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Critical Race Theory | Warning Signs Your Private School May Be Planning To Or May Be Implementing Critical Race Theory

While parents fight against Critical Race Theory in K-12 public schools and even with some removing their children from K-12 public to private schools, K-12 private schools do not offer absolute protection from Critical Race Theory.

While many parents and guardians have a good understanding of their religion, most parents and guardians do not have a good understanding (or no understanding at all) of Critical Race Theory. While some K-12 private schools may deny they’re following Critical Race Theory, even if they follow a particular framework which follows the tenets of Critical Race Theory. As sad as it is to even state this, it must be said: Please do not allow your religion to blindside you. If anything, religious terminology allows for better camouflaging of Critical Race Theory (even in Christian based K-12 private schools). 

It’s important that parents share this information with others especially during a time when very few people understand Critical Race Theory. The information provided below comes directly from my own experiences. I too am still in the process of understanding and figuring this out. Some of the information provided comes from patterns I’ve discovered between a K-12 public school and K-12 private school (public school in Illinois; private school in Wisconsin). I am not a professional reporter so please keep that in mind when reading my posts. I am a very concerned parent trying to help other concerned parents. 

Critical Race Theory Public vs. Private School Blame Game

Ask a K-12 public or private school if they teach Critical Race Theory and you’ll quickly receive the answer “It’s not Critical Race Theory”. K-12 public schools are quick to blame K-12 private schools for implementing Critical Race Theory in order to divert attention away from the K-12 public education system or specific K-12 school district. Some K-12 private schools are doing the same, instead telling parents that what is being considered or implemented it is not Critical Race Theory which has been federally mandated for K-12 public schools. While some states in the U.S. have banned Critical Race Theory in K-12 public schools, these bans do not apply to the K-12 private school sector. K-12 private schools are free to teach Critical Race Theory or certain parts of Critical Race Theory if they choose and how they see fit to do so.

Private schools will try to gaslight suspicious parents and guardians coming from K-12 public schools who have implemented Critical Race Theory. They’ll tell you you’re  traumatized by your experience with your previous public school and therefore the reason for your suspicions with your new K-12 private school. Don’t fall for it. Do not allow them to shut down the conversation with this poorly contrived excuse. Let their gaslighting fuel your fire. Keep pressing for the truth.

Possible Red Flags To Lookout For Which May Indicate Critical Race Theory

There is a particular process to watch out for when it comes to implementing Critical Race Theory and both K-12 public and private schools will follow this process. Take a look below to learn about each step of the process.

1. K-12 Private School Parent Meeting Discussing Your School Culture (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)

K-12 private school parent meetings to discuss your school culture is usually the first step to the “equity” process (some public schools will do the same, while others do not). This meeting is usually held to assure parents that their K-12 private school has no intentions of incorporating Critical Race Theory does not align with the beliefs of their religion. Parents and guardians are usually provided the opportunity to ask questions. 

2. Newsletter From Your K-12 Private School Asking Participation In A Cultural Survey Or Instrument (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)

A newsletter from your school stating that they would like your participation in a survey using a “School Culture Instrument”. The name of the survey and  “Instrument” will most likely differ from K-12 private school to K-12 private school. Keep a lookout for the word “culture”. This letter will most likely state that a similar survey will be administered to students in grades 5-12 during class hours.

The purpose of this survey is to get a multi-stakeholder assessment that supposedly delivers valid, reliable scores and benchmark comparisons.The model for this tool provides the framework to measure school community strengths and weaknesses. The research and instrument data are used to guide substantial everyday leadership and school activities to radically transform school’s culture.

At this point you should start a documentation log. Research the organization providing the “instrument”/survey. Does this organization provide accreditation to your K-12 private school? Is this organization affiliated with any other organizations? Document all of this information because it may be important to reference down the road.

While I won’t tell you what to do, I will tell you that when I received this survey from the school, I immediately emailed the teacher and all administrative staff stating that our family would not be participating in any part of the school culture tool. I would even go as far as requesting an official opt out form.

3. Private School Accreditation Matters

Some K-12 private schools are accredited just as K-12 public schools are accredited, however, the organizations that provide these accreditations differ. Some K-12 private schools are accredited through organizations that enhance professional and personal development of their educators and provide support function. While certain accrediting organizations may not directly impact what K-12 private schools do or do not do (meaning K-12 private schools function as they see fit), this changes when an accrediting organization aligns their accreditation with a charitable organization’s (such as one developing so-called evidence-based solutions to advance social change) “cultural instrument”– this alignment directly impacts what K-12 private school’s can and cannot do. While finding information on a K-12 private school’s accreditation and affiliate organizations can easily be found, it becomes a major problem for parents and guardians when trying to find further information on the intentions of these aligned accreditations these K-12 private schools are associated with. 

Freedom of Information Does Not Apply to K-12 Private Schools

The Student Press Law Center states “While private bodies (such as private schools) are generally not covered by FOI laws, some laws ensure compliance by private entities by threatening to withhold government funding if certain information is not disclosed. When requesting access under federal law, the exemptions are uniform across the country. Under state law, however, the exemptions can vary.” *Parents for America is currently in the process of researching these various exemptions and will report them on our website once we obtain clarification.

