Teachers tells students parents are wrong about race, NEK students say

By Rebekah Perry

About 75 people gathered Thursday evening July 8 at the Orleans municipal building for an informational meeting about Critical Race Theory (CRT) being taught in our schools, organized by Vermont State Sen. Russ Ingalls (R-Essex Orleans). What they heard from middle school and high school students surprised many.

Sen. Russ Ingalls

The crowd included taxpayers with no other connection to the school, parents, at least one school board member, at least one member of the “Equity Committee” and several students. The crowd would have been bigger but, Ingalls reported, over 30 people who wanted to attend the meeting, however they feared that they would lose their jobs if they did so.

After an overview of CRT shared by Ingalls, Ben Morley, a community member and founder of “FAIR Education for Orleans Central Supervisory Union (OCSU)” talked about an alternative: Ethical Diversity Training that is respectful, positive and unpolitical. And, he reported on how the ideas of CRT are being taught in the OCSU schools. 

The Supervisory Union has contracted with an activist group, “Building Fearless Futures,” to write the curriculum that is being taught. According to its website, BFF is a project of Wheelock Mountain Farm, a not-for-profit. Wheelock Mountain Farm also supports Migrant Justice and the Hardwick Community Dinner.

The curriculum does not use the term “critical race theory”, however it does teach the same ideas. It was noted that Building Fearless Futures is an activist organization, they are NOT licensed professionals or people with an understanding of early education or child psychology, yet they are creating a curriculum that teaches our children to feel embarrassed and ashamed of how they were born. 

Teachers are being required to teach this curriculum, often against their better judgement, but fear for their jobs if they refuse. Morley pointed out that school boards are paying big bucks for curriculum and “curriculum support”, to the tune of many thousands of dollars by each school district. In fact over a million dollars was earmarked in this year’s budget by Essex-Waterford School District, as reported in Vermont Daily May 25.

After these two brief presentations, Ingalls requested that all be respectful and if necessary, “agree to disagree”, then the floor was opened to questions and comments. One of the first people to speak was a member of the diversity committee from Westmore. She expressed disappointment in the perspectives being offered, that there was no one from the school board defending their decision to teach “equity” subjects. She also commented that CRT was not actually being taught in the divisive and political light that Ingalls had depicted it.

In response, Ingalls turned to the middle and high-school students in attendance for their input. 

Students reported that they are taught that they are “wrong for being born white”, that they are “oppressors of black people” because they are white… because of what their ancestors did by owning slaves. 

Morley asked the students if the conversations ever turned political. They said yes, very often. “What happens if you disagree with the teacher, politically?” he asked. “If we take a different political perspective than the teacher, we are asked to leave or be quiet,” one offered. Another student shared: “If we write from a conservative perspective, then a paper that is written “with the same writing style, the same effort and experience… what would get me an A if I wrote with the teacher’s political perspective, I get a C if I write a Republican or conservative idea.” 

When asked how often the conversations of race are occurring, the students report that these conversations happen 2-3 times per week.

A person of color offered a powerful observation and plea that CRT is hurting our children. She demanded that we teach our children to follow the values that Dr Martin Luther King Jr taught, that we value each other by the content of our character, not by the color of our skin. She implored that schools reflect the teachings of Dr. King and others to teach our children to accept each other as we are, not to make kids feel bad for things – like skin color – that are out of their control. She received a loud round of applause from the crowd.

A one year veteran of the school board offered a clarification that even with the school restructuring, all towns are represented on local school boards. It was noted that school board meetings are open to the public. Ingalls encouraged increasing public presence at both Equity Committee and school board meetings. 

It was noted that the Equity Committee makes decisions in their meetings about what is being taught, and that this is presented in palatable summary form to the school boards for vote. Equity Committee meeting minutes can usually be found alongside school board meeting minutes, and are worth reading to better understand what is going on.

One community member suggested that parents need to step up and provide stronger teaching at home about race relations in order to counter what’s being taught in schools. This parent was interrupted by students who assured her that teachers are quick to say “Your parents are wrong,” when kids share their parents’ perspectives.

Morley shared two other important points: that the lessons of CRT are being brought in under the umbrella of “broadening social-emotional health” curriculum. And that there is a push toward “21st Century Education” that is technology based, meaning that kids do a lot of their work on computers, assuring that there is no schoolwork going home for parents to see.

Ingalls closed the meeting by encouraging people to attend meetings and make concerns known. Other CRT info meetings are being planned around the state in coming weeks.

The author is an Island Pond resident

Categories: Education

16 replies »

  1. Perhaps a larger issue here is the teachers are telling the students their Creator made a mistake, really. Of course that would be “conspiratorial” to imply that crt is ultimate an attack on scripture, Biblical Christianity and Absolute Truth. Any parent still thinking they will come out ahead on this one is deceived. Your kids absolutely will be affected.

  2. Morley’s Q&A with area students says it al!. CRT is being taught by anti-American Guerrilla Indoctrinators , sneaky, snarky, smarter and more intellectually/politically evolved than us uncool, unhip racists. Next book for me, “American Marxism by Mark Levin, Fox News. We are at Civil War over CRT’s capture and slavery of our children. Excellent article, Rebekah.

