The state Public Education Department is updating its social studies standards for the first time in more than 20 years, and for educators like Wendy Leighton, a founding faculty member of Santa Fe’s Monte Del Sol Charter school, it’s a welcome change.

A social studies teacher and member of the LGBTQ community, Leighton said the current standards don’t require students to learn about the history of gay people, lesbians and other minorities in the U.S.

Leighton and Marie Fernandez, who teaches at South Valley Academy in Albuquerque, are co-leading a group of teachers revising U.S. history and social studies standards for the state. In all, more than 60 educators throughout New Mexico — including a handful from Santa Fe Public Schools — are part of the writing team that will help modernize a variety of expectations for students.

Fernandez and Leighton said they are looking forward to incorporating themes like social justice and tribal sovereignty into U.S. history standards for New Mexico students. They say refreshing those measures will better challenge students and move them from the rote “yes” and “no” answers that often arise under the current curriculum.

“This is about teaching historically accurate history,” Leighton said.

But the writing team’s work is not without controversy. Potential updates have prompted Republican legislators and at least one superintendent to raise concerns the new standards will forward “critical race theory” — a concept that refers to ways structural racism perpetuates inequities in the legal system and elsewhere — in New Mexico schools.

Those warnings came last week in a letter signed by 17 GOP legislators to the Legislative Education Study Committee, in which they warned proponents of critical race theory would “… advance controversial agendas and impose their nontraditional values on unsuspecting children in the classroom.”

Clovis Municipal Schools Superintendent Renee Russ also wrote a letter to the Public Education Department, noting a “widespread concern of a strong correlation” between the revision of standards and critical race theory. She added the focus groups offered in her area “felt very staged and one-sided,” leaving attendees “questioning the motives and intent of the presenters.”

House Minority Whip Rod Montoya, R-Farmington, said the group had not heard back from the Legislative Education Study Committee as of Tuesday.

Educators involved say the new standards aren’t informed by critical race theory.

The revised standards will be informed by eight guiding principles, according to documents provided to The New Mexican by the Public Education Department. They include one that aims to ensure divergence from a “singular Eurocentric cultural script,” and ensure equitable inclusion of “historical stories” from different races and ethnicities.

The plan, Leighton said, is to keep some existing standards and build from there.

Fernandez defended the process, contending it’s important to have history education “that’s more meaningful, that’s more connected to students’ lives and experiences.”

The term critical race theory entered the wider public sphere in 2020, largely after former President Donald Trump issued an executive order excluding any diversity and inclusion training from federal contracts that featured “divisive concepts,” “race or sex stereotyping” or “race or sex scapegoating.”



Since then, different bills across the country have arisen attempting to control how issues like race, sex and class are talked about in schools. In Idaho, a recently passed bill bars public institutions from compelling students to “personally affirm, adopt or adhere” to beliefs about race, sex or religion, according to the Atlantic magazine.

A news release that accompanied the representatives’ letter to the Legislative Education Study Committee describes the guiding principles as “extremely troubling” and containing “political buzz words” used to “impose non traditional values on unsuspecting children.”

The release addressed worries about critical race theory but didn’t provide a definition. When asked in an interview what the term meant to him, House Minority Leader Jim Townsend — who also signed the letter — did not provide one.

Instead, he said the state needed to better define the term. He added a number of constituents called legislators to inquire about the decision-making process around the standards, and who is involved.

“It should be open and transparent,” added Townsend, an Artesia Republican.

The Public Education Department has hired American Institutes for Research, a Washington, D.C.-based research nonprofit — it was called a “left-leaning think tank” in last week’s GOP news release — to facilitate the writing of the standards. PED has hosted focus group sessions at different schools around the state.

Montoya said guidelines calling for “divergence” from the “Eurocentric cultural script” would lead to erasure of Western culture and therefore Hispanic culture, and insisted that with the potential changes would come a push for critical race theory, which could even lead to anti-capitalist rhetoric in schools.

“If we’re going to go down that road, we should pull our kids out of the public schools and we need to rewrite our state pledge,” he said. “Because if you’re going to go down this road, it’s going to create division.”

This isn’t the first time social studies curriculum has sparked conversation in New Mexico.

Andrés Romero, the vice chairman of the Legislative Education Study Committee and a social studies teacher in Albuquerque, recalled that in 2017, the Public Education Department was scrutinized for crossing out certain historical events and figures, including Rosa Parks and Malcolm X, from exam study blueprints meant to aid teachers in preparing students for end-of-course exams.

In an interview last week, he invited more open conversations around the updated standards and also called for a revitalization of the current standards.

