from having motivated students, which is true but misleading. Numerous empirical studies have shown that charter students outperformed similarly motivated peers in traditional public schools who applied to a charter but weren’t admitted. But there’s an even more fundamental problem with the “motivation” explanation of charter success, as Thomas Sowell explains in his most recent book, “Charter Schools and Their Enemies.”

“While those parents who enter their children’s names in the lotteries for admission to charter schools may well be more motivated to promote their children’s education, and to cooperate with schools in doing so, those who win in these lotteries are greatly outnumbered by those who do not win,” Mr. Sowell writes. “When charter schools take a fraction of the children from motivated families, why does that prevent the traditional public schools from comparably educating the remaining majority of children from those motivated families?”

Source: Have Teachers Unions Finally Overplayed Their Hand?