School Board Battles, Critical Media Literacy, and AGs Against CRT

John D. Sailer

Resolute is the Civics Alliance’s newsletter, informing you about the most urgent issues in civics education. Above all, Resolute will provide information about federal and state legislation that seeks to impose action civics, or to preserve traditional civics.

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School Board Battles

A few weeks ago, the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District Board voted to ban Critical Race Theory. This was one of the first school districts in California to do so—which is notable as the state pushes forward with its ethnic studies mandate. PRJUSD’s ban provides a model for other school boards to use.

Elsewhere in California, the Coronado Unified School District reversed its public statement condemning students of racism. This comes after pressure from parents, spearheaded by the group “We the Parents Coronado.” Coronado parents are working vigilantly to prevent the further politicization of the curriculum. There’s no doubt that we’ll be hearing about more of their successes sometime soon.

On the topic of school boards: 1776 Unites recently published an open letter sent to the National School Boards Association and local School Boards, calling for them to adopt the Woodson Center’s 1776 Unites civics curriculum. The curriculum emphasizes three core values: Continuity, not rupture; dignity, not grievance; and resilience, not fragility.

In case you missed it: In an emotional video, a Loudoun County teacher quits her job mid-school board meeting, in protest against the board’s “highly-politicized agendas.”

Another Frontier: Critical Media Literacy

In July, the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) hosted a conference on media literacy and social justice. A key term used throughout the conference: critical media literacy. This pedagogy draws explicitly from Marx, critical theory, and intersectionality; it puts race, identity, and power at the forefront of media literacy. I recently wrote about the pedagogy and its influence at City Journal. If the NAMLE conference is any indicator, critical media literacy is on the rise. This is especially important because many civics bills give grants for research on and professional development in media literacy. 

Arkansas Attorney General Weighs in on Critical Race Theory — Will Others Follow?

Last month, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge declared that Critical Race Theory violates the equal protection clause and the state’s constitution.In a letter, a Texas house member requested a similar pronouncement from the Texas Attorney General.

These both follow Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita’s release of the “Parents Bill of Rights,” which condemns CRT and provides concerned parents with strategies for effectively influencing their childrens’ education. It appears that more and more attorneys general are taking a real interest in CRT—we encourage the remaining AGs to follow suit.

New Resource Hub

Reject CRT is a new resource hub focused on pushing back against Critical Race Theory, especially in schools. The website lists resources, recommended actions, and information on how to identify and oppose CRT.

Other News

L.A. Teachers Union Leader: 'There's No Such Thing As Learning Loss'

NYC wants schools to rethink honor rolls deemed ‘detrimental’ to students not making grade

In a recent video, the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism identifies “action civics” as one of the many covert ways of smuggling Critical Race Theory in schools. The Civics Alliance has been at the forefront of raising awareness over action civics. It’s a sign of success that other such organizations are catching on.

Troy University Open Position

Troy University has an open position for the director of Troy's Leadership Institute. The position will focus heavily on civics education. You can read about the role here.

Civics Alliance State Affiliates

The Civics Alliance would like to build up a network of state affiliates—groups dedicated to removing action civics in their state, whom we would list on our forthcoming website. If you would like to form such an organization, or suggest an existing organization, please get in touch with David Randall ([email protected]).

Continuing Priorities: Federal Legislation

At the federal level, the Civics Secures Democracy Act threatens to impose action civics nationwide.

The Civics Bill Tracker

Civics Alliance members may now use the Civics Bill Tracker to track all proposed federal and state legislation related to civics.

Public Action

We encourage Civics Alliance members to inform the public and policymakers about the stakes and consequences of action civics bills.

John Sailer is a Research Associate at the National Association of Scholars and serves as Keeping the Republic Project Lead.

Image: Utsav Srestha, Public Domain

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