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How a Teachers Union Promotes Critical Race Theory
A toolkit tells teachers how to push radical ideology on children despite Gov. Youngkin’s ban.
By The Editorial Board
March 8, 2023 6:31 pm ET
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin won election in 2021 in no small part on education policy, including a promise to ban critical race theory in schools. His first executive order instructed the Superintendent of Public Instruction to review curricula and end the use of “inherently divisive concepts, including Critical Race Theory.”
But that hasn’t stopped the Virginia teachers union from using its pipeline to teachers to promote the teaching of a left-wing political agenda and activism. A “toolkit” pushed by the Virginia Education Association (VEA) shows how they do it.
The Black Lives Matter at School organization promotes an annual “week of action,” which took place Feb. 6-10 this year. The VEA encouraged its members to participate and offered an instruction manual “to be used as a resource guide for advancing racial justice in Virginia’s schools,” as Taisha Steele, director of the Human and Civil Rights division at the VEA, wrote in a memo with the materials.
By “advancing racial justice,” she means following the highly politicized agenda of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. The materials show this isn’t an attempt to teach black history as part of American history, or to fill in the gaps in black history that no doubt have existed in instruction in the past.
Instead, the toolkit promotes 13 “guiding principles” of the BLM movement. These include “working towards a queer-affirming network where heteronormative thinking no longer exists,” and “the disruption of Western nuclear family dynamics and a return to the ‘collective village’ that takes care of each other.” The idea that the “nuclear family” is a Western construct would certainly surprise Chinese, Indians or Koreans.
The toolkit includes links to lesson plans, some produced by the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center’s education branch. One encourages middle- and high-school students to consider the “trans-affirming” BLM principle: “We are committed to being self-reflexive and doing the work required to dismantle cis-gender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.”
The materials go beyond dubious instruction to training for political activism as young BLM pioneers. Lesson plans encourage students to think about how they can get involved in the BLM movement or other causes. A tip sheet for hosting a virtual event encourages organizers to “build a list of activists or volunteers for future engagement.” A “research” question for sixth-graders: “How will you liberate yourself and your oppressors?”
The toolkit also advises that if the local superintendent refuses to support the “week in action,” union activists should still “encourage educators to share the BLM toolkit with their school administrators, fellow educators, and school counselors.”
The number of schools that acted on the toolkit isn’t known. But the counseling department at Highland Springs High School in Henrico County tweeted that it would “highlight” the awareness week and shared the BLM at School website.
The union insists that the material is innocuous. “As is stated on the first page, the goal of the toolkit is to inspire an ongoing movement of critical reflection and honest conversation on issues of racial justice,” VEA President James Fedderman said in a statement. “Some people, like Governor Youngkin, find this to be an objectional stance, but we are unapologetic in our support of this goal. As a union of public school educators, we seek nothing more than to present an accurate portrayal of America’s past, without which we will not make the progress we so desperately need to make as a nation.”
Many on the left claimed critical race theory isn’t taught in K-12 classrooms when Gov. Youngkin vowed to ban it. But the toolkit shows that the union is using every avenue to impose the concepts on children, which demonstrates why Mr. Youngkin’s order is needed.