John Klar: When Essex Westford school board member Liz Cady stood up to oppose teaching critical race theory

By John Klar

In a bizarre “complaint” filed against recently-elected Vermont school board member Elizabeth Cady, two citizens allege Cady’s inquiries about the introduction of critical race theory (CRT) constitute a “clear breach” of School Board Operations Policy. As in many states, this controversial ideology is seeping into Vermont’s curricula. Cady’s case is instructive of the coercive pressure exerted by CRT radicals against those who dare question the hasty implementation of this novel, race-based “theory.”

Essex Westford School District Board member Liz Cady

Laura Taylor and Emily Franz allege that Cady “gave the impression that … she would represent special interests or partisan politics for personal gain.”  No monetary “personal gain” is identified.  Their real complaint, in my opinion, is summarized in their conclusion: “We are both strong supporters of the EWSD [East Westford School District] and its work on equity and inclusion. We feel that each and every member of the School Board should be as well.”

CRT proponents oppose dissenting opinions. A core principle of CRT asserts that free speech liberties have been used to oppress Black people, and thus White people cannot be permitted a differing opinion — free speech is an obstacle to “equity.” (Ryszard Legutko calls this “coercion to freedom.”) A quasi-religious ideology, CRT is being launched in Vermont schools via what scholar Christopher F. Rufo aptly identifies as an “institutional orthodoxy.” This dogma does not tolerate disagreement, as it “feels that each and every member” of society “should” agree to use skin color as a determinant of education and public policy. If one disagrees, one is a heretic to be targeted, shunned and slandered.

The complaint falsely attributes an article written by reporter Guy Page to Mrs. Cady, which dared employ the word “uppity”:

Before we point out the clear breach of the policy, we must take a minute to point out that the word “uppity” has deeply troubling racial and sexist undertones. It is deeply disturbing to us that a school board member would post under such an offensive, racist, and sexist title, and yet, it is not even the most unsettling aspect of the post.

Guy Page used the term exactly as the dictionary defines it, depicting Elizabeth Cady as being treated as “uppity” for standing up to CRT bullies. Guy Page didn’t employ the word offensively, or to allude to Black people.  Definitional contortions by the Franz/Taylor grammarians imputed a litany of moral condemnations to bully Cady into silence — treating her as if she were uppity; falsely impugning her as a racist for an article she didn’t write. Vermont parents must scrutinize this stifling effort and its tyrannical proponents.

Guy Page’s article describes Elizabeth Cady as “a pro-school choice, Critical Race Theory critic mom who in March defeated an incumbent pro-Critical Race Theory, anti-school choice candidate for a seat on the Essex School Board. … She’s a woman dedicated to a vision of a Vermont committed to fairness and equality for all. And she’s not afraid to speak out and urge others to do likewise.”

Elizabeth Cady merely asked for fuller dialogue and expressed sensible reservations about CRT. Yet Franz and Taylor claim:

With this post, along with her continual campaign of misinformation and contextually inaccurate data, Ms. Cady has made it clear that she does not believe in the district’s equity work, and that she is actively encouraging others to join her in this crusade, which she has made political through this post on a conservative website.

What board member Cady wrote was this:

Whether or not you agree with the above being taught in schools is a personal choice, but my concern is that our community, as a whole, has been uninformed of these changes in schools and what it means to prioritize equity, specifically what is the desired end-state of equity in our schools. … If, as a parent or taxpayer, you share some of these concerns or have some of your own, I encourage you to attend the meeting and speak.

This seems like a reasonable Voltairean appeal: but opposing views are verboten to the CRT cult. What Franz and Taylor dub “the most unsettling aspect of the post” is that Elizabeth Cady dared question their newfound institutional orthodoxy:

This flagrant policy breach demonstrates what is apparent to many of us: EWSD School Board Member Liz Cady has a personal agenda that is not in the best interests of our schools, our students, or our community.

But isn’t the shoe on the other feet? Franz and Taylor advance a personal agenda to impose a CRT ideological indoctrination on Vermont children.

Cady is a whistleblower and hero, whose loyalty to students and parents is her visible “personal agenda.” The voters clearly wish to permit her to have her voice. But most important, parents everywhere must critically examine this anti-constitutional doctrine being rapidly introduced into America’s schools.

John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield, and the former pastor of the First Congregational Church of Westfield. This commentary originally appeared at American Thinker.

20 thoughts on “John Klar: When Essex Westford school board member Liz Cady stood up to oppose teaching critical race theory

  1. Liz Cady is 100% right on. Keep it up. The CRT proponents use all of the hateful racist rhetoric that they can spit out to try to “embarrass” their opponents. It is getting really old and most all people I deal with are outright sick of it. They are followers, not leaders.

  2. Not being that familiar with CRT, I can hardly believe what I’m reading in some of the links in this commentary.

    CRT strikes me as an intolerant doctrine in that it doesn’t allow for any debate or questioning: if you don’t believe what CRT is telling you, then you’re a racist by definition and you’re simply expressing your unconscious and ingrained racism, which must be purged.

