US Parents Involved in Education (USPIE) developed this activity in response to the 21 Day Challenges focused on racism, equity and diversity being used in schools, churches, businesses and government. Every story has two sides. This is the other overlooked side. Take this challenge if you dare to think critically and rationally. Open your mind.
It has been said it takes at least 21 days to start making achievable change in one’s life, so each day, please read, watch, or listen to the linked resources. Take a few minutes to reflect on your thinking; drawing connections, noting questions, and sitting with any discomfort. We hope this challenge will support a deeper understanding of race and racism in the United States. It represents only a small portion of, and a pathway into, a much larger conversation. Watch this introductory video and join the conversation at USPIE 21 Day Challenge FB Page!
In schools and workplaces across the United States, Americans are being indoctrinated with a divisive, anti-American ideology: Critical Race Theory (CRT). Based in cultural Marxism, CRT bullies and demonizes whites while infantilizing and denying agency to blacks, creating a deep racial rift. As Abraham Lincoln famously observed, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” CRT aims to divide the American nation against itself and burn down the house.
In Black Eye for America: How Critical Race Theory Is Burning Down the House, Carol Swain and Christopher Schorr expose the true nature of Critical Race Theory, and they offer concrete solutions for taking back the country’s stolen institutions. They describe CRT in theory and practice, accounting for its origins and weaponization within American schools and workplaces; explain how this ideology threatens traditional American values and legal doctrines, including civil rights; and equip everyday Americans with strategies to help them resist and defeat CRT’s pernicious influence.
Carol Swain (PhD)is an award-winning political scientist andformer tenured professor at Princeton and Vanderbilt Universities. She is the author or editor of 10 books, including Be the People: A Call to Reclaim America’s Faith and Promise and The New White Nationalism in America: Its Challenge to Integration.
Christopher Schorrholds a PhDin American Government from Georgetown University. His dissertation (“White Nationalism and its Challenge to the American Right”) considers factors that risk mainstreaming white nationalist politics in the United States, including Critical Race Theory.
On July 12, 2021, the Superintendent of South Carolina’s Kershaw County School District presented and answered questions during a Kershaw County Republican Party (KCGOP) meeting. Several community members and parents of Kershaw County schools attended the meeting to ask questions of Dr. Shane Robbins. During his presentation, Dr. Robbins said Critical Race Theory is not being taught in Kershaw County schools but talked about Culturally Responsive Teaching, which is being implemented. When USPIE President Sheri Few, who lives in Kershaw County, told him that Culturally Responsive Teaching is the same as Critical Race Theory, later in the Q&A session, he said it was not. Mrs. Few then went back to the microphone and asked him to prove they were not the same and he agreed to send her the teacher training materials for Culturally Responsive Teaching.
Another interesting fact arose from Dr. Robbins’ presentation to the KCGOP. He touted a 30-year-old South Carolina law as the rationale for a new high school course titled African American Studies. He talked about a District African American Studies Committee that worked with a consultant from the University of South Carolina. The committee was directed to develop a course and provide staffing for a high school African American Studies course to be offered in 2021-22. For Elementary and Middle schools, they were directed to embed culturally relevant resources in all subjects, add additional resources to curriculum guides and provide examples for teachers. A description of the high school African American Studies course found on the District’s website says, “Throughout U.S. History, African-Americans have faced great adversity in the form of enslavement and institutional racism. They fought for their freedom and worked to right a broken system, but their struggles continue today.”
