While Critical Race Theory (CRT) heats up the news cycle at the federal, state, and local level, the largest teachers unions are weighing in.
As Leah reported, the National Education Association (NEA) voted to embrace CRT, but by Tuesday afternoon, the promotion of it was gone from the NEA website was gone. Nevertheless, Becky Pringle, president of NEA, and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), unequivocally promoted CRT and indicated they will defend it and teachers who teach it, as indicated by POLITICO’s Morning Education newsletter on Tuesday.
The NEA has approved tens of thousands of dollars “to fight back against conservative groups that portray teachers as spreading racist indoctrination under the guise of critical race theory — a term born from legal scholarship decades ago, though its meaning today has been distorted,” according to the newsletter, which also noted:
— To that end, NEA union representatives approved a $127,600 spending measure to publicize information on critical race theory — “what it is and what it is not” — and issue a study that “critiques empire, white supremacy, anti-Blackness, anti-Indigeneity, racism, patriarchy, cisheteropatriarchy, capitalism, ableism, anthropocentrism, and other forms of power and oppression at the intersections of our society.”
— The NEA also approved a $56,500 measure that plans to “research the organizations attacking educators doing anti-racist work” so that teachers are better prepared to respond. That includes the conservative Heritage Foundation, which responded to the NEA by describing critical race theory as a “radical academic discipline that compels students to act on the Marxist idea that the world is divided between victimizers and their victims.”
This idea of “a messy dispute,” communicated by the newsletter may amount to legal challenges. Weingarten said that AFT is putting more resources into their legal defense fund and is “preparing for litigation as we speak.”
When it comes to the issue being “distorted” though, it’s arguably Pringle, Weingarten, and their ilk who are engaging in such a distortion, rather than opponents of CRT:
— “It is about them understanding that this is a fight for our students,” NEA President Becky Pringle said of her union’s members, speaking to Morning Education. “This is a fight for justice. This is a fight for honesty in education.”
— “We don’t teach CRT in elementary, middle or high schools,” AFT President Randi Weingarten said. “It’s a law school theory that analyzes the presence of systemic racism in institutions. What we teach children is to respect each other, honor each other and honor our history. And my members want to know that we’re going to defend them in their moral and professional responsibilities to do that.”
Weingarten also acknowledged that for teachers to incorporate activism with teaching CRT:
— “We absolutely will be there to support our educators in (their) training, in understanding how to speak from their heart, and tell their stories,” Pringle told your host. “And certainly if they are attacked, we will defend them. We will do anything and everything to ensure that, as they do the job they love, they are not being censored as professionals and that their activism on behalf of their students and democracy is protected.”
She categorized CRT in another way as well:
— “We know that these laws are intended to chill any kind of discussion over that which is uncomfortable in America,” Weingarten said. “We have an obligation to move through that which is uncomfortable. That’s part of what learning is.”
It is not merely organizations which are opposed to and fighting back against CRT. Individuals, such as Christopher Rufo, are exposing this racist curriculum. As Matt reported, in Loudon County, Virginia, a school board meeting resulted in an arrest after hundreds of parents present spoke out against CRT and decried an end to public comment after the meeting.
Many parents in Fairfax County also spoke to Townhall in May about their opposition to CRT. The county is the largest in Virginia and the 11th largest in the country.