Group warns of 'nonviolent ideological war' in classrooms
"You are having students segregated by their color, by their sexuality, by their any number of filters that an activist teacher can choose," said a parent-activist with AwakeIL.com
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A group in Illinois is looking for chapters across the state to help keep tabs on teaching plans they say are dividing children.
A parent in Naperville, Shannon Adcock, said she became aware of "culturally responsive teaching" when she was unsuccessful in running for the school board. She said the more she learned about it, the more she felt it was regressive and divisive by teaching children race or gender directly impacts outcomes.
"You are having students segregated by their color, by their sexuality, by their any number of filters that an activist teacher can choose and say, 'So because of your skin color you are a problem, because of your skin color you will never make it in life' because of this intangible systemic problem in one of the greatest countries in the world — it's to me extremely anti-Americanism, it's anti-child, and I believe it to be child abuse," Adcock told WMAY. "Teach history, there's no question about that, but when you begin filtering students, this becomes a problem, and it's a violation, a constitutional violation."
She said the curriculum can take many different names and forms, so she and others seeing similar trends in other parts of the state started the website AwakeIL.com as a way to share information with taxpayers, parents and educators about trends around the state.
"We are going to preserve the integrity of our constitution, state and federal, and we're going to take that divisive curricula and segregationist approach to education out of our classrooms," she said.
A teacher of the Evanston district recently filed a lawsuit against the district alleging its policies are segregating and denigrating white teachers and students, casting them as inherently racist and privileged.
Last month, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said those complaining about what some term "critical race theory" being taught in some public schools are "right-wing."
"They're going to grab on to anything that they can use a few words, put it together and make it sound like it's an attack on white people, then they're going to make it an issue," Pritzker said.
Those downplaying concerns are "full of it," Adcock said.
"When you have the teachers union, the national teachers union, saying that they want this taught and they will defend in court teachers who are teaching it, this is ideological war right now," Adcock said. "It's a nonviolent ideological war, and our children are at the heart of it, and parents are awake, and we're going to fight it."
Earlier this week, the president of the American Federation of Teachers gave a speech, reported by the Washington Post, saying those with concerns about teaching about racism are bullying teachers from "teaching students accurate history" and the union is preparing for litigation.
The National Education Association has already adopted new provisions that support critical race theory.
In Indiana, Attorney General Todd Rokita proposed a "Parents Bill of Rights" to combat the ideology.
"Numerous parents and state legislators have contacted me to express concern about how much indoctrination, not instruction, is being thrust upon students," Rokita said in a statement. "While American students fall behind the rest of the world in math, science, reading and writing, some schools are prioritizing political agendas over academic achievement."