By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — State Sen. Chris Larson has a lot of time on his hands now that his short-lived campaign for U.S. Senate has imploded.
Time enough to make bold bets in the Legislature.
The Milwaukee Democrat did so last week during a hearing on two bills that would prohibit Wisconsin taxpayer-funded schools from teaching controversial critical race theory (CRT). Actually, the bills don’t even mention the term critical race theory. but they would ban race and sex stereotyping in school districts and charter schools and require districts to inform the public about such curriculum.
That’s really what the radical left’s critical race theory, and the various race-based dogma connected to it, is all about. Cornell Law School Professor William Jacobson has described critical race theory as “a radical ideology that focuses on race as the key to understanding society, and objectifies people based on race.”
So legislative Democrats, who spend a lot of time painting as racists opponents of their far left agenda, plan to die on the hill in defense of CRT. They go from praising it to denying its existence in Wisconsin’s schools.
Enter Larson, who has spent the better part of the last year insisting that Republican lawmakers are killing everyone with COVID. Larson, ranking member of the Senate Education Committee, defied anyone to show evidence that CRT was being taught in Wisconsin elementary schools. He made it a wager.
“For reference, there are zero public schools in the state that are teaching this as part of their curriculum. I put out $100 to the first person who can prove otherwise,” Larson later wrote on his Facebook page.
Taylor Wishau took him up on the bet.
“Where would you like the evidence sent so I can claim the $100.00 you offered a short time ago during the Joint Committee on Education hearing on SB 411 & SB 463?” Wishau, a Burlington School Board member wrote Wednesday in an email to the blowhard senator. “Once supplied, you can make the check out to the Burlington Area School District as a donation.”
Wishau then attached a “microaggression survey” given to students (grades 5-12) in the Burlington Area School District toward the end of the past year. Fifth grade is part of the system’s elementary schools.
“This microaggression survey is a prime example of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in terms of a statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority,” Wishau wrote.
He said the survey was issued to students during the school day, without parental knowledge or consent. The district’s superintendent, according to the school board member, said administration officials didn’t reach out to parents because “the questions are relatively inconsequential.”
The survey asks students questions such as:
What race(s) do you identify the most with?
What gender do you identify the most with (male, female, non-binary, transgender, intersex)?
Inconsequential stuff like that.
According to the survey, examples of microaggressions include:
– Asking someone who identifies as Hispanic, “Do you speak English?”
– Asking a non-White person, “Where are you from?”
– Asking a Black student, “Is your hair real?” or “Can I touch your hair?”
– Telling a thin person they need to eat more food.
The survey and the focus on “microaggressions” are all part of a suite of radical left curriculum that pushes the hateful belief that the United States of America is a land of white supremacists and is systemically racist.
As Wishau notes in his email to Larson, many districts are using materials from CRT practitioners Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi in crafting curriculum in teacher training, something the legislation also targets. The Burlington School Board member noted examples of the kind of modeling schools are doing:
“According to studies, babies at two to three years old, start internalizing racist ideas, start discerning and making decisions based on racist ideas … We’re allowing our society to raise them to be racist.” – Ibram Kendi on KING5 News.
“The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.” – Ibram Kendi, How to be an Antiracist
“White identity is inherently racist; white people do not exist outside the system of white supremacy.” – Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility.
“In order to truly be anti-racist, you also have to truly be anti-capitalist…. And in order to truly be anti-capitalist, you have to be anti racist, because they’re interrelated.” – Ibram Kendi, “Ibram X. Kendi on Why We Need to Fight Racism the Way We Fight Cancer.”
And such indoctrination is happening in primary and secondary schools all across the nation. That’s why the legislation checking the spread of CRT is so important, proponents say.
Elsewhere in Wisconsin, the School District of La Crosse recently received more than $26,000 in an equity grant from the La Crosse Public Education Fund (LPEF). The funds are to be used for “an intensive racial justice workshop for all staff at Longfellow Middle School, books and materials for pre-kindergarten classes at 10 sites,” according to a review by the MacIver Institute.
In Germantown, teachers were provided a list of “social justice” books for their classrooms, MacIver reported. “The website provided has hundreds of woke books geared toward elementary students on topics including activism and organizing, early childhood anti-bias, LGBTQ+, and white identity.”
Liberal educators have been pushing back against parents and community members who say the race-focused curriculum has no business in Wisconsin schools. As Wisconsin Spotlight reported in June, at least 134 Wisconsin educators “have signed a petition pledging to continue teaching based on critical race theory even if state laws ban it — contradicting those who claim nothing like that has ever been taught in schools.”
The Zinn Education Project, named after the anti-American and factually challenged historian Howard Zinn, has collected signatures from more than 4,200 teachers nationwide who “Pledge to Teach the Truth: Despite New State Bills Against It.”
But Larson insists critical race theory isn’t being taught in Wisconsin’s elementary schools. He did return Wishau’s email. The senator said he is looking forward to reviewing Wishau’s documents.
Wishau followed up with an invoice.
“Please see the attached invoice for the $100. Pay terms are due upon receipt of course,” Wishau wrote.
He also included a copy of Larson’s petulant tweet. The senator apparently didn’t care for the long line of citizens that came out to last week’s committee hearing to express their concerns about the radical curriculum.
“Someone please send a clean up crew to the state capitol — the entire right-wing movement is here and having a pants-pee about something they heard on FoxNews: Critical Race Theory,” Larson tweeted. “There are a total of ZERO elementary schools teaching it in Wisconsin.”
Wishau begs to differ.