The Public Education Department maintains the standards will undergo the state’s rule-making process, which will involve a minimum 30-day public comment period and a public hearing after July, when the state anticipates the standards will be ready.

The agency hopes to release the standards in the next year along with professional development modules before fully implementing updated standards for the 2022-23 school year.

“The work we are doing is about inclusion, not exclusion,” Deputy Education Secretary Gwen Perea Warniment said in a statement provided by the Public Education Department. “We are adding important and previously missing perspectives and making sure our standards tell the stories of all our diverse communities and their contributions to the state and the nation.”

(93) comments

Kate Meadows

When do we have a discussion about our fight for last place with Mississippi for education success of our kids. Can we talk about our drop out statistics, failure to read and write. Failure in math. Other than Sante Fe and some schools in Albuquerque we continue to fail all skin colors. How do we hope to encourage critical thinking when reading levels at all grade levels are at the bottom nationally. When do we look at this history and address our failures. We continue to spend money with no accountability. Why are our schools and facilities closed after hours, to those that pay for them. Why are they not open for programs after school hours for continued education for both adults and kids. Why are the sports facilities on those campuses not available to all citizens when we obesity is such a problem in our communities. Why do we not talk about obesity being an added factor in COVID deaths. I’m so fatigued with those that never want to find a compromise to bring people together. Both sides of our government continue to be sent back to not find solutions that bring us together. What successful company would ever exist by not finding solutions. Why do we reward those who accomplish so little for all Americans. They continue to take pay increases during economic down turns telling us to spend more wisely and tighten your belt. How many families do you know that can consistently spend more than the take in with no eventual consequences? We continue to send them all back with no accountability for the very basics. If we continue to fail in educating our children we will continue to send those back to Washington and our state governments and get people who are at best average.

Joseph Tafoya

THE TALE FO TWO WOLVES

ONE EVENING, AN ELDERLY

CHEROKEE BRAVE TOLD HIS

GRANDSON ABOUT A BATTLE THAT

GOES ON INSIDE PEOPLE.

HE SAID "MY SON, THE BATTLE IS

BETWEEN TWO 'WOLVES' INSIDE US ALL.

ONE IS EVIL. IT IS ANGER,

ENVY, JEALOUSY, SORROW,

REGRET, GREED, ARROGANCE,

SELF-PITY, GUILT, RESENTMENT,

INFERIORITY, LIES, FALSE PRIDE,

SUPERIORITY, AND EGO.

THE OTHER IS GOOD.

IT IS JOY, PEACE LOVE, HOPE SERENITY,

HUMILITY, KINDNESS, BENEVOLENCE,

EMPATHY, GENEROSITY,

TRUTH, COMPASSION AND FAITH."

THE GRANDSON THOUGHT ABOUT

IT FOR A MINUTE AND THEN ASKED

HIS GRANDFATHER:

"WHICH WOLF WINS?..."

THE OLD CHEROKEE SIMPLY REPLIED,

"THE ONE THAT YOU FEED"

Khal Spencer

[thumbup]

Russell Scanlon

That’s a beautiful parable that I have heard and enjoyed before. . .but sometimes a fascist is just a fascist. And good people will rationalize, justify, equivocate. . . And then years later they find themselves in the awkward position of trying to explain how Auschwitz happened to their kids.

Russell Scanlon

This entire controversy points back to the same problem with the Right. The Right has no problem with “indoctrination” when the indoctrination supports their worldview. The only thing the 1619 project was attempting to do was to integrate the entire history of slavery into the conventional histories of the USA being taught across our nation. This was not even a problem until GOP candidates with no agenda for our nation were desperately in search of “wedge issues” to win elections. You can dredge up all the obscure, erudite, scholarly writings you want, but that is not what is going on here. You are guilty of the exact same thing you accuse liberals of doing: Sitting in padded armchairs in ivory towers and making pronouncements that have nothing to do with the reality of this situation. And if you think that Trump or DeSantis are really interested in “intellectual freedom” or the “free flow of ideas” then you are just fooling yourselves.

Richard Reinders

From liberal Bill Maher you'll find it funny https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fB9KVYAdYwg

Khal Spencer

Excellent!

Khal Spencer

As far as that Florida law, here is something written by a law professor (Jonathan H. Adler is the Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law and Director of the Colman Burke Center for Environmental Law at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law.) who actually read the bill.

https://reason.com/volokh/2021/06/24/does-a-new-florida-law-require-state-universities-to-monitor-faculty-and-student-beliefs/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

"...The bottom line is that headline writers and the Twitter commentariat have grossly misrepresented this legislation and pilloried what is actually a good idea: State governments ensuring that state institutions of higher learning provide open learning environments in which the full range of political and other views may be expressed. Indeed, it is unfortunate that some universities are not doing this already on their own accord, as they should recognize that providing such an environment is integral to their educational mission."

