By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — Republican lawmakers took on so-called critical race theory (CRT) and other racist “antiracist” indoctrination this week in two public hearings.
The Assembly Education Committee advanced a bill barring public schools from teaching the kind of race- and sex-based stereotyping replete in radical CRT. It also prohibits schools from providing teachers with training on such curriculum. Schools that do face a 10 percent cut in state aid.
The bill includes a transparency provision that would prevent school districts from charging unreasonable fees for records requests seeking information on curriculum.
Critics, including every Democrat on the committee who voted against the measure, say the bill is nothing more than the state meddling in local affairs. They see nothing wrong with lesson plans that teach the United States is inherently racist and that white people are natural-born white supremacists.
“Parents are concerned with how it’s taught and about teachers going over the line with political ideas in what they are teaching,” said Rep. Robert Wittke (R-Racine), a member of the committee.
Wittke pointed to the Madison Metropolitan School District charging more than $5,000 to locate records on curriculum.
“We have too many voices saying, ‘There’s nothing to see here,’ but they will not open their records to show,” the lawmaker said, adding that if districts have nothing to hide none of this should be a problem.
In liberal-led schools, students with right-of-center views are viewed as misguided at best, societal pariahs at worst.
State Rep. Chuck Wichgers (R-Muskego), co-author of the bill with Sen. Andre Jacque (R-De Pere), said a sophomore student in his district objected to the syllabus in her summer school class. “The teacher pointed in this little girl’s face and said, ‘This is why we need this curriculum. You’re a racist, you’re white privileged,’” Wichgers said.
Bill proponents say that kind of radical, politically driven education is going on just about everywhere in the nation’s public schools.
Christopher Rufo, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, has done extensive research into critical race theory, its origins and its proliferation. He testified this week at a Senate Committee on Universities and Tech Colleges hearing.
Rufo notes the origins of the radical curriculum are steeped in Marxism, promoted by mostly white, highly educated and affluent liberals in academia. He said race is an essential category for the purveyors of the social, economic, and governmental revolution that CRT encourages.
“You can be reduced to an essence of whiteness or blackness. These are things you cannot change or overcome,” Rufo said. “Whiteness (to CRT apologists) is synonymous with oppression, racism, privilege, property superiority, meritocracy, which they consider to be a flaw in our system.”
Sen. Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee), appearing via video and after grandstanding about his fellow committee members not wearing masks, accused CRT critics of trying to delete racial justice initiatives, like Black Lives Matter.
Rufo said that’s not the case, noting that BLM is a political movement, also founded in Marxism. He said critical thought is vital in education. That’s not what critical race theory is.
Committee Chairman, Sen. Roger Roth, asked Rufo for a definition of CRT, noting the confusion surrounding the controversial ideas.
“CRT is an academic discipline that maintains the United States was founded on white supremacy, patriarchy and capitalist exploitation and that those forces are still at the root of our society,” the researcher said. “CRT is deeply sceptical about the concept of individual rights and constitutional government and favors dividing society into oppressor and oppressed categories based on race and then advocating for the overturning of some of the key social, economic and governing institutions of our country.”