My speech at the ALEC annual conference: “we are at an inflection point right now to move from publicity, to move from alerting people, who mostly are now aware of the problem, to actually addressing the infrastructure which supports” the racialization of education.
On Thursday, July 28, 2022, I spoke at the Education Task Force of the Annual Conference of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). There were over 100 state legislators present during my session.
The topic of my presendation was “An Inflection Point In The Battle To Save Education.” In this year’s presentation, I made reference to my presentation at the ALEC Annual Meeting in 2021, “The fight over Critical Race Theory in education is a fight in many ways for our national survival”
I also made reference to model legislation the Task Force would consider later in the session:
- Academic Transparency Act
- The Hope Scholarship Act
- Protecting Religious Homeschooling Act
- Amendments to the Textbook Cost Transparency Act
My key point is that we are at an inflection point. “Critical Race Theory” is now a toxic term and the racialization of education has lost the public opinion battle overall. But the infrastructure that racialized and increasingly sexualized education remains — the school board members, the big money leftist donors and foundations, the teachers unions, the consultants, the book companies, the education bureaucracy, and other institutional support. We are at an inflection point where we need to shift to dismantling the woke educational infrastructure, because if it is permitted to remain, when the publicity fades these grifters will come roaring back.
Control of the state government in more than half the states is one of the few institutions where non-liberals still have power. Almost every other institution has been captured. So the states, including state legislatures, are uniquely positioned as both a last line of defense and a platform to recapture what has been lost and bring it back at least to the center.
You can view the speech below, which is followed by a transcription.
(Auto-generated, may contain transcription errors)(emphasis added)
I want to thank ALEC for having me to speak. Thank you, Andrew, for inviting me again.
You may recall, some of you may recall, that I spoke a year ago at the annual conference. And the issue then was, as it is still around the country, the issue of critical race theory and what was happening in the education system. I’m now here to give you your report card.
One year ago, I told you that the fight over education was a fight for the national survival. That you were on the front lines. That we were facing the spread of an ideology that, no matter how you dressed it up and what you called it, focused everything in the educational experience on race. Turned children against children. Turned children against their parents. And most importantly, turned children against their country, by ignoring the good things in the nation and only focusing on the bad.
And I said, then, and I say it now, if you wanted to rip this country apart, what would you do differently than to take the single most divisive issue in our national history and make it the exclusive focus of the educational experience? I urged you to take action, to treat this as a national emergency. And I’m here now, like I said, to give you your report card.
One of the things we do, just to tell you a little bit about myself and our group, Legal Insurrection Foundation is a tax-exempt non-profit that focuses on many things, but primarily free speech and academic freedom on campuses. We started focusing on higher education and have moved very heavily into K-12 and professional schools. In early February 2021, we rolled out CriticalRace.org, which is the most comprehensive database of the teaching of critical race theory or its variants.
It’s called many different things in many different places throughout higher education. Our database now covers over 500 colleges and universities. We have a database of elite private schools where the situation is actually worse than it’s in higher ed. We have a database, which has received a lot of media attention, national media attention, of the top 50 medical schools, which we will be expanding to cover all domestic medical schools. And as bad as it is in higher ed and private schools, medical schools are even worse than that. And just earlier last week, we rolled out a database with regard to the U.S. service academies that also received national attention.
And the point of all this is to give the public and to give the legislators the facts. Our database is completely neutral. We simply report what’s happening. Every piece of information there is sourced, has a link, and it has an archived link. And from that, legislators, the public can do what they want. People may like it. People may not like it. We simply present it that way.
But my purpose here today is to touch on what I viewed as the crisis that faced you, as legislators, last year. And I have some good news to report. But I also have some sobering news to report. And I’m not gonna give you a grade. But I will tell you what I’ve been observing and what the situation is now.
And the good news is that I think the public awareness has been raised. 2021 was really the year of raising the alarm. Of sounding the alarm. Of getting the media attention. Of educating the public. Of getting people to focus on this and whether this was really in our local, state, or national interest to have education move in this direction.
And this, I always emphasize, is not a partisan issue. The alarm has been raised, and the concerns have been raised by parents who are Democrats, Republicans, independents. And it cuts across racial lines. What we see in many places is that parents of all races and all ethnicities do not like what is happening, particularly in the public schools, but even in some private schools. I think that [the movement] in 2021 was successful into 2022 because of media attention and political attention. There was a lot of activity in state houses around the country. Some laws have been passed; some have been challenged. There’s flux. But the point is people took action, and people didn’t just sit back and complain about it. And that momentum has to be maintained.
What we’ve also seen is that the public relations battle has basically been won. “Critical race theory” is now a toxic term that people run from. There are very few people, maybe only the National Education Association is actually, defending it publicly. But that public relations battle has been won because parents got motivated.
Some of you are old enough, some of you are not old enough, to remember one of my favorite songs, which is Buffalo Springfield in 1967, called “For What It’s Worth,” “Something’s happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear.” And I can tell you as somebody, I see some smiles, so good, we have some fellow senior citizens in the room, something is happening here. And it’s not a partisan issue, but something is happening around the country that people are saying, what is happening in our education system from kindergarten up through medical school is not right. And the question is, what are we gonna do about it?
