by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
On June 30, members of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers’ union, voted to approve a plan to promote critical race theory in all 50 states. Union delegates representing 3 million public school employees approved funding for three separate items related to “increasing the implementation” of “critical race theory” in K-12 curricula; promoting critical race theory in 14,000 local school districts; and attacking opponents of critical race theory, including parent organizations and conservative research centers.
The public vote represents a significant strategic pivot. For the past month, many liberal pundits and activists have insisted that critical race theory is not taught in K-12 schools. This was always a bad-faith claim; the ideology has made inroads in public schools for more than a decade. But the NEA’s official endorsement puts the final nail in the coffin of this rhetorical dodge.
In the resolution, the union agreed publicly to “convey its support” for critical race theory, oppose restrictions in state legislatures, and use schools to promote political activism. The delegates pledged to “join with Black Lives Matter at School and the Zinn Education Project” to hold a “national day of action” on George Floyd’s birthday, recruiting teachers to hold political demonstrations and “teach lessons about structural racism and oppression.”
The resolution also promised to develop a study to critique “empire, white supremacy, anti-Blackness, anti-Indigeneity, racism, patriarchy, cisheteropatriarchy, capitalism, ableism, [and] anthropocentrism”—that is, adapting the most fashionable and intellectually bankrupt ideas from the universities for use in grade school classrooms.
Finally, the NEA passed a resolution to “research the organizations” that oppose critical race theory—including grassroots parent organizations—and provide resources to groups and individuals targeting them. The national teachers’ union will use union dues, collected from public employees paid by taxpayers, to attack parents who oppose the racial indoctrination of their children.