Tag Archives: critical race theory

Define ‘CRT,’ please

I need someone to offer a definition of “critical race theory.” From all I have been able to discern, I have determined it is made up, fiction, something created from nothing.

And yet … culture warriors on the right wing of the political divide keep tossing CRT out there as some sort of “enemy” of what they perceive to be “normal.”

What the hell is it?

I get that it’s become a target of the likes of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is banning it in public schools there. Same for Texas, where another Republican governor — Greg Abbott — with possible White House ambitions is furthering the debate against CRT. He’s got a mostly Republican elected State Board of Education on his side to aid in the fight against an unseen and unknown adversary.

CRT is seen by some as a method to denigrate the nation’s history. What? They don’t like discussing such issues as, oh, slavery, which — yep! — existed in this country until we went to war with ourselves in 1861. Remember what you learned? White slaveowners held Blacks in bondage, owned human beings like property; Blacks were considered to be three-fifths human.

Our children aren’t supposed to learn about that? Teachers are instructed to avoid talking about it? Ridiculous! It’s part of our nation’s mostly glorious history.

Still, I am waiting for someone to define CRT to me in a manner that I can grasp.

I’m all ears.


Pay attention to these contests

I am going to pay careful attention to the Princeton Independent School District Board of Trustees election coming up this fall.

It’s not because I have children in the school system. I don’t. My two sons are middle-aged men and one of them is Daddy to our 9-year-old granddaughter and they reside in nearby Allen.

I am interested in the PISD contests because I want to be mindful of the campaign material they put out. I want to look for evidence of any candidate who is going to sound off on that idiotic notion of banning what they call “critical race theory” from our school curriculum; or whether they intend to champion the banning of other textbooks that seek to cast any sort of negative eye on our history.

I keep hearing about how the MAGA crowd is seeking to penetrate our public schools. They are running candidates who adhere to some of the goofier — and frankly, dangerous — notions about how we should run our public-school systems.

I also intend to stay alert to candidates who talk openly about siphoning public money away to pay for school vouchers to allow parents to enroll their children in private schools. Moreover, I’ll be listening for rhetoric that suggests we should allow the re-entry of state-sanctioned religion into our public classrooms. I have said many times that religion should be taught in church, not in school.

Finally, I intend to listen for those candidates who want to put firearms into the hands of teachers and give them the go-ahead to use those weapons in the event of trouble inside our schools.

This will be a critical election. My intention simply is to learn as much as I can about these candidates and work — if I deem it necessary — to prevent certain candidates from being elected.


No way to soften ‘slavery’

This cannot possibly be real, cannot be serious, cannot be accurate. Some Texas educators now want to introduce a new form of study … changing the term “slavery” to something called “involuntary relocation.”

Good, ever-lovin’ grief! This can’t be happening. Oh, but it is happening.

The Texas Tribune reports:

How do I say this? The enslavement of human beings during the formation and early development of the United States is part of who we are as a nation, who we became and who we sought to correct.

To suggest that our children no longer should be taught what slavery meant to millions of our ancestors is to deny the facts as they occurred.

Texas education proposes referring to slavery as “involuntary relocation” | The Texas Tribune

“I don’t like it because it’s a personal belief. I don’t like it because it’s not rooted in truth,” said Aicha Davis, an SBOE member who represents Dallas and Fort Worth. “We can have all the discussions we want, but we have to adopt the truth for our students.”

We all have been told at times that “the truth hurts.”

Fine. Let it hurt. Slavery is the most egregious blot on our nation’s history. Our children should learn about it in its rawest form.


Oh, the irony of racism

Don’t you just marvel at the irony that presents itself at times as we seek to understand our nation’s history?

This particular message showed up on my Facebook feed. It illustrates what happened to a girl named Ruby Bridges, an African American student who sought to enroll in a Louisiana school many decades ago.

She was pelted with rocks, insults and epithets from those who said she didn’t belong in the same classroom with white kids.