K-12 Private School Government Funding (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE, HOWEVER THEY DIFFER

K-12 private schools that participate in ED administrators programs authorized and funded by Congress include the The American Rescue Plan (ARP).  $2.75 billion has been allotted for private K-12 schools. Out of that $2.75 billion has been alloted specifically for governors to share with K-12 private schools. This system structure supports schools beyond the public sector.

How to Ensure Compliance by K-12 Private Schools

So, what laws ensure compliance by K-12 private schools? To find the answer we need to look at The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) website states “The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.” This federal law was enacted in 1974. This federal law applies to both public and private elementary, secondary, or post-secondary schools. This federal law also applies to any state or local education agency receiving funds under any relevant  program of the US Department of Education.

How This Act Protects Students and Parents

Parents or eligible students have more control over educational records. Educational institutions are prohibited from disclosing “personally identifiable information in education records” without a written consent from an eligible student. or without written consent from an eligible minor student’s parent or guardian (20 U.S.C.S. § 1232g(b)). An eligible student is one who has reached age 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level.

However, FERPA states “FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31)”:

  • “School officials with legitimate educational interest”;
  • “Other schools to which a student is transferring;
  • Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes”;
  • “Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student”;
  • “Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school”;
  • “Accrediting organizations”;
  • “To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena”;
  • “Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies”; and
  • “State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law”

4. Focus Group Participation To Discuss Your School's Culture (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)

Focus groups are often made up of school staff, administration, students, and parents/guardians.

5. The Formation of A Special Task Force (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)

Task forces are often made up of school staff, administration, students, and parents/guardians. The selection process is often very bias and usually does not include parents and guardians opposing Critical Race Theory. The task force groups are most likely connected and chosen off previous school data as well as how parents/guardians answered the the “School Culture Tool” (keep an eye out for our future post on these surveys are measured).

6. Optional or Mandated Personal Development (training and learning) For Teachers, Staff, And Administration (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)

Personal development (PD) involves training and learning which involves school culture. This can also include PD conferences, summits and or online forums. It may be optional or it may be mandated through accreditation.

7. Library, Media Center, Classroom Book Audit (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)

K-12 private schools may decide to conduct an audit their schools books. This includes purging what they considered “outdated” books and replacing them with more culturally diverse books. You’ll want to check their library/media center and classroom books.

8. When Questioned About Critical Race Theory They Ask For Some Kind Of Proof (PUBLIC OR PRIVATE)

Often when questioned about implementing Critical Race Theory administrators will ask you to provide them with proof of Critical Race Theory in things such as lessons, or “woke ideology” wording within organizations providing “equity” consulting (on their website). For parents not familiar with Critical Race Theory, providing proof may be difficult. That’s why it is so important for parents to learn as much as possible about Critical Race Theory. Instead of looking through the so called “lens” equity consulting firms often refer to, as parents, we must turn that telescope around and look through the other side of that “lens”. 

9. Directing Questions Parent Questions To One Administrator (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)

When sending questions to teachers and administrators regarding whether or not they are implementing (or considering to implement) Critical Race Theory at your school, always send the email to multiple teachers and administrators. I always receive the answer that the superintendent (public) or head of the school (private) will be the one to address my questions. 

10. Administration Retaliation Against Parent (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)

Some administers or school board members will retaliate against parents questioning Critical Race Theory. Do not let this tactic to scare you. They are doing this to silence you. Do not allow them to silence you. *Always document instances of retaliation in full detail.

11. It's Suggested That You Find Another School For Your Family After Questioning Critical Race Theory (PUBLIC AND PRIVATE)

The biggest red flag to look out for in regards to Critical Race Theory in your school is when school administrators make the suggestion that your family should maybe find a new school after you question them about implementing Critical Race Theory. To me this is a very poor attempt to rid their school of a parent who they feel is a threat to the implementation of their “equity” plan (especially when that parent or guardian demonstrates through multiple questions that they not only know about Critical Race Theory but they understand a  great deal about it and how schools implement it). When a parent or guardian has suspicions (especially when Critical Race Theory is all you hear about from the main stream media) any school regardless of whether it is a K-12 public or private school should be bending over backwards to answer parent and guardian questions- not telling them to find another school for their child because they have suspicions about what their child’s school is doing.

As I continue on this journey I will add new information that I learn along the way not only keep a detailed log for myself (in determining if Critical Race Theory is being implemented in our school) but to help others as well. In the meantime, please remember that just because religion is involved it by no way means Critical Race Theory is not. Always pay attention to wording being used. Document everything in detail (including dates). If your school has adopted a policy, completely rip the policy apart and research everything. When contacting your school to question Critical Race Theory always try to opt for emailing rather than phone or in person (that way you have hard proof rather than your word against theirs).

As a parent it is your right to questions public and private schools on their intentions for your child. Do not allow anyone to make you feel that you are in the wrong. NO ONE has the right to tell you to just trust the school’s word just because religion is involved. Keep your eyes open and keep seeking and expsoing the truth.

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