“The legislature plans to continue the important work of dismantling institutional racism in public schools and recognizes the importance of increasing equity, diversity, inclusion, antiracism, and cultural competency training throughout the entire public school system….”
On May 5, Governor Jay Inslee of Washington signed Senate Bill 5044 into law, which requires Critical Race Theory (CRT) training for all school staff, board directors, teachers, and administrators in public schools across the state.
The Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee introduced Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5044 in December 2020. The final version, amended by the House, says:
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. (1) The legislature finds that state resources have been invested to:
(a) Identify model standards for cultural competency;
(b) incorporate these cultural competency standards into both the standards for effective teaching and the standards of practice for paraeducators;
(c) develop cultural competency training programs for school district staff from paraeducators to administrators; and
(d) develop a plan for the creation and delivery of cultural competency training for school board directors and superintendents.
(2) The legislature plans to continue the important work of dismantling institutional racism in public schools and recognizes the importance of increasing equity, diversity, inclusion, antiracism, and cultural competency training throughout the entire public school system by providing training programs for classified staff, certificated instructional staff, certificated administrative staff, superintendents, and school directors that will be provided in an ongoing manner.
The bill requires all school boards to adopt cultural competency standards for board member training and board policies:
The Washington state school directors’ association shall:
(a) Develop cultural competency, diversity, equity, and inclusion standards for school director governance;
(b) Collaborate with the Washington professional educator standards board to compare and align the standards for school director governance developed under (a) of this subsection with the standards of practice developed under RCW 28A.410.260. The review must include the educational opportunity gap oversight and accountability committee and may include the office of equity established under RCW 43.06D.020.
This follows Inslee’s approval of Senate Bills 5227 and 5228, which requires public colleges and medical schools, respectively, to develop CRT curriculum. SB 5228 claims to tackle “structural racism in healthcare.”
The Washington Policy Center, a free market think tank, reviewed the trio of bills and found many troubling elements:
At public hearings, lawmakers received the following analysis about these bills.
• Prominent black, Hispanic, and Jewish leaders are speaking out against this racial training curriculum as harmful to their children.
• The bills violate the Washington Civil Rights Act, which provides: “The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.”
• The bills violate the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of “equal protection of the laws” to all citizens, regardless of race, ethnicity or national origin.
• The bills violate workers’ First Amendment rights by compelling speech in mandatory training sessions, or by suppressing their legitimate views and opinions.
• The bills would create hostile work environments in Washington’s public schools, public universities, and public medical schools.
• The bills would promote feelings of fear, alienation, and rejection in students and teachers because official policy would judge them based on appearance rather than their work experience or abilities.
Enacting a government policy of judging others by their appearance will likely lead to more conflict and legal challenges in the state’s public education system.
Washington joins several states that have mandated CRT in public education. According to Joy Pullmann, writing in The Federalist,
Entire states like Oregon, California, and New Jersey now legally mandate racist and anti-American curricula in social studies and other domains. Oregon, for example, tells social studies teachers to undermine “Eurocentrist narratives” as part of the state’s newly mandated “ethnic studies” curricula in social studies. Teachers are now required to apply race and ethnicity tests to what they teach in social studies, to “decenter whiteness” and “center the experiences and perspectives of people of color.”
Meanwhile, other states have begun to fight back, with Oklahoma, Idaho, Tennessee, and Florida among the states banning or considering banning CRT altogether in public schools.
With states going in opposite directions and the Biden administration promising to create federal mandates for CRT in public schools, the war for control over public education in America seems poised to escalate.
Jeff Reynolds is the author of the book, “Behind the Curtain: Inside the Network of Progressive Billionaires and Their Campaign to Undermine Democracy,” available at www.WhoOwnsTheDems.com. Jeff hosts a podcast at anchor.fm/BehindTheCurtain. You can follow him on Twitter @ChargerJeff, on Parler at @RealJeffReynolds, and on Gab at @RealJeffReynolds.DONATE
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