It has become a refrain on the left and its media echo-chamber following Republican Glenn Youngkin’s victory in the Virginia governor’s race: Critical race theory is not being taught in schools. PBS White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor recently accused Republicans of winning by “lying about critical race theory.” Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) declared “there is not a school in Virginia that teaches critical race theory.” Those who say otherwise, we are told, are “dishonest,” hyping a “fake CRT threat,” promoting an “imaginary” issue to “manipulate low information people,” engaging in “race-baiting lies” and blowing a “racist dog whistle.”
This is demonstrably false. Virginia’s Loudoun County Public Schools, which were ground zero in the debate over the role of parents in their kids’ education, paid $314,000 for critical race theory coaching for its teachers from the Equity Collaborative — a consulting firm that turns critical race theory into practices for "building more equitable learning environments.” In its presentation “Introduction to Critical Race Theory” the Equity Collaborative instructs teachers that racism is “an inherent part of American civilization” and attacks “ideas of colorblindness, the neutrality of the law, incremental change, and equal opportunity for all” for maintaining “whites’ power and strongholds within society.” It also questions “the idea of meritocracy” which “allows the empowered … to feel ‘good’ and have a clear conscience” and concludes with a breakout session for teachers to discuss “How might you use CRT to identify and address systemic oppression in your school, district or organization?”
One Loudoun country parent filed the public record request to find out what took place in these sessions and obtained a set of talking points used by the Equity Collaborative to train Virginia teachers. They were encouraged not to “profess color blindness,” but rather to admit their own “racist, sexist, heterosexist, or other detrimental attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and feelings” and acknowledge that “addressing one’s Whiteness (e.g., white privilege) is crucial for effective teaching.”
It’s not just Loudoun County. In 2019, Virginia state superintendent of public instruction James F. Lane sent a memo to all school districts promoting critical race theory training materials, and declaring “CRT has proven an important analytic tool in the field of education, offering critical perspectives on race, and the causes, consequences and manifestations of race, racism, inequity, and the dynamics of power and privilege in schooling.” And as Manhattan Institute senior fellow Christopher Rufo points out, “Right now, on its website, the Virginia Department of Education recommends ‘Critical Race Theory in Education’ as a ‘best practice’ and derives its definitions of ‘racism,’ ‘white supremacy,’ and ‘education equity’ explicitly from ‘critical race theory.’”
This is true in other states as well. In New York City, school administrators were required to undergo training sessions where they learned that “objectivity” and “individualism” were elements of “white-supremacy culture.” In California, students as young as six are being taught CRT-inspired lessons in white privilege and structural racism.
The left’s CRT denial is intellectually dishonest. Just because grade-school students are not studying academic treatises on critical race theory does not mean it is not being taught in schools. Most of these students are also not reading Karl Marx, but if they were being instructed by teachers trained in Marxist thought to see everything through the prism of class struggle, they would be learning Marxism. Well, today children are being instructed by teachers trained in CRT to see everything through the prism of race; to believe that the United States is a systemically racist country; and to believe that society is divided into two classes — oppressors and oppressed — and that which you are is determined by the color of your skin. That is critical race theory.
Democrats are gaslighting American parents — telling them not to believe what they can see with their own eyes. Before the pandemic this might have worked. Most parents didn’t know firsthand what their children were being taught. But during last year’s lockdowns that changed. Millions of parents were stuck working from home while their kids were attending school online — which allowed parents to see for the first time what their kids were learning in the classroom. Many did not like what they saw. Nor did they like being told that the promotion of CRT is a figment of their imaginations, when in Virginia, it is right on the Department of Education’s website for all to see. So, they rose up to demand change.
Yet even after their electoral shellacking last Tuesday, Democrats are doubling down on the strategy of denigrating parents for raising legitimate concerns about their children’s education. Sorry, parents know that critical race theory is a real problem — and if Democrats continue telling parents their concerns are imaginary, they will continue to pay a price at the polls.