No, we don’t need Critical Race Theory in Compulsory Education
The Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards will go before the Illinois State Board of Education on December 16th for a vote, and onto state lawmakers should it pass. The register contains a set of teaching requirements for primary school educators, which suggests how diversity should be made to be part of the curriculum.
The proposal reads like a Critical Race Theory training mandate inflicted at the k-12 level as opposed to when entering post-high school education and career paths where it’s often more prevalent. Just this year, Critical Race Theory was banned as a part of sensitivity training in government agencies and companies that would hope to contract with the federal government.
Some excerpts from the proposal:
Leading Standard b) “Systems of Oppression — Culturally responsive teachers and leaders understand that there are systems in our society that create and reinforce inequities, thereby creating oppressive conditions.
Sub points 3–7 really go for it -
3) Understand how the system of inequity has impacted them as an educator.
4) Know and understand how current curriculum and approaches to teaching impact students who are not a part of the dominant culture.
5) Be aware of the effects of power and privilege and the need for social advocacy and social action to better empower diverse students and communities.
6) Know and understand how a system of inequity creates rules regarding student punishment that negatively impacts students of color.
7) Know and understand how a system of inequity reinforces certain truths as the norm.
In regards to all the above, I can’t say I’m even remotely a fan of promoting this sort of political indoctrination at the compulsory education level.
This is a luxury viewpoint however, I can’t pretend to know about the experiences of others. I can only reply my gut feeling that teaching people that they’re at a disadvantage in society because of their background and that the systems that govern them are inherently biased against them will push a generation into the world that will seek to change an external system as opposed to the tried and true human method that’s promoted our progression thus far across the board — of being the change we want to see in the world.
I liken this to the broader empathy first agenda. Promoting external empathy and seeking problems in society over ourselves is like ignoring the shadow to think of it in line with Jungian psychology. The main idea here being that the problems we see in others are often more readily available in ourselves. This is the shadow, the traits not easy to acknowledge that are likely undesirable.
By promoting the maximum tolerance of those around us while having absolutely 0 tolerance for those without this new age rendition, we’re implanting simultaneously an easy out for acknowledging and thereby improving our own faults. The strength of the individual comes in our ability to act in accordance with the good in our being over our bad. Think yin and yang, you cannot remove one or the other, but you can choose a side and take action in its alignment.
Returning to the more tangible issue of teaching that society is inherently off-kilter, this is what CRTLS wants to make part of the curriculum -
Society is inherently bad. It has wronged you and it is against you. You should know this as a facet of your learning prior to entering into this system.
Teaching the next generation that a problem exists is not equivalent to teaching them the solution. Instead we should be saying something along the lines of -
YOU are a member of society, a part of the whole. The system in place has flaws but it is improving with each new generation. To continue to make it better, it is YOUR responsibility to be better.
In conclusion, I’d encourage you not to be among the lot to only point at the outside world and say, ‘Get better’. Instead, look inside yourself and be better.
For more thoughts that make you think, follow me on Twitter. I’m not always right, let’s have a discussion.
Originally published at https://www.thebenjam.in on December 9, 2020.