By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
June 10, 2021
Concerned citizens spoke out at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Alexander County Board of Education, urging elected officials to ban critical race theory from local classrooms.
“Critical race theory is a worldview that is racist, subversive and divisive. It is racist in that it identifies students based on skin color. It is divisive in that it assigns students into conflicting categories of the oppressed and the oppressor regardless of their individual actions,” said the Rev. Mitch King, speaking on behalf of the Alexander County Citizens for Faith and Family Values. “If this way of indoctrination is introduced to our students, the results will be even greater division than already exists.”
King gave the Board of Education a petition signed by 750 citizens and asked that members take action at a future meeting by signing a resolution that would prevent any tenet of the worldview from being presented to students in any form.
The seven-point resolution recommended by the citizen group traces the origins of critical race theory to Marxism and calls out its “false narrative that the origins of the United States of America were inherently evil and based solely on the subjugation of another ethnicity.”
“Critical race theory is based on subjective rather than objective truth in that it relies heavily on a constructed meta-narrative supported by anecdotal evidence rather than empiricism,” the resolution states, further describing the theory as one that “has the ability to tear down instead of to build up.”
Alexander County resident Rusty McKee also spoke out against the theory, which he says “divides us with no plan of reconciliation.”
“Light-skinned persons are labeled oppressors, enemies of dark-skinned persons, who are labeled oppressed by critical race theory. Furthermore, this Marxist-inspired ideology declares that the oppressor group will always be oppressors and that the oppressed group will always be oppressed. And that persists, regardless of character, service, social status or financial status,” McKee told the board. “The offense is permanent in its divisiveness. There is no plan for reconciliation offered. You can grovel but you cannot escape the label imposed upon you. Thus, we become divided without remedy.”
McKee implored the board, as “gatekeepers of our children’s education,” to “hold back this harmful teaching that can twist children’s minds to hate one another.”
The school board also heard from two local high school students who spoke in favor of critical race theory. Ana Gray said that when her teachers address racism, she is more comfortable in the classroom.
“I feel as if I am seen and heard. I feel as if I am respected, by just a simple act of acknowledging that my reality is different because I am a minority,” she said.
Hunter Jamison said the use of critical race theory would not change the facts being taught but would simply acknowledge the fact that “the way we have been teaching history previously has not included the view of many important minority citizens.”
After the public comment time, Dr. Elizabeth Curry, Alexander County’s associate superintendent of curriculum and instruction, addressed the board and audience to explain how curriculum is developed. While the state sets standards for each subject, outlining what students at each grade level should know and be able to do, it is up to each system to develop pacing guides and curriculum to help ensure that the standards are met, Curry said.
While the state has been working on new social studies standards, she said Alexander County educators have been reviewing proposed guidelines to see what areas might be controversial and have been looking for primary source documents to use in their classrooms. Although the state Board of Education has until June 18 to take a final vote on standards, she said already some curriculum materials are available for parents to review, and a procedure is in place for them to voice any objections to instructional materials.
“Anyone who wants to will be able to preview the social studies curriculum to see what is being used and taught in the classroom on a given day,” Curry said. “Right now, the pacing guides are available, but we are waiting on some documents from the state of North Carolina.”
She said teachers will have their lesson plans online and accessible by the last teacher workday before the start of the fall semester.
“We will develop a curriculum that uses many primary source documents to teach American History,” Curry said. “It is about accuracy, not politics.”
The Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, commended King and McKee for speaking out against critical race theory.
“It is imperative that Christians understand what is being taught to their children in the schools,” he said. “We’re glad to hear from the school system that there are ways for parents to continue to monitor what documents are being used and what the objective of each lesson is. We must be on guard for false teachings and call them out. Moreover, let me add, there is absolutely nothing redeemable about critical race theory. Parents should summarily reject it and insist it not be taught to their children.”
The next Alexander County Board of Education meeting is July 20 at 6 p.m.
Already the North Carolina House has taken a stand against some aspects of critical race theory by passing House Bill 324, “Ensuring Dignity & Nondiscrimination/Schools” on May 12.