Mike Johnson

[thumbup][thumbup]Truth always beats rumors and exaggerations.

Khal Spencer

Some of the rhetoric is pretty dumb and aimed at the base, but as Adler says, the law is the law and one has to act on the basis of the law.

Russell Scanlon

Oh yeah Khal—I’m SURE that the Governor of Florida who actually BANNED the teaching of so called “Critical Race theory” in the classroom is TOTALLY interested in the “Free flow of ideas” in the classroom. This is what the GOP always does: creating a problem and a controversy where none exists. Particularly coming from a guy who is eagerly sucking up to the MAGA base.

Khal Spencer

Go read something written by a conservative with an actual conscience.

https://frenchpress.thedispatch.com/p/on-the-use-and-abuse-of-critical

Russell Scanlon

When “Conservatives with a conscience” are actually running the only “Conservative” political party this might be relevant. For now, we got Trump and DeSantis. And that is everyone’s problem.

Lee DiFiore

There is a pinpoint of light emerging at the end of this very dark tunnel. Everyday citizens are starting to rise up and speak out against critical race theory, identity politics, progressive policies and all related poisons being spread by the left. Teaching people that some are evil because of their skin color is as reprehensible now as it was 50 - 100 years ago. Racism is racism regardless of who and under what name we encourage it. The left's toxicity is ruining the country but a reckoning is underway and will get stronger.

Russell Scanlon

Yeah—you remember that time when when all those guys from “the Left” put on red hats and attacked the capitol and threatened to kill the VP and the Speaker of the House? me neither.

Richard Reinders

[offtopic]

Russell Scanlon

“The left’s toxicity is ruining the country”. . . ON TOPIC.

Jim Klukkert

[thumbup]

Stephen Hauf

So is your point here then is that some people because of the color of their skin are meant to be slaves. Regardless only teaching about the glory of manifest destiny to students without its consequence to the people who were harmed by it is neither fair or honest.

Khal Spencer

The scholarship isn't the problem. Its the uncritical adoption of dumbed-down versions of scholarship coupled with ham-handed policies uncritically developed by those who cave to ideology. Not to mention, there are too few people in academia who have the stomach to take on colleagues at the risk of career advancement and being called racists.

The experiences of folks like Laura Kipnis and Erika Christakis* come to mind.

* https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/05/the-peril-of-writing-a-provocative-email-at-yale/484418/

And for the current comedy, here you go.

https://www.thefire.org/stop-talking-right-now-university-of-oklahoma-training-shows-instructors-how-to-censor-indoctrinate-students/

Jim Klukkert

es, let’s go back to the old days, when articles like this were not around to disturb the privileged sleep of white people, like Lee DiFiore. When the Tulsa Race Massacre, and many other brutal white racist attacks, were invisible.

In Canada, Another ‘Horrific’ Discovery of Indigenous Children’s Remains

An Indigenous group said the remains of 751 people, mainly children, had been found in unmarked graves on the site of a former boarding school in Saskatchewan.

Note in this NYT Comment, that the writer says the abuse of First Nations people was was "only discovered thanks to a single HS teacher deviating from the textbook."

“Canada has a dark history deeply rooted in anti-indigenous action that is too often overlooked nationally and internationally, too often obscured by the notion that we are, and always have been a hate free nation. My understanding of Canada’s history with the native population was only discovered thanks to a single HS teacher deviating from the textbook. My heart goes out to all indigenous people, for everything they’ve endured, and continue to endure.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/24/world/canada/indigenous-children-graves-saskatchewan-canada.html?campaign_id=60&emc=edit_na_20210624&instance_id=0&nl=breaking-news&ref=cta®i_id=58038491&segment_id=61638&user_id=b6ed338b26683a5659853c6b06945ffc

Khal Spencer

Its the human condition, not just something unique to the West. For example.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_massacres_in_India

CJ Martin

"Critical Race Theory" is a strawman crafted by and for the Republican Party. The creator of tje phrase used it in her research and with only a select group of graduate students. There was never classroom curriculum, there has been no program developed around the original academic research. What we hear and are suckered into arguments about is an idea created to sow discord and win votes.

Learning about racism in America is critical to the welfare of our nation. We cannot afford another generation being brainwashed by an education system corrupted by an entrenched political narrative. I was taught that 1619 was the red letter year in Virginia because it brought slaves, qomen and representative government to the colony. We were all taught myths in America, it is time to teach the truth.

