Questionable Curriculum: Elmbrook School Board Presents Controversial Fairness Elements That Mimic Critical Race Theory
Elmbrook’s parents speak out for major victory, but cautious critical race theory is already in the classroom
June 16, 2021
By Abbi Debelack
Thanks to the hard work of concerned parents in the Elmbrook School District and their persistence in the face of repeated obstacles, the principles of fairness that divide the administration have been removed from the district’s strategic map. Elmbrook’s parents have worked tirelessly over the past several months to hold the school board and administration accountable for what is taught in the classrooms and for the use of critical breed theory in the classroom. program.
At a school board meeting last week, board members voted to table the district’s proposed equity principles. These principles – formerly known as “non-negotiable” equity – were buried in the district’s strategic map. The Elmbrook School Board voted 6 to 1 to table equity principles until the start of the new school year in September. In the meantime, the administration will brainstorm to address concerns from the community and the board.
Emily Donahue, a parent in the district who actively monitors the actions of the school board, was cautiously optimistic about the outcome but remains concerned about the direction the district is taking. “It’s clear that there is a disconnect between the administration and the school board,” Donahue said. “Mark Hansen and Dana Monogue hired ICS (Integrated Comprehensive Systems For Equity) in 2012 to bridge the achievement gaps and create a more inclusive learning environment. However, our achievement scores and student sense of belonging have declined, which is a clear indication that critical ICS theory fails to address these issues. Our board must demand that the administration implement proven methods to close the gap and improve the culture at the individual school level.
Elmbrook is just one of many districts in the state trying to implement an equity statement into their district strategy. Non-negotiable equity or the principles of fairness are guidelines to be followed by school districts, which are not open to interpretation or modification, which appear to commit the school district to focus on equity, Critical Race Theory (CRT), culturally appropriate education or one of the many euphemisms for CRT.
Critical Race Theory preaches that the United States was founded on racism, became the prosperous nation that we are today because of that racism, and that our country is still fundamentally defined by our racism today. . CRT believes that racism is found in everything we do and what we don’t do. While our schools should give students a full and comprehensive look at our history, looking at our nation’s history through such an extreme and biased lens as the Critical Race Theory is of concern.
At first glance, Elmbrook’s principles of fairness seem well-intentioned and beneficial. But the problem with the term “equity” is that it is the complete opposite of one of our nation’s founding principles, equality. Fairness drives every American, regardless of ability, work ethic or moral fiber, to end up achieving the same result. