Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chris Reykdal, explains the COVID-19 grading guidelines from the OSPI. (Screengrab from waOSPI YouTube)
This is part of an ongoing series by the Jason Rantz Show that will explore critical race theory training in Washington schools.
The State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chris Reykdal, says critical race theory isn’t being taught in Washington schools. This is a lie.
Reykdal didn’t make an error; it’s trickery. He’s playing a dishonest semantics game he thinks he can win. Thankfully, we have plenty of documentation proving critical race theory is taught in Washington schools. It’s even being forced on staff during training. Just not in the way Reykdal aims to redefine the debate.
So why is Reykdal lying about CRT? It’s simple: parents have momentum on their side and he, and other activists, will do what they can to keep their insidious strategy in place.
Reykdal sets up his critical race theory lie
Reykdal made many dubious claims in an interview on KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show. Almost everything he said is verifiably false. When asked if CRT is being taught in the classroom, he offered an unequivocal “no” in response.
“We talk about the Civil Rights Movement. We talk about the causes of the Civil War, we talk about the experiences of Black Americans, of white Americans,” he said. “It’s comprehensive history, but it’s not critical race theory.”
He says any outrage over the toxic ideology is “manufactured” by conservatives like myself.
“This is manufactured rage for political purposes,” Reykdal claimed. “It’s a catchall now for every sort of angry thing that people want to throw out there, and unfortunately, has nothing to do with our actual learning standard or anything that the Legislature in this state has passed for what we teach.”
What is the purpose of the vast right-wing conspiracy to claim CRT is infecting our schools? Political power, of course.
“The key here is breaking down what it is and what it isn’t. When people say this is shaming some students or that it’s revising history or that it’s all the evils that they’re selling to whip up a political base for the ’22 campaign election cycle — that’s not actually what critical race theory is. So no, the answer is unequivocally no, we’re not teaching that in school. But that’s not also what the real critical race theory is.”
Indeed, the academic discipline of CRT isn’t being taught in our schools. Teachers aren’t explaining what CRT is nor covering the legal concepts that comprise CRT in a 101 or advanced-level course. But no one is making that direct claim.
When we say CRT is taught, we mean the concept of CRT is taken as fact, and its principles frame the very curriculum in front of your kids. In other words, teachers are not teaching CRT; they’re using the CRT lens to frame lesson plans. It’s why we point to precise content. Reykdal knows this.
Reykdal’s rhetorical sleight of hand
The superintendent’s strategy is based on a dishonest semantics game.
CRT is generally considered a wide-ranging academic concept centered around racism as a social construct. That racism was intentionally embedded in our institutions and policies by white men, and it has been used to oppress people of color. When radicals demand we “dismantle systems of oppression,” they’re talking about everything from American financial and healthcare systems to education and policing.
Reykdal hopes to reframe the discussion. It’s why he refuses even to define CRT. I asked his office for an interview but was turned down; he does not do well when pushed. I asked how Reykdal defines CRT, but his office would not offer a direct response from the superintendent.
Reykdal’s spokesperson, instead, offered up what amounts to a CRT definition in an email to the Jason Rantz Show.
“Examining how our institutions and our social structure have (and in some cases, continue to) oppressed certain groups is standard in U.S. history courses, and is foundational in many professional learning courses for adults,” Katy Payne emailed.
That is the very concept of CRT. And it’s the lens teachers use (or being taught to use) — the principles of CRT — to teach your kids. It is not merely sequestered in “professional learning courses for adults.” And it most certainly was not standard in US history courses until recent memory. It’s not even relegated to history class.
CRT in Washington classrooms: it starts with training
The superintendent and district leaders use the CRT lens to create and guide both curriculum and school policies.
It’s seldom labeled “critical race theory” directly. Instead, they use softer language like “culturally responsive teaching,” “diversity and inclusion,” “unconscious bias,” and “equity.” But it all connects to the same CRT concept. And the intent of new statewide mandates for staff training is based on CRT.
You can get an overview of these concepts in Highline Public School’s mandatory staff training that Reykdal pretends isn’t happening. The training teaches staff that race is a “social construct.” It states that American institutions were “designed” in a way to oppress people of color. It even covered the intersectionality of different identities as it relates to race.
In other words, the training was based on the teachings of CRT.
CRT in Washington classrooms: actual lessons
To prove that teachers aren’t instructing students on CRT, he defies parents to request a textbook review. They won’t find CRT there! No, they wouldn’t. The oral framing of the lessons uses CRT, not the textbooks. Beyond that, teachers are bringing in a curriculum that isn’t based on textbooks.
The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH exclusively reported that students in an eighth-grade science class at Canyon Park Middle School in Bothell were forced to watch a video on white privilege.
In it, adults were identified as privileged based on their identity. Afterward, they were given a worksheet with various identities that exemplified how students either enjoy privilege or suffered from marginalization. The science teacher then asked her students to select their own identities and privileges so that they can “figure out ways to dismantle systems of oppression.”
If you asked to see this science teacher’s textbook, you wouldn’t have learned about this lesson plan. Thankfully, a parent filmed it happening during a remote session.
Reykdal’s office didn’t want to explain how the superintendent would describe this lesson plan from Canyon Park Middle School.
“Picking apart individual topics and asking if they are being taught or could be taught is probably not the best use of our time, and we can’t know exactly how each specific topic is being taught within every classroom,” Reykdal’s spokesperson told me.
Oh, really? Dissecting individual topics may be inconvenient for Reykdal, but only insomuch as it shows the CRT lens dictating content. When we have a video of the lesson, we can know exactly how it’s being taught. And spending my time proving Reykdal is lying to you is, in fact, a good use of my time.
Why this strategy? Why not?
In fairness to Reykdal, he isn’t the only politician acting in bad faith to obscure the lessons being taught to your kids. It’s a strategy employed by left-wing partisans who have a specific agenda: indoctrinate kids.
Most adults can hear the CRT principles and decide to accept or reject them. Activist teachers aren’t trying to convince me to become a CRT adherent and view the world through their warped ideology. They’re trying to convince children.
Young kids are emotionally vulnerable. It’s much easier to instill in them this belief that this country was founded on white supremacy. Teach them this toxic ideology early, and it shapes them. When they get into the real world, they take on positions of power and dismantle the systems of oppression, as leftists view them. That’s how you create true societal change.
Parents are catching on, inspiring a wave of activism from coast to coast. And they’re winning some key battles and shining a big spotlight on the CRT scam.
Now, CRT adherents must do something to stop the momentum from building. So they lie, obfuscate, or deflect. But as long as parents don’t stop pushing for change, it’s a battle Reykdal, and his CRT extremists will hopefully lose.
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