Stopping Critical Race Theory Requires a Whole-of-Society Approach

August 30, 2021 Updated: September 1, 2021

Commentary

After 18 months of virtual schooling, families across the country eagerly await the return of in-person schooling this fall. Physical presence plays a pivotal role in forming sociable, emotionally fulfilled, and healthy students.

But many parents look to the coming school year with apprehension: Virtual learning during the pandemic gave parents unprecedented access to the classroom, and much of what they heard from teachers should disturb us all.

Particularly concerning is the increasing influence of critical race theory—or the idea that racism defines all aspects of society—which now permeates schoolhouses across the country. If this sounds hyperbolic, consider the Oregon Department of Education. The state agency created an “Equitable Math” toolkit for middle school teachers. The toolkit suggests that a white supremacy culture infiltrates math classrooms because math focuses on finding the right answer and demonstrating proof of work. This implies that math itself is not simply a tool of oppression but is in fact beyond the comprehension of African American students, an assumption which is itself patently racist. This is but one of hundreds of documented examples of critical race theory’s manifestation in the classroom.

Critical race theory rejects nuance and history, fosters division and hate, and tells people to view the world entirely as a power struggle between different racial groups. This repugnant ideology is at odds with two bedrock principles of America: the equality of all humans and the pursuit of justice for all.

We have forgotten the original purpose of publicly funded education. States established public school systems to produce a virtuous citizenry that would preserve a strong republic. The future of our country depends upon a high-quality education system dedicated to equipping the next generation with the knowledge needed for an active civic life. Critical race theory is incompatible with this mission.

Children must have exposure to different points of view to understand diverse perspectives. Students should learn about the hundreds of past events, noble and ignoble, that shaped the United States into what it is today. But using fifth-grade social studies classrooms to praise “black communism” advances historical illiteracy. Telling young African American students they have no hope of success because the system is stacked against them is wrong. These and other critical race theory concepts are as insidious as they are ludicrous, and it’s time to put an end to this nonsense.

Despite the increasing push to mandate critical race theory in classrooms, the federal government cannot dictate curriculum. There are several provisions in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and other federal laws prohibiting Congress and the Department of Education from encouraging, endorsing, or coercing curriculum in local school districts. Further, more federal government action is rarely successful in preserving the rights and interests of American parents and students, but unfortunately this is exactly the tactic this administration is employing in promoting critical race theory as an essential part of schools’ curricula.

As senior Republican leader of the Committee on Education and Labor, I’m working to prevent the federal government from overstepping these boundaries and succumbing to pressure from critical race theory zealots. I’m putting constant pressure on congressional Democrats and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to reject this un-American theory.

And I need your help. It’s incumbent upon all who have an interest in the education system—and we all should have that interest—to reject the invasion of critical race theory material in the education system. State officeholders, school superintendents, schoolboard members, teachers, and parents must all join the effort to recalibrate the education system. Volunteer at your school. Join concerned parent organizations. Write to your local elected officials. Run for office. Get involved.

Critical race theory advocates are not changing course. We must match their resolve. Our country and our children’s future depends on it.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Virginia Foxx
Virginia Foxx
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) is the Republican Leader of the Education and Labor Committee.