Critical Race Theory, Team Biden and Our Schools—2 Big Lessons Conservatives Must Learn

COMMENTARY Education

Critical Race Theory, Team Biden and Our Schools—2 Big Lessons Conservatives Must Learn

Jul 30th, 2021 4 min read
COMMENTARY BY
Mike Gonzalez

Senior Fellow, Angeles T. Arredondo E Pluribus Unum Fellow

Mike Gonzalez is a senior fellow in Heritage's Allison Center for Foreign Policy and the Angeles T. Arredondo E Pluribus Unum fellow.
U.S. President Joe Biden gestures as he delivers remarks in the East Room of the White House on July 29, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

The Biden administration retreated twice this month from its attempts to shoehorn critical race theory into K-12 classrooms.

The outrageous posturing of these "abolitionist teachers" and "educators" has helped convinced parents across the country to resist CRT.

The department may not officially endorse the abolitionist teaching network, but some top appointees know the network well. Parents and taxpayers must stay vigilant.

When the Biden administration retreated twice this month from its attempts to shoehorn critical race theory into K-12 classrooms, it showed two things: The first is that a strategy of exposure and pressure works, the second is that the American people can never let up.

The second is particularly vital. President Joe Biden has surrounded himself with committed ideologues who themselves have appointed mid-level managers devoted to far-leftist causes, and they are determined to impose these ideas on the rest of us. 

If anything, this is a "teachable moment." Conservatives often remind themselves that personnel is policy, but when it comes to filling out administrations, they sometimes buckle under to the wishes of the left-of-center entrenched federal bureaucracy.

Example A is the Department of Education’s hasty decision to eliminate a radical CRT outfit from its recommendations to schools on how to open up in the fall after the lengthy COVID-19 shutdown, and how to spend moneys allocated in the American Rescue Plan.

>>> Most Parents and Teachers Are Done With Critical Race Theory

The guidance, called the "Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting all Students’ Needs," had promoted the Abolitionist Teaching Network, a grifting outfit that (sadly) is fairly typical of companies that offer "anti-racist" trainings programs or curricula.

The network itself says it is gearing toward building "abolitionist teachers … requires students, families, and educators who disrupt Whiteness and other forms of oppression." 

The "roadmap" called for the elimination of "all punitive or disciplinary practices that spirit murder Black, Brown, and Indigenous children." And it included calls to "remove any and all police and policing from schools" and institute "reparations for children of color stolen by the school-to-prison pipeline."

According to Fox News, Bettina Love, co-founder of ATN and chair of its board, said during a welcome webinar, "If you don’t recognize that White supremacy is in everything we do, then we got a problem." Love added, "I want us to be feared."

All of this is ugly stuff, but average fare for the outfits that suck tax dollars out of hard-strapped communities with their "Social Emotional Learning" (SEL) programs. The outrageous posturing of these trainers and "educators" has helped convinced parents across the country to resist CRT.

The thinking is also classic critical race theory—even though now that a natural resistance to CRT has built up, those practicing these divisive concepts deny that they are part of CRT. They can’t hide, however; defining deviancy down, and decriminalizing crime, is at the heart of the writings of Regina Austin, Angela Harris and Paul Butler, undeniable CRT academics

And, it is important to note as well that the use of the term "abolitionist" is not meant to associate this effort with the actual abolition of slavery, the work of Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, or the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation.

No, abolition in this sense is a Marxist term.

In his book, "The Devil and Karl Marx," Grove City College’s Paul Kengor reminds us that, "The word ‘abolition’ is omnipresent throughout Marx’s writings. As [Marx scholar] Robert Payne noted, the word almost seems to jump off every page of the Manifesto. ‘And after he has "abolished" property, family, and nations, and all existing societies, Marx shows little interest in creating a new society on the ruins of the old’."

In fact, in a video that Black Lives Matter founder Patrisse Cullors cut in February, she praised her intellectual guru, Angela Davis, as one of her "favorite abolitionists." Lest we forget, Davis ran twice for VP on the Communist Party ticket and received the Lenin Peace Prize from the ruthless East German leader Erich Honnecker. She fills auditoriums at universities today where she informs her clueless audience that "I am now and have always been a Marxist."

So it’s not really surprising that almost as soon as Fox News had reported that the administration was recommending ATN materials, a spokesperson said the whole thing had been "an error." A rushed-out statement said, "The Department does not endorse the recommendation of this group, nor do they reflect our policy positions."

The department may not officially endorse the abolitionist teaching network, but some of its top appointees already know the network well. 

Cindy Marten, newly appointed Deputy Secretary at education, hosted Love when she was superintendent of the San Diego unified public school system, where Love conducted SEL trainings in 2020, according to investigative journalist and Manhattan Institute fellow Chris Rufo. Love was paid $11,000 for her work, according to Fox News.

And Love spoke at a national education association event last year when Donna Harris-Aikens, now an acting assistant secretary, was senior director at the far-left teachers union.

>>> Institutionalizing Racial Fanaticism Across American Society

The episode over the abolitionist teaching network was but the second time the Department of Education leads with its CRT fist, and then folds when America punches back.

Earlier this year, Secretary Miguel Cardona recommended a rule that would prioritize grants to educational institutions that practiced CRT. Over 30,000 Americans wrote mostly negative comments on the department’s website, including The Heritage Foundation. Cardona appears to have folded. He said in a statement last week that "this program, however, has not, does not, and will not dictate or recommend specific curriculum be introduced or taught in classrooms."

Americans are faced with an administration that pretends to be moderate, and which a fawning media portrays as moderate, but which appoints people who attempt to impose fringe ideas onto impressionable minds. Parents and taxpayers must remain vigilant.

This piece originally appeared in Fox News