Now we have a movement in this country that seeks to keep that historical fact from being taught to today’s youngsters. They fear it would breed “hatred” of their country. Well … no, it wouldn’t. It would seek to connect all the facets of our past and link them to our present day.

What is so wrong with that? Someone will have to explain to me why — as the text notes in the photo — why Grandma and Grandpa want to prevent their grandkids from learning all aspects of this great nation’s history.

Every single great civilization has its blemishes, its dark chapters. We need to pass them on to our children to help them understand fully the path we have taken.


Keep eyes on school board races

Republican Party officials are casting a wide net across the national political landscape in their attempt to shape public policy at all levels of government to their liking.

School board races, normally those that draw little public attention, deserve voters’ careful eyes and ears.

My wife and I live in a North Texas community that could become a target of the far-right wingers who think our public school system might need to be, um, “regulated” a bit more carefully.

I am going to keep my eyes and ears wide open to what’s being said throughout the Princeton Independent School District.

Right wingers are attacking that thing they call “critical race theory.” They also want to ban certain books that discuss sex education.

Voters will select candidates running for two school board seats in November. I intend to pay careful attention to those who are running. I don’t want far-right-wing ideologues serving on our public school board. I prefer my school trustees to be broadminded, individuals who aren’t driven by ideology but instead by determining what’s best for the entire district, its students, parents and educators.

Princeton happens to be a racially, ethnically and religiously diverse community and for that I am grateful. There is no way in the world that our school system can adhere to a rigid curriculum that — for example — refuses to speak to the racial prejudice that soaked our society at large.

I don’t know much about the men and women who serve on our school board. I do intend to pay careful attention to what they are saying as they run for re-election.

I damn sure intend to listen to the messages being delivered by those who might want to succeed them.

After all, these races determine who sets policies that have a direct impact on our lives. I can think of nothing more impactful than policies involving the lives of our young people.


Tell the whole story, Sen. Cotton

There you go. This well might be the most compelling rebuke of Republican opposition to the teaching an element of our national history that I have seen so far.

It comes to me from a good friend who share it on social media. The “Tom Cotton” referenced in the top passage is the GOP senator from Arkansas. Cotton has been opposing what he and other congressional Rs refer to as “critical race theory.”

Of course, Sen. Cotton is quite correct to salute the accomplishments of Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play Major League Baseball. He smashed through that barrier 75 years ago this season. “Today we honor him and his lasting legacy,” Cotton wrote via Twitter.

Yes! We do!

But hold on! What about the 50 years of MLB’s existence prior to Robinson joining the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947? Dare we also discuss in our public school classrooms the reasons why Robinson and other African Americans were denied the opportunity to play big league ball with white players? Do we ignore the inherent racism in MLB’s policy banning black players? Do we also ignore the epithets that fans hurled at him as he sought to play baseball in big league ballparks?

There’s a wonderful back story that needs a brief telling. One of Robinson’s closest friends on the Dodgers was a shortstop from Kentucky, Peewee Reese. When the Dodgers took the field in Cincinnati in 1947, the fans heckled Robinson mercilessly, calling him every vile name you can imagine. Reese walked over and stood next to his friend, threw his arm around his shoulders and stared down the crowd until the noise stopped. That act cemented their friendship.

Do well tell our children about that event? Of course we should!

Yet the likes of Tom Cotton would have us ignore that element in our great nation’s otherwise storied history.

No nation in the history of our planet has come of age without suffering through painful chapters. The United States of America has a few of ’em. Racism is a story that needs to be told to our children … and no, it won’t make them “hate America.”

So, if we’re going to salute and honor Jackie Robinson, we need to tell the whole story of what this great man was able to accomplish. Some of it is painful. Still, let’s tell it … and teach it to our children.


Tenure war in Texas?

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has found a topic on which he wants to run for re-election. He wants to demonize college professors who dare teach their students about elements of U.S. history that include slavery and racist efforts to subjugate American citizens on the basis of their skin color.

