By Guy Page
The Essex – Westford School District views controversial Critical Race Theory as an “important aspect” in its racial equity program, Erin Maguire, the district Director of Equity and Inclusion, said at a May 4 school board meeting.
“I do think that Critical Race Theory is an important aspect of the academic construct,” Maguire said in response to this question by newly elected board member Elizabeth Cady: “in order to fully achieve equity in the school, it has to be decided, that everyone accepts, that the United States is systemically racist?”
Maguire was reporting on her Equity Audit of staff and students. Her complete answer to Cady’s question appears at the 1 hour, 18 minute mark in the video recording of the Zoom meeting: “I do think that Critical Race Theory is an important aspect of the academic construct, as we consider the impact of race in our community, in our state, and in our country,” Maguire said.
A 20-minute discussion between Maguire and Cady begins at about the one hour, eight minute mark on this video. They discussed the differences between equity and equality, and the impact of ‘equity’ learning on academic standards and high-achieving students.
What is Critical Race Theory?
The following is excerpted from an essay by Christopher Rufo in the March, 2021 issue Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College:
“Critical race theory is an academic discipline, formulated in the 1990s, built on the intellectual framework of identity-based Marxism. Relegated for many years to universities and obscure academic journals, over the past decade it has increasingly become the default ideology in our public institutions. 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.
“There are a series of euphemisms deployed by its supporters to describe critical race theory, including “equity,” “social justice,” “diversity and inclusion,” and “culturally responsive teaching.” Critical race theorists, masters of language construction, realize that “neo-Marxism” would be a hard sell. Equity, on the other hand, sounds non-threatening and is easily confused with the American principle of equality. But the distinction is vast and important. Indeed, equality—the principle proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence, defended in the Civil War, and codified into law with the 14th and 15th Amendments, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965—is explicitly rejected by critical race theorists. To them, equality represents “mere nondiscrimination” and provides “camouflage” for white supremacy, patriarchy, and oppression.
“In contrast to equality, equity as defined and promoted by critical race theorists is little more than reformulated Marxism. In the name of equity, UCLA Law Professor and critical race theorist Cheryl Harris has proposed suspending private property rights, seizing land and wealth and redistributing them along racial lines. Critical race guru Ibram X. Kendi, who directs the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, has proposed the creation of a federal Department of Antiracism. This department would be independent of (i.e., unaccountable to) the elected branches of government, and would have the power to nullify, veto, or abolish any law at any level of government and curtail the speech of political leaders and others who are deemed insufficiently “antiracist.”
“One practical result of the creation of such a department would be the overthrow of capitalism, since according to Kendi, “In order to truly be antiracist, you also have to truly be anti-capitalist.” In other words, identity is the means and Marxism is the end.”
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Also at the May 4 meeting, it was noted that Todd Odit has resigned from the school board. There is a school board director vacancy for a member from Essex Junction. The term of this appointment will be until the next regular EWSD election in April of 2022.
Letters of interest must be emailed to EWSD Board Chair Kim Gleason (firstname.lastname@example.org) no later than the end of the day on Sunday, May 16. Indicate “EJ School Board Appointment” in the subject line, and include any experience to be considered. The board will review submissions at its May 18 meeting and make an appointment no later than June 1.