Many individuals and organizations are celebrating state and local governments passing weak legislation that “bans” Critical Race Theory from the classroom, but those who are doing so are selling false hope. With many putting their trust and faith in these flawed bills, and the summer break about to enter full swing, a large portion of the parents, guardians, and concerned citizens will fall into a complacent state of blissful ignorance. Those who are claiming victory now, with the passage of these bills will have a rude awakening in a few short months. The students who believed they would not have to face the ideas of CRT and the radical left in the classroom will be shocked to walk into classes where nothing has changed. Teachers and school districts who work in states where these CRT “bans” have been signed into law are openly stating that it will not affect how, or what, they teach.
In a recent article in the New Yorker, a very far left leaning publication, a teacher in Texas was quoted stating that the Bill does not change how they would teach in the classroom.
“In each of his classes, he said, a handful of students are deeply engaged in the material, and it doesn’t take much to draw out more critical perspectives… ‘I’m sitting here looking at it and thinking, It really doesn’t impact me as a teacher.’”
What does this quote mean? What parents and legislators need to understand is that with student-centered learning, the teachers are no longer at the center of the classroom. While they facilitate the lessons and gather the materials, the lecture and note-taking style of learning is outdated and does not meet current high academic standards. Some individuals might say that this is not true because they saw their children learn from lectures and notes while doing remote learning; if so, it was temporary. When these students return to the classroom, they will not be learning this way (if the school is operating in the 21st Century) and they will return to the student-centered learning approach that allows the educator to have plausible deniability in what ideas are discussed in the classroom. When the laws “banning” CRT are applied to student-centered learning, they become irrelevant. In fact, the wording and use of “to the best of their ability” even allows for some of the tenets of CRT to easily enter the classroom in an old fashioned style of teaching.
After Governor DeSantis in Florida, along with the Florida Board of Education, “banned” CRT and the use of materials from the 1619 Project, a school district curriculum expert was again quoted stating that the Bill will not change what is taught in the classroom.
“[C]urriculum experts in Alachua County expect few changes in classrooms across the district…the district teaches from a set of standards that are mandated by the state, and each teacher has the freedom to take the required material and put their own spin on it…. ‘We still can look at things from the perspective of somebody who is an African American, we can still look at things from the perspective of women, we are getting some perspective of a Native American and all those perspectives are valid and important perspectives for individuals to look at things from and still can be done while coinciding with any mandates that the state has.’”
Again, many people will argue that if teachers disobey this law, they will face consequences, but they really can’t disobey a “law” that does not apply to them. These laws are written in a way that allows educators to justifiably say that they put each lesson together “to the best of their ability.” Unless a teacher blatantly expresses their own racism from a teacher-centered approach, these laws cannot affect them. In a previous article, we discussed how many organizations have adopted CRT and the 1619 Project. Some of these organizations include the National Council for the Social Studies (who has put together a few workshops for the summer of 2021 on how to intertwine systemic racism within select topics of the social studies curriculum), the National Council of Teachers of English (who boldly displays the theme of their 2021 convention “Equity, Justice, and Antiracist Teaching”), the National Science Teaching Association (who has crafted professional development for teaching “social justice” in the science classroom, and creating “affinity spaces” for science educators), The Smithsonian Institute, Facing History and Ourselves (who stated in their upcoming July 2021 workshop preview for Teaching for Equity and Justice, “Schooling is one of the many systems in the US that has been and continues to be shaped by the historic legacies of racism and inequity,” National Geographic, Scholastic, Advocates for Youth, iCivics, Common Sense Media, the American Library Association, and countless others. In truth, nearly every major educational resource that is up to current standards has adopted and adapted parts of Critical Race Theory and the 1619 Project. A ban on the 1619 Project is not necessary since nearly all of these organizations have been promoting the points of it as their own undertaking, and some have even promoted the same ideas before the 1619 Project was published. With this fact, teachers will be able to accurately state that they used materials and lessons from highly reputable and accepted organizations, and did the best they could finding classroom appropriate material that represents multiple perspectives.
Sadly, many of the resources being developed by “conservative” or “centered/unbiased” educational organizations are severely outdated and are being written to the educational standards of the late 80’s and early 90’s. These bills that ban the use of materials from the 1619 Project and those that are written with CRT/SJ/DEI standards will ultimately be ineffective largely because freedom loving Americans have not put in the time, money, and effort needed to produce usable educational materials, nor have they gone into the field of education. This leads to another falsity that is being told on our side that all you need is a better curriculum and lessons. While such materials are definitely needed, unless you have the teachers that are willing to use these lessons and curricula, they will go unused and our nation will continue to drift towards the radical far left.
While we at The Locke Society support home schools, school choice, and private schools, these are not options that will have a societal impact. This is why our main goal is to inspire freedom loving Americans to enter the educational field on all levels, and provide the materials and support they need to flourish in this profession.