But that is there. Something is happening there. It’s real. And this is a nonpartisan organization that I’m speaking at. But regardless of your party, a neutral observer looking at what happened, for example, in Virginia would say that the results of that recent election, the parents’ rights movement was influential. Whether you supported it or you didn’t support it, it had a big impact, and it’s taking place.
So, something’s happening here. It’s beginning to happen here, not just with regard to critical race theory, but with regard to the sexualization of education, particularly in the lower grades. There’s now an almost daily flow of incidents that are being reported. So that spotlight and news media has somewhat changed. So the good news is people are aware of the problem. The sobering news is that the infrastructure supporting this, the infrastructure that over the course of one to two decades, put this in place in the education system is pretty much still there.
And the infrastructure that we follow at CriticalRace.org and Legal Insurrection is truly staggering. The school board members for the most part are still there. Whether they’ll be there after November, who knows, but they’re there. And we talk to parents a lot. You can go to as many school board meetings as you want, but as long as the same people are in the same position of power, nothing’s gonna change. The money flow from large foundations is staggering. It’s in the billions of dollars a year. It is truly amazing how corporate money and foundation money that you would not expect is flowing into this space. The parents who are fighting this are completely outgunned monetarily. It’s not even close.
The teachers’ unions, National Education Association, went from “Critical race theory is not being taught in schools” to “Critical race theory, well, if it is being taught, it’s not bad” to “It needs to be taught in every one of the 11,000 school districts in the country.” They actually passed a resolution to that effect. The teachers’ unions, every place we look, you can’t shake a stick without hitting National Education Association, to a much lesser extent American Federation of Teachers. They are a hundred percent on board with it. Why, is another discussion, but they are on board with it. And they now admit it.
Activist groups, book companies who see a new market to sell books to school districts are a hundred percent behind this. And consultants, there are so many consultants who get hired, and the dollars that they get paid by school districts are staggering. It’s not uncommon to see 20,000, 50,000+ dollars [go] to a consultant. And then there’s the educational bureaucracy that has been created, people whose jobs are to perpetuate these problems.
This infrastructure, as much good as has been done, as much action has been taken, the infrastructure is still there, and that’s the sobering news. And if we don’t address that infrastructure, then nothing is going to ultimately change.
So in my mind, for state legislators, one of the things to focus on is the infrastructure. This is the infrastructure year, not only in Washington D.C., but I think for fighting to save education. It is what I call in the title of this talk “an inflection point.” An inflection point, to look up the mathematical definition, is the point of a curve at which a change in the direction of curvature occurs. But we think it more commonly as a turning point. It is a chance to change direction. And I think we are at an inflection point right now to move from publicity, to move from alerting people, who mostly are now aware of the problem, to actually addressing the infrastructure which supports this. And I think that state legislatures can play an important role.
There have been some states that have passed educational transparency acts. That’s gonna be talked about later today. That needs to spread. That needs to be [in] more places because these fights are being fought in 11,000 different places in the country. School district by school district, sometimes school by school. And you have the consultant class and the union class and the power structure up against parents who are being bombarded. And parents all they really need; they’re motivated; they need information. They shouldn’t have to serve a public records request. And we do that all the time at Legal Insurrection Foundation. And it takes six to nine months to actually get the documents. There are exemptions. I would encourage you to take a look at your state public records laws. Make them more user friendly. But I would also encourage you to consider the types of legislation that have been passed [in] some places, and will be debated and discussed later today, to make it easier for parents to even out that imbalance between the infrastructure and the parents.
The funding. You need to take a look at the funding. Not with a hammer, but with the scalpel. Where are school budgets going? Who are the consultants that schools are hiring? Why are they handing out these contracts without public scrutiny and without public debate? In the town that we are based in, Barrington, Rhode Island, the consultant who eventually gave rise to a de-leveling and elimination of honors programs, got paid $50,000. Let me tell you, when that leaked out that they were eliminating honors programs, parents united across the board, and they backed down. But it shouldn’t have even come to that. Why are we paying this person $50,000? So, as state legislators, you need to empower that process of, with a scalpel, looking at where this money is going.
And you need to empower alternatives. You need to empower school choice alternatives, and you need to empower financial support for homeschooling. Homeschooling statistics are through the roof. Part of it’s the pandemic, no question. But that momentum started before the pandemic. The greatest story of the homeschooling movement, and I saw the number and it really surprised me, is the largest growth in homeschooling increases are in the African American community by far. These are parents who have decided that, whatever is happening, they can do a better job than the public school system can do. And they can with the right resources. But it cuts across racial and ethnic lines.
So, my goal a year ago was to alert you to the crisis, a call to action. You’ve met that. But there’s a lot more to be done. And I would ask you to use this coming year to work with groups, you’re welcome to reach out to us, to start to dismantle the infrastructure that has gotten us into this mess.
I thank you very much and thank you for everything that you’ve done the past year. Thank you.DONATE
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