Khal Spencer

For a more erudite criticism of CRT, here is Andrew Sullivan. Hopefully since I was able to read it, its not behind a paywall.

https://andrewsullivan.substack.com/p/dont-ban-crt-expose-it-2d9

Mike Johnson

That is an excellent article Khal, thanks for sharing it. The conclusion is important to remember for a liberal democracy like ours: "This is how democracies work. Illiberal ideologies can come in and quietly and quickly spread, enabled by our own human penchant for tribalism. And at first, they succeed, especially if they have fully captured the elites. But, as the impact is felt on the ground, and as the incidents of extremism mount, the resistance will grow. Let’s use liberal means — airing this topic, exposing its arguments, decoding its language, explaining its ultimately totalitarian logic — to beat this illiberal menace in the field of public opinion. Then the repair can begin. " I also find amusing people on the left are still promoting the false narrative that: "I’m sure the MSM will continue to push this narrative indefinitely. They are still insisting, after all, that “white supremacy” is behind hateful attacks on Asian-Americans,", when of course the facts say otherwise.......https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/wilfred-reilly/crime-against-asians-isnt-due-to-white-supremacy/

Russell Scanlon

By all means, let’s just ignore the “tribalism” of thousands of red hatted people (who just coincidentally happen to be 99.9% white) who actually physically attacked the US Capitol and inflicted mayhem and trauma on our nation to disrupt our elections.

you guys are hopeless—just hopeless.

Mike Johnson

According to the FBI, some 800 people actually entered the Capitol building, only 500 or so have been charged with anything, and most are misdemeanors, the first one given probation, so not "thousands". In addition, no police were killed by the rioters, one rioter was killed by police shot point blank, and no rioters who entered the Capitol carried deadly weapons. You need to get the facts correct, but I know rabid political partisanship disdains facts for emotion.

Russell Scanlon

Wow—that’s just insane. What if they were Black people Mike?

Jim Klukkert

Further reading kids? From The Washington Post, 23 June 2021. Opinion: Who’s afraid of critical race theory? Not the students in my classes. Opinion by Vincent Jungkunz, associate professor of political science at Ohio University.

"These are powerful lessons that, when taught and learned, have the potential to bring real change. Sadly, it’s this transformative power that many White people fear. Thus, we see Republican politicians and commentators, and parents across the country, waging a war of misinformation aimed at demonizing what just might be a way out of our racial nightmare."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/06/23/space-traders-critical-race-theory-teaching/?utm_campaign=wp_opinions_pm&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_popns&carta-url=https://s2.washingtonpost.com/car-ln-tr/33fff3f/60d38bcd9d2fda8060e46d86/5976a3d89bbc0f6826b8efc6/9/62/60d38bcd9d2fda8060e46d86

Khal Spencer

Just to add to Jim's comment. This is a good piece in the WaPo and at the bottom are about four or five links to other related essays, both pro and con. Good set of reading materials.

Russell Scanlon

Newsflash: Florida just passed a law requiring college students to register their “political beliefs”.

There is only one party that is trying indoctrination, intimidation, and the suppression of truth—and it ain’t the democrats.

Truth has a liberal bias.

Khal Spencer

A little more complicated but here is an NPR reference.

https://www.wuft.org/news/2021/04/07/legislature-passes-bill-requiring-political-bias-surveys-in-florida-universities/

Mike Johnson

Thanks for the real info Khal, sounds like a good idea to me, wish we had that in NM.

Russell Scanlon

I find it incredibly disappointing, Khal, that you could consider this anything other than political intimidation by a Republican Governor and a Republican state legislature. This bill is total BS and you know it.

Khal Spencer

That article is out of the Univ. of Florida. They did a deeper dive into the bill than you did.

Russell Scanlon

I read the article Khal. At what point did we decide that it was OK to be forced to publicly announce our political preferences? At what point did you decide that it was OK to enable Fascists?

Russell Scanlon

And why are we even finding it necessary to legislate something like this? What is the endgame? We know that Conservatives have a long-standing issue with their sons and daughters going to universities and embracing beliefs which may not agree with their upbringing. Why is this a government problem? Why should ANYONE be forced to disclose their political preferences when what happens in the voting booth is considered confidential, sacred, and essential to democracy? Part of the educational process is people learning about unfamiliar beliefs and unknown cultures. Why is this considered dangerous to Florida Republican hacks?

Again—why do you enable these people with pithy philosophical arguments and a misguided desire for equanimity. These people are extremists of the worst type.

