This commentary is by Gregory Thayer of Rutland. He is a candidate for lieutenant governor.
Town Meeting Day elections are now in the books. We had excellent candidates who advocated for parent involvement all around Vermont. They placed their names and ideals before the voters because they are concerned about what is being taught to our kids in their local school districts.
All these parent candidates won because they stepped up and asked questions, regardless of the vote tally. Many of them, I say 90%, ran for the first time for any public office. I am proud of them all and extremely happy and excited that many of them plan to stay engaged in the discussions at their local school boards for the future of our children. Thank you all for running.
Do you know what is going on in your locals schools? On your local school boards? In your local district’s administration offices? Well, these courageous parent candidates did not either until one day they started to listen, pay attention and ask questions. They attended school board meetings and did their own research, which led to more questions and research. They decided to run to effect change.
As I started to hear more and more about what is going on in our schools — the wokeism, teaching hate, the equity programs, the LBGTQ stuff, the bullying and fights, and other things — I, too, started to do research on what I was hearing. I decided to take action and put the full weight of my organization, the Vermonters for Vermont Initiative, behind educating my fellow Vermonters about these practices.
In my research all came back to the Marxist teachings of critical theory. I started to organize town hall informational events around the state hosting Critical Race Theory town hall. My hope was to educate fellow Vermonters about what is really being taught at their schools. Over the past 10 months, I have learned a lot more about it from people who came to our town halls. Students as young as second grade are being taught that because of color of their skin, they are inherently racist.
It’s very important to clear this up right now. CRT and equity are “not a part of the curriculum,” according to Dan French, secretary of the Vermont Agency of Education. He said it is the responsibility of the local school boards. Teachers, school board members, administration officials and activists will argue that CRT is not being taught in our schools, that CRT is a graduate school teaching. Wrong! CRT comes in many shapes and sizes and is happening all around us in your local schools, and at every grade level. It is also happening in adult settings, like government offices, the sports arena from pee-wee to professional athletes and referees, and in many business human resource departments, and churches.
There are plenty of examples of CRT being pushed in every school around the state. It starts with participant trophies, and ends with hanging BLM flags on flagpoles at schools and other public organizations in our communities. Teachers hang up those flags in the classrooms, athletes take a knee against the American flag,
In Essex, the football coach was removed for the way he disciplined some players, and some educators canceled real, truthful American history. We see the tearing down of historical statutes from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and our Founding Fathers; we see books removed from school libraries because they are “too white,” and the truth about slavery and indigenous people was either taught incorrectly or not at all.
Equity happens in the hiring of coaches and regular employers too. We see certain words being eradicated because someone is offended and their feelings are hurt.
Words and systems are being used to minimize and shame white students. White kids now come home asking their parents questions like: “Mom, are we bad because we are white? Are we racist because we are white?” Kids are being asked what their relationship is with a police officer? Shamefully, CRT is all around us, and yes, it is being taught in the lowest grade levels in the government schools.
Teachers are indoctrinated in their colleges and graduate studies. Then they enter your local schools and the districts systems. Educators are being forced to take annual training courses in DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) and SEL (Social Emotional Learning), which is the parent of CRT education. They are teaching white students that they are oppressors and black students that are oppressed. Government offices and private businesses are forcing DEI trainings on their employees.
Our local Chamber of Commerce doesn’t know if it is a social justice organization or a business development organization. Equity is not good for growth, for people. Equity is the lowest common denominator for results and opportunity. It holds students and adults back from achieving greatness by equalizing mediocrity.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Booker T. Washington, and Frederick Douglass fought for equality, not equity. They wanted people to have equal opportunities to achieve their individual best, not some government school standard. Dr. King denounced Marxism and all its branches. Moreover, we already have programs in place, laws to teach diversity and inclusion, and laws to protect people who are violated by others. As for SEL, teaching social intelligence is the responsibility of the family, not the schools.
As Vermont’s next lieutenant governor, I will work tirelessly on getting our schools back to the basics teaching the three Rs, teaching true and factual United States history from 1776 on, and raising our districts’ test scores. I will support teaching with a pro-human morals approach — teaching good citizenship, physical health fitness, and respect. Lastly, I support teaching students that all of them are relevant and important, regardless of class or skin color. CRT is in our schools right now.