On July 27, 2021, the Kershaw County School Board held a Special Called Meeting to discuss the federal ESSER III funds. Mrs. Few spoke during the public comment period and told the Board that Critical Race Theory is not a curriculum or a book you can identify in a K-12 school. She explained it is a pedagogy predicated upon equity, and equity is very different from equality. Equity, she said, otherwise known as “Culturally Responsive Teaching,” and “Diversity and Inclusion” is being implemented through teacher training. She said equity is about equal outcomes, which is impossible and will eventually lead to discrimination. She further explained to the Board that parents had requested to see the federal ESSER III full application because the application requires the District to certify it will advance equity and inclusivity, but parents were denied access to the plan. During the Board meeting, two Board members made pontificating comments about being opposed to Critical Race Theory and even suggested Dr. Robbins was “playing with fire” and utilizing semantics, and yet the Board voted unanimously in favor of budget categories for ESSER III without knowing HOW the district will advance equity and inclusion. It could be that the African American Studies Committee work is the plan for the District to advance equity and inclusion in order to qualify for $24 million in federal funds. Mrs. Few proposed the Board refuse the federal ESSER III funding, which mandates advancing the equity agenda. She said we need pedagogy that reflects local community values and we will never have that if we don’t stop taking federal funds with strings attached.
The day following the Board meeting, and ten days after Mrs. Few requested information from the KCGOP meeting, Dr. Robbins emailed a letter to Mrs. Few telling her she would need to access the Culturally Responsive Teaching training materials through the Freedom of Information Act. The letter also included responses to some other information she requested such as the name of the consultant who was hired to help develop the African American Studies course being implemented in high schools this year. After reviewing just two of the consultant Dr. Gloria Boutte’s most recent publications on “Culturally Relevant Teaching,” it is clear Critical Race Theory and its equity agenda is the impetus for the required course she teaches for preservice teachers at the University of South Carolina.
On August 2, 2021, Mrs. Few completed a Freedom of Information Request for the Culturally Responsive Teaching training materials. Through the Freedom of Information Act, Mrs. Few also requested documents related to the African American Studies course development and relative training materials, and for a copy of the contract between Dr. Boutte and the Kershaw County School District. More will be reported when those documents are received, but it appears Kershaw County School District is up to their eyeballs in Critical Race Theory (CRT), a.k.a. Culturally Responsive Teaching, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
This type of scenario is playing out all over the country. In very liberal regions of the country, they are not shying away from the fact that they are teaching Critical Race Theory, but in other regions like the Southeast, they deny they are teaching it; denounce it publicly, and naïve school board members blindly trust the Superintendent and staff is telling the truth. Parents need to keep digging until they uncover this racist, Marxist poison so they can eradicate it from their schools. They need to start by looking into teacher trainings, and ESSER III plans. Read Dr. Boutte’s publications from the link above where she describes how she uses teacher training to indoctrinate teachers with the anticipation that they will influence their students to become activists to end White supremacy and White oppression.
Visit www.uspie.org to join the movement to return local and parental control of education. USPIE will keep you in the loop with the latest education policy issues that are harming children and threatening our country’s freedom. Also, inquire about a USPIE chapter in your state to stay on top of local education concerns.
Ever wonder why organizations like USPIE are so concerned with the federal government’s involvement in education? Well, here’s yet another reason why.
Last year, in order to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act. This legislation provided billions of dollars to school districts through the federal ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) program. ESSER funds flow from the US Department of Education, through each state’s Department of Education, and are then allocated to school districts according to a demographics-based funding formula. ESSER 3.0 is the third portion of these COVID-19 relief funds and unlike ESSER 1.0 and 2.0, this round of funding requires states and districts to describe how their efforts will address:
the social and emotional needs of students
student groups for which the pandemic exacerbated pre-existing inequities
advancing equity and inclusivity
School districts are also required to gather stakeholder feedback on their plans. Check your district’s website to see if an ESSER survey has been posted.
Furthering a Progressive Ideology
While the specifics of a spending plan are left to local districts, the US Department of Education has released a guidance document with recommendations for how to accomplish the abovementioned goals: ED COVID-19 Handbook, Volume 2: Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students’ Needs (PDF) A review of this document provides first-hand insight into the current US Dept. of Education’s ideology. Many of the suggestions in the handbook were gathered from left-leaning national groups, such as the National Education Association, and openly promote LGBTQ+ advocacy and programs steeped in a neo-Marxist framework. All under the guise of helping off-set the learning loss students have experienced due to COVID-19.
