After a new bill was signed into law prohibiting the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in Tennessee Schools, an activist group’s complaint against the Williamson County Schools was tossed out by the head of the Tennessee Department of Education (DOE).
A letter signed by Robin E. Steenman, Chairman of the Williamson County chapter of Moms for Liberty and addressed to DOE Commissioner Dr. Penny Schwinn accuses the school district of teaching the tenets of CRT to seven and eight-year-olds, in violation of the new law.
Specifically, it cites texts, including “Martin Luther King Jr. and the March on Washington,” by Frances Ruffin, “Ruby Bridges Goes to School: My True Story,” by Ruby Bridges, “The Story of Ruby Bridges” by Robert Coles, and “Separate is Never Equal” by Duncan Tonatiuh.
It also cites the teacher’s manuals that go along with those texts.
“The classroom books and teacher manuals reveal both explicit and implicit Anti-American, Anti-White, and Anti-Mexican teaching,” the letter says. “Additionally, it implies to second grade children that people of color continue to be oppressed by an oppressive ‘angry, vicious, scary, mean, loud violent [rude] and [hateful] white population’ and teaches that the racial injustice of the 1960’s exists today.”
“The relentless nature of how these divisive stories are taught, the lack of historical context and difference in perspective, and the manipulative pedagogy all work together to amplify and sow feelings of resentment, shame of one’s skin color, and/or fear,” it continues.
The lesson plan for that material, which Steenman calls “very dark and divisive slivers of American history,” lasts nine weeks, according to the letter. She also says there is a “narrow and slanted obsession on historical mistakes” which “reveals a heavily biased agenda, one that makes children hate their country, each other, and/or themselves.”
Steenman also noted that the teacher’s manual for this material, which is 478 pages, uses the word “injustice” 314 times.
Alas, her complaint fell on deaf ears, but not for lack of merit.
Rather, the DOE reportedly said that complaints are not allowed to be filed retrospectively from before the anti-CRT law was passed.
Since the material referenced by Steenman was taught in the 2020-2021 school year, it cannot be subject to review by the DOE.
“Please note that in declining to investigate these claims, the department has not made a determination regarding the merits of these allegations. We encourage you to work with the Williamson County School District to resolve the issues and concerns related to your complaint and ensure compliance with state law,” a response letter from the DOE to Steenman said.
Read the 11-page June letter here:
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