CALL TO ACTION
The safety and wellbeing of our students is our first priority. During the 2020-2021 school year there were two major incidents of racism that occurred in Boulder County. A group of white students at Mead High School reenacted George Floyd’s murder, with one student wearing blackface. At Meadowlark School, teachers asked fifth grade students to write an essay on the pros and cons of slavery. We need to acknowledge the racism taking place, and the structures that allow this to happen. While CRT is not taught in K-12 classrooms, we need to talk about the ideas behind Critical Race Theory– that race is a social construct and racism is the result of institutions and legal structures.
What’s happening in Colorado?
The conversation about Critical Race Theory is present in Colorado schools, school board meetings, communities, and legislature. Here are some examples of what is taking place in Colorado.
- Rep Ken Buck, a Colorado congressman, introduced a bill in Congress that would ban ban federal funds from being used to teach the 1619 Project. The 1619 Project is a curriculum on the history and legacy of chattel slavery in the US, created by Nikole Hannah-Jones. Although the text of the bill does not mention Critical Race Theory, Rep Buck said, “Critical Race Theory is dangerous, anti-American, and has no place in our nation’s schools. Children shouldn’t be taught that they will be treated differently or will be racist because of their skin color.” This is an inaccurate explanation of Critical Race Theory.
School District 49 in Colorado Springs voted to ban Critical Race Theory in school curricula in the district. On July 8 the Board of Education voted to advance the resolution and had a final vote on August 12. You can read the resolution here.
The Colorado Department of Education is currently in the Social Studies Standards Revision Process. This is a two year process (2021-2022) and an opportunity to revise the curriculum. During the 2019 legislative session, the Colorado General Assembly passed House Bill 19-1192 which requires schools to update standards to educate students about the history, culture, and social contributions of people of color, religious minorities, and LGBTQ people. There is a commission updating these standards, and you can read their June 2021 report here. You can read more about the Social Studies Standards review process and attend upcoming meetings at this link. Also, you can provide feedback on the social studies standards by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have seen similar attacks this year targeting students using wedge issues. Critics of Critical Race Theory pretended Critical Race Theory is racist and damaging to create fear and divide people. Similarly, in 2021 some conservative legislators also introduced bills to prevent trans girls from playing on girls sports teams, pretending that the goal was to make sports fair and protect girls. This was another opportunity to manufacture a perceived debate, while there is really no debate. Trans girls playing sports is fair and safe.
What can you do?
Talk to the BVSD and SVVSD School Board and administrators. Voice your support for educating students about race, history, and anti racism. BVSD Board of Education email: email@example.com. SVVSD Board of Education contact form.
Educate your children! Educate your friends! Talk about the ideas behind Critical Race Theory– that race is a social construct and racism is the result of institutions and legal structures. Therefore we have to dismantle these structures!
Contact the NAACP or YWCA Boulder County to find out more about courses and resources for parents and children.
Email the Colorado Social Studies Standards Revision committee with your recommendations for what the curriculum should include and share support of expanded education about racism and bias. firstname.lastname@example.org
Join the SVVSD Community Advocacy Network on Facebook, the NAACP Boulder County Education Committee and DEI Parents Collaborative, YWCA Boulder County racial justice education, programming, and volunteer opportunities, and other organizations working toward racial justice.