Banning Critical Race Theory Isn’t Working

Banning Critical Race Theory Isn’t Working
AP Photo/Denis Poroy

We didn’t need a crystal ball to see this coming. Last year, when the right was pushing for states to pass legislation to ban the teaching of concepts related to Critical Race Theory (CRT) in classrooms, I warned that we should not see the passage of these laws as the ultimate victory. I knew that while legislation can help to curb some of the more unsavory teachings occurring in classrooms, teachers and administrators would find another way to present these concepts to children.

It turns out I was right.

A recent report reveals that teachers in various school districts have continued infusing these ideas into their teaching. They have simply repackaged it to give the appearance that they are complying with the law.

Accuracy in Media (AIM), a conservative watchdog group, conducted a series of undercover interviews with school district officials in red states to gauge the efficacy of anti-CRT laws. The results were telling.

Melissa Langan, principal of Van Buren Elementary School and chief academic officer of the Caldwell School District in western Idaho, told Adam Guillette of AIM that her district subverted the state’s law banning CRT by renaming parts of the curriculum.

Langan explained that since schools in her district can no longer use “social-emotional learning,” which has been used as a covert vehicle through which to present far-left ideas in classrooms, they simply gave it another moniker: “Behavior adaptations.”

“I just went to a superintendent’s meeting last week and the district was intending to switch out social-emotional learning to ‘behavior adaptations.’ Changed the label, same stuff,” she said in the video. “And I thought, it’s kind of a bummer they have to do that, but at the time I thought it was kind of brilliant. Because they don’t care about this even though it’s the same as this. But it’s the label. So, I thought it was brilliant on their part.”

Cindy Dion, district instructional coach for Nampa School District in Boise, indicated her schools have also adapted in the face of anti-CRT legislation. Similar to Langan’s district, they simply renamed social-emotional learning and are now calling it “mental health.”  She said: “Social-emotional learning, we can’t say that here anymore. It’s mental health . . . We already had a big blowup with that. So, it’s just, you know, our mental-health curriculum.”

She added:

So, we’re trying to make that transition to, you know, no, we’re not doing social-emotional learning. It’s all mental health. It’s just all the different words you have to use, and of course, we don’t do CRT. We don’t. We’re just learning how to worm around all of those weird things out there.”

Pretending to side with her, Guillette asked, “So this dumb new law doesn’t mess with you guys?”

Dion replied, “Not yet, no.”

The 1619 Project, which teaches that America’s founding was based primarily on slavery, is another issue that arose during the national debate over CRT. Several states, including Idaho, have explicitly banned the teaching of the controversial project. However, Guillette found that teachers have figured out how to inject its teachings into the curriculum.

Using a program called “Newsela,” teachers can simply use other sources that pull its material from the 1619 Project.

According to National Review

Newsela is a content platform that takes articles published in outlets such as the Washington Post, Associated Press, and the Guardian, rewrites them to fit five different reading levels, and publishes them online as supplementary teaching materials for school children.

Amy Vagnier, assistant director of Maryville City Schools in Tennessee, told Guillette that at least some teachers are using Newsela. “We have a subscription,” she said. “We do have a few teachers who use, I think, still the free portion of that. Yeah, and then I believe we’ve got a couple of teachers at the junior high I think that’s using Newsela. Maybe the intermediate school.”

In Metro Nashville Public Schools, director of instruction for K–12 Todd Wigginton said that Tennessee’s law prohibiting CRT “was really well crafted and accomplishes nothing.”

Guillette does acknowledge in the video that not all teachers have ill motives when it comes to the curriculum. He said:

“Now, let me be clear. Not all of these administrators are villains, and I’m sure there are districts where critical race theory isn’t actually being taught. I’m also confident there are districts where the administrators don’t realize it’s being taught because many of them told us that at the end of the day, these teachers can close the door and do whatever the heck they’d like.”

Nevertheless, it is obvious that banning CRT is not the end-all be-all. Guillette comes to the same conclusion as I and many others have. “It’s clear that the only solution to this is school choice,” he says.

He’s right. Laws can only go so far. This battle has to be fought differently. Yes, getting conservatives elected to school boards is an excellent step because they are much closer to the situation that state government. RedState’s Kira Davis is one of many who are taking up this charge.

However, the most effective short and long-term solution is to ensure parents are able to choose how they educate their children. Some have even called for a mass exodus from the public school system, in which parents would homeschool or enroll their kids in charter or private schools that are not pushing progressive ideology. Conservatives must push state governments to enact school choice for this to happen, which is a far better legislative solution than bans. Otherwise, the indoctrination will continue, and we will have wasted our time pushing measures that don’t address the problem.

Here is Accuracy in Media’s video:

Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on RedState Video