Conservative culture-canceling panic about “critical race theory” in schools continues to spread. But while some school districts rightly point out that CRT is not taught in their system, anti-CRT forces have so broadened their objections that the definition of controversial academic discipline hardly matters any longer.
Tennessee is one of many states that have laws prohibiting CRT in schools, and a chapter of Moms for Liberty, led by Robin Steenman (whose child attends private school) reported that county schools in Williamson had broken the gag rule. But the objections spreadsheet appears to be well outside the problems of historical and systemic racism in the United States. Objections include books on poisonous lizards, Johnny Appleseed, Greek and Roman mythology, and owls. A respondent opposes a book on Galileo because there are no “HEROES of the Church” to contrast with their persecution of the astronomer. This group also opposed a book on Ruby Bridges because it offered no “redemption” to protesters who shouted at a child trying to go to school.
In York, Pa., The school board “froze” a list of books, including books like Brad Metzler’s children’s book. I am Rosa Parks. After student protests (and national attention), the council relented.
But the anti-CRT movement is growing wider and wider to attack anything conservative parents don’t like in schools. The theory is that although CRT is not explicitly taught in schools, it has infiltrated. The Florida Citizens Alliance talks about “The many tentaclesOf the CRT, including words like âequityâ and âdiversityâ. Textbooks comprising âculturally sensitive educationâ are widely viewed as red flags for CRT by anti-CRT groups. Parents Defending Education offers a blanket condemnation of all âawakeâ policies. The Nevada Family Alliance is concerned that schools will indoctrinate students to “lead efforts to achieve ‘social justice.’ Christian Post complains about âreligious adherents to the new cult of diversity, inclusion and equityâ.
The Wisconsin Assembly has joined the list of state agencies passing gag laws banning certain types of speech, and the list of prohibited ideas has grown far beyond the bounds of current critical race theory. . Bill co-author Chuck Wichgers said that
the bill would ban the teaching of concepts such as “social emotional learning”, “diversity, equity and inclusion”, culturally appropriate education, anti-racism, conscious and unconscious bias , culturally appropriate practices, diversity training, equity, micro-aggression, multiculturalism, patriarchy, restorative justice, social justice, systemic racism, white privilege, white supremacy and “revival”, among others .
Additionally, Wichgers testified to a list of additional terms and concepts that would be banned under the bill. The list of canceled concepts has nearly 90 items and includes anti-racism, centering or decentring, critical pedagogy, fairness, implicit prejudices, normativity, patriarchy, racial prejudices, systems of power and control. oppression, and awakening.
Under the bill, school districts and charter schools would lose 10% of their public funding for violating the ban through classroom instruction or professional development. This, although no school in Wisconsin is known to teach critical breed theory. If this bill passes the Senate and survives a likely governor’s veto, prospective teachers in Wisconsin will need a full course just to learn what they are prohibited from teaching in their classroom.
In March, Christopher Rufo, a conservative activist who was at the forefront of the anti-CRT movement, tweeted: âThe goal is to get the public to read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think of the ‘ critical theory of race ‘. We have decoded the term and will recode it to annex the full range of cultural constructs unpopular with Americans. This promise has apparently been kept, as anti-CRT activists and lawmakers have redefined the term so broadly that it is almost meaningless.