Khal Spencer

First off, the article said it would be done anonymously. Second, I didn't say I agreed with the idea. Third, when I see a comment like yours about a bill what I try to do is find a couple of sources to see what is going on since the opinions here, yours and mine included, are shall we say often long on opinion and shorter on details. Usually if a subject has to do with free speech or academic freedom in academia, I check the FIRE site. But since the article I found was out of a university public media site, I read that and posted it.

There is a ton of rhetoric regarding the "leftward" drift of academia in the social sciences and humanities. Some of what passes for scholarship I find hilarious. In spite of that, I think legislatures should keep their noses out of it but its not my state and not my call. This sounds like a stupid bill but hey, its Florida.

Russell Scanlon

And finally Khal, why don’t you read a little bit about what Desantis said when he signed this onerous POS bill into law. That is all. Sorry I’m mad, but I’m a hothead sometimes.

John Wilson

It seems that the right wing media has gotten their fans all stirred up about an imaginary conspiracy theory with the name of a somewhat esoteric academic study area. I am pretty sure that the dingbats who are all sweaty and agitated about Critical Race Theory haven't the slightest idea of what it really means. Their mental masters may very well know what it means but are happy to use it as a whip to stir up the drones and clones that make up their base. All hail the foot soldiers of Fox etcetera.

PHILIP V.

I feel sorry for anyone who feels teaching hatred and self-guilt to elementary school students is a noble cause.

Jim Klukkert

No worries PHILIP V.! The BIA boarding schools were finally shut down, closed, cerrado, some time ago. It took too long, but I am sure you agree with me, better late than never.

Alexandra Lynch

The objection to "non-traditional" information being taught is a dead give away. Curriculum has to evolve along with our growing understanding of the world we live in. There was a long time traditional teaching that the Earth was flat.

nik cecere

So, 17 GOP New Mexican legislators feel ("feel" since there seems to be little "thought" involved) that "critical race theory advance[s] controversial agendas and impose their nontraditional values on unsuspecting children in the classroom."

As an Anglo import (27 happy years now in the Santa Fe area), invaders after invaders have come to New Mexico to "fix" what is "wrong" with politically ascendant fix comes along.

Generations of "unsuspecting children" are the ripped off from their traditions by government action (as the schools are public, government "run" (another iffy word choice). Now, 17 GOP White Guys--Do I presume incorrectly that the 17 are White? Do others "colors" object to critical race theory?--fear their children will be forced to learn in school how dominate cultures assault and tear apart by the latest "non-traditional values" and way of life.

Clearly at least some (17, GOP, White(?), ignorant, racially insensitive)NM legislators are sure White equals right; all others are road kill.

Ask Indians. Ask Blacks. Ask Spanish descendants with 400+ years living in the Southwest.

Why are so many people (color/race aside) against the facts of American history being taught in school classrooms? At least 17 NM GOP legislators think you and your children have no business knowing what happened to people of color at the hands of the Anglo immigrants.

What goes around, comes around. Stop trying to keep New Mexicans of all stripes in the dark about historical realities. This is GOP attempt to sweep the dirty past under the rug.

What's up next? Let's hope for a wide-spread teaching of both critical race theory as it applies to American Indians as well as to Blacks. When those atrocities are clear too, the chickens coming home to roost will again have blood of color on their white feathers.

Khal Spencer

Perfect example of who should not be teaching social studies in our schools.

Mike Johnson

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

Richard Reinders

[thumbup][thumbup]

Bruce Taylor

New Mexico's GOP appears determined to drive itself right into utter oblivion. Let's let them.

Khal Spencer

No curriculum is any better than the designers who write it and the teachers who teach it. Oh, and if the students are competent to understand it. In New Mexico, I have my doubts about that triad.

Looking at the sidebar, I don't have a problem with a more rounded teaching of history or a problem with much of anything on that list. History is complicated and in the past, written indeed by the winners. That list looks more rounded than the curriculum I had as a middle and high school kid. It wasn't until 11th Grade in Mr. Creighton and Mr. Hilburger's American Studies class that we actually engaged in critical thinking and in looking at multiple primary sources rather than dusty textbooks (and this was in a New York State public school, not a fancypants private school). Then in 12th Grade I took Asian Studies with Mike Hilburger, who also coached wrestling and football. Among other sources, we read Fanshen by William Hinton. Mr. Hilburger was not a cardboard cutout liberal or conservative. He was a fine teacher, as was Creighton. Interestingly, when my high school did its senior trip to Toronto, Canada, I snagged a copy of Mao's Little Red Book as a joke to Mike Hilburger. He never worried about me being "indoctrinated" and wish he were still alive today as a role model.

