The educational hubbub of our time is the debate over teaching Critical Race Theory in our schools. Teachers’ unions, the Biden administration, and many progressive politicians have advocated its inclusion in the core curriculum, and some districts have already started implementation. Many Republicans and conservatives have voiced opposition, and some states have drafted or enacted legislation prohibiting its teaching.

Meanwhile, our public schools are already doing a lousy job teaching kids the fundamentals – the three “Rs” – especially in poor and minority neighborhoods. Despite being flush in money – real per-student spending has tripled since 1970 in adjusted dollars, with no measurable performance improvement. That the educational establishment has been the Left’s baby for all that time is an inconvenient truth, of course.

Since classroom time is finite, the addition of wokeness will necessarily detract from the teaching of the Rs. Even worse, CRT “questions” the civic fundamentals of our society (and take one guess with what they are to be replaced).

I quote Richard Delgado, the grand poo-bah of CRT and author of Critical Race Theory – An Introduction:

Unlike traditional civil rights, which embraces incrementalism and step-by-step progress, critical race theory questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law.

Read that last bit again. “The very foundations of the liberal order,” i.e. individual rights, the premise that we are all created equal, blind justice, and so forth – are to be ‘questioned.’ These are bedrock elements of America, and while it’s obvious that they haven’t been achieved in whole, they remain the aspirational goal.

Unlike some academic disciplines, critical race theory contains an activist dimension. It not only tries to understand our social situation, but to change it; it sets out not only to ascertain how society organizes itself along racial lines and hierarchies, but to transform it for the better.

Transform to… what, exactly? Have they theorized a new, untried form of government and societal ordering? Or are they striving toward the same goals that Critical Theory has across the past century?

I (and others) have been accused of misrepresenting CRT, but accusers are very often guilty of projecting their own mushy definitions onto the phrase, asserting that it’s merely the teaching of race history. As if that’s not already being taught in schools. If that’s all it is, then why the very specific title, a title that ties directly to the Critical Theory product of the Frankfurt School, a passel of unrepentant Marxists who were unhappy with the failure of the Bolshevik Revolution to sweep through Europe after WWI?

I covered this here and here.

In parallel, the likes of Congressman Dan Crenshaw have raised red flags about the emphasis on diversity training over preparedness in the military. Again – there are only so many hours in a day, and institutions that don’t focus on their core mission are bound to produce less-prepared students and servicepeople.

Unless, of course, the mission is to indoctrinate in furtherance of a toxic agenda.

Is it a coincidence that the same progressives that have failed the black and latino children of their cities are working to undermine the top-tier educational programs in those cities? New York’s Best-and-Brightest have been trying to change the test-to-get-in system for the “Elite Eight” public high schools, and cancel many ‘gifted’ programs elsewhere in the city, even as they turn a blind eye to the disastrous performance of their educators in minority neighborhoods (while fighting tooth-and-nail against the charter schools that give a lucky few kids an alternative to a miserably poor education).

Our young may not learn their fundamentals, but they’ll at least be woke, I suppose.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

If you'd like to help keep the site ad-free, please support us on Patreon.


Like this post?