Editor: Republicans in Virginia—and nationally—are again showing their true faces: They remain the Party of No.
Can you remember a single policy that they favor? And when things are going well and there is nothing to rail against, they make it up. Critical Race Theory? Oh, sounds bad, like social engineering, something Socialists might do. And to our children!
Let’s state it plainly right up front: No school in Loudoun (or Fairfax or Spotsylvania or anywhere else in the Commonwealth of Virginia) teaches ”critical race theory.” What they do teach—as mandated by the commonwealth—is equity. And they do it through history, through facts.
When we teach of wrongs perpetrated upon American Indians by British settlers, for example, those are facts. To ignore them does not appropriately uplift the American experience but, rather, whitewashes our history, leading to a generation that neither understands the reality of our past nor appreciates the harm that flows from bias, in thought and action.
Similarly, to teach that the Black experience in America was all positive, with happy slaves enjoying doing the “yardwork” and playing with their masters’ children, perpetuates dangerous ignorance. No, we are not trying to make our white children “feel guilty,” as anti-CRT activists claim; rather, we are endeavoring to impart the multifaceted lessons of our true history, from which our children can learn, question, and grow.
There is nothing insidious about teaching how attitudes toward race influenced our past. Quite the opposite: to refrain from such education leaves out explanations of why our history is what it is. Republicans want to erase our history and dictate curricula to school boards.
Let’s also examine how our “neighbors” are protesting the supposed teaching of CRT.
Perhaps you heard of the raucous Loudoun County School Board meeting in June, where busloads of non-Loudoun residents were brought in to raise their voices and rail against the teaching of CRT in Loudoun (no, it is not happening; see above). People shouted, made accusations, and in some cases pushed and shoved each other. This was deliberate. It gets them their 15 minutes of fame on Fox News.
Remember, in the absence of a real issue, make one up. The local GOP leaders—late of the Trump Administration—are desperately trying to foment rage, the better to win in 2022. Virginia is a testing ground: If it works here, watch for it to be rolled out nationwide next year.
One of the main groups against the current school system is Fight for Schools, which says—erroneously—that “teachers and students are pressured to see everything through the lens of race and to treat individuals as part of a socially constructed demographic.” The reality is far different. EdEquityVA, a statewide program, is defined by the “commitment to eliminating the predictability of student outcomes based on race, gender, zip code, ability, socio-economic status, and/or languages spoken at home.” Does this sound subversive?
The strategy is one of fear. Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid … of what your school board is teaching your kids.
As part of its campaign, the rabble-rousers are circulating petitions to recall all of the Democrats on the School Board and our Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney. Get rid of these people who are corrupting your child’s education. There’s next to a zero-percent chance that this will succeed, but that doesn’t matter: it’s all about the noise. Their plan is to submit the recall petitions in October, when a judge will have 5-10 days to make a decision. In this way, the issue is all over the news, right up until the Nov. 2 election.
On Aug. 10, the Loudoun County School Board will vote on Policy 8040, “Rights of Transgender and Gender-Expansive Students,” which would mandate that such students be called by their preferred names and pronouns and that they be included in school activities. Naturally, this has GOP activists up in arms. And for what? Making children feel as comfortable as possible while going through an extremely difficult process?
Perhaps if real Loudoun parents really wanted what’s best for their children, they would want them to be taught real history—facts, without political bias. They would advocate for the broadest possible education for their kids. And they would want their children to become compassionate adults. This is how young people learn to live in the world, and make things better for generations to come.
Michael Fruitman, Ashburn