Despite Bans on CRT, Educators Are Teaching Other Educators How to ‘Back-Door It’ Into the Classroom

'They’re very good wordsmiths'
By Patricia Tolson
Patricia Tolson
Patricia Tolson
Reporter
Patricia Tolson is an award-winning political columnist and investigative reporter who has worked for such news outlets as Yahoo! U.S. News and The Tampa Free Press. Her focus is covering political events and developments throughout the southeastern United States, which may have an impact on the nation as a whole.
September 22, 2021 Updated: September 22, 2021

Despite the passage of laws in some states banning Critical Race Theory (CRT) from being taught in schools, some educators are teaching other educators how to “back-door it” into the classrooms.

A teacher in Iowa posted a video teaching other educators how to circumvent the ban on teaching Critical Race Theory in her state.

In Florida, a Duval County teacher was removed from her position because she refused to remove a banner in support of Black Lives Matter from outside the door to her classroom.

The Zinn Education Project has collected the names of nearly 7,500 educators who vow to keep pushing CRT into classrooms despite the passage of laws banning CRT in a growing number of states.

While the head of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Randi Weingarten, denied that critical race theory was even taught in elementary schools or high schools, she vowed to fight back against “culture warriors” who are “bullying teachers.”

Not only did the National Education Association adopt a resolution to prioritize their effort to implement CRT in “K-12 and higher education,” it vowed to use all resources at their disposal—including friendly media—to go after those who are “attacking educators doing anti-racist work.”

In June 2020, the Florida Board of Education unanimously passed a rule banning CRT from being taught in the schools.

But on Sept. 20, Florida Atlantic University sponsored a webinar where Dr. Gholnecsar (Gholdy) Muhammad—an associate professor of language and literacy at Georgia State University—taught educators in Miami Dade, Broward, Martin, and Palm Beach County how to creatively slip the divisive subject matter through the back door of any classroom, regardless of subject matter.

This was not the first time Muhammad made a conscious effort to promote CRT in the classroom. During a 2020 interview, Muhammad discussed her plans for revising the entire education system in five steps.

First, Muhammad believes educators “need to get a team together to write new learning standards that are embedded in identity, skill development, intellectualism, joy, and criticality.”

Second, Muhammad said they need “new standards for folks who are writing curriculum,” suggesting  they “will no longer write a curriculum that’s absent of identity and cultural-responsiveness.”

Third, “we need to change the way we think about standardized testing,” she added. “Skills-only does not measure success for a child’s life.”

Fourth, Muhammad wants schools to “stop hiring folks who don’t have a justice-centered mindset.”

“If they don’t have this justice-centered mindset, stop hiring them as Secretary of Education, stop hiring them as school board members, as superintendents, as principals, as teachers, as staff. Period,” Muhammad said.

“The fifth part of the plan is teacher education,” Muhammad concluded, suggesting “diversity” cannot be “learned in one class” but rather it needs to be “threaded throughout the entire program.”

“This calls for hiring conscious professors who know how to research and teach within the realms of critical race theory and other theories like it,” she said.

The Epoch Times reached out to Muhammad for comment.

Difficulties in Defining CRT

“This is very similar to what has happened here in Loudoun,” Patti Hidalgo Menders—president of Loudoun County Republican Women’s Club in Virginia—told The Epoch Times. “They’re implementing CRT under the guise of equity and diversity.”

Menders explained how the new principal at Parkview High School—Dr. Jason Jefferson—immediately removed the heads of all departments and “fired the bookkeeper because she wouldn’t take the equity training.”

“Then he gave a speech about how he wanted to ‘dismantle and disrupt the American public education system,'” Menders said. “So they’re making it very clear what their progressive ideas are.”

“Dr. Jefferson asked Park View’s department chairs to re-apply for their positions,” Wayde B. Byard, public information officer for Loudoun County Public Schools told The Epoch Times. “This is a common practice used when administrations change so that the principal can interview the department chairs and get to know them. At Park View, all the department chairs reapplied and all were reappointed.”

Byard also said “there was no bookkeeper at Park View when Dr. Jefferson assumed his position on May 25. Thus, he fired no one.”

“Dr. Jefferson related to me that he did not make the following statement: ‘dismantle and disrupt the American public education system,'” Byard stated further. “I would hope that anyone who would make such an accusation would be willing to stand behind it. Attributing such a quote anonymously would be cowardly.”

Menders also shared how the Loudoun County school board “spent hundreds of thousands of dollars hiring equity consultants.”

“One group is called The Equity Collaborative,” Menders explained, “and while the superintendent of Loudoun Public Schools claims they are not teaching CRT in schools, it talks about CRT training right on their website.”

“The LCPS Ad Hoc Committee on Equity created an Equity Resolution that was adopted by the Loudoun County School Board on September 24, 2019,” the website explains.

“As a part of the on-going equity work in the school division, on June 8, 2021, the newly appointed superintendent, Dr. Scott Ziegler, recommended that the Equity Resolution be reaffirmed by the current School Board. By consensus, the board recommended that this resolution [pdf] should be publicly available.

“In recent days, media reports and social media posts have sought to distort the equity work by Loudoun County Public Schools,” LCPS Superintendent Dr. Scott Ziegler states on the LCPS website. “Misconceptions and misinformation persist. I want to take a moment to clarify LCPS’ efforts to ensure every student, employee and member of the community is treated in an equitable, respectful manner.”

