Eliza Relman, Insider, October 29, 2021
Former Vice President Mike Pence denounced anti-racist education in public schools at Patrick Henry College, a small, private Christian school in Loudoun County, Virginia on Thursday afternoon, less than a week before the state’s competitive gubernatorial election.
“We believe that parents should be the ultimate authority in education,” Pence told the overwhelmingly white audience of about 300. “It’s time to end government monopoly of public education in America.”
Pence denounced “critical race theory” – the broad academic theory that American institutions, including the criminal justice and healthcare systems, are systemically racist – and argued that teaching it in schools amounts to “state-sponsored racism. White kids, he argued, “are being taught to be ashamed of their skin color.” He called the anti-racist education the “most egregious example of the leftwing agenda in our public schools.”
Pence commended parents who’ve protested against Loudoun County’s equity initiatives and policies, which have drawn national attention amid heated conflicts between parents and school boards in recent months.
“Critical race theory is founded on the slander that America is a racist nation,” Pence said. “America is the most just, righteous, and inclusive nation the world has ever known.”
He argued that “science, history and math are increasingly be taught through the lens of racial grievance.”
Patrick Henry College students in attendance, most of whom said they were homeschooled, told Insider they agreed with Pence that anti-racist training and curricula pose a threat to public school students.
Sarah V., a 17-year-old PHC freshman who was homeschooled in Loudoun County, told Insider that critical race theory involved teaching “kids to hate other kids based on their skin color.” Sarah, who requested her last name not be used to protect her privacy, argued that while there are “certain instances” of racism in America, systemic racism doesn’t exist.
Dan Mainieri, a 21-year-old senior at PHC originally from Pennsylvania, said he thinks “people shouldn’t be defined by the color of their skin,” but said “there are definitely faults” in the criminal justice, education, and healthcare systems. Ronen Wyrick, an 18-year-old freshman at PHC, said he hasn’t seen “any evidence” of systemic racism.
Ben Crosby, a Patrick Henry College senior who spoke at the event, lamented the ongoing “violent attack on educational freedom” in public schools. Crosby noted that he was homeschooled.
Pence celebrated that thousands of public school kids left Loudon County schools during the pandemic and many more are being homeschooled. The former vice president also spoke about his support for increased school choice and celebrated the Trump administration’s efforts on this issue.