He vows to eliminate tenure for those professors who teach what is called “critical race theory.” His first target will be new hires at Texas public colleges and universities. He also threatens to broaden his fight to include tenured professors; he might seek to strip them of their tenure status.

All of this hysteria makes me shake my noggin.

The Texas Tribune reports:

Conservatives over the past year have used “critical race theory” as a broad label to attack progressive teachings and books in college and K-12 schools that address race and gender.

Tenure is an indefinite appointment for university faculty that can only be terminated under extraordinary circumstances. Academics said Friday that tenure is intended to protect faculty and academic freedom from exactly the kind of politicization being waged by Patrick.


CRT is a red herring. Pure and simple. I find nothing wrong with teaching students about the aspects of our history that include the inhumane treatment our government leveled against Americans only because they were black, or brown, or anyone who isn’t white.

Yet such curricula have been labeled by conservatives — such as Dan Patrick — as being “anti-American,” or that it teaches young students to “hate America.”

Good grief! It doesn’t do anything of the sort.

Patrick, thus, has become the latest demagogue to seek to make political hay out of a legitimate field of academic study.



Schools see exodus

A disturbing trend appears to be developing in North Texas as nine school superintendents have announced they are leaving their posts at the end of the current academic year.

It’s an unusual number of top public school administrators heading for the exits, according to officials, as reported by the Texas Tribune.

The culprit? It appears to be a combination of culture wars, pandemic politicization and perhaps some normal retirements. From my vantage point, it appears that the culture wars and the politics of the pandemic are playing too heavy a role.

North Texas superintendents leave as school culture wars heat up | The Texas Tribune

Richardson ISD Superintendent Jeanne Stone perhaps is the most notable resignation. She quit in the middle of the school year after being pressured by parents over mask mandates. She was mum at the time she quit, but she has opened up in recent days to the media.

“Heartbreaking is a pretty accurate way to describe this,” Stone said. “It’s all I’ve ever known. It’s all I’ve ever done. It’s all I ever wanted to do.”

The Tribune reports: Stone is just one of many public educators who have borne the brunt of a shifting culture war — filled with fierce accusations and rising tensions often stoked by state officials — about how K-12 students learn. And she is among at least nine North Texas superintendents who have announced they would leave their jobs since the start of the school year.

School administrators generally have a relatively short lifespan in their posts. However, the current climate seems to be quickening the exodus from public school admin buildings. It is a shame to see such turnover.

The other biggie appears to be this thing called “critical race theory.” Parents are fighting among themselves over whether schools should allow teachers to instruct students on racism and its impact on our national history; they also are fighting with school administrators and elected board members, too.

And, of course, we have the children who are being caught in the middle of all this tempest and turmoil.

They are suffering the most. It shouldn’t happen.


School races take on new urgency

We just cast our ballots for municipal offices and a citywide resolution in Princeton, Texas, along with amendments to the Texas Constitution … as well as for seats on the Princeton Independent School District board of trustees.

It’s the latter race that causes me some angst and potential worry. Yes, I worry about the Princeton ISD and whether our local school district is going to frolic down the path of examining “critical race theory” and examining textbooks that examine seedier portions of our national history.

I do not want that to happen in Princeton.

We are a rapidly growing community full of new families with small children, many of whom live in our subdivision that happens to next to a newly built elementary school.

The critical race theory discussion troubles me in one key aspect. It is that right wingers fear CRT because it allows teachers to instruct our children about our nation’s single greatest sin: the enslavement of human beings and the associated racism, a good bit of which remains to this day.

I do not want my school board members to shy away from teaching our children about that facet of our nation’s history. Yes, we live in a great nation, arguably the greatest ever created. Greatness, though, does not preclude mistakes along the way.

Let us not forgo teaching our children about those mistakes and the measures we have taken to — in the words of our nation’s founders — seek to create and preserve a “more perfect Union.”