Thing is, Creighton and Hilburger were excellent teachers. That was a half century ago. My wife taught English at a community college for more than twenty years (roughly 1980-2001) and always got pushback from Hawai'i's public schools when she wanted to work with them on raising the literacy of the graduates. She read this article and was skeptical that anyone in our "nationally next to last" PED would be competent to teach such complicated subjects and whether students could comprehend it. Hopefully she is wrong but as she is a subject matter expert on teaching, I doubt it.

Whether it is the "traditional Western, Eurocentric" treatment of history or this new, revised version, it will only be as good as the teachers and students. Not to mention, if it is written to avoid easy stereotyping and phony answers and political bias. Since I have not read the actual curriculum, I'll not draw any conclusions.

I wish the PED good luck on this. Many critics will make their lives hard.

Russell Scanlon

It is quite easy, if anyone bothers looking, to learn how cities in the USA during the 19th and 20th century ruthlessly and systematically excluded Non-Whites from the American Dream through zoning laws, railroad and highway easements, and the innocent sounding “covenants” for suburban development. But you won’t read about any of that in any high school history textbook. And when those methods failed there were plenty of lynchings and massacres like in Tulsa to keep the “colored folk” in line. But you won’t read about those in any high school history textbook either.

I know my opponents will say I am just a “soft” liberal with “white guilt” but that is not the case. There is no justice, no advancement, and no reconciliation without an honest appraisal of the past. Period.

In the meanwhile, as I stated earlier, this is nothing more than another cynical attempt by the GOP to create division among our citizens, (ALL citizens) to win elections. They got nothing else.

Khal Spencer

Hi Russell. Its obviously (well, to me) not my position that we should not teach this material. Its my concern that it will be watered down to intellectual pablum. Will teachers simply use another textbook that is run off a press? Indoctrinate rather than teach critical thinking?

You are right: never read about this in school.

Stuff like this needs to be used. I don't know if Chuck's webinar is still available but as a PE and planner, he discusses reparations in the context of the economic cost to Blacks and minorities of redlining.

https://www.strongtowns.org/eventspage/2020/10/29/the-economic-impact-of-redlining

Jim Klukkert

Great link Khal.

In my 4th/5th/6th multi-grade classroom, we used attractive kid written texts published in Colorado went after the history of the Southwest by posing the question "Conqueror or Liberator," and explored the various view points. We also had a school wide investigation of Apartheid and schoolchildren, that culminated in a role play dramatic re-creation of South African society. Interestingly, the racist Boer's had a black South African ex-pat teacher coaching their team.

I know that Howard Zinn's 'A People's History of the United States' has made occasional appearances at Santa Fe High.

Maybe I should stop before mentioning the teaching materials available back in the day at the Black Panther Party's Free Breakfast Program. Yes, it was the BPP that first put into action 'breakfast is a right for children, and basic to educational success.'

Oh boy, gotta go duck somewhere, before the brickbats fly!

Russell Scanlon

I am 66 years old and I vividly remember seeing “White” and “Colored” restrooms when my family travelled through the South in the 1960’s. Thanks to the efforts of Civil Rights workers, many of whom were assaulted or even murdered, we as a society decided that this was no longer acceptable.

Folks: Don’t try to tell us that racism is “over”. Donald Trump has emboldened the same old tiresome bigots like the “Cowboys for Trump” (and apparently the entire GOP) to come out of the closet and try to send us back to Jim Crow days. These Republicans will be defeated because they are against equality, freedom, and justice.

Khal Spencer

Jim, it sounds like you taught like Mr. Creighton and Mr. Hilburger taught, going back to my original comment.

Mike Johnson

Khal, your "triad" is one very important element short, you forgot parents. After all isn't it many racial activists contention that racism is taught, nurtured, and entrenched at home? The parents are the key element, far more influential than teachers, course, and theories. That is where I have my most doubts as to any effectiveness even if this is unbiased, fair, truthful, benign, and academic. Of course by the sound of it, this kind of course work is none of those either.

Khal Spencer

That's true, Mike. I have two sets of Italian-American cousins on my mom's side. One group grew up in Buffalo and one in Rochester. The Buffalo crew reminds me, when I visit them, of being the unwilling participant in the Spike Lee movie Do the Right Thing. The Rochester crew is utterly non-racist. Its upbringing, not genetics.

Stefanie Beninato

It is telling and disappointing that your wife, Khal, would be so pessimistic not only about a teacher's ability to present this theory but about kids' abilities to learn. Helping students set a goal and helping them to work towards it --not telling someone they never be able to do something-will make a difference to academic outcome and maybe even to that student's desire to be a lifelong learner.

