by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Tony Kinnett was working toward his master’s degree in education at Ball State University when a fellow graduate student told him he should feel guilty for being white during class.
Kinnett told the Washington Free Beacon his classmate was simply parroting what future teachers learn in graduate school. Critical race theory is “all they know, and all they’ve been taught,” said Kinnett, now the science coordinator for Indianapolis Public Schools.
Once, in a course on education policy and pedagogy, Kinnett argued that teachers shouldn’t be afraid to fail students who don’t perform to standard. A peer chimed in and said Kinnett was “blinded” by his white privilege, as white teachers can’t understand obstacles that minority students must overcome to succeed in school. The lambasting went on for about five minutes.
“I was confused,” said Kinnett, who is part Cherokee. “She went off on why white educators needed to second-guess themselves in everything they’re doing.”
More than half of public school teachers in the United States have earned an advanced degree in education. Master’s programs in education have on average churned out nearly 150,000 teachers annually over the past seven years. These programs are increasingly focused on changing how educators and students view American history.
At Harvard, aspiring teachers “learn to change the world” in courses like Critical Race Theory in Education. Graduate students in education at UCLA and the University of Pennsylvania are required to take diversity, equity, and inclusion courses. Penn also offers diversity and inclusion as a focus for graduate students.
Though critical race theory entered the national conversation last summer, it has been percolating in graduate programs since the 1990s, Lindsey Burke, director of the Center for Education Policy at the Heritage Foundation, told the Free Beacon. Aspiring teachers who set out to fine-tune their classroom skills instead wind up studying how to view American history through a Marxist lens.