Money, Money, Money
So, districts now have millions in new funding available to them, and schools seldom leave grant dollars unclaimed. These dollars have deadlines for expenditure, as well. Vendors in the education industry are well aware of the golden opportunity in front of them. Consulting firms that offer teacher training, education technology companies, instructional materials developers and the like are certain to start “peddling their wares” to schools and districts around the country, especially offerings focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion. This further opens the door for districts (intentionally or not) to contract with professional development providers and/or implement curriculum that uses the neo-Marxist framework of critical theory, or more specifically, critical race theory (CRT). Despite several states having recently banned CRT-related instruction, this remains a real threat.
Parents and other community members should keep all of this in mind as they provide feedback to school districts on their ESSER 3.0 spending plans. This is an opportunity to remind school officials that not all resources available to them are appropriate for our children or district educators. We must all be discerning and make it clear to school officials and school board members alike that we are holding them accountable. Your state’s ESSER plan is available online through US Department of Education’s website.
Carol Swain is an author, commentator, and entrepreneur. She is the host of Be the People Podcast” and “Conversations with Dr. Carol Swain,” a television talk show on YouTube, Rumble, and the Binge TV Network. She is the owner and President of Unity Training Solutions which offers an alternative to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training. Dr. Swain has authored or edited 10 books. Her most recent book is Black Eye for America: How Critical Race Theory is Burning Down the House (Forthcoming, August 2021). She is a former professor at Princeton and Vanderbilt Universities. Her opinion pieces have been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Epoch Times, the Financial Times, and The Wall Street Journal. She holds a Ph. D from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump have appointed her to positions in their administrations. Most recently, she served as Vice-Chair of the 1776 Commission.
Dr. Duke Pesta received his M.A. in Renaissance literature from John Carroll University and his Ph.D. in Shakespeare and Renaissance literature from Purdue University. He has taught at major research institutions and small liberal arts colleges, on a wide variety of subjects at the graduate and undergraduate level, including courses on Shakespeare, Renaissance literature, the Bible, Russian literature, Christian Apologetics, and C.S. Lewis. He has been active in educational reform and was instrumental in developing and implementing an elective Bible course that is currently available for public high school students in Texas. Dr. Pesta is the Academic Director of FreedomProject Academy, the American Opinion Foundation’s Online Classical school. He is also a nationally-recognized critic of Common Core, having delivered over 400 talks in 40 states, and has done more than 2500 radio and television interviews on the subject. He speaks at home school conventions and educational conferences across the nation on topics including the necessity of homeschooling, the decline of morality and critical thinking in the public schools, and the myriad ways that colleges and universities indoctrinate students.
The South Carolina legislature is receiving credit and praise for “restricting Critical Race Theory” through a budgetproviso prohibiting the use of funds allocated by the SC Department of Education to school districts for use in teaching or training on the tenets of Critical Race Theory. The bulk of the language in the proviso is good as it lists specific racist tenets of the divisive, Marxist theory. However, the last sentence in the proviso is a major loophole that was no doubt added to enable wiggle room for the State Department of Education and districts to which funding is allocated. The closing sentence of the proviso says, “Nothing contained herein shall be construed as prohibiting any professional development training for teachers related to issues of addressing unconscious bias within the context of teaching certain literary or historical concepts or issues related to the impacts of historical or past discriminatory policies.” When an elected official was asked why this sentence was included because it appears to negate the entire proviso, United States Parents Involved in Education (USPIE) was told it had to be added to get it passed. In a state with a super-majority Republican legislature, where all constitutional offices are held by Republicans, why in the world would they need to add the last sentence to get it passed? The only logical answer is RINOs!
The loophole sentence in the proviso even contradicts the second CRT tenet listed in the proviso, which prohibits state funds being used to teach or train that, “an individual, by virtue of his race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.”
