by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Kevin Roberts only took office as the new president of the Heritage Foundation on Dec. 1, but his education-focused vision for the legendary think tank could shift in how conservatives approach the critical issue.
“The greatest fruit of the debate over critical race theory isn’t merely that conservatives are winning that debate and thankfully rooting out CRT in a lot of schools,” Roberts told the Washington Examiner. “It’s that in the process of doing so, we have recognized that we can use this overreach by the radical Left to remind Americans what education should truly be about.”
Critical race theory, which teaches that American institutions and culture are systemically racist and skin color dictates status as either victim or oppressor, has been the source of ongoing national controversy due to its presence in public schools.
Democratic politicians and liberal activists have repeatedly insisted that the theory is not taught in schools, despite ever-increasing contradictory evidence, and have loudly objected to Republican lawmakers and governors who have moved to enact legislation banning CRT from public schools in numerous states.
But as conservative activists and Republican politicians have had some success in pushing CRT out of schools, the void created by its absence has conservatives like Roberts eyeing classical education as its natural replacement.
Having been classically educated “at a public high school in Louisiana of all places,” Roberts said that education, properly understood, is about “formation of the soul, and in a nonsectarian sense, a formation of the citizen, which our founders understood to be one and the same.”
“It’s great to see that in the private sector, charter schools, private schools, a rebirth of classical schools in this country,” Roberts said. “But I’m also really excited that in public charter schools, we’re seeing many of those curricula adopted.”