Pullman School District Board candidate Carolina Silva’s belief that critical race theory is being taught to school children should disqualify her from serving in that office.

Pullman doesn’t need a board member pushing false claims.

In Silva’s defense, the critical race theory label is being wildly, wrongfully and widely applied to primary and secondary classroom instruction.

But voters should expect and demand school board members to educate themselves before pushing false claims that CRT is being taught to public school students.

It is a divisive conservative ploy that pits whites against efforts to promote social justice for minorities.

CRT is at least 40 years old. It is not about classroom education, it sets forth legal strategies to combat systematic racism. It hasn’t been included in the education of most attorneys and certainly wouldn’t be relevant to, or understood, by K-12 students.

The anti-CRT campaign is really about cultural wars. In this case the age-old combat: conservatives against progressives.

If Silva is truly concerned about CRT, she should educate herself before raising it as an issue in Pullman’s public schools. She might well start with an “Education Week” article on the subject (May 18).

It concludes with a statement about culture wars being engaged in public schools. “It’s because they’re nervous about broad social things, but they’re talking in the language of school and school curriculum,” said one historian of education. “That’s the vocabulary, but the actual grammar is anxiety about shifting social power relations.”

What is being taught in many public school classrooms is America’s history of racial discrimination, including systemic racial discrimination.

Conservatives often claim that white students being made to feel guilty for historic racism. No doubt some teachers put that guilt trip on students, but they are few. Most teachers are teaching valid history and its tentacles in today’s society.

That hasn’t been the case in many communities, even in some entire states, that don’t want to be confronted with the real past. Or present for that matter.

Conservatives have every right, even an obligation, to apply their political philosophy to the question of how communities, states and the federal government should pursue the challenge of ensuring that constitutional rights are truly extended to all Americans, regardless of race or religious faith.

They don’t have a right to obfuscate the discussion with false allegations.

Day is a retired Washington State facultymember and a Pullman resident since 1972.He encourages email to terence@moscow.com.

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