On Monday, PolitiFact published a fact check of a comment made by Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears (R-VA) in which she said the “Loudoun County School Board spent about $300,000 – that’s real money, that’s going-to-jail money – to bring [Critical Race Theory] CRT in some form or fashion to the school system.”
PolitiFact claimed in its “fact check” that Earle-Sears vastly overstated the amount of money spent by the Loudoun County School Board:
We asked Earle-Sears’ office three times for the source of her claim about Loudoun’s $300,000 investment in critical race theory and did not get a reply. It seems apparent, however, that she greatly overstated the $34,167 cost of seminars about critical race theory and equity training the Loudoun school system held for top officials in late spring, 2020.
Wayde Byard, said the seminar was held to familiarize senior school officials with critical race theory. “It’s an academic construct that’s been around 45 years,” he said.
We asked Byard if the county has spent funds on critical race theory beyond the $34,167 for the seminars. “No, that’s about it,” he said.
PolitiFact also reached out to a school spokesperson who said the county has not spent anything beyond the $34,167 amount on CRT. For that, PolitiFact rated Earle-Sears’ comment as “Mostly False.”
But The Daily Caller’s Chrissy Clark posted screenshots of expenditures showing Loudoun County did spend upward of $300,000 to Equity Collaborative LLC, which says it provides “equity coaching” to “to help organizations develop their own capacity to create educational equity and social justice by addressing bias and oppression.” While the website predictably doesn’t say it promotes CRT, yet all the hallmarks of its influence are there.
— Chrissy Clark (@chrissyclark_) January 25, 2022
The screenshots from Clark show the Loudoun County school system made seven payments to Equity Collaborative since 2018, with the largest payment made in June 2019 for a whopping $242,000. The final payment, made in June 2020, was for $34,167 – the exact amount PolitiFact and Byard said the school paid in total. Adding up the payments totals more than $300,000.
PolitiFact has yet to correct or update its fact check of Earle-Sears, and also appeared to miss that this topic was addressed by former George W. Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen in The Washington Post last November. As Thiessen wrote at the time:
Virginia’s Loudoun County Public Schools, which were ground zero in the debate over the role of parents in their kids’ education, paid $314,000 for critical race theory coaching for its teachers from the Equity Collaborative — a consulting firm that turns critical race theory into practices for “building more equitable learning environments.” In its presentation “Introduction to Critical Race Theory” the Equity Collaborative instructs teachers that racism is “an inherent part of American civilization” and attacks “ideas of colorblindness, the neutrality of the law, incremental change, and equal opportunity for all” for maintaining “whites’ power and strongholds within society.” It also questions “the idea of meritocracy” which “allows the empowered … to feel ‘good’ and have a clear conscience” and concludes with a breakout session for teachers to discuss “How might you use CRT to identify and address systemic oppression in your school, district or organization?”
As Hot Air pointed out, the organization that discovered the CRT spending, Parents Defending Education, “actually split the district’s spending into two categories, $34,000 for Equity Collaborative training including CRT and another $314,000 for EQ ‘training.’ Maybe this is the gimmick that Politifact is relying on. Only $34,000 was explicitly about CRT while the rest was merely CRT adjacent.”