Conservatives Gain Ground in Fight Against Critical Race Theory
There is a noticeable shift occurring in public schools throughout the United States away from liberal indoctrination towards more traditional and objective teachings.
By “liberal indoctrination” I refer primarily to Critical Race Theory (CRT), a controversial academic concept that presents race as a social construct and racism as a factor systematic to the development of American institutions. Supporters claim CRT helps young people understand the role racism played in shaping public policy, while conservatives rightly argue that focusing on racial differences exacerbates existing divisions and fosters feelings of intense guilt in white students.
“Parents have simply had enough of the politicization of their local schools and the attempts to turn their children into young but full-throated activists for the progressive movement,” writes National Review contributor Michael Farris. “Parents don’t want their children taught that they are oppressors if they have the wrong skin color. Teaching little white kids that they are evil because of their race is wicked, just as it was when the worst schools of our past taught little black children that they were intellectually inferior because of their race.”
Arguments surrounding CRT are particularly heated in South Florida, where more than 20% of residents are foreign-born.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) staunchly supports the Stop Woke Act – the term “woke” in this case being an acronym for “Wrongs To our Kids and Employees” – a bill not dissimilar to an executive order signed by former President Donald Trump in 2020 that banned “divisive concepts.” The Stop Woke Act would give parents legal grounds to sue a school over a student’s “discomfort” and would ban businesses from forcing employees to attend any diversity training that makes them feel distressed, guilty, or otherwise uncomfortable. The bill would require public schools to teach the “history and content” of the Declaration of Independence and other histories without implying any individual was inherently racist or sexist.
“What we don’t want teachers to do is take sides, and that’s the objectivity that I believe the governor is trying to solve,” explains Pastor Rick Stevens, director of the conservative advocacy group Florida Citizens Alliance. “We want them to take sides that slavery is wrong, but they don’t need to take sides that one race purposefully did it, and so now that race is forever condemned, and another race is forever exalted…That’s just not right.”
CRT is already banned at public schools in Florida, but the Stop Woke Act could help weed out programs of a similar nature. Teaching methods similar to CRT have already been paused in Colorado Springs, CO, Pennridge, PA, and Southlake, TX by conservative parents newly-elected to school boards.
“The tide had changed around diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts,” argues Alexis Knox-Miller said, a volunteer who led an equity program in Colorado Springs. “People were conflating the definition of equity with Critical Race Theory, and the absurd accusations that we were teaching critical race theory in classrooms to kindergartners began.”
The program Knox-Miller led sought to highlight “the impact of systemic inequities on teaching and learning” and was launched following the death of Gorge Floyd in 2020, sought to highlight “the impact of systemic inequities on teaching and learning.”