For months, teachers from across the country have been reaching out to me with stories about bullying and intimidation in the workplace related to diversity training and radical changes to curriculum. Recently, an anonymous teacher in Beaverton, Oregon, sent me a recording from a zoom call in which the superintendent clearly implies that teachers who are not ideologically aligned with the administration on its “anti-racism” agenda would not be welcome to continue teaching in the district.
The quote was recorded during an equity committee meeting via Zoom on January 28th, in which the group was discussing an upcoming mandatory staff training on “anti-racism.” In the clip, superintendent Don Grotting states:
I do want the message to get out there that this [anti-racism training] isn’t optional anymore. We’ve waited for the willing, and if you’re not willing then maybe this isn’t the right place for you to work. Maybe we can free up your future, because if we’re going to become an anti-racist school district, it cant just be a few people, it needs to be everybody, to include our staff, our students, our community, eventually everyone.
The term “anti-racist” was popularized by thought leader Ibram X. Kendi in his book “How To Be An Antiracist,” which asserts that individuals must choose sides: either “racist” or “anti-racist.” Kendi claims that in order to be “anti-racist” one must actively advocate for a specific left-wing ideological and political agenda in both word and deed. His theories, which are heavily informed by Critical Race Theory, have been widely implemented in education circles, including in Beaverton.
As details about this radical theory and its infiltration in schools have come to light, an increasing number of parents, teachers and community members have criticized it as divisive and counterproductive. One counterintuitive result of these “anti-racist” teachings is the growing phenomenon of neo-segregation, which I have covered in the past, and which has also been embraced by the Beaverton Independent School District.
Despite the broader conversation about CRT and growing skepticism concerning Kendi’s ideas, Grotting states clearly in the Zoom clip that dissent and questioning will not be tolerated in Beaverton.
The audio recording was submitted to The Daily Wire by a concerned parent on behalf of an anonymous teacher. According to a different parent in the same district, who independently reached out about the same issue, many of the teachers afraid to speak publicly about the trainings identify as liberal Democrats. Liberal teachers often feel they have the most to lose by speaking up, citing fear of repercussions in their social lives, friendships, and even marriages.
While many Americans struggle with self-censorship in the workplace, few industries have embraced political correctness as militantly as the education establishment. Part of that may be due to the fact that the bulk of the employees are more financially beholden to their employers than workers in other industries, making dissent more risky. Many educators fear not just the loss of their livelihood, but also their pensions and future employability if they speak their mind about issues relating to “equity.” As one teacher in Minnesota put it, the easiest thing to do is just quietly wait to retire or transfer to another district, “because you need to be in good standing” in order to access those benefits or even to work somewhere else.
As I reported earlier this spring about Leander, Texas, administrators specifically target threats toward older teachers who are seen as less compliant with the new “equity” culture. In Texas, a school board member was recorded as threatening teachers that if they “can’t get on board” with new changes to the curriculum, they will be “managed out.” Those who have worked for Leander for “more than 20 years” were singled out as most likely to be non-compliant, and were invited to “show themselves the door.”
The phenomenon of repressive self-censorship also extends to private schools, which was expertly exposed by journalist Bari Weiss earlier this spring in her piece “The Miseducation of America’s Elites.”
However, there are hopeful signs of parents and teachers fighting back. From teachers like Paul Rossi blasting his elite private institution, to record parent participation at local school board meetings, more people are speaking up. The debate about Critical Race Theory is just now heating up in the mainstream — and we will continue to report on it.
This story is part of my ongoing efforts to expose radical ideology in schools and institutions. Help me shine a light on your community. Contact me at [email protected] or on IG @georgiamaehowe to share stories from your community.