CRT-alternative FAIR offers discussion groups, advocacy toolkit
by Guy Page
The Essex-Westford School District Monday night declined to pursue allegations of ‘conflict of interest’ made by two citizens against Liz Cady, who was elected to the board in March after running on a platform of school choice and inquiry about the district’s ‘racial equity’ program.
The board will holds its regularly-scheduled meeting tonight (Tuesday, May 18) at 6:30 pm.
The complaint alleged Cady has a conflict of interest because she’s not in agreement with the racial equity program. The school board apparently decided that’s not reason enough, said one observer who “attended” the Zoom meeting:
“We had a big win last night at the Liz Cady inquiry (with over 115 in attendance) when the School Board declined to investigate. We can’t let our foot off the gas! Consider attending/joining the EWSD School Board meeting scheduled for tonight– Tuesday, May 18, 2021 @ 6.30pm. The meeting opens with Comments from the Public for non Agenda items – this is the time . . . The meeting requires you pre-register to participate.”
The complaint by Laura Taylor and Emily Franz read in part: “Ms. Cady has made it clear that she does not believe in the district’s equity work, and that she is actively encouraging others to join her in this crusade, which she has made political through this post on a conservative website……This flagrant policy breach demonstrates what is apparent to many of us: EWSD School Board Member Liz Cady has a personal agenda that is not in the best interests of our schools, our students, or our community. We are both strong supporters of the EWSD and its work on equity and inclusion. We feel that each and every member of the School Board should be as well.”
One observer said it was the best attended meeting of the school board in recent memory. An emailed letter to the school board by a concerned parent said: “a majority of town residents are behind her and not in support of Critical Race Theory being incorporated into our schools (at all levels). We, and many others, appreciate her speaking up against this and inquiring about curriculum, on our behalf. Surely the board isn’t pursuing this complaint; to do so would imply the board is in agreement with the statement – that every board member must be of the same opinion, or they aren’t welcome?”
Some Vermont opponents of Critical Race Theory (an “important aspect” of Essex racial equity policy, school district officials say) believe they have found a more just alternative in the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR). “Increasingly, American institutions — colleges and universities, businesses, government, the media and even our children’s schools — are enforcing a cynical and intolerant orthodoxy. This orthodoxy requires us to identify ourselves and each other based on immutable characteristics like skin color, gender and sexual orientation. It pits us against one another, and diminishes what it means to be human,” the FAIR website says.
FAIR offers discussion forums, state chapters (none in Vermont yet) and an advocacy toolkit. It also encourages members take and share a pledge: “I seek to treat everyone equally without regard to skin color or other immutable characteristics. I believe in applying the same rules to everyone, and reject disparagement of individuals based on the circumstances of their birth.”
Members of the FAIR Board of Advisers include Islamic women’s rights activist Ayaan-Hirsi Ali, newscaster Megyn Kelly, gay rights activist Andrew Sullivan, philosopher Steven Pinker, and journalist Bari Weiss.