Posted on September 19, 2022

How Teachers Are Secretly Taught Critical Race Theory

Nicole Ault and Megan Keller, Wall Street Journal, September 2, 2022

Randi Weingarten left no room for doubt. “Critical race theory is not taught in elementary schools or high schools,” the American Federation of Teachers president said in a speech last year. Even if that’s true, a Pennsylvania father’s battle with a school district demonstrates that public-school teachers are being trained in the deeply divisive racial ideology—and defensive administrators are playing semantic games to allay parental concerns.

In 2018 the Tredyffrin-Easttown School District near Philadelphia signed a contract with Pacific Educational Group, a California-based consulting firm. According to the school district’s website, the partnership’s purpose was “to enhance the policies and practices around racial equity.” The district assured parents in an online update last summer that no “course, curriculum or program” in the district “teaches Critical Race Theory.”

Benjamin Auslander didn’t buy it. The parent of a high schooler in the district, he wanted to see the materials used to train teachers. Mr. Auslander, 54, made a formal document request but was denied. Officials told him the materials couldn’t be shared because they were protected by Pacific Educational Group’s copyright. His only option was to inspect them in person—no copies or photos allowed. “What are you trying to hide?” he asked school board members at a meeting in December.

Mr. Auslander accepted the district’s offer and in February went to inspect the documents in person. When he tried to record voice memos on his phone about what he was reading a district official called it a copyright violation. According to a subsequent complaint filed by Mr. Auslander in federal court, the official threatened him “with civil and criminal liability” if he kept recording. {snip}


Documents emailed from 2019 to 2021 by Pacific Educational Group to district administrators in advance of various training seminars cite critical race theory explicitly. A rubric dated Feb. 4, 2020, encourages participants to “Deconstruct the Presence and role of Whiteness” in their lives. A March 17, 2020, presentation lists “aspects and assumptions of white culture” in the U.S. Some are negative, such as “win at all costs,” “wealth = worth,” “don’t show emotion,” and in reference to food, “bland is best.” Others are seemingly universal principles such as “cause-and-effect relationships,” “objective, rational, linear thinking,” and “plan for future.”

That presentation also spells out the “5 tenets of critical race theory” to “better understand the critical intersection of race and schooling.” One tenet is the “permanence of racism,” or the idea that “racism is endemic to all our institutions, systems and structures” in the U.S. Another is “whiteness as property.” The “critique of liberalism” tenet argues that “colorblindness,” “neutrality of the law” and the “myth of meritocracy” must be “deconstructed.”

These tenets aren’t presented as abstract notions for faculty to consider, but ideas they’re meant to apply. School staff’s ability to use “critical race theory . . . to inform racial equity leadership and analysis of school policies, practices and procedures” is considered a sign of the successful “internalization and application” of Pacific Educational Group’s framework. {snip}