November 9, 2021

By Joe Setyon

Pundits and policymakers alike have made it a habit to deny that Critical Race Theory (CRT) is being taught in America’s public schools. But an Indiana school administrator’s revelations provide a good idea of what, exactly, the education establishment is really saying when it repeats this line to parents.

“When we tell you that our schools aren’t teaching Critical Race Theory, that it’s nowhere in our standards, that’s misdirection,” Tony Kinnett, who works as a science coach and administrator for Indiana’s largest school district, said in a video posted to Twitter last week.  

“We don’t have the quotes and theories as state standards per se,” he said. “We tell our teachers to treat our students differently based on color. We tell our students every problem is a result of ‘white men’ and that everything Western Civilization built is racist. Capitalism is a tool of white supremacy. Those are straight out of Kimberle Crenshaw’s main points verbatim in ‘Critical Race Theory: The [Key] Writings That Formed the Movement.’ This is in math, history, science, English, the arts, and it’s not slowing down.”

What Kinnett described is at the heart of CRT, a destructive ideology that rejects the ideals on which America was founded in exchange for a culture of fear that prioritizes victimization. It’s an ideology that pits children against each other by categorizing them as either the oppressors or the oppressed, and one that demands they be judged by the color of their skin rather than by the content of their character. CRT teaches that the American Dream “is a lie, and that this nation is fundamentally based on slavery, racism, and hate,” as Goldwater Institute Executive Vice President Christina Sandefur said last week at Goldwater’s Annual Dinner.

Making matters worse, Kinnett posted screenshots of school district documents directing principals to tell parents who asked if CRT was being taught at their child’s school: “No. CRT is not curriculum taught in any schools within the Indianapolis Public Schools District.”

Parents deserve better. They deserve to know the truth about what their children are being taught in taxpayer-funded schools. They certainly don’t deserve to be lied to, stonewalled, billed, or sued for asking basic questions about the curricula teachers are using.

They deserve true academic transparency. But far too often, education bureaucrats’ idea of “transparency” is to tell parents that CRT isn’t being taught, call it a day, and hope those parents just go away quietly.

That’s why the Goldwater Institute is advocating for the Academic Transparency Act, a bill that would require public schools to post a listing of their learning materials online. Ultimately, parents should be the ones deciding if they want their children’s minds being filled with an ideology that teaches them to view everything through the lens of racial identity. But they can only make an informed choice if they know what is going on in their kids’ classrooms in the first place.

Kinnett’s video makes it clear many public schools have zero interest in allowing parents to make an informed choice. “When schools tell you we aren’t teaching Critical Race Theory it means one thing,” he said. “Go away and look into our affairs no further.”

“Parents, when we tell you Critical Race Theory isn’t taught in our schools, we’re lying, keep looking,” Kinnett added.

Keep looking, indeed. But parents shouldn’t have to. There’s a better way.

To learn more about Goldwater’s efforts to promote academic transparency, you can click here.

Joe Setyon is a Digital Communications Associate at the Goldwater Institute.

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