AMAC Exclusive by Seamus Brennan
As Critical Race Theory (CRT) continues to infest K-12 classrooms throughout the country, grassroots coalitions composed of outraged parents, students, educators, and lawmakers—seen most prominently in places like Loudon County, VA—are rising to oppose it. One of those individuals who has steadfastly resisted CRT is Missouri State Representative Derek Grier, who unsuspectingly found himself at the center of a months-long school board debacle as the only conservative voice out of 65 members of a task force created ostensibly to have an honest dialogue about proposed new curriculum.
Missouri’s Parkway County School District, which is one of the state’s largest and covers thousands of students, approached Grier in the summer of 2020 about joining the District’s Equity Task Force. “For most of the world,” Grier said in an interview with AMAC Newsline, CRT “was not really on our radar.” Noting that he had not yet come to understand the progressive definition of the word “equity,” Grier decided to join the Task Force in good faith to add his conservative voice to what he was sure would be, like most enterprises in education, a mostly left-wing initiative.
To Grier’s dismay, throughout his participation in the Task Force’s meetings and break-out groups, he “failed to hear any dissenting opinion” on the ideas of CRT, which he described as “the basis” of the group’s conversations. As he spent more time on the Task Force and engaging with its members, Grier came to realize the dangerous nature of what he was hearing.
Ultimately, he determined that “the purpose of this Task Force was more towards legitimizing the efforts that the school was already making to implement these policies that are based on CRT.” The Task Force’s goal, rather than fostering conversation with people from diverse backgrounds, Grier said, was to achieve the “predetermined outcome” of supporting the School Board’s already underway efforts to infuse progressive narratives about American history and racial relations into every aspect of classroom instruction.
AMAC Newsline was able to obtain a copy of the District’s Equity Task Force Report, which was published in June. The Report consists of recommendations that echo the language of CRT advocates across the country, including the initiation of “mandatory professional development for all employees to increase their understanding of systemic and institutionalized racism along with oppressions that cause inequities for people who are non-white and/or fall outside the societal norms.”
The goal of this teacher training, according to the report, is to increase “all teachers’ knowledge of how to engage students in courageous conversations around racism and other oppressions,” and to promote engagement in “social justice cohorts and involvement in equity initiatives.” In other words, to encourage students and teachers to publicly advocate for leftist causes.
As the only conservative and only state legislator included in the Task Force, Grier was understandably troubled by the contents of the report. Although leaders of the Task Force insisted their goals were entirely distinct from those of CRT, Grier astutely noticed the Report’s frequent word-for-word similarities with similar CRT proposals in other states. In a June 16 letter to his fellow members of the Task Force, Grier wrote that although he originally thought the group was formed to “magnify the good, to develop policies that further empower minority students,” and “to build up rather than tear down,” its findings came out to nothing more than “a list of disturbing, leftist propaganda.”
“The report,” Grier continued, “is littered with educational jargon that implies all white people are racist and oppressors whether they know it or not and the solution is teaching our kids that skin color is the starting point in our experience as Americans.” Grier also explained how the “two dominant themes” in the Report can be reduced to “the juxtaposition of white versus non-white” and “an infusion of radical progressive politics into our education system.”
In short, Grier concluded, the Report and its findings are “state-sanctioned racism.” Accordingly, Grier announced his intention to introduce legislation to protect Missouri’s children, families, and communities from the “politically motivated assault” of CRT. That legislation, a draft of which was also obtained by AMAC Newsline, is modeled on a recent Iowa law and calls for prohibitions on “race and sex stereotyping” by state and local governments, by institution, and in training and curriculum.
The Iowa law itself, however, draws inspiration from President Trump’s Executive Order from September of last year that banned CRT trainings in the federal workplace , a moment that marked a high point for conservatives in the burgeoning Culture War. Much like Trump’s Order, Grier’s legislation would forbid the teaching of “divisive concepts,” including that “the United States of America and the state of Missouri are fundamentally or systemically racist or sexist,” that “an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of the individual’s race or sex,” and that “an individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by the individual’s race or sex.”
As American parents, teachers, and lawmakers continue to wake up to the perilous implications of CRT and the dire threat it poses to both the emotional health and self-confidence of our children and the future of our shared American heritage and culture, Grier is urging parents to become more active in the education of their children. “It’s great to speak up and voice your opposition to what the school is doing, but you need to take a more active role in your kid’s life, too,” Grier said.
The courage of conservative leaders like Derek Grier is clearly helping turn the tide in the fight against CRT. A June poll conducted in a series of battleground states found that independents are opposed to CRT by a staggering 76 percent, and as of June, 22 states have either introduced or signed into law legislation that prohibits CRT from being taught in public schools.
But progressives are not expected to simply give up. If anything, growing outrage over CRT policies has only emboldened the army of activists on the left who want to see their beliefs become standard in every school district throughout the country. As this fight unfolds, it will only be won if enough ordinary Americans like Derek Grier continue to step forward and work together to defeat this destructive ideology.
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