Change culture with the other CRT
by Carol J. Bova
The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) document, “Navigating EdEquityVa – Virginia’s Road Map to Equity” presents a back door strategy to change traditional American values and culture.
“The mission of the Virginia Department of Education,” the roadmap states, “is to advance equitable and innovative learning. The document recognizes senior executives, four departments and ten “organizations and opinion leaders” for their research and scholarship contributions to EdEquityVA for Culturally Appropriate Education (CRT) – not to be confused with Critical Race Theory (also called CRT).
While educators deny teaching critical race theory in schools, they are outspoken about their commitment to culturally appropriate education. What they seem reluctant to admit is that culturally relevant teaching is an outgrowth of critical race theory.
Culturally sensitive teaching is based on the common sense idea that teachers should take students’ cultural backgrounds and experiences into account when interacting with them. Thus, the Roadmap quotes gLoria Ladson-Billings as making the benign observation that CRT “recognizes the importance of including students’ cultural references in all aspects of learning.
But the Roadmap does not stop there. A VDOE-curated quote from Christina Torres and Teaching Tolerance (a Southern Poverty Law Center teaching initiative) from “All Students Need Anti-racism Education,” July 30, 2020, ”places the CRT within the framework of pervasive racism.
Anti-racism: Recognizes that racist beliefs and structures are pervasive in all aspects of our lives and requires action to dismantle these beliefs and structures. It requires school leaders to hold educators and students accountable when they say and do things that make school unsafe, and dismantle systems that perpetuate inequitable access to opportunities and outcomes for students historically. marginalized by race.
On June 18, 2021, we read about Teaching Tolerance in Elizabeth Schultz’s post on Bacon’s rebellion, “Yes, Virginia, there is a critical theory of race in our schools.” Schultz describes the origins of 2018 as “a statewide effort to create an ‘anti-racist and culturally appropriate’ agenda.”
At this moment , Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Social Studies Coordinator Colleen Eddy identified that the work aimed to address the “overrepresentation of white and Eurocentric history” and the lack of “diverse perspectives on human rights issues. ‘education’. The program redesign was carried out in conjunction with the framework created by Teaching Tolerance, an extension of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which has since been renamed “Learning for Justice”. The aim was “to examine materials, events and institutions which cast a critical eye on power, position and prejudice…”
Learning for Justice explains the name change on its website: “The point is, tolerance is not justice. It is not a sufficient description of the work we do or the world we want.
Zarreta Hammond is another thoughtful contributor to EdEquityVA. She has spent 25 years as a consultant providing presentations and classes and selling a $ 399 Facilitator’s Resource Kit for her 2014 book, “Culturally Responsive Teaching & THE BRAIN”. She states that “culturally appropriate education strengthens students’ brains by improving information processing skills using cultural learning tools.” It emphasizes the organization of “educational activities around collectivist cultural principles – group harmony and interdependence” and refers to the concept of “socio-cultural learning” of the 1920s by Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934). .
A 1997 University of Washington article on Vygotsky stated: “… for its time, literacy was the crucial issue to help secure the advancement of the peasantry away from backward notions and towards a more socially conscious understanding ( therefore Marxist) of its place in history. These links with the Marxist vision of a more just and classless society still have significance for many Russian educators today… ”
And apparently, for proponents of culturally relevant education in American K-12 schools. On his website, Hammond talks about the need for teachers to “recognize the cultural orientation that we call collectivism.”
A key organizing principle of culturally appropriate education is collectivism, says Hammond – “an emphasis on group interdependence, harmony and collaborative working.”
In the United States, the dominant culture is individualistic. We celebrate people who “pull themselves up by their bootstraps”. We have a strong focus on competing and becoming the “top dog”. On the other hand, collectivism can be summed up in the African proverb: “I am because we are. … The culture of many African American, Latin American, Pacific Islander, Native American and Asian communities leans more towards collectivism, also known as communitarianism.
Hammond studied at Berkeley, graduating from New York University with a major in English literature and a master’s in high school education with a concentration in teaching writing at the University of Colorado. Although she claims that she “draws on cutting-edge research in neuroscience to provide an innovative approach to the design and implementation of culturally sensitive and brain-compatible education”, she did no scientific background and does not offer any supporting reference on its website other than Vygotsky.
Another contributor, Bettina Love, is Professor of Education at the Georgia Athletic Association, Department of Educational Theory and Practice at the University of Georgia College of Education. She holds a doctorate in education policy studies. His webpage gives his CV and a research summary where the original CRT -Critical Race Theory appears.
My research, teaching and services are focused on understanding, contextualizing and deconstructing the formal and informal educational experiences of marginalized youth, be they gay, urban, African American, female, male or a unification of these identities. . My work draws on critical pedagogy, critical race theory and black feminism with the aim of creating innovative teaching practices through the use of non-traditional teaching programs (e.g., education based on hip-hop, critical media education, hip-hop feminism and popular culture).
In an article on Education week, Love wrote:
White teachers need a special kind of therapy. They must learn to deal with what Cheryl E. Matias calls “white emotivities” and what Robin DiAngelo called “white fragility”. Emotions of guilt, shame, anger, denial, sadness, dissonance, and discomfort boil over when issues of race and racism challenge their sense of self.
So, we need therapists who specialize in healing teachers and destroying whiteness in education. We need therapists and school counselors trained to help white educators and students deal with their emotions and frailty. With healing, teachers will better manage their stress, improve their interactions with students, and can continue to fight for justice. Teachers should be offered this type of therapy free of charge.
New America, another EdEquityVa contributor, states on their Mission page:
We tell stories of what’s going on and what’s possible, to give Americans a window into what we’re capable of achieving together and a vision of what a renewed America could and should be. New America is pioneering a new kind of think and action group: a civic platform that connects a research institute, technology lab, solutions network, media center, and public forum. We generate big, bold ideas as models for change….
African American, Latin, Pacific Islander and Native American, Asian – in EdEquityVA, all talk about cultural responsiveness in one way. White teachers, students and parents in all their cultural diversity have no other place in EdEquityVA than to confess their racism with anti-racist thinking. How then does culturally appropriate education interact with them?
How can teachers integrate the multiplicity of “students’ cultural references into all aspects of learning”? Or will some be fairer than others? Will patriotism be banned as a dangerous word? What about the pledge of allegiance?
How does Virginia – and the United States – survive the diversity / equity divisions highlighted in EdEquityVA?