American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten asserted Wednesday night that many Republican lawmakers were “intimidating” teachers over an “honest story” about race, during a live-broadcast event titled by the controversial author from “How to be an anti-racist” Ibram X Kendi.
“There are lawmakers, mostly from the Republican Party, who are currently bullying teachers and trying to stop us from teaching children an honest story,” Weingarten told the audience.
“Look, maybe they’re just trying to turn the heat on race relations up because of the upcoming election,” she continued.
Weingarten, who heads the teachers’ union of about 1.7 million members, delivered remarks at several events this week at AFT’s TEACH 2021 virtual conference, where she claimed Republicans were in disagreement with American teachers.
In her remarks at the opening session of the conference, she explained how “the warriors of culture characterize any discussion of race, racism or discrimination as [critical race theory] to try to make it toxic. They intimidate the teachers and try to stop us from teaching the students the exact history. ”
The rhetoric of teacher harassment was a common theme during the first two days of the conference. Defensive language arises when states and individual lawmakers decide whether to support or oppose theory taught in schools. Earlier today, the lieutenant governor of North Carolina spoke out against the CRT.
Currently, 26 states have introduced legislation or taken other steps to restrict the teaching of critical race theory according to Education Week. This paved the way for a massive pullback of AFT and the country’s largest teachers’ union, the National Education Association.
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The NEA recently passed a resolution that “would partly counteract anti-CRT rhetoric”. The same union also passed a measure of $ 56,500 to “track down organizations attacking educators doing anti-racist work.”
The campaign by teachers’ unions to convince the public that critical race theory is a valuable educational framework has intensified in recent weeks. CRT and race were a big topic at the NEA Annual Meeting last week and the TEACH conference this week.
However, despite all the pro-CRT fanfare from the AFT and NEA, Weingarten yesterday sought to convince critics that “critical race theory is not taught in elementary, middle or high schools.” .
Although teachers’ unions are stepping up their support for CRT while saying it is not a theory to teach K-12 schoolchildren, TEACH 2021 Day 2 guest speaker Kendi said different opinions.
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“If you’re a ten year old kid and you see that some racial groups have more and some racial groups have less, you are going to ask yourself, ‘Why is this the case? And for me, it’s the safe thing for teachers to do to say… that the cause of the disparity you see is the result of racism, is the result of bad rules, is the result of history, and we’re trying to change that. ”Kendi said Wednesday night.
As a guest speaker, Kendi’s comments about teaching a ten-year-old about race seemingly contradict AFT’s message about not implementing CRT in K-12. Three hours after the conversation with Kendi, the event had only had 760 viewers, 33 likes and 64 dislikes.
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