Back in the day, “wokeness” at school meant not falling asleep in class. But the Covid lockdowns exposed an education scam that enriches racial equity “consultants” while failing American school children.
School boards across the country, facing pressure from racial equity activists, teachers’ unions, and politicians have spent millions of taxpayer dollars on training and curriculum changes that push a fringe ideology known as critical race theory on K-12 students in American public schools. Parents who saw these changes play out during virtual school classes were horrified and began a national movement to get rid of it. At angry school board meetings since then, outraged parents asked their school boards, “How could you let this happen?”
On the most recent episode of The DrillDown, author Kenny Xu takes on how Critical Race Theory (CRT) made its way into K-12 education, dragging down educational progress and indoctrinating millions of American kids while making a class of “diversity consultants” rich.
Xu has just published School of Woke: How Critical Race Theory Infiltrated American Schools and Why We Must Reclaim Them. He is president of a nonprofit group called Color Us United that seeks a “race-blind society,” and is also a fellow at the Government Accountability Institute. School of Woke explains how this problem developed by looking at many different situations in Loudoun County, Virginia, Santa Barbara, California, and Baltimore to find answers.
Drill Down co-hosts Peter Schweizer and Eric Eggers start by asking Xu to define CRT, which started in some law schools back in the 1970s as framework through which to critique American law. Offshoots have since spread into the educational field.
“CRT asserts that America is a systemically racist country,” Kenny tells the hosts. “It says black people have the right to blame white people for their problems. It claims that, as long as our society still has disparities, they are the result of racism. CRT questions whether we have made any racial progress at all. It tries to deconstruct our whole system to serve a racial reparations agenda.”
For example, the NAACP sued Loudoun County Schools for systemic racism. The case was adjudicated not by a real court, but settled out of court by the state’s Democratic governor Ralph Northam. Northam gave the NAACP hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring “[diversity, equity, and inclusion] consultants into the school system who, naturally, further accused the school board of additional charges of racism, which only their consulting could solve.”
Schweizer observes that “It also absolves both the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator. . . If you’re underperforming, you can blame that on systemic racism, but also when someone is accused of being racist, they can say ‘it’s not really my fault — it’s the system’s fault.’ It gets rid of individual responsibility in any context,” Schweizer says.
Xu looked at Santa Barbara, where immigrant children are shunted into ESL programs where 90% of teaching takes place in Spanish. “Latino kids check a box if they were born in Mexico. The schools promise they will phase English in, but by the time they do, these kids are already way behind their peers,” he found. “They split people along racial categories,” which breeds dependence and resentment.
In Baltimore, activists have been milking that city’s poor public schools for decades. Maryland passed a massive tax increase that was supposed to “improve the schools” in Baltimore. Twenty years later, the city’s schools are even worse. In Baltimore City schools today, only 6% of students are proficient in math. But the city’s mayor did manage to sell the school system $500,000 worth of her self-published children’s books, for which she was indicted for fraud.
In each of these examples and many others, there has been an army of educational consultants pushing policies that make things worse for the kids, while enriching themselves. Kenny calls it the “Diversity Consulting Industrial Complex.”
“There’s money to be made paying these consultants and administrators who push these schemes,” Schweizer notes.
“Merrick Garland’s son-in-law, Alex Tanner, runs a consulting business called Panorama Education that surveys 8 – and 9 – year-old kids traumatizing questions about whether they might be ‘trans,’ whether they’ve ever brought a gun to school, or been bullied for their race,” Xu answers. “It’s all a cover for demanding more money to ‘fix’ the problems they say are there,” he says.
Eggers says that “Covid was a blessing in one sense in that the school closures were how we found out how crazy some of these ideas were.” He goes on to note the states that shut down the longest lost two decades worth of academic progress.
What can parents do to stop this? Kenny offers four steps. First, parents need to get involved and perhaps run for election to local school boards. Second, school boards need to identify and deny funding for these sham consultants. Third, parents need to support policies at their state and the federal level that eliminate these giveaways. And finally, they need to use dinner table conversations to educate their kids to be color-blind.
Can parents take the schools back? Will David beat Goliath?
Kenny is optimistic, saying when parents come together, they can win, if they are disciplined and educated about the issue. “Just remember,” he said, “the other side has a four-year head start.”