    But CRT is a theory, not a reality. It attempts to describe a reality but it can’t escape that in doing so it’s using a language that–following their own analysis of language and power– is constructed to give power to certain groups. Power in the CRT scheme is given to those who espouse CRT and power is robbed from those who oppose CRT. One can’t form alternative theories of reality or even debate whether CRT is a valid theory: doing so defines one as at least an unconscious racist who needs to be improved.

    I have to admit, I haven’t quite wrapped my head around how such a warped philosophy could gain so much traction. But so far my theory is that if you tell people they can’t question something (like CRT) and they believe it, then that in itself makes them stupid. And if you indoctrinate people long enough that certain things (like catastrophic CO2 warming) are beyond debate and can’t be questioned– and people believe this– then the door is open to introduce more “beyond debate” doctrines. All in the name of knee-jerk justice, truth, and “stay safe.”

    I also suspect that this has a lot to do with the plan for a great reset of the world order into what’s really an authoritarian/totalitarian system (to monitor and manage everyone) but which first requires that freedom of thought and expression are destroyed so that we have a society of robots following “the doctrine” (CRT will serve nicely) who are all-too-eager to tattle on and attack their unenlightened neighbors and family members. The vicious attacks on non-mask wearers in some places is an example of how this intolerance of anyone who doesn’t adhere to the doctrine might play out.

    And the weird thing in all this is that CRT depends on logic and reasoning– it is, after all, something that can be communicated through language, and which has its own internal logic– but you can’t use logic and reasoning against it because logic and reasoning are “racist.” It’s truly un-reason elevated to the status of irrefutable truth.

  3. As we see how an articulate adult school board member is perversely attacked for a dissenting opinion, one can only imagine what could happen in a classroom setting to a defenseless white child who may try to express some discomfort when exposed to the tenet : ” White silence is violence “ . A chilling thought.
    Thank you John Klar, Guy Page , True North Report for educating the Vermont public . Thank you Liz Cady for your strength. The future of Vermont is at stake here .

  4. CRT is diabolical in nature. It is a racist agenda meant to divide the people; pitting one race against another, or more accurately, to pit all races against the white race in order to enable the advent of Communism into our nation. For a nation divided cannot stand. I’m sick and tired of hearing how “diversity is our strength.” That is an unadulterated load of bollocks! Unity is our strength! Teach the kids that all men are created equal, and that we all have the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That’s it. None of us has a right to the fruits of another man’s labor.

    How one can argue that to remove racism, all we have to do is denigrate one race and accuse the members of that race of being responsible for all the ills of society and of foisting those ills on members of different selected races, is beyond all credulity and does nothing but perpetuate resentment, hate, and division.

  5. If the premise of CRT is real, will someone please explain how we have had a black president, supreme court justices, senators and representatives, mayors, generals, Medal of Honor winners, etc.

  6. I hope these two hens don’t speak for anywhere the majority. Public education is already a failed program and doesn’t need more help pushing it further towards complete failure.
    These two should be supporting school choice which is a positive step towards equity by the left’s definition, but I tend to doubt it.
    We’ve seen schools eliminate advanced classes in the name of equity. This country is rapidly approaching the cliff which there’s no returning from.

  7. Thank you Cady. Stay strong and courageous in holding up for what is right. I am praying for you and others who take stands against evil.

  8. So uppity is racist. Didn’t used to be (I’m old) – it referred to violation of class stratification. A white bellboy didn’t have the status of a black Pullman porter. Hoity-Toity didn’t mean exactly the same thing but it was analogous. Is that still within the officially approved behavioral adjectives? During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Europe experienced the sort of religious wars we are seeing develop in our twenty first century, cults committing atrocities against one another over doctrinal differences – indeed, not only to anyone espousing a marginally different “truth,” but against those who are unwilling publicly to profess belief in CRT, AGW, Progressivism, Green Power, etc.

  9. GOOD FOR YOU MS CADY!!!! I’m so glad my kids were taught in good schools with great teachers who believed in real teaching..and had real good school board members. SBM’s who cared about the students and the school, and the correct way of teaching.

    We get too many SBM’s who only care about how much money they can get instead of how our students are taught. In my town, we have SBM’s ( from out of state) who thought we needed an indoor swimming pool. Thank God that was voted down. So then they insisted that we needed to add on to the school. we are a small town. well, they got their addition.. a lot of wasted space.,

    Kids aren’t taught history, civics, and other things in school anymore. They don’t teach penmanship anymore either. nor spelling. . To me it seems like some of the teachers and SBM are only in it for the money and to push their agender. They seem more into politics and race then any teaching. and making schools has the right things.

    • It’s funny they don’t teach history nor civics but they want them to vote before 18?

      That alone should tell the whole story.

