Providence Teacher Ramona Bessinger On Biased CRT Curriculum: It’s “very stressful for me as an educator to have to teach … a partial truth”
“we cannot omit entire segments of U.S., American history and world literature. And certainly we can’t stop teaching the Holocaust.”
The fight against the destructive racialization of education, particularly in K-12, is being fought by people like Providence, Rhode Island, middle school teacher Ramona Bessinger.
At great risk to herself, Bessinger disclosed horrible changes in the curriculum and school culture in a post at Legal Insurrection, I’m A Middle School Teacher And See How Critical Race Curriculum Is Creating Racial Hostility In School. Much like the story of Rhode Island mom Nicole Solas, which also debuted on Legal Insurrection, Bessinger has received national media coverage, which is continuing.
Bessinger’s key factual assertions at Legal Insurrection were backed up in an astounding and surprising (and shocking!) radio interview by Maryann Colabro, the president of the Providence Teachers Union (an AFT affiliate), Providence Teachers Union Confirms Affinity Group Segregation, Historical Books Destroyed, Holocaust Education Ended.
Bessinger appeared this morning on Fox and Friends, and was questioned by Rachel Campos-Duffy:
I was glad to see that full on-screen credit was given to the original Legal Insurrection post:
Transcript (auto-generated, may contain transcription errors):
Campos-Duffy: As parents express concern about critical race theory, a Rhode Island middle school teacher is warning the race based curriculum is creating hostility in the classroom. She writes quote “this past school year was a sad and worrisome turning point. For me as an educator, … we were introduced to one of the most racially divisive hateful, and in large part, historically inaccurate curriculums I have ever seen … some students started calling me America because I was white. These students whom I love were turning against me because of my skin color.” That teacher, Ramona Bessinger joins me now. Oh gosh, Ramona, I have so many questions for you and I want to congratulate you for your courage. So first of all, let’s get to this issue of racial harmony. CRT is supposed to bring about racial harmony. Your piece really shows that that’s not happening. Absolutely
Bessinger: Absolutely not. It is not happening. It is creating a greater racial divide by separating African-Americans and people of color from white, white people, Europeans, in particular, I’ve heard that phrase used. Yeah.
Campos-Duffy: So I’ve always, I have a lot of kids. I’ve been very concerned about textbooks for a long time. I think they have a liberal bent, but you’re saying that the curriculum is even worse starting this year, that this is some sort of turning point. What are we seeing? What are you seeing in the classroom and what are you being told to teach or not teach?
Bessinger: Well, the textbooks, from my experience have always been pretty even in, and objective, historically and from a literary perspective. And also the novels that we teach are equally as objective. However, this past year notice that literally our textbooks, our vetted textbooks and canonized literature, has been all removed from the classroom. Literally we had teachers who came into the room and removed our old curriculum, and it was replaced with a curriculum that by February started to raise some serious flags and concerns as the books began to roll into the classroom by the hundreds, rather not books, pamphlet style books with a bizarre sort of imagery and historically, sort of similar themes, similar narratives, similar similar characters. And what I noticed in particular is that these books did not represent a comprehensive view of history or represent the American literary tradition. that it was completely absent from our classroom. And that worried me a great deal.
Campos-Duffy: You mentioned that you mentioned that so much of, it was just a oppressor versus opressed, that there was all this racial prisms through which everything was being seen through. One of the ones that would disturb me, you said, Anne Frank is no [longer]. I mean, that was required reading for me growing up. That you’re not even teaching the Holocaust.
Bessinger: That’s right.
Campos-Duffy: It’s all so disturbing. I don’t have a lot of time and I wish I had more with you. I want to ask you what has been the personal cost to you in coming forward?
Bessinger: Just, you know, very stressful for me as an educator to have to teach, basically to try to have to propagate a lie or a partial truth. I don’t want to say lie because the slave narrative, the oppressed versus oppressor that is part of American history, and we need to teach that, we need to be sensitive to that. But we cannot omit entire segments of U.S., American history and world literature. And certainly we can’t stop teaching the Holocaust. Genocide is important for all students to learn about and to relate to.
Campos-Duffy: Yeah. I’d like to have you back sometime soon, Ramona, just to talk about what parents can do to partner with teachers like you, who want to very honestly and accurately portray America’s history, and fight back against critical race theory. Thank you so much for joining us today.
Bessinger: Thank you. Thank you so much.
Campos-Duffy: Of course, we’ve reached out to Providence public school for a statement, but we have not heard back.
In addition to operating the CriticalRace.org website documenting Critical Race Training in Education, one of the goals of the Legal Insurrection Foundation is to bring forth and amplify stories like that of Bessinger, and before her, Rhode Island mom Nicole Solas. These brave people deserve national attention and support, and I’m hopeful we will be able to bring you more such stories from deep blue Rhode Island.DONATE
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