Largest teacher's union promotes 'anti-racist' teaching, slams parents who oppose CRT

The National Education Association (NEA) promoted “anti-racist" teaching and Critical Race Theory in a recent edition of its monthly magazine.

Updated: November 30, 2021 - 6:33pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The National Education Association (NEA) promoted “anti-racist" teaching and Critical Race Theory in the October edition of its monthly members-only magazine, NEA Today.

The NEA is the largest union in the United States, with more than 3 million members teaching pre-schoolers through college students.

The magazine cover promoted “How to Teach Anti-Racism,” and the article, “Teaching with an Anti-Racist Lens,” begins with a focus on Texas music teacher Franchesca Mejia, who earned a master’s degree focused on “social and racial justice in the music room.” 

Mejia told NEA Today, “The music room is one of the best vehicles for teaching racial and social justice.”

Former Portland high school social studies teacher Ursula Wolfe-Rocca says that to her, anti-racist teaching means “helping students understand… so they can act to disrupt, rather than perpetuate, white supremacy.”

University of Colorado Boulder Education professor and National Education Policy Center director Kevin Welner told NEA Today, “Our children need to understand the painful truth of racism.”

The teacher’s union magazine asserted, “Yet for nearly a year, some parent groups and lawmakers nationwide have been pushing legislation to prevent educators in public schools from teaching about systemic racism and sexism. Instead, these people are advocating for outdated and inaccurate lessons – and lies – to maintain comfort over truth.” These parents are “trying to dictate what teachers say and block kids from learning about our shared history,” according to the NEA.

The union claims that bills preventing CRT education are “bad” and will censor teachers. Lawmakers “are trying to dictate what teachers say and block kids from learning about our shared history.”

The magazine champions anti-racist teachers as “Defenders of truth,” such as North Carolina fifth-grade teacher Brandon Morrison, who “talks to his students in terms they can understand – about capitalism, societal systems, racism, land stolen from Indigenous people, and more.” 

Morrison looks to bring his lessons to adults as well. “If my fifth graders can look at our nation’s systems of oppression and say, that’s stupid, an adult can do the same,” Morrison said.

Mejia says she has students listen to music written in the USSR during Communist Dictator Joseph Stalin’s Great Purge to connect students to the “fear” that black children live in. 

Mejia uses songs like “Pomp and Circumstance,” typically played at graduations, to discuss “patriotism, extremism, and racism.” 

“The world is shocking,” and Mejia wants students to “understand that racism and its nuances go beyond the United States.”

She insists on making people “uncomfortable” in order to have “an anti-racist society.” 

The print edition of the magazine also promotes an “anti-racist lesson plan” by the Zinn Education Project. The student activity places an emphasis on voter age by comparing age requirements to what created “qualified” voters in Jim Crowe South. A recent progressive voting reform push seeks to decrease the voting age to 16.

An insert in the magazine focuses on Critical Race Theory, claiming that it’s an “understanding that who we are, the laws we have in place, and the histories that have been handed down to us, all have been shaped by race.” The publication insists that CRT is taught in law and graduate schools, while younger students “deserve age-appropriate and accurate” lessons.

NEA President Becky Pringle, who has been criticized before for controversial statements such as supporting vaccine mandates, wrote in a USA Today op-ed, “Our students need to learn about the times when this country has lived up to its promise, and when it has not.” 

The NEA asserts that “anything other than this is a dog-whistle strategy that certain lawmakers use to distract and divide.”

Critical Race Theory was a hot topic during the 2021 Virginia Gubernatorial election where former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe was defeated by Glenn Youngkin. Various media outlets and left-leaning pundits at the time insisted that CRT was not being taught in schools. For example, on November 4, 2021, two days after the Virginia election, PBS reported, “There is little to no evidence that critical race theory itself is being taught to K-12 public school students.”

Just the News Spotlight