National media is crediting South Carolina for having restricted Critical Race Theory (CRT) with the proviso. The same thing occurred with Common Core. After a bill was passed to rewrite the standards, national media credited South Carolina (SC) for ending Common Core. The truth is the legislature stripped a good bill that would have eliminated Common Core in exchange for requiring a rewrite of the standards. According to the SC Education Oversight Committee, the “new” standards are 91% aligned with Common Core. So instead of a rewrite, South Carolina got a rebrand, as was the case for most states.
Be aware that educators and administrators already understand that the title “Critical Race Theory” is toxic and the tenets of the theory have been rebranded to things like Culturally Responsive Teaching, Diversity and Inclusion, Anti-racism Education, etc. So rather than asking straight up if your district teaches CRT, be more specific and list the tenets of CRT like those found in the SC Budget proviso.
The fight to protect children from this Marxist agenda is at the local school board level. Parents need to inquire locally and confront school boards about the tenets of CRT. When the Board is uncooperative, parents should find strong candidates to run in the next school board election. South Carolina school board elections varyacross the state, but some elections are scheduled to take place as early as this November with filing usually taking place three months prior. NOW is the time to be looking at when your county is holding school board elections whether you live in South Carolina or another state! There are a lot of great resources at uspie.org for parents who want to take control of their school board. While you are there, be sure to sign-up to “join the movement” to restore parental and local control of education and consider a tax deductible donation to USPIE.
The purpose of this guide is to explain, in plain language, what a school board is designed to do and the role it plays in your child’s educational experience. Each state has different rules for school boards, so you should look to find the specifics in your community, but this guide should give you a good start.
The Nuts and Bolts
Who makes up a local school board? A local school board of education consists of a set number of members, along with the head administrator of the school district – the Director of Schools (called “superintendent” in some areas).
How are school board members chosen for these seats? For how long? School Board Members are elected from the school district community that particular school board serves. These are your neighbors: relatives, retirees, fellow church members, local business owners – ordinary residents. Terms of office are typically four (4) or six (6) years and elections are staggered so that the full board doesn’t come up for re-election all at once.
What are the main functions of a local school board? The primary duty of the board is to create and approve policy for the school district as a whole (e.g., attendance, discipline, cell phone usage). School boards also make decisions on routine items such as building maintenance, adopting budgets, and approving changes to the school calendar. Like any governing body, a school board must have basic operations in place to accomplish their work: elected officers, regularly held meetings, official meeting protocols, etc. Most boards use Roberts Rules of Order procedures to conduct their meetings.
How does the role of the school board differ from that of the Director of Schools (or superintendent)? While the board sets policy for the district, the director of schools is responsible for managing the schools according to those policies. The Director also uses more detailed administrative rules and procedures (that should comply with board policy) to lead schools in the district. The board hires and is charged with evaluating the performance of the Director of Schools to ensure he/she is effectively working towards carrying out the vision and goals it has set for the district. In some states, the community elects its Director of Schools. In many states, the Director of Schools position is an administrative one, filled by the local school board.
How often do school boards meet and are these meetings open to the public? Laws vary by state, but most meet monthly. These meetings must be open to the public, per the Open Meetings Law. There are two kinds of meetings, work sessions and formal meetings.
Where can I find information on these meetings? Most school districts post meeting agendas, related documents and minutes on their website for the public to access.
How do I know which member on my local school board represents me? Where do I find out information about these people? In many school districts, Board Members represent the whole community. In others, Board Members may represent a particular geographic area. You can find information about school board members on each school district’s website under “Board Members.”
Can school board members be recalled or removed? Yes. The process for this is spelled out in State law under the sections addressing the recall of local elected government officials. There are specific steps to follow, starting with a petition signed by registered voters. Check out your .gov website
I attended a school board meeting recently and the board moved through the agenda very quickly. Why didn’t they discuss or debate all of the agenda items? School boards sometimes have a “work session” meeting outside of their regular meetings where they review and discuss issues in detail, but don’t actually vote on them. Also, school boards at times form committees where certain members of the board work with the director of schools or other central office staff to study a specific issue. These members then make recommendations to the full board for a vote. So, by the time the board meets for its regular “agenda” or “business” meeting where it votes on issues, many agenda items have been vetted or already studied.
