Moms for Liberty’s Robin Steeman Talks Williamson County School Board Violation of Own Law Regarding Critical Race Theory

 

Live from Music Row, Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – guest host Cunningham welcomed Robin Steeman of Moms for Liberty-Williamson County to the newsmaker line.

Leahy: I am joined on our newsmaker line now by our good friend Robin Steeman, head of Moms for Liberty, also head of Williamson Family PAC. Our lead story at The Tennessee Star this morning.

Moms for Liberty Critical Race Theory Complaint Against Williamson County Schools Rejected by Tennessee Department of Education. Robin, what’s your reaction to that?

Steeman: Disappointment, Michael. It’s a dodge.

Leahy: Well, it’s exactly my thought as well Robin.

Steeman: Right. If you read the letter itself from Commissioner Penny Schwinn it says, please note that in declining to investigate these claims, the department has not made a determination regarding the merits of these allegations. It’s a dodge and kids are involved. Kids are in the balance and they chose to not even look at the merits.

Leahy: The law prohibiting the teaching of basically 14 tenants of Critical Race Theory and K-12 public schools in Tennessee was passed May 25th, signed into law by Governor Bill Lee. On June 30th you sent a letter outlining numerous examples where Williamson County schools are violating that with seven and eight-year-olds in their curriculum and a couple of books that are included in the curriculum.

Here we are now five months later on November 29th and Penny Schwinn is telling you, well, your complaint had to do with the school year ending in 2021.

And really, you can’t do that. You got to wait and see if they violated it the current school year. What took her so long? Why did it take five months to make that communication to you?

Steeman: That’s the question for Penny Schwinn. But I can say that nobody that I’ve spoken to is really particularly surprised.

That’s how the Tennessee DOE operates. It’s not kids’ first mission first or partnership with parents at a particularly high priority.

Leahy: The complaint that you filed on June 30, 2021, was about very specific books that had, in essence, anti-American terminology. You’ve detailed it in our story in great detail. Do we have any reason to believe that that is no longer part of the curriculum in Williamson County schools?

Steeman: There has been a discussion of removing the last book, Separate is Never Equal, but in its place, the discussion is to put in a book about more injustice in the form of women’s suffrage, which is just a complex subject for second graders.

Leahy: So to the best of your knowledge, then, is that book Separate is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh, one of the four or five books that you objected to as being promoted in the essence of the tenants of critical race theory. Is that book still being used in Williamson County schools?

Steeman: To my knowledge, yes. Absolutely.

Leahy: So it looks like all of these books that you complained about are still being used in the curriculum in Williamson County schools. Is that right?

Steeman: Correct. And the left loves to point out the fact that the complaint has to do with a Martin Luther King, Jr. book. It has to do with two Ruby Bridges books. And they want to say the most often lodged accusation is that we want to ban Ruby Bridges.

We don’t want to teach Ruby Bridges. We don’t want to teach MLK. It couldn’t be further from the truth. But teach it in an age-appropriate way and in a way that kids understand it in the context of our history, instead of dropping them off in 1960 and teaching them in a way that shames them, some for their skin color and victimizes, others.

Leahy: Question for you, Robin, if the material to which you objected in your June 30 letter related to what they claim was only for the prior year of this prior school year and if it’s still the case today, it’s November 30th, five months after you filed that complaint, could you simply refile that complaint and date it today, send it to Penny Schwinn and say, here you go.

No changes have been made according to your own language this is an appropriate issue for you to look into. Is that something you could do? Is that something you plan on doing?

Steeman: Unfortunately, I could not do that for a couple of different reasons. First of all, Wit and Wisdom, the whole curriculum is pretty rotten. But this grade two module three is the true pocket of critical race theory.

It’s the most egregious example of critical race theory in it. And for the 2021-2022 school year, it hasn’t happened yet. Grade two module three is lying in wait for the kids when they come back from Christmas break.

Leahy: Ah.

Steeman: That’s the day they come back and it goes until the day they leave for spring break. They will have 34 days, nine weeks of injustice training for second graders that a whole new class year of students must now undergo so that somebody else can be traumatized and a parent can file the complaint.

Leahy: But if you filed the complaint today and said this is going to happen, you need to stop it from happening, how would the Department of Education, under the law, respond?

Steeman: I don’t know for sure, but I imagine they would throw it out again because there’s a couple of things that they’ve instituted in the enforcement of this rule, first off. I can’t refile the complaint because my kid is not in the school system.

And the reason she’s not in the school system is because of this curriculum. So now it has to be a parent with a child negatively affected that’s still in the system. And they also have to understand that their child has been affected within a 45-day window so that they can file and then have to go first to Williamson County Schools.

Well, we all know how that is. Williamson County Schools has demonstrated that they fully back Wit and Wisdom. And they dig in their heels. Even when they found out that it failed at the state level twice, they still dug in their heels in support of Wit and Wisdom.

Leahy: So on a personal level, Robin, you have taken your children out of Williamson County Public schools. Is that correct?

Steeman: Correct.

Leahy: Okay. Are you homeschooling or private school?

Steeman: Private school.

Leahy: And are you happy with the alternative?

Steeman: I am, but it’s a shame because we all pay for these beautiful public schools and there are so many parents that don’t feel like they can use them. And WCS likes to make the parents feel isolated.

Oh, you’re the only one with this concern. Many parents have gone to the principal wanting to opt their children out of the objectionable books or even just speak with the principal about the curriculum. And the party line of WCS is, oh, you’re the only one. All the other parents love it. And that’s simply not true.

Leahy: Yeah.

Steeman: And then the party line is that you’re the only one that pulled their children out for Wit and Wisdom. That is also not true.

Leahy: Penny Schwinn in her letter, says, Robin, you should go and talk to Williamson County Public Schools and express your disappointment with the fact that the curriculum that they used last year, which violates the current law, is planned to be used this year as well. That’s her advice to you.

Steeman: Correct. I’ve done my due diligence on that. We met with every single school board member except for one last April and May and we laid out the Wit and Wisdom for them and exactly what our objections are.

And the majority of the school board members are still back Wit and Wisdom. Jason Golden, the Superintendent, put us into a four-point four zero three process, which is a request for reconsideration of instructional materials.

Is it even an appropriate process to review an entire curriculum? Probably not. Four-point four three is really, in my view, geared towards a specific book that a parent objects to, but they keep kicking that can down the road.

They started that four-point four three committee in July and the results were supposed to be released in early November. And then now it’s looking like December right ahead of the Christmas break.

And let’s say that they did that they released the results right before December, well, we have 15 days to appeal the result of that process to the board, but it’s going to be over the Christmas break!

And now there are even rumors that they’re going to kick the can down the road until January. So kids are going to be already weeks into grade two module three before WCS feels obliged to say anything about it.

So the DOE kicks the can down the road, and WCS kicks the can down the road. And what are parents left with? And it’s not like we’re doing this for our health because we enjoy making complaints. But these are legit concerns for children and for the mental health and wellbeing of our children.

And what nobody on the left will acknowledge is that my 11-page complaint to the DOE included two letters from parents two-parent testimonials. One of a child who’s half white and one of a Black child, both traumatized by grade two module three. And nobody seems to care.

Leahy: Well, Robin, I guess you would say then Williamson County Public Schools are currently violating this law passed in May of 2021?

Steeman: Correct.

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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