John Klar: How Vermont’s teachers lost their way on CRT

Two questions from parents have arisen repeatedly about critical race theory: Is this really being taught in our schools, and how could our teachers and government be wrong? I will here establish that Vermont’s school curriculum is largely saturated with the tenets and teachings of critical race theory, which views all white people as racists, and the American “system” and Constitution as oppressive. The reason is that political zeal eclipsed normal critical analysis to advance a novel, race-centric ideology — without zero evidence that it will be beneficial.

Those parents whose minds are boggled that highly educated school teachers could inflict this degree of harm on their children can perhaps take heart that it is in ignorance — teachers and bureaucrats embracing CRT are not educated in legal rights or the psychological harm caused by institutional shaming. They have just got in way over their heads (and pay grade) because of their personal politics. (Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do.)

John Klar

Or do they know what they are doing? Efforts to obfuscate and lie about the extent to which CRT has already been implemented in curricula suggests awareness. After all, if CRT is so ironclad and beneficial, why do they have to hide it and lash out at parents who raise logical concerns? Two of the big lies are that it isn’t being taught, and that teachers know best.

The fact is: CRT has saturated Vermont schools. Researching almost any curriculum reveals our kids are being steeped in it. The entire curriculum is focused on left-leaning progressive materials, including anti-gun, pro-illegal immigration, pro-transgender, and other overtly political works. Among other tomes of supposed educational benefit are controversial race agitator Ibram Kendi’s “Stamped From the Beginning: the Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.” (No works by highly educated scholar Thomas Sowell are incorporated, presumably because only liberal progressive teaching materials are now available in Vermont schools, consistent with this mono-ideology of social justice.)

Orleans County students are thus directed to a biased political ideological tome that it’s author claims “is not a history book” — because it is anecdotal and paints a warped, even perverse, view of American history. That’s why the book “landed the second position on the American Library Association’s list of the most commonly banned and challenged books in the United States “because of the author’s public statements, and because of claims that the book contains ‘selective storytelling incidents’ and does not encompass racism against all people.”

Yet repeatedly, Vermonters are being told that CRT is not in their schools, and that those asking questions are racists for doing so. But not only is it there — it is toxic, unchallenged by opposing views, and teaches a nasty racism that harms young people. Writes one scholar:

This is especially dire in a foundational assumption that Kendi lays out explicitly: that all racial disparities are due to racism. That so very many have pushed back against this way of viewing a complex society with a four-century history figures for Kendi as mere ‘racists’ having their say. There is a general air in his text suggesting that the basic wisdom of ‘unequal outcomes signal unequal opportunity’ is beyond question by any moral person, such that we might think it a courtesy that he makes his case without raising his voice. … His philosophy founders especially on education in this way. Kendi subscribes to the notion getting around these days, from the contingent fascinated with white privilege, that things like close reasoning, the written word, and objectivity are ‘white’ practices, the imposition upon black people of which is ‘racist.’

It appears that, like so many left leaning institutions infected with CRT race derangement, the school system in Vermont has made eliminating racism (an obvious impossibility) as sole objective. Despite saying CRT is absent from our schools, this is the OCSU mission statement:

It is the mission of the Orleans Central Supervisory Union to provide an environment that celebrates diversity and creativity, promotes inclusion and integrity, and partners with parents and community members to give students access to a 21st century education.

  • Develop curriculum and pedagogy practices that promote justice and challenge bias
  • Foster a learning environment in which stereotypes and bias are named, examined and challenged so that all community members are supported in developing their personal social identity

CRT is alive and thriving in Vermont’s progressive schools — but how could supposedly intelligent people have embraced something so untested, counterintuitive, harmful to young minds, and antithetical to American history and jurisprudence? The answer is simple, if one remembers that academic elites have done such things repeatedly in the past, and that CRT was developed “theoretically” in those same halls, never subjected to academic testing or rigor, and launched by teachers’ unions and bureaucrats without consideration of opposing views.

