Philadelphia resident Elana Fishbein was shocked last year when the elementary school two of her three children attended introduced “cultural proficiency” classes she describes as “totally racist.” The “woke” education classes are based in critical race theory, which divides society into “oppressors” and “oppressed” based on traits including race and sex.
Fishbein, a former social worker with a doctorate in child welfare, took a close look at the course material before making the decision to move her children to a private school.
“The material selected for this indoctrination pumps their brains with LIES that puts unbearable emotional burdens on them for years to come,” wrote Fishbein in a letter to the superintendent. “Why must our kids feel like villains and hate themselves for something they had no control over – the color/pigmentation of their skin?”
Fishbein received no response to her letter and was harassed by other parents when she posted the letter online. “I was blown away,” said Fishbein. “They won’t even discuss it. They just call you a name.”
In August, Fishbein launched an organization called “No Left Turn in Education” to try to stop Critical Race Theory.
She reached out to a conservative news source to run her story. A month later, she was invited to speak on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight and her Facebook page received more than 1 million views.
Today, No Left Turn in Education has tens of thousands of members in more than 20 states.
Among those who reached out to Fishbein was Nevada resident Gabrielle Clark, who took issue with a sociology class her son William was forced to attend.
During the class, students were asked to identify which groups they belonged to based on factors such as race, religion, sexual identity, family income, and disability. The students were then given labels such as “privileged” or “oppressed.”
Clark is a black single mother with five kids. William is the only one of her children to inherit his deceased father’s light skin tone and blond hair. He is the only student perceived as “white” in his class.
“All I could think of was, ‘How in the world is my son supposed to function in his life normally with his siblings and with his mother with this idea in the back of his head that he is somehow privileged and oppressing us?” asks Clark. “I couldn’t allow that to be the way my son felt about himself.”
William refused to complete his homework for the class. So, the school threatened to give him an F, which would have prevented him from graduating. Clark begged for alternatives but the school refused.
With help from No Left Turn in Education, Clark was able to file a lawsuit against the school. William’s failing grade was removed.
“The class materials appear to teach critical race theory as both morally superior and factual, rather than as a theory,” said Ilana Redstone, an Illinois professor that served as an expert witness in Clark’s case. Any lesson that puts students in a hierarchy based on innate characteristics is “unacceptable and discriminatory.”
Clark’s situation is not unique. In fact, battles like this are being played out throughout the country as more schools introduce “woke” education.
Also, according to NBC News, there are over 165 groups fighting to stop the teaching of critical race theory in schools. Campaigns have been launched to unseat more than 120 school board members this year (a new record). And critics expect the issue to play a major role in the 2022 midterm elections.
Parents like Fishbein and Clark are also supported by conservative think tanks, PACs, news outlets, and politicians.
Critical race theory “seeks to find racism in every part of American society. It is poisonous. It should have o place in our schools,” argues Rhode Island State Rep. Patricia Morgan (R). In his famous speech, Martin Luther King Jr. “looked forward to the day when all of us would be judged by the content of our character, not the color of our skin,” continues Morgan. “America embraced that goal and we have made great progress. Alarmingly, critical race theory does the opposite.”
More than 20 states have introduced proposals to ban, restrict, or monitor critical race theory. Five states have turned those proposals into law.
Florida’s proposal to ban CRT from public schools became law last week, with Governor Ron DeSantis (R) promising to construct a “political apparatus” to ensure “not a single school board member [in the state] supports critical race theory.”