My students and I were listening to a GA committee hearing on a house bill targeting the consequences of teachers who infuse anything closely related to critical race theory in their classrooms.
We decided that after listening to the thoughts of anti-CRT stakeholders that we would attend one of the protests to gain more information on their position. A part of my teaching, especially regarding policy, social justice and equity, is to understand your opposition’s position in order to plan the most appropriate response instead of being overly emotional in your response.
One of the Students for Equity members asked an opposer this question. “So if you’re against CRT because it’s driving the “woke” movement of teaching to make white people feel guilty, then are you opposed to the teaching of confederate values and beliefs in our curriculum which traumatize Black students?”
Let me rephrase this.
If we’re going to get rid of “woke” literature that elevates the truth of historical facts in America, then we must also put a pin on colonial history that drives the narrative that Black people are less than human and confederate history that reinforces violence against Black people.
No one is asking Black students, parents, or teachers how we feel about anti-CRT and the real issue of racism in public education. We gloss over it because Blackness is commonly viewed as less than in education.
American history is traumatizing to Black kids all year while Black history is still only celebrated one month. In 2020, Educators for Black Lives led a movement for Georgia to adopt a curriculum that was culturally responsive to all students.
Unfortunately, due to strict policies and attacks on teachers who are educational activists, there hasn’t been any movement on zero tolerance discipline policies, and schools still struggle with behavior policies and interventions that target Black children. It’s an historical pattern that is taught and maintained.
No movement on hiring more Black teachers, in fact more Black teachers were pushed out of public education due to the pandemic, poor treatment, and the erasure of Blackness from public schools culture. This is an historical pattern derived from Brown vs Board of Education and has continued to be maintained to anti-Blackness movements in education such as anti-CRT.
We didn’t even really make a dent in hiring more school counselors as thriving schools have multiple counselors. Many predominantly Black schools, which have a greater need for support with trauma, are celebrating having one counselor for the entire student body when in most recent years, clusters of schools were sharing one counselor. This, too, is an historical pattern that is taught and maintained in public education.
Racism has a way of teaching us how Black people are to be kept in place, celebrated for a time but not centered for true progression or liberation. Black history month shouldn’t be removed, erased, or abolished. It should evolve and be elevated by public schools adopting multicultural curriculum that includes Blackness in historical, social. and global successes, advancements and most importantly freedom.
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.