  10. Hooray for Cady, and Klar, to have the strength to stand under attaack for her , and our , principles of truth.

  11. To Mr. Klar, Mr. Page, and other Elizabeth Cady supporters: please don’t corrupt Ms. Cady’s perspective by injecting your personal bias.

    If there is one aspect of education governance Ms. Cady supports, and that I support too, it is a parent’s ability – in her words – “to receive out of public education”. Yes. School Choice. To interject more than that concept in this debate detracts from the main premise.

    As a former school board director, I agree with Ms. Cady that Public School Boards aren’t transparent, that budgets should have more public input, and that parents should have more say in what is taught to their children. And as a former school board director, I can say with certainty that NEVER did I see two individual people, let alone an entire district constituency, agree 100% on what a free and appropriate education should be.

    But Elizabeth Cady has brought to the fore the one governance concept that will eliminate all other education dogma and disagreements from this discussion. School Choice.

    Providing every parent with a publicly funded ‘tuition voucher’, to attend the school the parent deems best for their child, eliminates all other collective disagreements. To paraphrase Ludwig Von Mises: School Choice “…is the realization of what we should call economic democracy… that… can only be acquired by means of the consumers’ ballot, held daily in the market-place.” Be it a Free-Market Economy or Marxist Socialism, a comprehensive historical context or the sophistry of Critical Race Theory, a secular or parochial belief, as the common libertarian axiom holds – ‘While I disagree with what you say, I will fight to the death for your right to say it.’

    Understand this. The current public education monopoly has in it the inherent and unavoidable nature of conflict and dysfunction. That Laura Taylor and Emily Franz, for example, “allege that Cady gave the impression that … she would represent special interests or partisan politics for personal gain” should not be denied. Ms. Cady is acting in her own self-interest – as we all should be able to do. And there is only one education governance model that allows this diverse range of possibilities to occur.

    School Choice. Period!

    • This is amusing, how you injected your personal bias here while telling others not to. Kinda silly, really. So yes I support school choice, but no that is not the issue here Mr. Eshelman. I’m flabbergasted you think so. You think we shouldn’t care what kids are taught in public school? That they should be indoctrinated in hating their nation, race and heritage, and we just stand by? If that is your stance, I here inject my personal bias that that is ridiculous.

      You wrote this: “please don’t corrupt Ms. Cady’s perspective by injecting your personal bias.” Let me clarify for you: 1) I am entitled to make observations about public issues: I even broke the story. 2) The complainants lied about her authorship of an article, then imputed racist motives to her and Guy Page for using the word uppity. Those are not “my personal biases” — they are facts, open for dissemination and discussion. 3) None of us is free of personal biases: it is best to just try to inject them honestly; 4) Mrs. Cady authorized me to use the complaint, and reviewed this article before publication.

      So please don’t corrupt this discussion of CRT and Elizabeth Cady’s effort to educate the public about its dangers with your finger-waving silliness. School choice is tangentially related — sane people will be forced to send their children to private schools if this insane ideology is incorporated into the curriculum. As a former school board director, perhaps you agree.

      • Thank you John, My opinion is that Mr. Eshelman needs to be brought down from his pedestal. He totally deflected away from the points of your article to inject his biases. This isn’t the first time. Many of us comment when we feel the urge to express our thoughts on a certain subject. Some people comment all the time as though they are the only intelligent person commenting. We all need to be heard, just not all the time. I agree totally with your response to him.

      • Re: “You think we shouldn’t care what kids are taught in public school? That they should be indoctrinated in hating their nation, race and heritage, and we just stand by?”

        No, Mr. Klar. I didn’t say that. I don’t believe that. And that you characterize my comments in that way is disappointing, to say the least.

        Just because you, and I for that matter, disagree with CRT and disapprove of it being foisted on students in the public-school monopoly setting, doesn’t mean others who approve of CRT don’t have the right to include it in their children’s curricula if they so choose.

        The point I’m making…, the point to which you and Mr. Dano seem to be oblivious to, is that the only personal bias I’m injecting in this discussion is that everyone has the right to their personal bias. Period. And the only education governance that affords everyone the right to chose the education they believe is best for their children is School Choice Tuition Vouchers.

        “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” ― Friedrich W. Nietzsche

        • If I may… a commenter on Vermont Chronicle articulated my ‘bias’ on this issue as well as anyone has.

          “I think H. Jay is right here — the issue at it’s root is not whatever non-sense they want to foist on us it’s that they are structurally empowered to do the foisting. We don’t need to convert them from their errant ideas or even debate them…we need to escape them. Let the money follow the kid. We’ll see who still wants to buy their vision.”

          Admittedly, that’s his bias too. Take it for what it’s worth.

  12. We should be rallying behind Cady. She’s got backbone and has done her research. The district has become a disaster.

    By the way, where are all the men???? Thank God for moms who will fight to protect their (and others ) children.

  13. My compliments to Cady. She definitely has more courage than most living in this state. I pray that she continues and may God prosper all of her efforts.

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