Editor’s note: This commentary is by Gregory Thayer, of Rutland. He is the founder of the Vermonters for Vermont Initiative.
We send our children to school to learn the three-Rs, understand our history, and interact and socialize with others. They attend school with many people of different backgrounds — different looks, color, religion, family situations — and at home we teach them how to be respectful to all, and to be a good person.
Furthermore, we teach our children how to be good listeners and to treat people how they want to be treated. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Black supremacy is as dangerous as white supremacy, and God is not interested merely in the freedom of black men, God is interested in the freedom of the whole human race and in the creation of a society where all men can live together as brothers.”
Now we are learning that the left is responsible for pushing a Marxist agenda called critical race theory, including the adoption of equity policies in our government schools. The proponents of this teaching will negatively teach our children and grandchildren to hate, be racist, and to judge all people by the color of their skin. With CRT, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and everything Martin Luther King, Jr taught, is destroyed. Equity is not equality; it teaches the lowest level of survival.
I’m tired of hearing people say that “schools aren’t teaching CRT.” What do you think “proficiency grading” is? Why do many school districts around the state have equity directors and equity study groups? School administrators who say no CRT policies are being taught in our schools are being very disingenuous to parents, taxpayers and citizens. There are many equity policies happening all around us. They are creating division and confusing children in our schools and institutions.
Here are six questions being asked to students in elementary schools across Vermont and America:
- When did you become aware of your race?
- Did the adults in your life have to address the topic of race?
- Beyond self-education, what is the most important action you can take?
- Talk about the parallels between lynchings and police brutalities today.
- If you are White, how has your race affected you?
- What relationship do you have with the police, and how does your race play into that?
Think about those questions being asked by educators. They are toxic and completely out of line.
Introducing CRT to our children is not the right of government schools — it is a parent and guardian responsibility. I’m not sure when government schools were charged with taking over of our children. The thinking that “it takes a village” is so anti-family and anti-love that it makes people sick. CRT is racism — it’s teaching white children that if you are a white person, you are inherently racist. Now the NEA is force-feeding this “1619 Project,” which says that America was founded that year, and that everything was founded on the backs of slavery. Why haven’t the unions been teaching the truth until now? We have some excellent educators in our public schools, but some are “going along to get along” just to reach retirement.” I have some close friends that have described it that way.
On April 7, 2021, the Vermont House Committee on Education conducted an hearing, during which a UVM professor said that he was looking at his son recently and said “my son is a racist and he doesn’t even know it.” That is horrible thinking by this highly educated man and father.
The CRT/equity teachings tell our children to align with their race or group and disrespect other groups. It teaches our children that all white people are oppressors and every black person is a victim. Any person with basic common-sense knows that is not true. It teaches people to judge, to segregate others, and to erase our rich history. Our own Declaration of Independence is considered racist.
CRT is nothing more than a radical ideology of hate and division that is being taught to our students at the expense of history, civics and the Constitution. It is in direct opposition to the last 60 years of American liberalism. It is in serious contrast of every liberal policy in America. It is in direct violation of the the Civil Rights Act of 1964, President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, the 14th Amendment, our Constitution, and I’m certain of every state’s constitution. It is in direct conflict with the teachings of Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglass and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and others.
Additionally, it violates the tenets of freedom, free markets and capitalism. In 1953, the U.S. Supreme Court ended segregation in our government schools in the Brown v. Board of Education ruling. The left wants to tear every one of our great institutions, down from the time of our founding in 1776 to today. Segregation may have come to an end via the courts, yet CRT brings it back; it is modern segregation. Any movement that alienates a race is no better than a movement of the past that did the same.
Contrary to the teachings found in critical race theory, the Declaration of Independence says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Critical race theory was founded in Frankfurt, Germany in the 1920s, and is based on the teaching of Karl Marx. It gained prominence in the 1980s at Columbia University, and now is rampant in most law schools.
For the good and future of our nation, America’s teaching principles must be about learning the three Rs in our classrooms. School age students need to be learning about the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, our Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and various laws and case law. Kids should study the writings in the Federalist Papers, Booker T Washington, and Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as capitalism and our free-market systems.
Our history is not perfect, nor are we as individuals. We learn from our mistakes, and in the end we do the right thing. If people violate others we have laws to protect all people.
We all must stop the adoption of CRT/equity in our schools and society. Critical race theory holds these ideas as truth:
- There is no absolute truth, only competing narratives. It sees “lived experiences” as mattering more than facts.
- Individuals are either an oppressor or victim. You are predetermined by immutable characteristics such as race. Culture is defined by groups exercising power over each other.
- America is systemically racist and must be dismantled. It sees America as having been founded on the system of capitalism, which is racist and therefore must be disrupted.
We are a God-loving country with respect for each other and people of differences and other nations. We believe in “live and let live!”
Will you step up, stand up and stand firm, and join millions of Americans in taking a stand against critical race theory/equity?