KENAI, Alaska (AP) – The new principal of Kenai Public Schools told the crowd at his first school board meeting that critical race theory is not on the district’s agenda, but said the district would continue to teach history to students.
“Teaching the facts of history, current events and critical thinking is what we are doing and will continue to do,” said Clayton Holland. “Our teachers are going to teach history. I want to be very clear on this. We teach history. They will teach our students facts.
Critical Race Theory is a legal framework developed in the 1970s and 1980s that focuses on the idea that racism is systemic in the institutions of the nation. District officials said critical breed theory was not on the agenda, but the issue remained a recurring theme at Monday’s meeting, the Peninsula Clarion reported.
Some community members said if the theory was taught the district would back down.
“They indoctrinate our children with lies,” said Susan Lockwood. “If they don’t like the United States of America, they should just leave and go to China or Russia or Iran or some other communist country.”
Dave Peck of Kenai asked the board to consider adopting a formal commitment that members would not endorse the theory or allow it to be part of the curriculum.
Kenai Peninsula Education Association president Nathan Erfurth said students in the district are learning what happened and who was involved and encouraged to draw their own conclusions.
“Through inquiry, research, projects and activities that parents are encouraged to help their students, they are guided to broaden their perspectives and develop their critical thinking skills so that they are able to draw their own conclusions about what happened in our past and what it means for our present, ”said Erfurth. He taught government and history at Soldotna High School and helped develop the district’s social studies curriculum.
Board of Education Chairman Zen Kelly said critical race theory “takes a long time on social media, takes a long time in some news circles, and it pisses a lot of people off.” But Kelly said “it’s really not a problem in our school district.”
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