As Thomas Sowell explains in his brilliant book “Discrimination and Disparities,” genetic determinism (most prominently, eugenics and Nazism) presumed that differences between groups were attributable to their DNA. Critical race theory makes the opposite (and equally false) oversimplification: that all disparities are the consequence of discrimination. Sowell observes that it has been the leading so-called “academic scholars” who have led the way into both ideological errors:

On both sides of the Atlantic, and in both eras, leading intellectual and political figures were in the forefront of those promoting the prevailing presumption of their time…. In the United States, leading figures in the eugenics movement included founders and leading officials of the American Sociological Association and the American Economic Association….In short, stampedes toward one-factor explanations do not exempt even the leading intellectuals of an era. (pp. 26, 27)

Margaret Sanger of Planned parenthood was an avid eugenics advocate: “In the 1920s and 1930s, eugenics enjoyed widespread support from mainstream doctors, scientists and the general public.”

At the forefront of the genetic-determinism effort to create a superior human race was Hitler’s Germany, where the top intellectuals of “the Motherland” engineered genocide using an untested ideology based on an oversimplified abuse of science to achieve political domination. A recent documentary series on Netflix studies Hitler’s Einsatzgruppen, or “task forces,” which were “mobile killing squads” specializing in mass executions. Of 21 Einsatzgruppen Commanders, about half had PhDs: they were legal scholars, upper class “men of letters.” After expanding the extermination of Jews from able-bodied men to include women and children, the Nazis required a rationalization. As one historian explained (Episode 1, at 30:20):

They switch from total war, us-or-them rhetoric, to a utopian one: ‘They must be killed to fulfill our dream.’… It’s not surprising that men of letters were selected. As experts in rhetoric, they were the most apt to be eloquent enough to convince men who weren’t born killers to kill women and children.

Vermont’s teachers and administrators have embraced critical race theory not because they are critical thinkers, but because they are not. CRT is not an academic pursuit, but a political one. CRT = BLM = Far-left extremism. This is why hate poetry (that fantasizes about hacking whites to death with a machete) and Kendi’s race-only history lens, are taught in Vermont schools — while Harvard scholar and influential economist Thomas Sowell is unknown to dumbfounded “academics.”

Vermont Sen. Becca Balint has chimed in as a “former history teacher” and elite expert on CRT — except she has no idea what she is writing about in her recent attack on those asking questions. (This ideology never defends itself — it attacks others who question it).

As she wrote:

The manufactured crisis around the bugaboo of “critical race theory” is maddening. Yet it’s also an excellent opportunity for us to get more curious about important details of American history. But we must be brave enough to take advantage of the opportunity. Talking about race and racism will not lead to less patriotism or a dampened love of country, and conversations about racism are not simply a way to “pile” on white people and blame us for things that happened long ago. We can and should learn about and discuss our shared history as Americans — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Teaching about these policies isn’t critical race theory; it’s simply American history, and the more we understand it, the better we can understand present conditions.

News flash for Becca Balint: No one is saying they don’t want to discuss American history. CRT teaches children that they are beneficiaries of a “system” which implicitly favors white people; that this system must be “improved” to an impossible ideal of ensuring everyone possesses equal wealth (“equity”); labels people based on their skin color as “privileged” or “marginalized”; assumes all racial disparities arise from discrimination; presumes to eliminate subconscious racism and make children “woke” to their positional identity; and segregates students based on skin color in Vermont schools (“Affinity groups”). But Sen. Balint scoffs at parental concerns about these dramatic shifts in education as a “manufactured crisis around the bugaboo” of CRT. CRT is not simply the “teaching of history” — does Ms. Balint not know that? She has not addressed any of these very real concerns, or the fact that segregating students based on race violates existing law.

