by Larry Sand
Just four weeks ago, I wrote about the rising resistance to the woke craze and critical race theory, and much has transpired since then.
Here in California, even Disneyland has not been spared the wrath of the crazies. On May 7, the incomparable Christopher Rufo reported that “The Wokest Place on Earth” now includes employee trainings on systemic racism, white privilege, white fragility, and white saviors, and also launched racially segregated “affinity groups” at the company’s headquarters.
But just five days later, Rufo disclosed that Disney “has removed its entire antiracism program from the company’s internal portal, effectively scrubbing it out of existence.” Rufo added, “This is a major victory in the war against ‘woke capital,’” and noted that a “significant backlash from the public” was responsible for the shift. While some skeptics suggested that the policy was being “tweaked or rebranded, not scrubbed,” Rufo responded, “Possibly, but small victories start to add up. We’ve set the precedent—and forced a $329 billion company to back down.”
And then there is the math craziness. As a former teacher, I loved teaching math because there was a right and wrong answer. Feelings, opinions, and political dogma were irrelevant. 2+2=4. Period. If you have another take, sorry but you’re wrong. Now that the crazies are in charge, however, if you insist on right and wrong answers, you are racist. Really.
Until last week, in fact, the proposed California math framework recommended eight times that teachers use A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction: Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction as a resource. This radical drivel insists that addressing student errors, focusing on getting the right answer, and requiring students to show their work is a form of white supremacy. Objectivity is now racist, apparently.
However, due to citizen outrage during the “public comments” period, the state walked back some of its new math mandates, notably dropping the over-the-top Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction. The commission agreed to remove references to the toolkit from the draft framework last week, stating it was “inconsistent with teaching to the standards.” But the war is not over. The framework has not been finalized, and the California Department of Education will hold a second public review in June and July.
Also in May, California decided to eliminate the SAT and ACT, traditional tests used as an admission requirement for students to gain entry into the University of California. The ban, good through at least 2025, was clearly instituted because black and Hispanic students did not benefit from the objective tests.
But lawyer Paul Mirengoff maintains that because the agreement clearly mistreats whites and Asians (including low-income ones) who have scored, or will score well, they are victims of unlawful discrimination. This is obvious grounds for a lawsuit, though none has been filed so far.
To combat the woke onslaught, the citizenry cannot stand idly by. Action is necessary, but we need information and guidance first, and there are groups filling those needs. Protect Our Kids has done an excellent job of getting the word out as has the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR). Also, Parents Defending Education, Californians for Equal Rights, Alliance for Constructive Ethnic Studies, Educators for Quality and Equality, and many others have sprung up to fight the CRT beast. It would be worth your while to get on these groups’ email lists to keep up with the latest in woke doings and find out what you can do.
Lawsuits are another way to go, but there has not been much activity in that realm in California. The only litigation that has been filed against the state was done so last October. The lawsuit alleges that “Wade Crowfoot, the Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency and Charlton Bonham, Director for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, implemented policies that create racial preferences in connection with recruiting, hiring, and other conditions of employment for state employees and which overtly treat people as racial categories rather than individuals.”
Additionally, a “civil rights violation complaint” has been filed against San Diego schools. The Californians for Equal Rights Foundation along with five partner organizations made the complaint against the school district for unlawful, discriminatory critical race training of teachers and employees.
On the national scene, a lot is happening. Attorneys general in 20 states have sent a letter to U.S. education secretary Miguel Cardona, claiming proposed priorities for federal grants include language that imposes the “deeply flawed and controversial teachings” of critical race theory on schools and teachers. This came to the fore in January when Joe Biden rescinded his predecessor’s executive order that restricted the government and its contractors “from using [curricula] that examined issues like systemic racism, white privilege, and other race and gender bias issues.” (As a cisgender Caucasian male who has made many dubious racial comments in the past, perhaps Biden is timidly playing the role of appeaser—feeding the crocodile in the hope it will eat him last.)
The aforementioned Parents Defending Education has filed federal civil rights complaints against several school districts around the country, arguing that when districts announce the presence of systemic racism in their schools, they are admitting to a violation of federal law and should be subject to penalties that could include losing federal money.
Legislators are also waking up. Idaho, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Tennessee have now passed legislation limiting racial advocacy. Many more states are following suit. On a national level, House Republicans are targeting the teaching of critical race theory.
A recent poll reveals that 74 percent of respondents were “somewhat or strongly opposed” to white privilege training. A scant 6 percent were in favor of the training. Those of us who are against the racial radicalization of America must do our share to fight it—write letters, talk to your neighbors, join a group, pursue litigation—whatever it takes to derail the woke train.
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Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network—a nonpartisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers and the general public with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues. The views presented here are strictly his own.