Christopher Rufo’s ‘Critical Race Theory Briefing Book’

Christopher Rufo’s “Critical Race Theory Briefing Book” is a policy and communications guide for parents, schools, and policy leaders.  According to Rufo’s website: 

In recent months, I’ve advised hundreds of leaders across the country, from local school board candidates to members of the United States House and Senate. I’ve distilled down my advice into this briefing book, which contains definitions, quotations, stories, language, and model policies—everything you need to fight critical race theory in American institutions.

Right now, we have enormous momentum on this issue. But in order to turn this sentiment into victory, we need to build a persuasive argument to the public and implement smart policies at every level of government. I hope this guidebook will help thousands of leaders learn about critical race theory, explain it to their constituents, and abolish it from American public life. 

Widener University: ‘We Don’t Want Them: Faculty of Color’

On June 2nd at 5:00 PM, Widener University’s Graduate and Continuing Studies is hosting a program titled “We Don’t Want Them: Faculty of Color.”  This video analyzes Widener’s approach to recruiting a diverse faculty from the lens of systemic racism.  

According to Widener’s course description: “This session will share the experiences of faculty of color, explore the benefits of a diverse faculty population, and examine what we can do to support equity in the hiring process in academia. This session will challenge administrators, faculty and staff to think differently about how and who is recruited and hired in higher education.”  

Does ‘A Place Inside of Me?’ Teach Kids to Resent Police?

Some parents have objected to Zetta Elliot’s pro-BLM book “A Place Inside of Me,” suggesting it foments fear and resentment of police. This video looks at two approaches for teaching the book: one which deals with addressing the numerous sources of violence in urban communities and helping kids process such violence while advocating for solutions; and one which solely focusses on violence by police, an approach Elliot takes with the book. Thanks for watching.

US Olympic Committee Allows Political Protests and Kneeling During Anthem

by Christopher Paslay

The USOPC has bowed to pressure from activists groups, and has placed a political agenda ahead of the interests of American athletes during the US Olympic trials.

According to an article in American Greatness: 

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee said this week they will not sanction athletes for raising their fists or kneeling during the national anthem at Olympic trials, despite a decades-long policy banning protests at the official games.

The USOPC released a nine-page document Tuesday about the sort of ‘racial and social demonstrations’ that will and won’t be allowed.  Holding up a fist, kneeling during the anthem and wearing hats or face masks with phrases such as “Black Lives Matter” or words such as “equality” or “justice,” will be permitted, according to the document.

This decision goes against International Olympic Committee rules, however.  According to “Rule 50 Guidelines” developed by the IOC Athlete’s Commission: 

As athletes, we are passionate about our sports and achieving our sporting performance goals. For each and every one of us, that passion continues into everyday life, where we advocate for change on issues of great importance to us and our world. That desire to drive change can naturally make it very tempting to use the platform of an appearance at the Olympic Games to make our point. 

However, all of us are here at the Olympic Games because, one day, we dreamt of being an Olympian, and maybe even an Olympic champion. The unique nature of the Olympic Games enables athletes from all over the world to come together in peace and harmony. We believe that the example we set by competing with the world’s best while living in harmony in the Olympic Village is a uniquely positive message to send to an increasingly divided world. This is why it is important, on both a personal and a global level, that we keep the venues, the Olympic Village and the podium neutral and free from any form of political, religious or ethnic demonstrations. 

If we do not, the life’s work of the athletes around us could be tarnished, and the world would quickly no longer be able to look at us competing and living respectfully together, as conflicts drive a wedge between individuals, groups and nations. That is not to say that you should be silent about the issues you care deeply about, and below you will find a list of places where you can express your views at the Olympic Games. 

Where are protests and demonstrations not permitted during the Olympic Games?

At all Olympic venues, including:

  • On the field of play
  • In the Olympic Village
  • During Olympic medal ceremonies
  • During the Opening, Closing and other official Ceremonies

The USOPC doesn’t seem to care about this, however.  They’ve bowed to pressure from activists groups which want to put a political agenda ahead of the interests of American athletes during the US Olympic trials.  

Whether the USOPC will place political activism over honest athletic competition during the actual Olympic Games — promoting Black Lives Matter instead of celebrating America’s Olympians — remains to be seen. 

Discussing Critical Race Theory with Deb Fillman on ‘The Reason We Learn’

Deb Fillman, a homeschooling parent of three, online educator, and former classroom teacher with an MSed from the UPENN Graduate School of Education, hosts a YouTube channel called “The Reason We Learn.” Deb has 10 years of experience homeschooling, tutoring, and teaching online, and runs a tutoring service to help families develop customized education experiences for their children in grades K-12. Yesterday, Deb invited me on her podcast, where we discussed Robin DiAngelo, Critical Race Theory, and the future of public education in America. 

GoFundMe Removes Loudoun County Parent Group for Opposing Critical Race Theory

According to the Washington Free Beacon: “GoFundMe bowed to pressure from progressive activists and deactivated a fundraiser affiliated with a group of Virginia parents fighting the infusion of critical race theory in Loudoun County Public Schools. Scott Mineo created his GoFundMe in mid-March after members of a private Facebook group called Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County launched an intimidation campaign against a number of parent groups, including his Parents Against Critical Theory. The group compiled a list of parents, identified their spouses and employers, and called for members to find ways to shut down their websites.” Thanks for watching.