OCSU Superintendent John Castle is an eager CRT proponent. Like the National Education Association, he has jumped on the crisis of COVID to launch a new age in education, focused on skin color: “I am hopeful that we have entered a new era that will bring health, prosperity, social justice, renewed strengthening of our democracy and a truly progressive shift in education,” he wrote.

Vermonters can readily see how their educators have launched into a political, virtue-signalling ideology without any evidence whatsoever that it will actually work — let alone assurances that it will not harm children, as many have warned. They call this a “truly progressive shift in education” — but if you ask any questions, they snarl that they are just teaching truth and history, and making the world a perfect place for all.

John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield, and the former pastor of the First Congregational Church of Westfield. © Copyright True North Reports 2021. All rights reserved.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/ProjectManhattan

13 thoughts on “John Klar: How Vermont’s teachers lost their way on CRT

  1. When Dem/Progs continue to have total command/control of the federal government, there will be all sorts of FUTURE Dem/Prog shenanigans for teachers to put up with, such as making pupils love CRT, BLM, Antifa, open borders for illegals, all sorts of Build-Back-Better shenanigans tied to fighting global warming, etc.

    The same will be true for the rest of the US

    It is not just businesses being over-taxed/over-regulated, i.e., castrated to weaken it, so they will be subservient to Dem/Progs.

    The US Media and the USPS were mis-used by Dem/Progs to steal the 2020 election, to grab absolute power over the US government.

    The Dem/Progs do not like the US Media being such a dangerous/powerful rival.

    The US Media will get their turn in the barrel, so they too can be screwed over by the Socialist/Communist Dem/Progs currently running the US government, which, after just a few Biden-in-the-basement months, is already driving the economy into ruination, goosing illegal immigration, to unprecedented heights, to alter the US demographics in their favor.

    Giving these extremist Dem/Prog folks $3.5 TRILLION, plus $1.2 TRILLION, plus whatever else, to play their ill-fated/wasteful, Build-Back-Better games, would be suicidal for the US.

    A united effort is required to take back the House and Senate in 2022, to derail this un-American freight-train.

    Obsequious, RINO-run businesses will be threatened as well.
    Hopefully, they too will see the handwriting on the wall.

  2. Bravo John! You hit all the key points. Very relevant and honest interpretation of recent events. Progressives attempt to control the narrative with victimization and outrage, and it’s an old tactic that has run its course. Vermonters, please organize, network, speak, share, and shift this movement! We need to act now for our children, not sit idle and shake our heads in disgust. We didn’t cause these problems, but we need to take responsibility for solving them.

  3. John thank you for reporting the facts and TRUTH! How we need to pray for God to intervene. As a born and raised Vermonter it breaks my heart to see what has happened to the Green Mountain State. My grandfather was a milk man and life was so simple. it amazes me how so many are deceived by the progress Agenda. It is a slow drip of evil creeping in to every aspect of our lives. Social justice, critical race theory no accountability for honest elections dishonesty and corruption in our medical field with truth being hidden about the manufacturer virus and hidden agenda for powerful and control. I picked up a penny today and said in God we Trust. God knows God sees and we know how this all ends. I can only pray for all to see truth as His word is pretty clear. John thank you fir your courage to report and stand up for truth. May the true agenda of CRT be revealed. you know in your gut when you hear truth vs a hidden agenda driven to divide. Thanks

  4. I have one quick simple question, who is determining who is white and who is not.

    We are blended into Americans…..what happened to that?

    • ” who is determining who is white”

      and why as there are no “white” people, we are all shades of brown, so right off the bat it’s just another pigeon holing of people by leftist dolts to keep fanning the fires.. and for dear becca we do want the kids to learn history so they don’t commit the mistakes made in the past just not your leftist perversion of history…

    • Comrade Lynn:
      No need for concerned the State shall place you in your correct predetermined racial classification.

