Updated: Oct 2, 2022
JANUARY 8, 2022
RALEIGH - Today North Carolina's largest education groups Education First Alliance and No Left Turn in Education called on the North Carolina General Assembly to halt the funding of a state-wide preschool program that pushes critical race theory in special education classrooms.
The call came days after the State School Board approved a contract with UNC Chapel-Hill's Frank Porter Graham's Child Development Center to develop training modules titled "Equity and Cultural Responsiveness in the Early Childhood Classroom."
The $7M to fund the program came from the IDEA Preschool Handicapped Grant awarded to the state by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) at the US Department of Education.
“With this vote, North Carolina's schools became the most radically divisive education system in America, said Sloan Rachmuth, President of Education First Alliance.
"Yes, we are seeing critical race theory in schools elsewhere, but it's mainly taught in the higher grades. But preying on disabled 3-year-old children - getting them to participate in a political movement, and to hate themselves based on skin color in the process, shows our public schools to be more morally corrupt than all others," Rachmuth continued.
This year the "Equity and Cultural Responsiveness in the Early Childhood Classroom" training was offered to special needs pre-K teachers through the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI), and aligned with the NC Professional Teacher Standards.
During the program's "Identity" module, teachers are told that whiteness affects everything outside of the classroom and that the goal of pre-K is to "deconstruct" whiteness for all students. Deconstructing whiteness, they explain, is challenging whiteness and building skills to be accountable to people of color.
Teaching 3 to 5 year olds to question scientific, social and historical facts is another program directive. So is getting them to question issues of power and control in their lives.
Teachers are told that pervasive racism means children are never safe. In lieu of supervising children for their safety, teachers are instructed to consider that "control" is based on white culture and a white supremacist mindset. Instead, teachers are told to use social-emotional learning.
State School Board member Amy White asked Superintendent Catherine Truitt to address concerns she had about programming during the vote. White said she received an email about the pre-K program featuring concepts like "systemic racism" and "anti-racism." In defense of the program, Truitt stated that it's anti-racist work is "wholly separate from anything they are doing," despite the fact that the incendiary pieces bear NCDPI's logo and the same title as the program in the contract.
The center scrubbed its website of slides, agendas, and other training documents an hour after the school board meeting adjourned.
"Hiding this controversial material after questions from the public were raised shows the corrupt and ideological intentions behind these trainings," said Dr. Nancy Andersen, North Carolina leader of No Left Turn in Education.
"I showed the Superintendent document after document from these trainings and that she chose to defend using $7M for the divisive program, rather than delaying the vote as she promised, speaks volumes about the incompetence of the education leadership in the state."
NCDPI's contract with Frank Porter Graham has been in place since 2013, but until now, it was specifically for early childhood special education. This conract extension continues the program through 2025 with a new focus on critical race theory concepts.
This summer, members of the Superintendent's party sent a bill to the state's governor that would ban teaching critical race theory in schools. In September, Democrat Governor Roy Cooper vetoed the bill.
For more information: https://www.edfirstnc.org/post/the-worst-crt-training-we-ve-ever-seen-seriously
Training documents: https://www.edfirstnc.org/preschool
About Education First Alliance: Education First Alliance fights for the equality of dignity and of opportunity for all K-12 students in North Carolina's educational system.
About No Left Turn in Education: No Left Turn in Education is a national group whose mission it is to revive in American K-12 education the fundamental discipline of critical and active thinking based on facts, investigation, logic and sound reasoning.