A California school district voted this week to ban Critical Race Theory from being taught in its schools.
In a 3-2 vote, the Temecula Valley Unified School District in southern California voted to ban schools from teaching CRT. The vote came at the end of a marathon session on Tuesday night that ran into the wee hours of Wednesday morning; a new conservative majority had just been sworn in at the beginning of the meeting.
“The TVUSD desires to uplift and unite students by not imposing the responsibility of historical transgressions in the past and instead will engage students of all cultures in age-appropriate critical thinking that helps students navigate the past, present, and future,” the resolution banning CRT stated.
The school board’s resolution makes clear that teachers are not required to violate state, local, or federal law, and maintains that they adhere to the curriculum adopted by the board as the primary source for the context of instruction. The resolution also states that the board respects diversity.
“[R]acism has no place in American society and especially not in the Temecula Valley Unified School District,” the resolution stated. “[T]he TVUSD condemns racism and will not tolerate racism and racist conduct.” The East Bay Times reported that the board passed another resolution condemning racism.
The resolution continued, explicitly condemning Critical Race Theory as “an ideology based on false assumptions about the United States of America and its population,” the foundation of which was based on an “artificial distortion of the traditional definition of ‘racism.'”
The board also explicitly condemned CRT as a racist ideology in itself, which assigns generational and racial guilt for conduct far in the past; violates the principle of equal protection under the law; and detracts from the underlying causes of real societal problems by framing all social issues as racial issues. “Critical Race Theory or other similar frameworks will not be used as a source to guide how topics related to race will be taught,” the board said.
The resolution then banned all of the following core tenets of Critical Race Theory from being taught:
- “Racism is racial prejudice plus power, a concept that is often used to argue that (i) only individuals classified as “white” people can be racist because only “white” people control society and (ii) individuals in ethnic minorities cannot be racist because they do not control society.
- Racism is ordinary and the usual way society operates
- “Interest convergence” or “material determinism”; the idea that moving away from racist policies is motivated primarily by the oppressor class’s own self-interest.
- “Differential racialization,” the idea that society racializes different minorities according to the needs of the labor market.
- The “voice-of-color” thesis, the belief that minority groups are inherently better equipped to speak about race and racism.
The resolution also banned many core teachings that have their origins in CRT. Specifically, that because of their race or sex, an individual:
- inherently racist or sexist, consciously or unconsciously;
- a member of either and oppressor or an oppressed class;
- inherently morally superior or inferior to another race;
- should be discriminated against or receive favorable treatment on the basis of race or sex;
- bears responsibility for past actions committed by other members of the same group;
- should feel guilty or discomforted on the basis of race or sex
Furthermore, the resolution banned the idea that meritocracy, hard work, or the scientific method are inherently racist or sexist or were created by members of one race to oppress another. It also banned the core principle of the “1619 Project,” that the advent of slavery in the American colonies was the real founding of the United States, and that the Revolution and American independence from Britain was partly an effort to preserve slavery.
The resolution does allow for some teaching of CRT, but only as a small role and in ways that focus on its faults.