Amid bitter culture wars, US educators continue to push critical race theory, neo-segregation
In one California school district this month, administrators held an event for nonwhite staff members from which white school employees were explicitly excluded.
The school culture wars are not going away.
A major flashpoint in the broader U.S. political debate of the last several years, schools have lately been the focus of intense protests as parents and activists have sought to roll back extremist education programs and pedagogies such as critical race theory and other left-wing curriculums.
Media attention to these issues has waned in recent months, particularly after a string of conservative victories in local school board elections around the country in 2022.
Yet schools are nevertheless continuing to push these progressive initiatives on students and administrators, indicating that — sustained backlash notwithstanding — liberal dominance of education remains essentially unchanged in many, if not most, districts around the U.S.
In one California school district this month, for instance, administrators held an event for nonwhite staff members from which white school employees were explicitly excluded.
Officials with the Acalanes Union High School District early in February hosted a "coming together" for "people of color" employed by the district, with equity and inclusion director Lynnā McPhatter-Harris warning participants that white people were not welcome at the event.
"Be reminded that we have avoided inviting people that are not of color as there remains feelings of uneasiness and mistrust and we need this to be a safe space for our people of color," an email to staff said, according to Fox News.
Those ideological biases are not limited to school districts in traditionally blue states. A major exposé in Texas this week revealed school administrators and faculty openly admitting to flouting laws that ban extremist left-wing ideology being inculcated in school.
An investigation by the advocacy group Accuracy in Media caught multiple officials on camera claiming that they have ignored the state ban on critical race theory in schools signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in 2021.
"We do not follow much of, like, what Abbott is trying to get us to do," one instructor in the Dallas-area school district of Edgewood stated.
"We've gotten around it by saying, 'Well, we're just not teaching that,'" a science teacher in another district says in the video.
“I think we just fly under the radar,” a third says at one point.
Adam Guillette, the president of Accuracy in Media, said with the release of the report that parents should be empowered with greater ability to choose their children's educational options.
"We'll never know for sure what is happening in those schools, but what we do know is that the governor's ban carries little weight," Guillette said. "The only solution to this is school choice where money follows the child."
Though the ultimate goal of banning critical race theory from state classrooms may remain elusive in states where it has been tried, lawmakers continue to make the effort in multiple state houses around the country.
The North Dakota Senate this week, for instance, passed a bill that would forbid authorities in higher education from penalizing students for their "refusal to support, believe, endorse, embrace, confess, act upon, or otherwise assent to" pedagogies like critical race theory.
A bill in the Indiana Legislature, meanwhile, forbids schools to "compel or promote" educational concepts related to CRT.
And a bill in the Missouri Senate would, if passed by the state House and signed by the governor there, disallow CRT-related teaching programs and also permit parents to review curriculum materials on demand.