When we forget that we are a race – the human race – we start to separate and create divisions in our nation. This division has ripple effects on all aspects of society. Perhaps most worrying is the effect it has on education.
Our country was founded as one nation under God, and our children remembered it every day. Previously, when the school bell rang, children would stand up, face the American flag, place their right hand over their heart, and take the pledge of allegiance. Every day they said the words “one nation, under God”. The symbolism was clear; we were all united in our love for the country and our commitment to equality.
Where did this unit go?
In the enduring song “Georgia on my Mind”, the great Ray Charles sang “No peace I find” in his home country during the civil rights movement. Indeed, Georgia was at the heart of the movement, and it was a troubled time. Yet we persevered and we won – schools were desegregated and our civil liberties were enshrined in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Where did this victory go?
Unity and victory were undermined by Critical Race Theory (CRT). This new approach to running is actively dividing our children every day by leading them to believe that their skin color is more important than character content. This is precisely the kind of ideal that the leaders of the civil rights movement fought against, but here it is again, right here in Georgia.
After the Georgia State Board of Education passed a resolution banning CRT from statewide classrooms, the Atlanta School Board issued a response defending the CRT, stating that “we will not change our focus” on “advancing equity and social justice in our schools”.
And if flouting government authority wasn’t enough, Atlanta-based Mary Lin Elementary School reportedly segregated students based on their ethnicity. A mother of a second grader sued the district. “To our knowledge, (the principal) designated these black classes without the knowledge or consent of the families of the affected black students,” his legal complaint stated. “Instead, she unilaterally decided what was in the best interests of black students, relegating them only to classes she deemed appropriate.”
This disturbing incident provides insight into the real purpose of Critical Race Theory: to reintegrate into our society by skin color, bringing us back to where we started.
Atlanta public schools even go so far as to provide resources for teachers to ask them to conduct a “classroom equity audit” and create “equity-centered environments”. Teachers were advised to “make connections that show how the historical roots of injustice impact the lived experiences and material conditions of people today”.
Apparently, the best way to help underprivileged communities in Atlanta learn and succeed is to tell children they are oppressed instead of encouraging them knowing they have the capacity to do great things.
My uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., would not recognize this regressive version of the civil rights movement. His life and leadership would also mean nothing to critical race theorists today. He preached a worldview centered on character and not on skin color. To today’s critical race theorists, my uncle was hopelessly naïve. They reject the vision the civil rights movement fought for and they will not stop until our institutions are demolished and rebuilt.
Fortunately, thousands of school board seats are up for election in November. In Atlanta alone, nine seats are occupied.
Georgia school boards and the Georgia State Board of Education play a critical role in selecting curriculum and approving texts for use by classrooms and teachers across the state. This power helps in deciding what type of material is used to teach students. At an age when children are more likely to be influenced, this power holds the ability to shape the beliefs of the next generation.
That’s why it’s important for anyone who cares about our children to learn more about their own local school boards. Find out who’s running. Learn what they believe. Will we have unity again, or will we let our schools evolve more into division? You can decide this direction by learning, then voting.
Alveda King is a Senior Advisor at the America First Policy Institute and Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, serving as a pastoral associate for the civil rights of unborn children, priests for life. Reprinted with permission from Newsweek.