Critical Race Training bills seek to lower education standards and require teachers to judge students based on how they look instead of who they are

By LIV FINNE  | 
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Apr 6, 2021

Last week Rep. Gerry Pollet (D-Seattle) urged the House Appropriations Committee to pass SB 5227, a bill mandating staff in public colleges and universities to receive trainings in Critical Race Theory. He made the false statement that SB 5227 “is to learn more about the world, starting with the other people in the world.”  

Here’s how his statement is false. SB 5227 says:

“The purpose of each professional development program curriculum must be rooted in eliminating structural racism against all races.”

“Structural racism” is widely-acknowledged code for imposing Critical Race Theory. This narrow-minded theory, invented by radicals in academia, seeks to divide American society into two classes, the oppressors and the oppressed. It labels people based on the color of their skin.  Anyone who is perceived as white, according to this theory, is automatically labeled an oppressor.  Everyone else, based solely on outward appearance, is oppressed.

The harmful impact of this unfair and harmful idea on education will be enormous, because it lowers learning standards for students of color, resulting in school-sponsored discrimination against them.

Morgan Foster, a teacher in a Chicago-area high school, aptly describes the impact of these ideas on black students: 

“Foster said the sentiment in the school was that ‘black kids are not achieving at the same pace as non-black students and … it is because of oppression. It is because of white supremacy. 

‘I had students tell me that they were still slaves to the system. They actually said that because that was being reiterated to them in their social studies classes,’ she recalled. 

The school administration created a separate set of standards for black students, calling it equity, but ‘it was not equity,’ Foster said. ‘I would argue that that was the epitome of bigotry.’ 

Foster said she witnessed black students receive passing grades regardless of whether they understood the material or completed assignments, because teachers held them to a lower standard. 

The operative idea seemed to be that ‘these kids are not able to do what other kids are doing,’ she said.” 

Critical Race Theory teaches black children they are not responsible for their own innate abilities, but instead are structural victims of someone else. What proponents are hoping to achieve by this indoctrination is dependency and low-performance, and they seek to encourage political activism over authentic student development.

Thus Critical Race Theory trainings in the schools, pushed by its sponsors as an effort to bring so-called “equity and justice” to black and Hispanic students, will end up harming them, and will create inequity and injustice for all students.

Two other bills that are on the verge of becoming law in our state would require these staff trainings in Critical Race Theory, SB 5044 (in K-12 schools), and SB 5228 (in public medical schools). The clear language of these bills equate “diversity, equity and inclusion” trainings to the Critical Race Theory concept of structural racism based on how people look.

For example, SB 5044 says:

The training programs identified must instruct school board directors on dismantling institutional racism by examining school district policies with an equity lens, promoting racial literacy, understanding stereotype threat, and identifying disproportionate student outcomes by using district data. 

SB 5228 says: “the objectives of the curriculum [for medical students] must be to provide tools for eliminating structural racism in health care systems and to build cultural safety.”

The legislature is on the brink of passing these three bills and Governor Inslee would likely sign them. These bills will make it official policy in Washington state that students and other citizens are to be defined by their ethnic, sexual identities, and other aspects of their outward appearance, and not treated equally and respectfully based on who they are as human persons.

A government that says people who look “white” are oppressors and that everyone else is automatically a victim is denying the fundamental personhood of its own citizens.  It is also reviving historic wrongs and engaging in segregationist tropes that undermine good will, a positive sense of community and cheerful civic engagement.

SB 5227, SB 5044 and SB 5228 promote ideas that are hateful, divisive and unpopular because they judge people on how they look instead of who they are.  Tens of thousands of families have left public education in our state.  If lawmakers are trying to provide another powerful incentive for more families to leave, passing mandatory Critical Race Trainings bills is one way to do it.