The controversy surrounding how to discuss current events and America's history of racism in the classroom is heating up with some activists fighting for the right to teach critical race theory.
Critical race theory is defined by the Encyclopedia Britannica as the concept in which race is a socially constructed category ingrained in American law intended to maintain social, economic, and political inequalities between whites and nonwhites. It holds that the U.S. society is inherently or systemically racist.
According to the Washington Examiner, the Zinn Education Project recommends abolishing Columbus Day and renaming it Indigenous People's Day. The group wants educators to teach "climate justice" and is supporting the "Teach Reconstruction Campaign," which "probes the relevance of the Reconstruction."
The Examiner said the Zinn Education Project also promotes the belief that revered founders such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson actually were war criminals and abusive slave owners. Even Abraham Lincoln was a racist who did not believe whites and blacks could live and work together.
Zinn has worked with Black Lives Matter at School and the Southern Poverty Law Center to hold big national protests to push back on a ban teaching critical race theory in schools. The organization was founded by the late Howard Zinn, a Marxist historian who was a part of the Communist Party. He wrote "A People’s History of the United States" which many college professors required their students to read.
Recently, thousands of educators and supporters gathered to protest efforts by Republicans to limit how educators teach racism, sexism, and oppression in the U.S. Thousands of teachers signed a pledge that read "We the undersigned educators, refuse to lie to young people about the U.S. history and current events – regardless of the law."
More parents and even teachers are angrily attacking school board members and education leaders who believe critical race theory must be taught to their children. They are upset because of the focus on white privilege and the idea that the accomplishments of the United States are really evil.
Critical Race Theory has been around for 40 years but now there is concern it is too divisive. Former President Donald Trump issued an executive order banning federal contractors from conducing diversity training that focused on areas such as critical race theory. Trump said schools that teach young people about slavery are spreading "hateful lies" and insulting the nation’s founders.
The Biden administration has rescinded this order and so Republican leaders in several GOP-controlled legislatures have introduced bills that would prohibit teaching critical race theory. Idaho and Missouri have mentioned it by name and Tennessee, Arizona, and Iowa have touched on key aspects of critical race theory.
The National Education Association, the largest union representing public school teachers, has fought this action and recently encouraged members to participate in a national day of action.
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