  5. The thing to do is keep opening up new schools, fight for the rights to do so. People need to step up and put all boots on the ground to get this done.
    Fight for educational choice.
    Everyone needs to walk away from what they have going on and we all need to work together so that the parents have decent alternative options for their kids.
    Give Public Education the rope to hang itself.
    When the buildings are empty then close them because it’s not cost effective to stay open.
    This is what is really going on now anyway.. lets accelerate this process.

    • Hear, hear!!

      First, understand that breaking up the public-school monopoly is our only immediate solution.

      Second, use existing laws and procedures to make your case on an individual basis. Again, refer to 16 V.S.A. § 822, at least for high school students (grades 7 thru 12) parents can request a School Choice Tuition Voucher from their local school boards. 16 V.S.A. § 822 (c)(1) (2) “The judgment of the board shall be final in regard to the institution the students may attend at public cost.”

      Third, it’s easier to elect sympathetic school board members than to expect State legislators to accommodate anything but education special interest groups.

      Fourth, use the court system. Use class actions to sue your local school board and the Agency of Education, if they don’t recognize that your child “…has unique educational needs that cannot be served within the district or at a nearby public school”. Some Vermont parents are already doing this.

      ”Vermont is facing at least its second lawsuit in four months over a voucher program that allows students in communities that don’t have schools or are not part of supervisory unions to attend schools of their choice, including approved private institutions.”

      As the saying goes: ‘If you’re going to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk’!

      • Hi Jay,
        We have this going on in NH, a way to call a special meeting to address things such as masks so that policies can be changed if the people are all there saying they want this to happen.
        Does Vermont have such a thing as this?
        If so, maybe you can post that for the people to help them learn what they can do.
        We’re working hard over here in NH to educate these often young parents as to what their rights are and what we can all do to take the control back that we all know we are supposed to have. And if that can’t be done, then move on to another school option or to Homeschooling.
        Ideally, we should have groups organized going at it in all ways.
        Another thing to do is file your Right To Know requests.
        Ask a lot of questions and demand to see these answers. Follow the money, ask to see Curricula and specifics about it. Use this tool to expose and shine light where it needs shining.
        Skip here at that site has taught us how to follow the procedure to do this -so please do utilize the information there. He’s now suing his own district, so I expect he’s going to walk us through that as well.
        Folks can find these articles using the search box at granitegrok.
        Again, I don’t know how this all works in Vermont but it’s worth learning about and creating such things if you don’t have this. Why reinvent wheels when we can just learn from each other and fine tune the language as needed for your state.
        We are the Twin States afterall.

        Thanks in advance, I’d have no idea how to search in your state to see if these such things exist over there.. It they don’t exist, then people need to get this done as we have this, every little bit adds up.

        • Re: “Does Vermont have such a thing as this?”

          Laura, I gave you the logic and the links in my response to your comment.

          The point is that mask wearing, vaccinations, and CRT, are distractions. Some people want this stuff, some don’t. The question is, who gets to call the shots (no pun intended)?

          Voter approved petitions require majorities. And even if a district was successful, what about the people who want this stuff? Do we replace one tyranny with another?

          Again, what concerns me is that you didn’t understand what I wrote. What can I do to make the tangible next steps to our individual liberty and freedom more understandable? Can you help me out in this regard?

  6. You would think that the OCSU mission statement leaves them open to a lawsuit from parents who reject their racist ideology. I certainly would sue them if my kid was in school there. However, Vermont educators don’t think for themselves anyway; they teach what the state tells them to and they teach it when the state tells them when to teach it. They are so entrenched in this pseudo-agenda that they embrace it as something new to grab onto. Thomas Sowell is brilliant, WAY over most of their heads. Let’s be frank — these people are the base of Bernie Sanders, again and again and again. They have no original thoughts.

  7. Parents send their kids to school to get educated, not indoctrinated by teachers, and there
    liberal agenda……….. wake up people, they want to twist your kid’s minds for their agenda.

    With test scores in the tank, maybe they need to start with the basics reading, writing and
    arithmetic……and not this agenda-driven nonsense, let kids be kids.

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