Virginia parents organize to fight critical race theory learning in classrooms

VA Parents Fight CRT In Classrooms

A child’s first teacher is their parent, but in Loudoun County, Va., some parents say that’s no longer the case. 

“Critical race theory basically enforces or introduces an idea that the sins of our great- grandparents are still here with us, and there’s nothing we can do about it,” says Fred Rege, a Loudoun County parent, who is Black. 

Rege is one of a growing number of parents banding together to support Fight For Schools, a political action committee opposed to CRT. The group is spearheaded by Ian Prior, a former Trump administration DOJ official and father of two children in Loudoun County public schools. 

“They’ll talk about it with different words, like equity or culturally responsive learning, but those are really the implementation tools of critical race theory,” says Prior. “What you see is constant references to White privilege, White supremacy, White fragility, and really focusing on kids not as individuals with their own skills, talents, dreams and goals, but instead looking at kids through an identity group lens,” he says.

Concerns over critical race theory in schools has sparked controversies across the country. 

In Loudoun County, school administrators say CRT is not a part of LCPS curriculum.

“Critical race theory, is not something that is relatable on the K-12 level, it’s not something that is taught in our schools or presented to our students,” says LCPS Interim Superintendent Scott Ziegler.

According to LCPS, The Equity Collaborative, a group that offers “equity coaching,” was hired in 2019 to perform a “systemic equity assessment.”

A statement on the LCPS website says students did not receive equity training and that LCPS has not adopted a uniform equity curriculum, but it does have a “Culturally Responsive Framework.”

According to documents provided by LCPS, the purpose of the Culturally Responsive Framework is:

“To create and guide support of student-centered learning environments with a critical focus on culturally and linguistically diverse students that have been marginalized by inequitable systems. ‘LCPS calls for all students, staff, families, and other members of our community to engage in the disruption and dismantling of white supremacy, systemic racism, and hateful language and actions based on race, religion, country of origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, and/or ability.’ (Dr. Eric Williams, Superintendent of Loudoun County Public Schools). A culturally responsive framework also creates and guides culturally responsive teaching by, ‘using the cultural knowledge, prior experiences, frames of reference, and performance styles of ethnically and racially diverse students to make learning encounters more relevent to and effective for them’ (Geneva Gay, 2010).”

“Our equity group programs and our professional development for teachers is not about bringing one student down or elevating another student. Our equity efforts are about providing a world-class education for all of our students,” says Ziegler. 

Equity Collaborative denied an interview for this story, saying LCPS told it not to speak to Fox News.

The clash over CRT and equity learning has put LCPS school board meetings in the national spotlight

“I think you got to look at the evidence, and the previous superintendent recommended the teachers and staff read Ibram X. Kendi’s book ‘How To Be An Antiracist,’ and you have to look at some of the resources that are provided to teachers, such as the website, and you know that’s something that this school board has affirmed,” says John Beatty, LCPS school board member and a candidate for Congress in Virginia.

In March, video footage posted online showing an LCPS high school teacher appearing to berate a student for not acknowledging the race of two girls seen in a presentation slide went viral.

Despite this, Ziegler insists he is not aware of any circumstances where a teacher has crossed the line when interacting with students. He says the back and forth captured in the video took place in a “college-level” English class.

“When you pick out parts of lessons, it makes it very difficult to give the full context of that,” says Ziegler. “Our teachers are about world-class education. And so, the lessons that they designed, are about meeting students where they are, about being culturally relevant for all of our students, making sure that students are able to see themselves and the examples that play out in class and the reading materials that are used in class.”

On Tuesday night, the LCPS school board held an “equity workshop” to discuss training and student outreach being done in schools. The meeting did not include public comment.  

According to Rege, who has two middle school-aged daughters in LCPS, “the best that it can do is pit people against each other and have Black Americans, and especially our children, feeling that there’s nothing they can do about their lot in life and their plight.” 

This article is part one of an investigation into critical race theory’s impact on Loudoun County Public Schools. Part two will be published on Thursday.

Source: Read Full Article