Going through the rain this morning to collect my daily bread from WSJ, I spied rummaging through my mailbox on National Council of English Teachers (NCTE) spring / summer catalog. Since my wife is a language arts teacher, the existence of such a thing came as no shock; however, the contents of the catalog were. Critical race theory, anti-racism, and recommendations from the literature on “anti-black linguistic racism” littered the pages of a publication distributed to NCTE members – mostly public educators – teachers from kindergarten to college. Don’t take my word for it; flip through a digital copy yourself here. On reading it is evident that the CRT is driven at all levels by teacher training courses, and not just by university level work.
Supporters of critical race theory, anti-racism and accompanying ideologies are quick in the press to say that the CRT is little more than a respected legal theory taught at the college level. Yes, so is Marx’s philosophy, but his thought has indeed penetrated more than the heavy corridors of academia. I somehow doubt that the Reds of the USSR and the CCP all participated in group discussions and college-level thesis workshops analyzing the details of this bearded Communist. The press’s defense of “you don’t get the theory” and “it’s not taught in elementary schools” is obviously misleading, and I’m reasonably sure they know it.
However, I wondered, maybe I am unknowingly distorting the ideological position of NCTE outside of a catalog. After all, it could be a special issue that goes against the mainstream of their suggested reading and worldview. Unfortunately no. Recent blog posts by NCTE argue that there is no such thing as an apolitical classroom and that “English teachers must examine the ways in which racism has personally shaped their beliefs and must examine existing prejudices that fuel systems of oppression. “
Featured lesson plans entitled “Developing critical awareness thanks to Angie Thomas” The hate you give, ” consist of “[s]students share[ing] learning them at key points during the reading and discussion of the novel, followed by work with excerpts from James Baldwin’s essay “Letter from an Area in My Mind” and “Letter to My Son” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. by Thomas Sowell, certainly a more critical thinker than the previous examples.
Finally, if you have the courage, next November, the NCTE’s annual convention is called “Equity, justice and anti-racist education”. Suffice it to say that the NCTE tends towards a resource of indoctrination, far more than a proponent of learning through literature.