  3. Vermonters must stand up to the marxist ideologies being stuffed into children’s heads if we care about the future of America and the freedoms our Constitution provides. This means you must vote for new representatives and senators that care about your freedom and your children and their children and not those currently elected that salute the normalizing ideology and cancel-culture.
    Education must be an open approach not a totalitarian approach that feeds only one ideology

  4. Lets hope that there are no repercussions / hostility towards those students that stood up. They are heroes!!!

  5. I do work with the non profit Building Fearless Futures mentioned in this article. BFF works toward full inclusion of all people in society, equal rights and access for all and for respectful exchange of ideas – in the interest of increasing the possibility of full self empowerment, self love and self actualization for all people. We respect every person for who they are, right where they are, regardless of their identities, political ideology or anything else. We know we are neighbors, all doing our best to creat a joyful future together.
    I’d like to take the opportunity to correct a few false statements made in this article. BFF does not directly provide or build curriculum for OCSU. We do not require teachers to do or cover anything. Curriculum within SU’s are developed by teachers and administrators within the schools, as they strive toward VT State standards, as they have long done. We don’t ever tell or teach children that they should feel embarrassed, guilty or ashamed because of any trait they were born with, or for any other reason – this absolutely includes their racial identities, which absolutely includes white people. We believe deeply that none of us should ever feel bad just for being who we are. We don’t teach CRT. In fact, we operate within an understanding that Mr Morley in Fair Education for OCSU name as EDT in this article. We are always open for respectful dialogue and idea exchange. BFF has reached out to FEOCSU and Mr Morley to address any questions but we’ve not been provided that opportunity. We are your neighbors. We hope and work for respectful idea exchange as we all do our best for and in the community. Thank you

    • Apparently, if your description of the guidelines is correct much has been lost in the interpretation by those responsible for implementation. Obviously, we are not “creating a joyful future together”. Reportedly BFF does approach similar to CRT. Any group of Political /Social Activists, which is what you are, is a poor choice to create any program that “requires” teachers to follow it, even though they do not agree with the premise of the educational value or students’ advantage, even harm socially and morally, should never be permitted. You and your associates are interfering in educational and social wellbeing of the students and, very importantly, the family. If teachers fear for their jobs there is a definite concern. You are inserting your personal, political and social beliefs and opinions into something that should be of no concern, whether you refer to it as CRT or BFF. You are not professional educators, child care or trained psychologists. We are far better off without Diversity Committees, Directors, Diversity Coaches etc. I would guess the students would be far better off to create their own diversity solutions. What you are is a common salesperson with an inferior product that has convinced some schoolboards and SU personnel that it would be apolitical to refuse. I suggest you put your efforts into solving the Homeless Situation in Vermont.

    • These are the explanations typical once CRT has been exposed! “Nothing to see here! Conspiracy theory! We just want equality!” I wish Marxists didn’t feel they had to be subversive, but they always have been because of the ideas of freedom and liberty are so ingrained into who we are Marxism loses, plain and simple! The people of Cuba are getting it…when will the leftists in the U.S.?

    • admirable us of the Saul Alinsky playbook.
      You don’t DIRECTLY provide materials or build curriculum. But you do so indirectly.
      You are our neighbors, but you are bad neighbors because you don’t respect your neighbors’ boundaries.
      You don’t tell children to be ashamed, guilty or embarrassed of any trait they are born with because you don’t have to. You tell them to be ashamed of their history, their cultural and spiritual heritage and, most toxic of all, you sow hate and fear into those who want acceptance.
      You are a corrupting influence in Vermont and you should be ashamed of your actions.

  6. The teachers mentioned should be identified so parents are aware of who exactly is telling their children their parents are wrong. If I were a parent I would want to know which teachers were trying to undermine my influence with my children. Not to mention teachers in America telling students to be quiet or leave for having opposing views during a classroom discussion.

  7. First off, watch the money. “Building Fearless Futures” is funded by the Wheelock Mountain Farm a LOCAL advocacy organization. The LOCAL school district decided to contract them for consultancy and gives them MONEY. They spend the money on themselves and they just so happened to know people in the district and are LOCAL.

    BTW, OCSU allows each school to choose curriculums or really not have a curriculum at all. Things like “Building Fearless Futures” will supplant the regular activities of the school sites because it’ll be what the district wants to see. The vacuum of no district wide adopted curriculum will perpetuate this. Don’t believe it, ask the teachers at the school sites. Ask what the adopted textbooks are for language arts for example. The idea of using BASAL readings for each level will be foreign to them.

    The communities of the NEK need to see the educationists running the district as having agendas outside their own beliefs and in some cases even hold people in the community in contempt for just being working class people. The school boards need to stand up to them and tell them what they want to be taught in the schools. Don’t be impressed and intimidated by liberal arts degrees and fake graduate degrees, like M.Ed. and Ed.D.

  8. As the NEA, school boards, teachers, administrators are so proud and believe so strongly in this “programming”, they should not object to cameras in the classroom so all taxpayers can see the program implementation for real. If police must wear cameras – all classroom activity must be live streamed and archived as well – taxpayer money – we must demand full transparency and accountability from educators the same as they demand from law enforcement. They shouldn’t object if they are full on believers and have nothing to hide.

  9. While I doubt it will ever actually happen, the community should insist on having Zoom Meeting-style video feeds available (with audio) of each classroom their child is enrolled in. A passworded login would allow only the parents of each class’ enrolled children to see and hear that classroom’s activity. Not only to monitor, first hand, how their child behaves but also how the school’s staff behaves around their child. What is being taught.

    The time has long passed when parents can blindly trust strangers with their children’s current and future mindset and wellbeing.

  10. Share the curriculum with parents…….no reason not to be completely open about what is being taught. There should be no perception of deception when it comes to the education of children. Great article Bekah!

  11. God Bless these students!! Touché young ones – you lifted the veil and thank you Rebekah for the detailed time given this writing. The children need our protection – rise people!! They are being treated like this and worse in some cases – pressured from all directions and the worst is when it comes from their friends (since first grade) who swallowed the sinister teachings of this crap. Where in God’s name are the teachers who oppose this game? Grow some people -there IS more of you than them!

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