The leader of the nation's second largest teachers union denied critical race theory is being taught in schools, calling it a "law-school theory," but then also noted "we will teach the good and the bad."
"The bottom line is this: We don't teach critical race theory inAmerican Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten kindergarten through high school," told Sunday's "The Cats Roundtable" on WABC 770 AM-N.Y. "It's a law-school theory. That's why it's called a theory."
Weingarten said it basically assesses "whether or not, over the course of time, there is systemic racism. You would study a case like the Dred Scott decision, which pretty much shows there was systemic racism in the way in which the Constitution, at that point, was interpreted."
As a high school history teacher from Clara Barton High School in Brooklyn, New York, Weingarten told host John Catsimatidis she teaches "the great American experiment.
"It is a work in progress, and we will teach the good and the bad," she said. "The good, about how America became America in the 1770s, but also that America wasn't just for everybody."
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.
"Look at slavery, look at discrimination," she continued. "But this is what's amazing about America, which all these people on Fox that are ripping our teaching of race and racism don't see: Which is that the arc of bends towards justice."
Weingarten pointed to past legal challenges of public school education on biology and evolution in politicking for teaching about racial division "when we're talking about history."
"We have to talk about it honestly," she said, adding teachers have an "obligation" to teach America's racial division.
"We have to teach kids facts, and we have to teach them to discern and to dissect various viewpoints so that it can lead to their own conclusions," she said. "That is what's going to help them be critical thinkers."
Despite conservative critics noting kids do not necessarily view things from racial perspective unless they are taught to, she argues teaching about historical division will be unifying. Conservative deride that as inherently divisive.
"We have to find ways to bring communities together, starting with our schools," she concluded. "Schools should be centers of our communities, and we need to bring parents in.
"We have to see each other for who [we are] and we have to create the fairness for everyone."
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