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Republican Virginia Lieutenant Governor-Elect Winsome Sears pushed back Sunday on CNN’s Dana Bash when the “State of the Union” host claimed that Critical Race Theory was not part of school curricula.
Bash began the segment with a question about the fact that Sears, the first black woman elected to statewide office in Virginia, had made history — and Sears, who has said several times that making history was not her goal in running for office, added that she did see the importance of being an example for those who would come after her.
Pivoting to the topic of education, Bash noted that Sears — like Republican Governor-Elect Glenn Youngkin — had voiced opposition to Critical Race Theory while on the campaign trail.
“Let’s talk about education more broadly. You opposed Critical Race Theory taught in schools which I should say is not part of Virginia’s curriculum,” Bash said. “You did say though that the good and the bad of American history should be taught, and that — we should also tell viewers you’re a former vice president of the Virginia Board of Education. Explain how you think race should be taught in Virginia public schools.”
“Well, let me back up. I beg to differ that CRT is not taught,” Sears pushed back immediately.
“I didn’t say that. I just said it’s not in the curriculum, just to be clear,” Bash clarified.
“No, no, no, no, it is part of the curriculum, it is weaved in and out of the curriculum,” Sears continued, arguing that while there might not be lesson plans titled “Critical Race Theory,” the principles had been woven into the standard curriculum over time. “In fact, in 2015, former governor, who was just defeated, McAuliffe, his state Board of Education had information on how to teach it, so it’s weaved in. So you know, it’s semantics, but it’s weaved in.”
Sears went on to say that she believed it was important to teach all of history — “the good, the bad and the ugly” — because the only way to learn from the mistakes of the past was to study them with open eyes.
“But while we’re talking about history, how about we talk about how people, from the 1890s, black people from the 1890s to about 1950 or 1960 according to the U.S. Census, had been marrying in a percentage that had far surpassed anything that whites had ever done. When we talk about the Tulsa race riots, let’s ask ourselves how did the black people amass so much wealth right after the Civil War, so that it could even be destroyed? How do they do that? You know, they were coming from nothing, from zero, some of them never even got the ’40 acres and a mule.’ Let’s try to emulate that,” Sears continued.
“The one thing that the slaves wanted, well, three top things, their freedom, certainly, then the next thing was they wanted to find their families and the third thing was they wanted an education, and my God, when did education become a bad word among black people? No!” Sears added, saying that she had seen the results of what a good education could do firsthand.
“Education lifted my father out of poverty when he came to America with only $1.75, education lifted me, because I have to find my own way in this world, and education will lift all of us,” she concluded.