The Colorado Times Recorder is reporting that D-51 School Board President Andrea Haitz and D-51 Board Member Angela Lema attended a seminar at a Grand Junction hotel on August 26 called “Save Our Schools,” put on by Heritage Action for America, an affiliate of the right wing Heritage Foundation. The seminar taught people how to fight equity and inclusion policies in schools and provided resources to help them.
What are equity and inclusion policies, anyway?
Equity policies assure a school’s programs and operations are impartial, fair, and provide equal as possible outcomes for all students regardless of their race, gender, sexual identity or orientation, religion, ethnicity, national origin, age or disability. Inclusion policies assure all students feel welcome at school without being bullied, harassed, judged, mistreated, abused or shortchanged in any way due to any of the above characteristics that they cannot control. The idea is to promote a welcoming environment at school for all students that is free of harassment and discrimination and in which all students can feels safe, grow and benefit socially and intellectually.
“Save our Schools” instructs activists in how to fight the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT), a post-graduate course taught in graduate schools, like law schools. CRT is a legal and academic analysis of the ways racism still poses a systemic problem in certain areas of American society. Examples of these problems include practices like “redlining,” the systematic denial of financial services like mortgages, loans and insurance to people of different races and ethnicities; disproportionately lower pay and higher levels of unemployment among minority groups; Black homeowners whose homes get assessed at lower values than white homeowners with equivalent houses, and job applicants who have white-sounding names getting called back 50% more of the time than applicants with Black-sounding names, even when the people have identical resumes.
CRT isn’t taught in District 51 schools because they just provide K-12 level education, but Heritage Action for America still bills their “Save Our Schools” seminar as “a one-stop resource for parents and concerned activists” who are “looking for ways” to keep equity and inclusion policies out of schools. Heritage Action for America calls equity and inclusion policies “Marxist, racist ideology.”
So the question is…
…why would D-51 School Board President Andrea Haitz and Angela Lema attend a seminar in how to battle policies aimed at helping all children feel comfortable and accepted at District 51 schools? And how can such policies ever be considered “racist” or “Marxist,” when they are aimed at achieving a social good of helping children feel more comfortable and welcome at school?