Russell Scanlon

The GOP doesn’t want every citizen to vote and they don’t want people to learn to the truth about our history, good and bad. How many of you had heard about the Tulsa massacre until the last few years? And do you know what the Tulsa massacre (as well as the thousands of lynchings during Jim Crow) was? It was genocide. Spare me your phony and defensive outrage Republicans. Someone said it best: Give the children the whole truth and they can process the facts for themselves. This is nothing more than a bankrupt, corrupt political party trying to distract people with fake controversy. Remember the howls of protest over gay marriage drummed up by Karl Rove in 2004 to distract everyone from the catastrophe of the Iraq war? Gay marriage is now the law of the land and Karl Rove is pathetic footnote in history. The GOP is doing the only thing it knows how to do: Divide people against each other to win elections.

Aurora Sanchez

Teaching history, all of it, its beauty and its warts is simply being honest and open. Teaching history like that allows everyone to see things as they were, it is not about telling them how to think. I had a great history teacher that did not teach a watered down version of history. It made us think, ask questions and want to learn more and understand better what happened. Because of her, and of course my parents who encouraged education, I'm still wanting to and learning about history, ours and everyone else. Life, people, history are not one dimensional. The more you are willing to see and learn the better informed you become.

Stefanie Beninato

Aurora[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

Sabine Strohem

Three words: WAG THE DOG

PHILIP V.

This debate about Critical Race Theory (CRT) has been going on for awhile around the country. Finally, after understanding what their children are being taught, parents are beginning to object to this radical, Marxist agenda. Beside dividing children by race, they are taught if you are white you are (by nature) an oppressor and children of color are the oppressed. We don't need teachers to rewrite history and teach THEIR values. Please stand up to the radicals!

Bruce Taylor

Yes, it is clear and only stands to reason that any consideration of systemic racism, ethnicism, and genderism must be a dastardly radical Marxist agenda. And, of course, any effort to correct the misinformation peddled as "history" of the past must be solidly blocked, otherwise it would interfere with our pretty little false picture of our actual heritage. Can't have that!

Charlotte Rowe

You really need to learn what Marxism is.

Khal Spencer

That's right. We need to study Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Gummo, and Zeppo. I suggest Duck Soup as a starting point.

Janet Eduardo

Only the GOP would consider teaching the truth about history as a "non-traditional value".

Charlotte Rowe

It's their best feature.

Jim Klukkert

These needed reforms will encourage independent critical thinking among our young people, and hasten the day when our world is finally free of the historical systematic abuse of the many for the profit of the few.

I am heartened that the increased agency of many groups long oppressed for profit, has led to the loosening of the dominant culture's hold on both education and the media.

What is truly controversial is not 'critical race theory,' but the inability of the old guard to finally peacefully relinquish its dominance over the public square of free thought and discussion.

Khal Spencer

You better be the one teaching this, Jim. I'm counting on folks like you to get it right.

Jim Klukkert

Thanks so much for your kind thoughts, Khal. I am glad that I have lived long enough to see this turn of events.

I was suspended from UW for protesting the state sponsored assassination of Chairman Fred Hampton, now his story is a major motion picture.

I am afraid I have not the energy for another classroom, but rest assured Khal, opportunities to engage folks keeps popping up on my door step!

Again, my thanks to you for your kind words. Means much to me!

B. Rosen

There is a difference between education and indoctrination, teaching students about critical race theory can be beneficial, as long as it includes a discussion of this theory’s shortcomings, critics, etc. Students should be able to distinguish between theories and objective facts. The GOP really doesn’t want anyone to have an open and frank discussion about institutional racism, which is reason enough to make sure we indeed do discuss it.

Charlotte Rowe

YES. What's been happening so far has been indoctrination into the white supremacy myth for sure. Everything from glorifying massacres to adulating traitors who took up arms against their own country in order to keep their superiors enslaved. Time to present actual history. The kids can decide what they think of it.

Jim Klukkert

B. Rosen, you are quite correct: any viewpoint presented in a free classroom should be discussed with counter- or alternative- viewpoints, i.e. critical perspectives.

Our goal must be to empower people with the ability to think critically, to research and investigate, and to discern appropriate choices that lead to a better world.

Denial of institutional and systemic prejudices objectively supports those biases. Dare I say that there are well intentioned folks who are kind and harbor no racist thoughts, but their continued support of that antiquated notion that that systematic racism is over, actually supports the continuation of that racist system.

