The Senate and Assembly Education Committees are holding a Joint Hearing this Wednesday, August 11th at 10am, on two bills related to Critical Race Theory. The hearing is being held in room 412 East at the State Capitol.
August 10, 2021
The two bills being heard are SB411/AB411 relating to anti-racism and anti-sexism pupil instruction and anti-racism and anti-sexism training for employees of school districts and independent charter schools, along with SB463/AB488 relating to requiring school boards to make information about learning materials and educational activities used for pupil instruction available to the public.
Parents and lawmakers have recently started to wake up to the threat of CRT in schools, but there is a concerted, organized, and vast campaign to push CRT onto our children that has been going on for years. Many on the left argue that CRT is just a theory, saying that CRT, or as it is known under one of its many aliases, is not actually taught in the classroom or that is not a central tenet of curriculum. However, the MacIver Institute has been uncovering instances of Critical Race Theory in education since 2014.
Before the hearing tomorrow where some will try to make the argument that CRT is just a figment of our imagination, we thought we would share a reminder with our readers of how pervasive CRT is in Wisconsin.
For a complete review of CRT in Wisconsin, please visit MacIverInstitute.com and click on the Big Issues tab.
It is evident that Culturally Responsive Teaching — the current preferred term for Critical Race Theory — is not just randomly appearing in classrooms across the state, but is being pushed from the top down. Readers frequently ask the MacIver Institute, “How is CRT actually being passed onto teachers and children in the classroom?” There are many consulting firms and outside groups that provide DPI, schools, and teachers themselves with the resources they need to force CRT into the curriculum at the school district level or directly into the classroom. There is a concerted, organized, and vast campaign to push CRT onto our children. Here is the first of what will be many examples of the groups and organizations pushing CRT in Wisconsin.
The Department of Public Instruction is connected to the Disproportionality Technical Assistance Network — known as “The Network.” According to their website, the Disproportionality Technical Assistance Network “works with PreK-12 educators, schools, districts and other community partners to reduce racial disproportionality in special education. Each member of our staff is committed to racial and social justice, striving to honor those who came before us while transforming current systems to ensure a hope-filled future for all.” The group is supposedly focused on special education initiatives, yet their website, resources, and events seem broadly focused on race and equity in all of K12 education.
The Network provides dozens of resources online for a variety of subjects including Culturally Responsive Teaching, Disproportionality and Equity, and Race, Racism, and Racial Bias. Out of the nine categories of resources found on the website, none appear to be focused only on special education.
Take a few minutes to listen to Scarlett Johnson, a parent of the Mequon-Thiensville School District, and Alyssa Pollow, a parent of the Germantown School District, as they describe what you can do to push back against Critical Race Theory.
These two moms decided that their children’s education was too important to sit on the sideline. In the podcast, they describe why they became involved in the fight against CRT, and how difficult the education establishment has made it to find out basic public information about the use of CRT in our schools. Finally, Scarlett and Alyssa talk about how they convinced their fellow parents and community members to speak up and fight back.
The Superintendent of Germantown Schools, Brett Stousland, has been adamant that Critical Race Theory is not present in the school district, save for two elective courses offered at the high school. In a letter to parents dated April 29, 2021, Stousland said “Currently, CRT is presented as a theory in just two high school elective courses; AP Literature & Composition and Critical Thinking & Writing. CRT is one of many critical theories that the students are exposed to in these classes.”
According to Christopher Rufo, Director of the Initiative on Critical Race Theory at the Manhattan Institute, “There are a series of euphemisms deployed by its supporters to describe critical race theory, including ‘equity,’ ‘social justice,’ ‘diversity and inclusion,’ and ‘culturally responsive teaching.’ Critical race theorists, masters of language construction, realize that ‘neo marxism would be a hard sell.”
So even though the education establishment will adamantly state “we do not teach Critical Race Theory”, they are often teaching Critical Race Theory to their teachers and their students under a different name.
Thanks to a FOIA request from a group of parents in the district, we can confirm that Critical Race Theory is more widespread in the district than Stousland is letting on. In fact, the very next day after Superintendent Stousland assured parents CRT was only “presented as a theory in just two high school elective courses”, many Germantown teachers participated in a “Cultural Responsiveness” seminar on April 30th, 2021 that studied books like Me and White Supremacy and Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching.
Critical Race Theory In Wisconsin K12 Education, May 25, 2021
School District of La Crosse
The School District recently received over $26,000 in an equity grant from the La Crosse Public Education Fund (LPEF). The funds are to be used for “an intensive racial justice workshop for all staff at Longfellow Middle School, books and materials for pre-kindergarten classes at 10 sites.”
The equity grant will also go towards a new curriculum for all 7th grade classes that will stress “understanding about diversity issues, including how to think globally and act locally.” The proposed curriculum is called “‘Act Like a Hummingbird,’ and references “a story about a tiny hummingbird that, despite her small size, makes a huge difference in her community by taking action and convincing other animals to join her in putting out a forest fire.”