“In explaining LCPS’ equity priorities, it might be helpful to state what they are not,” Ziegler explains. “They are not an effort to indoctrinate students and staff into a particular philosophy or theory. What they are is an effort to provide a welcoming, inclusive, affirming environment for all students.”

However, the Equity Collaborative website clearly states that their “goal is to help organizations develop their own capacity to create educational equity and social justice by addressing bias and oppression.”

“That means creating an environment that is capable of holding staff members in a place where they are uncomfortable enough to change, but not so uncomfortable as to disengage or revolt,” the Equity Collaborative explains.

The Epoch Times reached out to LCPS for clarification regarding what some, like Menders, see as a contradiction in claims.

“Loudoun County Public Schools has said—repeatedly—and I will repeat now,” Byard told The Epoch Times regarding this separate matter. “Critical Race Theory is not part of our curriculum.”

“They’re very good wordsmiths,” Menders said. “They’re re-branding CRT and calling it ‘equity, diversity, and inclusion.’”

Autry Pruitt, CEO of New Journey PAC, agrees.

CRT By Any Other Name

“All they do is take the various aspects of CRT propaganda and change the language, change the name,” Pruitt told The Epoch Times, explaining how textbooks used to mention “Critical Race Theory, or Race Theory” by name.

“Now when you open those same textbooks, you’ll read things such as ‘diversity and inclusion or equity theory,’ which is the same baseline as CRT,” he explained. “That’s one way they back-door it.”

Asked how people can oppose “critical race theory and other theories like it” being taught in schools, Pruitt said parents can provide the first line of defense themselves.

School Boards

“The best avenue is to take over the school boards to monitor and fire teachers who are determined to push CRT,” he said bluntly. “They also have to be represented in the education department at the state level. It’s not enough to take over the school board and have a blue governor. Even if you have a red governor, like in Florida. You’ll still get resistance in the education department.”

“What needs to happen is almost like the spoil system,” Pruitt went further, “where parents take over school boards and conservative governors are elected, and then the governor basically wipes out the entire state-level education bureaucracy and puts in new people. That’s the only real way to solve it.”

Publishers

While Pruitt anticipates the pushback from parents at school board meetings will continue to increase, as will the number of parents who send their kids to different schools or resort to a home school program, pro-CRT publishers are going to keep “pushing the agenda they want” through the textbooks they provide to their supporters throughout the school system.

“Under a different name with new adjectives and nouns, CRT is concealed, shrouded, veiled, or disguised in the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) ELA curriculum,” Pruitt noted. “With the use of subliminal messages, teachers are guided to teach Social Emotional Learning (SEL), equity, diversity, inclusion, etc. Feelings are more important than facts.”

As The Epoch Times reported on June 8, HMH declared on its own website a “commitment” to Black Lives Matter (BLM) and “social justice.”

“We believe the education system needs to change,” the website states, “and we will continue to use our platform to make that change.”

Members of the Collier County School Board (CCSB) were made aware of this during a June 7 meeting by CCSB Vice-Chair Jen Mitchell, who said she learned of the “commitment” through an email she received from a concerned citizen. Mitchell further revealed that one of BLM’s greatest advocates in the education field—Dr. Tyrone Howard—had been given a platform to promote the principles of CRT and BLM through the HMH blog site.

“It will be a wait-out, like everything else with the left,” Pruitt explained. “In other words, they don’t have to win. The left has a hold of the publishing world, and they are teaching it in higher education. So it doesn’t matter what the textbooks say in K-12.”

Textbooks

Pruitt strongly suggests parents “actually open and read the textbooks and highlight passages and send it out to people to show other parents what their children are being taught.” According to Pruitt, “most parents don’t understand the language of diversity and inclusion.” He posited that, when people were first waking up to CRT, it was because it was easy to find if one only bothered to look. They used words like “white people” and “oppression,” which most people found to be “troublesome and problematic.”

“But when you use language like diversity and inclusion,” Pruitt suggested, “it doesn’t come off as rough.”

“The people haven’t changed. The committees haven’t changed. The publishers haven’t changed,” Pruitt said. “It’s the language they’re changing.”

“By the time these children graduate, they will not be able to read but they will be great activists who hate their families, God, and America,” Pruitt predicted. “What a horrible thing to do to a child.”

Pruitt said “we all breathed a sigh of relief” when the Florida Board of Education banned the teaching of CRT in Florida, “embracing a traditional American education.”

“Wonderful we thought, Florida students will be getting a great education. The entire nation said we must use Florida as an example,” he recalled. “How wrong we were. We must remember that Communists NEVER stop.”

It is the opinion of Pruitt that the curriculum department of the Florida Department of Education is either “incompetent and never reviewed the texts and curricula that they approved” or they’re “undermining Governor DeSantis and Commissioner Corcoran.”

“In either case,” he admonished. “they should be fired.”

Patricia Tolson
Patricia Tolson
Reporter
Patricia Tolson is an award-winning political columnist and investigative reporter who has worked for such news outlets as Yahoo! U.S. News and The Tampa Free Press. Her focus is covering political events and developments throughout the southeastern United States, which may have an impact on the nation as a whole.