In the debate over the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in America’s classrooms, the left seems to be relying on two arguments: Critics of the theory don’t know what it is, and teachers are not teaching the theory to their students. The former is debatable, but this story demonstrates that the latter is not.
More than 4,000 teachers have signed a pledge to inject their lessons with elements of CRT even if their states ban the teaching. The pledge was created by the Zinn Education Project, which, according to its website, “promotes and supports the teaching of people’s history in classrooms across the country.”
Also from the organization’s website:
Our website offers free, downloadable lessons and articles organized by theme, time period, and grade level. Based on the approach to history highlighted in Howard Zinn’s best-selling book A People’s History of the United States, our teaching materials emphasize the role of working people, women, people of color, and organized social movements in shaping history.
If you are not familiar with historian Howard Zinn, he is the author of “The People’s History of the United States,” which tells a rather bleak version of American history. While some of his findings were accurate, many have taken issue with inaccuracies that have been popularized by the book.
On its website, the organization claims that “Lawmakers in at least 21 states are attempting to pass legislation that would require teachers to lie to students about the role of racism, sexism, heterosexism, and oppression throughout U.S. history.”
The group claims that states seeking to ban the teachings of CRT “aim to prohibit teachers from teaching the truth about this country: It was founded on dispossession of Native Americans, slavery, structural racism and oppressions; and structural racism is a defining characteristic of our society today.”
The site singles out the Missouri bill, which bans any lesson that: “Identifies people or groups of people, entities, or institutions in the United States as inherently, immutably, or systemically sexist, racist, anti-LGBT, bigoted, biased, privileged, or oppressed.”
The group contends that refusal to teach about police violence, the prison system, the wealth gap, and other issues is designed to “deceive them – not educate them.” It argues that “this history helps students understand the roots of inequality today and gives them the tools to shape a just future.”
The Zinn Project also takes issue with the fact that the 1619 Project, along with curriculum from the Southern Poverty Law Center, BLM at School, and a series of other far-leftist organizations, would not be allowed in the classroom. In response, they are urging teachers to teach this Marxist-based education in defiance of any laws that would ban the teaching.
“We the undersigned educators will not be bullied,” they wrote. “We will continue our commitment to develop critical thinking that supports students to better understand problems in our society, and to develop collective solutions to those problems. We are for truth-telling and uplifting the power of organizing and solidarity that move us toward a more just society.”
As of this writing, 4,420 teachers have signed the pledge. The organization’s goal is to have 6,400 educators on board.
The arguments that the Zinn Project brought up are part of the hard left’s contention that people who criticize CRT don’t know what it is. Because of this presumption, they seem to believe they can convince the public that Critical Race Theory is nothing more than teaching history. Thus, many have argued that the bills that would ban the theory would prevent teachers from teaching about America’s history of racism, especially as it pertains to slavery, Jim Crow, and other topics.
However, this claim is not entirely accurate – at least in most cases. Those wishing to teach this form of woke theology borrow concepts from CRT and other schools of thought and inject them into their teaching. To put it simply, they are not teaching CRT per se, but they are taking components of the theory and infusing it into their lessons.
An example would be teachers who are giving their students lessons in which they are grouped into categories of “privileged,” “oppressors,” and “oppressed.” It is a blatant attempt to demean both white and black students due to the color of their skin. It is evident that there are far better ways to teach kids about these issues that don’t involve labeling them in a way that is disempowering.
Moreover, the existence of this pledge gives the lie to the notion that teachers are not teaching CRT in their classrooms. While the majority of educators do not seem to be engaging in this conduct, it is abundantly clear that many are, which is why the backlash against it is warranted for the most part.
The hard leftists defending CRT are relying on blatant untruths to do so. The question is: Will America see through it?