This is not the only time the La Crosse Area School District has put money towards Critical Race Theory and the indoctrination of their staff and students. Superintendent Aaron Engel agreed to sponsor the “White Privilege Symposium La Crosse, WI: A Vision for Racial Equity: History, Truth, and a Call for Action” to be held later this year in December. School district taxpayers will pay $1,000.00 for the district to be a “Respecting” sponsor, which comes with admission to the symposium for three district employees and three copies of the book “Waking Up White.” The goal of the symposium is to “eliminate race-based privilege and create more equitable, welcoming communities.” It appears that the district will also help to organize and produce the White Privilege Symposium. Melissa Murray, principal at Lincoln Middle School in the district, is listed as a host planning committee member. According to the website, Principal Murray is the White Privilege Symposium Youth Action Project Coordinator for the event. There is no description on the website of what Murray’s role entails, what specific tasks she will be expected to carry out, or if she will be doing this work for the White Privilege Symposium during normal school hours on the taxpayer’s dime.
Lodi School District
Alarmingly, the decision to implement Critical Race Theory in schools is, in at least some instances, being made by an unelected bureaucrat, not the elected school board. As MacIver News previously reported, in the Lodi School District, Superintendent Vince Bruenig made the executive decision to implement dozens of equity initiatives in the district, including culturally responsive teaching training for all new educators in the district, without a formal vote of the school board or any input from the Board.
Lodi is also an active participant in the Dane County Equity Consortium (DCEC), a group of 29 school districts in Dane County that believe “our students in Dane County and throughout Wisconsin have experienced significant, measurable, system-wide inequities for far too long.” According to the DCEC website, member school districts are “taking collective action to eliminate barriers associated with the predictability of success based on race, ethnicity, gender identity, first language, income or ability statuses.”
The predictability of success based on race or ethnicity? Isn’t prejudging someone’s success or failure based on the color of their skin or background the very definition of racism?
Planning group members of the DCEC have titles within their individual school districts like Director of Student Services, Director of Elementary Education, Director of Curriculum & Instruction, and Director of Instructional Equity.
Questionable Curriculum: Black Lives Matters in Milwaukee Classrooms, October 22, 2020
When there’s trouble in Milwaukee, there’s usually a small army of young people leading the charge. It’s no coincidence. Milwaukee Public Schools spends considerable time and effort developing its students to become young revolutionaries.
The district was one of many across Wisconsin (and the country) that spent the entire first week of February on “Black Lives Matter Week of Action” curriculum. At some of those schools, only a handful of students are proficient in English or math. Apparently, though, at these schools it’s more important to teach students what to think instead of how to think. MNS’ Bill Osmulski has more in this video report.
Questionable Curriculum: Schools Walk Out on Education, July 2, 2020
The young people protesting and rioting across Wisconsin this summer are anything but an untrained mob.
From their rhetoric to their organization to their street tactics – there is nothing amateur going on.
Did these young people figure all this out on their own?
It might not surprise you to know that public schools play a central role in this activist education. However, the scale of this effort will shock you.
It’s happening in schools all across the state, but nowhere is it more obvious than in Milwaukee Public Schools. The district proudly documents its regular adult-supported student protests.
During the 2019-2020 school year, there were at least five distinct protest events in Milwaukee. Some were statewide or national protest events that other Wisconsin districts also participated in, like Madison, Baraboo, Appleton, Ashland, and Lacrosse. In each of those districts, less than half of the student body is proficient in English and Math. Performance is marginally better in districts like Wauwatosa and Shorewood, which are also very politically active.
DPI Conference Pushes ‘White Privilege’ Mantra, At Taxpayer Expense, October 25, 2018
If you are white, you probably don’t have the “capacity” to understand just how racist you are, and just how truly privileged you are. And your “white fragility” makes you feel quite uncomfortable any time you are made to come to terms with the truth of a white supremacy society.
At least that’s what Decoteau J. Irby, Ph.D., believes is at the center of race relations and failed or stalled educational systems in America.
And Wisconsin taxpayers are again picking up the tab for another public education event, at least in part, pushing the concept of “white privilege” with another education expert declaring just how intolerant – and intolerable – white people are.
Irby, associate professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago’s Department of Educational Policy Studies, served as keynote speaker for the 34th Annual State Superintendent’s Conference on Special Education & Pupil Services held earlier this month – at a Wisconsin Dells waterpark and resort. The two-day session was sponsored by the state Department of Public Instruction, and included breakout sessions on safe classrooms and “Helping Schools Help Transgender and Non-Binary Students.”
Hundreds of education specialists turned out for Irby’s presentation innocuously and academically titled, “Stuck Improving: Understanding Organizational Capacity for Equity-focused Improvement.” The address was nothing more than a white shame fest, according to an event attendee who spoke to MacIver News Service on condition of anonymity.
The MacIver Institute’s investigation into the White Privilege Conference (WPC) has uncovered that the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse spent more than $26,000 on the conference held in Madison this past in late March. An open records request revealed that 23 UW-La Crosse staff and 91 UW-La Crosse students attended the conference. UW-La Crosse covered the costs for each individual to attend. In total, the western Wisconsin public university spent $26,562.33, including $2,000 to sponsor the conference and $16,496.25 for registrations.
If you are unable to make it out to the Capitol, Wisconsin Eye will be covering the hearing. Be sure to follow along @MacIverWisc on Twitter for live updates from the hearing.