Haverford School District Stonewalls Parents on Specifics of ‘Equity Team’

by Christopher Paslay

Some parents of Haverford School District students are not happy with the lack of transparency surrounding the school’s Equity Team, and would like more information on members, their specific plans and objectives. 

In July of 2020, after the death of George Floyd, the School District of Haverford Township adopted a resolution supporting the development of an anti-racist school climate by the board of directors.

The resolution stated in part, “we must recognize that racism and hate have no place in our schools and society. However, we must understand that racism is systemic, and it is unconsciously and consciously rooted into our institutions, policies, and practices. Consequently, we acknowledge that we must look at our own school policies and practices through an anti-racist and equity lens to address traces of racism and inequity that still exist within our own school community.”

The resolution went on to establish the development of district-wide equity leadership teams, which, according to the resolution, “will be responsible for developing ideas and strategies to submit to SDHT administration and Board of Directors around equity.” 

The establishment of diversity, equity, and inclusion teams in American schools has become the latest educational trend.  And while there’s nothing controversial about assembling such teams (in some cases these teams do objective and meaningful work), there have been cases where school districts have used so-called “diversity, equity, and inclusion” to forward a political agenda, and usher in radical, identity politics aimed at indoctrinating students rather than educating them.     

Such was the case last year in North Carolina.  The Wake County Public School System, which serves the greater Raleigh, North Carolina area, held an equity-themed teachers’ conference with sessions on “whiteness,” “microaggressions,” “racial mapping,” and “disrupting texts,” encouraging educators to form “equity teams” in schools and push the new party line: “antiracism.”

According to an article by Christopher Rufo, the first session of this equity-themed conference was called, “Whiteness in Ed Spaces,” where school administrators provided two handouts on the “norms of whiteness.” The article stated:

These documents claimed that “(white) cultural values” include “denial,” “fear,” “blame,” “control,” “punishment,” “scarcity,” and “one-dimensional thinking.” According to notes from the session, the teachers argued that “whiteness perpetuates the system” of injustice and that the district’s “whitewashed curriculum” was “doing real harm to our students and educators.” The group encouraged white teachers to “challenge the dominant ideology” of whiteness and “disrupt” white culture in the classroom through a series of “transformational interventions.”

Parents, according to the teachers, should be considered an impediment to social justice. When one teacher asked, “How do you deal with parent pushback?” the answer was clear: ignore parental concerns and push the ideology of antiracism directly to students. “You can’t let parents deter you from the work,” the teachers said. “White parents’ children are benefiting from the system” of whiteness and are “not learning at home about diversity (LGBTQ, race, etc.).” Therefore, teachers have an obligation to subvert parental wishes and beliefs. Any “pushback,” the teachers explained, is merely because white parents fear “that they are going to lose something” and find it “hard to let go of power [and] privilege.”

While the School District of Haverford Township has not embraced such radical and polarizing ideas, Haverford High School’s so-called “Student Equity Team” did recently send out an anonymous survey—not open to parents—asking students if they “have experienced implicit forms of discrimination like microaggressions,” and if students are confident that they know what a microaggression is.

Some parents of Haverford High School students have found this concerning, being that children in high school have no real understanding of microaggressions, and even if they did grasp the complexity of this, it wouldn’t matter; the concept has been thoroughly debunked by science. In 2017, Emory University psychology professor Scott O. Lilienfeld published a paper titled, “Microaggressions: Strong Claims, Inadequate Evidence,” which argued that the microaggression research program (MRP) “is far too underdeveloped on the conceptual and methodological fronts to warrant real-world application.”

The paper also recommended the abandonment of the term “microaggression,” and called for “a moratorium on microaggression training programs and publicly distributed microaggression lists pending research to address the MRP’s scientific limitations.”

Concerned parents did reach out to Haverford High School about the anonymous Student Equity Team survey, and were told by school officials that the Student Equity Team hoped to get more honest responses from students by keeping the survey anonymous. School officials did ultimately show the survey to concerned parents, and explained the survey results would go to Haverford High School administrators and the Teacher Equity Team to review; the purpose was to look for areas to improve at Haverford High School, and to bring in training to address such areas.

But not all parents are happy about the survey, and the Haverford School District Equity Team in general. The leader of a local parent group expressed frustration at the lack of transparency by the School District, especially involving the details of their so-called “Equity Team.”  The parent group leader stated that they still have no idea who is on this equity team, or what exactly they are working to implement in the school—even after the parent group made numerous requests and filed “right to know” documents. 

Is the School District of Haverford Township’s equity team approach the same as the Wake County Public School System? Will Haverford Township’s equity team strive to end the achievement gap by educating students with rigorous academic skills, or by indoctrinating them with identity politics?

This remains to be seen.  Perhaps if the School District of Haverford Township were more transparent with their Equity Team, and responded more appropriately to parent requests for information, none of this would be an issue.