ULTIMATE SOLUTION TO CRT: PARENTAL CHOICE
By Lance Izumi
January 25, 2023
In the new Pacific Research Institute book The Great Parent Revolt: How Parents and Grassroots Leaders are Fighting Critical Race Theory in America’s Schools, which I co-authored with Wenyuan Wu and McKenzie Richards, we tell the stories of ordinary people who have used a variety of methods to fight critical race theory in the classroom.
Since the last full week of January is National School Choice Week, it is important to point out that the ultimate solution to the CRT menace is to empower parents to choose the education setting that best meets the individual needs of their children.
Critical race theory is the most divisive doctrine to ever threaten America’s children. It is a form of Marxism that separates people, including children, into oppressor and oppressed classes based, not on economic status as under classical Marxism, but according to race, with Whites being viewed as oppressors and non-whites as the oppressed.
The insidiousness of CRT can be seen in the experience of students.
In The Great Parent Revolt, we profile a student named Joshua (his name has been changed to protect his anonymity) who told us that in his public middle school he had to participate in a so-called privilege walk where students were lined up shoulder to shoulder with the teacher calling out supposed privilege traits, such as “I am White,” “I am male,” and “I am Christian.” If a trait applied to a student, then that student would have to take a step forward.
Because he was the only White male in his class, Joshua said, “I was the only one who took a step forward, and that meant that everyone saw me stand out from the rest of the class.”
“No one can choose their race, but happening to be White was shameful,” he said. He concluded, “it almost feels like a criminal lineup, where you have students step forward as if to apologize or be singled out for privileges that they really can’t help or control.”
Like Joshua, children across the country are having similar disturbing experiences. The question then becomes, what to do about it?
CRT proponents will often deny that CRT is being used in schools. So the first thing parents are doing is to use investigative tools to reveal what is actually taking place in the classroom.
When her daughter’s school refused to divulge details of CRT-influenced teaching, Rhode Island mom Nicole Solas filed approximately 160 public records requests to force the school to reveal what was being taught in the classroom.
In Virginia, Asra Nomani, a Muslim immigrant mom from India, used 200 public records requests to discover how school districts in her state contract with CRT consultants to provide training for school staff.
Nomani told us these consultants are part of a “woke industrial complex.”
Once it becomes known that CRT is being used in schools, parents are organizing.
Groups like Parents Defending Education, Moms for Liberty, No Left Turn in Education, and others have started up in order to give parents a voice in curriculum debates.
“We were promised a colorblind vision but now we are told colorblindness is a trait of white supremacy,” said Moms for Liberty co-founder Tiffany Justice in an interview for our book. “Moms are mad and we can see through this nonsense.”
As its first action, the new pro-parent majority on the Temecula school board in Southern California passed a ban on CRT in the district’s classrooms.
Joseph Komrosky, one of Temecula’s new pro-parent board majority, says: “Parents always remember this: if you are not teaching your kids, someone else is. You want to make sure what is being taught to them is actually good, safe, and correct.”
As important as all these developments are, empowering parents to choose the best education setting for their children is the most effective weapon to undercut CRT.
If parents can vote with their feet and exit schools that are ramrodding CRT down the throats of their children, then schools will have to face the hard reality that they are going to lose students and the tax dollars that go along with them.
Already, over the last few years, two million students have unenrolled in the public schools. This number will grow as more states pass wide-ranging school choice programs.
For example, last year, Arizona enacted a universal education savings account program that will allow parents to opt out of public schools and use public funding for purposes such as private school tuition, online education, private tutoring, and other defined uses.
Parents in Arizona, for example, can use the funds from this program to pay for tuition at private schools that use a classical education model, which emphasizes the study of the liberal arts and sciences, often focusing on the great books and primary documents of the Western intellectual tradition.
Other states, such as West Virginia, have also enacted wide-ranging school-choice programs.
For states like California, however, where there is little possibility that Arizona-type school-choice programs will be enacted, parents always have the ultimate back-up plan–homeschooling.
In my previous PRI book The Homeschool Boom, I tell the story of a California mom who decided to homeschool her son because of, among other reasons, the political indoctrination going on in school.
According to this mom, her son would be silenced in class because his opinions did not comport with the dominant views of other students and the teacher. She said, “he would be basically told that he was a horrible person because he had different beliefs.”
She said she was “super concerned” about “the indoctrination of my children,” so, “as much as I would like to send my children back to public school, I don’t know that I can, in good conscience, do that because of the agendas that are being pushed there.”
In the end, she decided to homeschool and when she asks herself, “Do I feel like my children had a better education this year than they did last year,” she answered, “Absolutely.”
And as federal statistics demonstrate, many parents agree that homeschooling is the best way to go, with the proportion of families deciding to homeschool their children doubling from 2020 to 2021.
The bottom line is that parental choice has the potential to force the public schools to change course and focus on what should be their main focus—teaching America’s children the basics and making sure that they are proficient so they can become successful participants in our increasingly complex economy.
Lance Izumi is senior director of the Center for Education at the Pacific Research Institute. He is the co-author, along with Wenyuan Wu and McKenzie Richards, of The Great Parent Revolt: How Parents and Grassroots Leaders are Fighting Critical Race Theory in America’s Schools.