Washington State has become one of the first states to actually mandate the teaching of the controversial Critical Race Theory in public schools.
Supporters of the bill contend it would help educators better support those who are “immigrants and students of color” and that it would make students “feel safe, heard, and understood.” Those words are part of the official Senate report (pdf).
Opponents have called it a “divisive” and “dangerous” bill based on critical race theory (CRT), through which students would be taught to “judge others based on the color of their skin.” Other states have passed bills banning the curriculum.
Gov. Jay Inslee signed the bill into law, incorporating the doctrine of “equity, cultural competency, and dismantling institutional racism” into the training for all K–12 educators across the state.
Under Senate Bill 5044 (pdf)—which passed the state legislature in April—school districts in Washington must use one of three professional learning days to specifically train all staff in the topics of “cultural competency, diversity, equity, or inclusion.”
Those topics were among several listed in the bill’s text: “The legislature plans to continue the important work of dismantling institutional racism in public schools and recognizes the importance of increasing equity, diversity, inclusion, antiracism, and cultural competency training throughout the entire public school system by providing training programs for classified staff, certificated instructional staff, certificated administrative staff, superintendents, and school directors that will be provided in an ongoing manner.”
Some key concepts in the bill, such as “equity,” “systemic racism,” and “antiracism,” are popular among advocates of CRT, an outgrowth from Marxism that views society through the lens of a race-based power struggle.
Equity—in contrast to equal opportunity—seeks to create equal outcomes by redistributing resources along lines of perceived economic or racial disparities. In the name of equity, New York City replaced the competitive entry exam for its Gifted and Talented programs with a lottery so that more black and Hispanic students could qualify for such classes.
In an opinion piece for the New York Post, writer Chris Rufo writes: “Critical race theory is an academic discipline, formulated in the 1990s and built on the intellectual framework of identity-based Marxism. Relegated for many years to universities and obscure academic journals, it has increasingly become the default ideology in our public institutions over the past decade. It has been injected into government agencies, public school systems, teacher training programs and corporate human resources departments in the form of diversity training programs, human resources modules, public policy frameworks and school curricula.”
Meanwhile, the idea of “antiracism” is that one can only be “antiracist” by actively identifying and confronting perceived racism all the time, in everything, because in a critical race worldview, it’s impossible for racism to be absent from any situation. According to Boston University’s Ibram X. Kendi, as explained in his 2019 book “How to Be an Antiracist,” an “antiracist” policy is “any measure that produces or sustains racial equity between racial groups.” There is “no such thing as a non-racist or race-neutral policy,” Kendi writes.