Many schools are not resuming classes as the year begins, citing COVID-19, after spending some of the $130 billion schools received for reopening on Critical Race Theory-infused initiatives instead, a review of funding applications shows.
On President Joe Biden’s first day in office, he told Americans that delivering $130 billion in supplementary funding to schools through his American Rescue Plan (ARP) would “provide schools the resources they need to reopen safely.”
“We can [open schools] if we give school districts, communities, and states the clear guidance they need as well as the resources they will need,” he said.
NPR blared: “Biden Administration Proposes $130 Billion To Help Schools Reopen.”
In March, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said “there’s no replacement for having kids in the classroom. We need to get our schools to re-open as quickly and as safely as possible. Now, my Republican colleagues have made a lot of noise about re-opening our schools, but they don’t want to dedicate any resources to actually getting it done.”
They got the money. Yet this month, schools in numerous districts will be closed, citing an inability to deal with the Omicron variant, despite receiving money that could have gone towards mitigation, protection, and preventative measures. That, it turns out, could be in part due to a bait-and-switch, with money passed into law under the guise of public health being used for racial ideology instead.
In August, the Department of Education published strategies for using the money. “Rebuilding from COVID-19 is an opportunity,” the document said, for a “culture shift” and the “establishment of equitable practices… One example of how a district is using a performance assessment in a culturally and linguistically responsive way is the Chicago Public School’s Curriculum Equity Initiative.”
Chicago earmarked $32 million of ARP money to a “comprehensive, culturally responsive curriculum” developed “through the Curriculum Equity Initiative.” The union is voting Tuesday on whether to switch to remote learning.
Milwaukee allocated $24 million of its ARP money to “Social Emotional Learning,” including $100,000 for “Anti-Racism and Bias Professional Development.” It will not be conducting classes in person until at least January 10.
A review of the proposals submitted by states and approved by the federal government shows that their plans for supposed coronavirus money are littered with CRT-infused ideas. For example:
California earmarked $1.5 billion to provide school districts with “training resources for classified, certificated, and administrative school staff in specified high-need topics, including accelerated learning, re-engaging students, restorative practices, and implicit bias training.”
New York’s relief plan said it believed “opportunities to learn are greatly expanded for all students when strong principles of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are present and operative in a district or school.” It referenced teaching students about “privilege” and “their identities.”
This filtered down into local school districts. The Corning-Painted Post School District said it would use ARP money to pay the Equity Collaborative, a consultant best known for its work in Loudoun County, Virginia, and which preaches the “5 tenets of critical race theory.”
Buffalo Public Schools said it would spend $1.2 million of the money on its Office of Culturally & Linguistically Responsive Initiatives, including hiring staff for “anti-racism” and for “emancipation curriculum materials.” Fox reported in 2020 that the emancipation curriculum advocates to elementary school students “the disruption of Western nuclear family dynamics” in favor of “Black Villages.”
Michigan promoted using an “equity lens” to apportion money, including spending it on “professional development for all staff members in social emotional learning, trauma-informed care, and implicit bias.”
It said it would spend it on a Culturally Responsive School Leadership Institute Academies (CRSLIA) program that “challenges Whiteness and hegemonic epistemologies in school.”
Michigan schools that will open the 2022 year — the third year of coronavirus — online include Detroit, Ann Arbor, Oak Park, Lansing, Pontiac, and Southfield.
Washington state will allocate ARP funds with a “lens of educational equity.”
Massachusetts said it would hire race consultants like the Kaleidoscope Collective for Learning to “engag[e] in robust agency-wide anti-racism training” and use “a portion of the ARP ESSER funds to…create a culturally responsive, anti-racist and welcoming environment” in schools.
Minnesota said it would use the money not to just to address COVID, but also “racial stressors,” “social inequities,” and “gender identity.”
Oregon said bluntly that it has “incorporated an equity informed, antiracist stance and anti-oppressive stance throughout this application and intends to continue this practice as we implement the programs described in this application.”
Nevada said it would spend ARP funding on “Equity and diversity training and professional development for school staff,” including $380,000 for “restorative justice/practices” trainers.
Washoe County said it would use ARP funding to hire an “Equity and Diversity Specialist.”
Rhode Island said it would “Center all actions from an orientation of cultural responsiveness and antiracism that promotes SEL and wellness” and “address…the deep systemic inequities that existed” before the pandemic.
Biden said the Omicron variant was not a reason to close schools, and that we “I believe that school should remain open. They have what they need because of the American Rescue Plan…. we provided the states with $130 billion with a B, to specifically keep our students safe and keep schools open. Funding for ventilation…”
But progressive activists have made no secret that the bill was not actually written that way. The money is spread over five years, indicating that it was not only intended to directly address coronavirus. In April, the New York Times published an op-ed headlined, “A Progressive Vision Is Possible if We Spend Money Thoughtfully Now.” It said the APS funds “actually have fewer strings attached than the smaller, parallel funds in the 2009 bill which we helped administer under the Obama administration,” and that there was nothing stopping them from being used to “address racial and economic inequity.”
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