The president of the second-largest teachers’ union in America denied that critical race theory is taught in K–12 schools during remarks on Tuesday in which she vowed to fight “culture warriors” who attempt to censor a realistic telling of the country’s history.
Randi Weingarten, the head of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), said during a conference that the union is preparing litigation and is “ready to go.”
“Let’s be clear: critical race theory is not taught in elementary schools or high schools. It’s a method of examination taught in law school and college that helps analyze whether systemic racism exists,” Weingarten said, according to a copy of the remarks posted on the union’s website.
Experts say critical race theory “presupposes that racism is embedded within society and institutions.” The theory’s implementation in classrooms nationwide has drawn outcry from parents, some of whom have received emails from their children’s schools about “Decentering Whiteness at Home” or have elementary-school-aged children who have been read “a book about whiteness” that suggests “color matters” and encourages them to dissect “the painful truth” about their “own family,” regarding potential racist behavior.
“Culture warriors are labeling any discussion of race, racism or discrimination as CRT to try to make it toxic. They are bullying teachers and trying to stop us from teaching students accurate history,” Weingarten said.
“Teaching the truth is not radical or wrong. Distorting history and threatening educators for teaching the truth is what is truly radical and wrong,” she added.
Weingarten’s comments come after nearly 20 states have floated proposals to ban CRT. Six states have already passed laws that limit how teachers can discuss race in the classroom, while nearly a dozen more are considering similar measures, according to the Daily Caller.
Meanwhile, the National Education Association, the country’s largest teachers’ union, voted last week to conduct opposition research on groups that oppose the use of critical race theory in school curricula.
During its virtual representative assembly this week, the NEA adopted an amendment that would see the union spend an estimated $56,500 on researching anti-CRT organizations.
“NEA will research the organizations attacking educators doing anti-racist work and/or use the research already done and put together a list of resources and recommendations for state affiliates, locals, and individual educators to utilize when they are attacked,” the newly adopted business item reads.
“The attacks on anti-racist teachers are increasing, coordinated by well-funded organizations such as the Heritage Foundation. We need to be better prepared to respond to these attacks so that our members can continue this important work,” the item says, noting that the Heritage Foundation has pledged to reject CRT.
Yet the Daily Caller found last month that over 165 local and national parent groups have organized to combat CRT being taught in schools.