I saw a section on the agenda called “consent agenda.” What is this? A consent agenda is used most often to save time by moving the board’s business along. Items listed under the consent agenda have been shared with the members in advance to review and are typically administrative, routine, and/or non-controversial items. The consent agenda is usually placed near the top of the meeting agenda and the items listed below are all voted on in a single motion. Occasionally, the consent agenda is misused, including controversial topics the Board wants to pass “under the radar.”
Getting Involved with the Local School Board
How can members of the community take part in a local school board meeting? School boards usually allow time on their meeting agendas for public comment. Each board can set its own protocol for this, but individuals typically sign in before the meeting starts and then approach the podium when their name is called during the “Public Comment” period on the agenda. Speakers are usually given a time limit so no single person dominates the meeting. This public comment period is not intended as an opportunity to debate with Board members, but rather to share information, concerns and/or leave the board with questions to reflect on. It’s not meant to be a cross-examination or “question-and-answer” session. It is an excellent way, however, to give voice to a topic and “go on record.”
If I am having a specific problem with my child’s school, should I take it before the school board? The school board should really be the “court of last resort” a parent uses after they have tried to resolve their problem by working up the district’s chain of command. For instance, if a parent has a problem with a teacher, the parent should first address it with the teacher. If the issue is not resolved, the parent should request time with the school principal, and then the Director of Schools (superintendent). If the school remains unresponsive and/or a resolution is not reached, then an appeal to the school board is the next step.
I have just learned my child’s school district is planning to…and I am furious. What should I do? Find like-minded parents and brainstorm. If you need more information from the school, submit a Freedom of Information Request. Information about how to make state-specific FOIA requests and other excellent resources and examples of how to address the school board are available at https://uspie.org/critical-race-theory. This link is specific to fighting Critical Race Theory, but all the resources at this link can be adapted to address any problem with your local school board.
Partly triggered by an influx of political refugees from “Marxist states,” conservatives swept the school board elections for the 2nd largest government school district in South Dakota this week.
An enthusiastic coalition of parents, grandparents, taxpayers, businesspeople, and Christians rallied around the American flag to win 4 out of 4 positions up for election on the 7-member School Board. Displaying the American flag appeared to be a key element in these successful races. South Dakota Parents Involved in Education (SDPIE) President Florence Thompson, who was involved in the effort to unseat the incumbents, says the flag is “like kryptonite to the Liberals who were defeated.” She said some of the teachers in this district have been discouraging kids from saying the pledge of allegiance. Opposition to Critical Race Theory was another underlying theme in the School Board sweep, as was LGBT proselytizing.
SDPIE also reported that the local Republican Party awoke from their years of slumber discovering to their surprise that the current school board members were mostly registered Democrats. They began to weigh-in, joining the old warriors of the Tea Party movement, SDPIE, South Dakota Citizens for Liberty, Family Heritage Alliance Action and the homeschooling network. This collaboration was fundamental to the success of the election upset, which unseated even the Board’s president.
Racism was an underlying theme for the Liberal incumbents defending their seats as they sought to place more Native Americans on the Board who previously held 1 of 7 seats on the Board. Ironically, one of the newly elected Conservatives has a Native American background but chooses not to exploit it. As we have all become too far familiar, “color,” to the Left, is a political pigmentation not an actual characteristic.
Fresh from their School Board victory, many are talking about targeting the City Council. Some City Council meetings have been drawing crowds of over 200, which resulted in stopping the mask ordinance and stymieing Home Rule.
This news is just one amazing example of what is happening all over our country. Parents and taxpayers are organizing to take back their local school boards. This is an incredible phenomenon that has the possibility of saving our nation from the attempt to overthrow our Constitutional Republic through the indoctrination of children. USPIE sees this as a silver lining in the recent trials our country has faced and wishes to thank and support all parents and other activists (old or new) for their willingness to stand up against the Left and defend our Constitutional Republic.
Visit: www.uspie.org to join the movement to restore parental and local control of education.