Mike Johnson

Yes, this looks like the left wing push to start teaching children what to think, not how to think. Pretty obvious from all the words used, "social justice", etc., nothing but trigger words and dog whistles.

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Philip Taccetta

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rodney carswell

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PHILIP V.

Any curriculum that separates people (students) by race, religion, sex, sexual orientation and others is bad news. It is always brought in under the guise of inclusivity but is toxic and has dire results. Let's focus on the current studies and get New Mexicans proficient in math, writing and science.

Charlotte Rowe

Oh please. What on Earth are you people so afraid of? Children need to learn the truth, not some rightwing snowjob.

Philip Taccetta

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Khal Spencer

Even technocrats need to have some grounding in history, politics, and ethics. Especially technocrats. Last thing we want to do is raise a generation of "Good Germans".

Whether it is the Charlottesville marchers or the goons who tore down the statue of abolitionist Hans Christian Heg, who was killed in action in the Civil War (because as far as the ignorant buffoons were concerned, he was just another white guy), we have our work cut out for us trying to instill critical thinking and historical literacy in some of our fellow citizens.

Richard Reinders

We have eliminated systemic racism in my lifetime , admittedly not all racism but it is on its way out, this program will train a whole new group of racist that will take 50 to 75 years to get rid of. Kids are a lot smarter today and don't need a teacher to tell them who to hate like their white mother, father, cousin or best friend. We are a mixed race society and you will just confuse children, some of them to the point of suicide. We know who the racist in the room are , the people pushing these ideas on innocent children.

Craig O'Hare

Richard: You obviously don't comprehend the actual proposal and are reacting to your preconceived notion of what you think the proposal is - promoting fear along the way.

Lupe Molina

This is the craziest thing I've ever read and exactly the reason we need to change the curriculum.

Mike Johnson

[thumbup][thumbup]Well said Richard.

Charlotte Rowe

You like kool-aid, it appears.

Jerry Appel

No, we have not eliminated systemic racism in our lifetime. There are laws on the books, but the fact that our society still has obscene levels of inequality in terms of prison populations, police stops, health care gaps, housing ghettos, and others, is a sure sign that we are not in a post racist society. As I understand Critical Race Theory, it seeks to simply tell the truth such as why we celebrate Juneteenth and why it took Union troops to force Texans to free their slaves from their racist owners or the fact that one of the main reasons Texas revolted from Mexico was to maintain their slave economy/culture. Germany was able to look the Holocaust in the face, pass a lot of laws and enforce them which included teaching all school children about the event instead of sweeping it under the rug. This country needs to stare its racist history in the face, accept what it was, accept that the Civil War was driven by race, the Jim Crow happened and was not acceptable despite what Haley Barbour had to say, George Wallace or Strom Thurmond. We must also not sweep Japanese internment under the rug, or the massacres and oppression of Mexican-Americans while respecting the enormous contributions each group has made to this country. As a member of one such oppressed group, Jews, I am all too aware of the fact that there may me laws on the books, but society is far from accepting non-Christian faith groups as equals. The Charlottesville demonstration and counter-demonstration that President Trump white-washed as "very fine people on both sides" is another fine example of the disconnect of laws and social behavior. Another illustration of this are drug laws and drug usage, but that is a digression. What Critical Race Theory will also explore is that disconnect in a classroom discussion. What social structures are there that maintain racist behaviors despite their illegality? Students will get an opportunity to read, write, discuss, and grow into better informed citizens.

Emelda Martinez

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Russell Scanlon

I’m guessing Mr. Reindeers has never had to instruct his Black son how to behave “properly” when stopped by the police in East Texas. But he is right about one thing: Kids are smarter today and more enlightened about attitudes about race. But only in his world would teaching a complete inclusive history be considered “racist”.

Charlotte Rowe

What's funny is that all these so-called adults who are so terrified that their kids might learn the truth are, in fact, in no position to prevent it. The kids will find out whether they want them to or not. You'd think they would prefer that the history would be presented in a carefully vetted and balanced curriculum that has been fact-checked, rather than them finding out via social media which can skew almost anything.

Mike Johnson

"The kids will find out whether they want them to or not." If you believe that, why are you concerned about any of this? That is a waste of time and energy, according to your beliefs.

Russell Scanlon

She just told you why Mike.

Richard Reinders

Russel I have a Black grand daughter and I fear they will turn her against her loving grand parents ,other adopted siblings and parents that adopted her a birth. It can only be a source of confusion for a well adjusted happy 12 year old.

Russell Scanlon

I’m sorry—I don’t even understand that. Why does the Right have so little faith in people’s ability to process information and make their own conclusions?

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