Rappold: Critical race theory is not happening in our classrooms

Posted 7/6/21

Until recently, I had never heard of critical race theory. Then, community members began speaking about it at school board meetings here and around the country.

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Rappold: Critical race theory is not happening in our classrooms

Posted

Until recently, I had never heard of critical race theory. Then, community members began speaking about it at school board meetings here and around the country.

Emboldened by fringe political groups and media personalities, they’ve been speaking in opposition to this theory, claiming that it is bad for our children and ostensibly worried that it is or soon will be a part of our curriculum.

Although I had not heard of this theory, as a well-educated product of this district, I knew that I had a duty to seek out more information from reliable sources and to apply critical thinking skills.

What I have found out about critical race theory so far is this: At its core, it seeks to shine a spotlight on the structural oppression that is part of our society.
I love our country. I am a patriotic American who wants to see our country be the best version of itself that it can be. I want my children to learn of our flaws and to help us overcome them. Ongoing structural racism is one of those failings.

Anyone who wants our children to remain ignorant of this should examine why, especially if they stand to benefit from the structural inequalities still in place today.

I think the main reason for the sudden uproar is politics. Politicians are using this controversy to invigorate their followers. They are making false claims that white kids are being taught that they are innate oppressors. That is not happening in our classrooms. They are also mixing up critical race theory with culturally responsive teaching, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and even social and emotional learning.

The bluster and inconsiderate behavior displayed at board meetings by the opponents of critical race theory are unworthy of the good work done here. Nevertheless, in some ways I am thankful that CRT has been brought to our attention so we could learn about it. Otherwise who knows how long it would have stayed put in graduate level university programs.

I may not change the mind of anyone who has already decided that CRT is a problem. But let me direct this to you on the board — our apolitical board — and to our administration, and to anyone out there in our community who is unsure of what this uproar is all about: This venue is being used and abused for political purposes. This disruption and division are about political strategy and not about what is best for children in our community.

Editor's note: Tressa Rappold is a resident of Peoria.

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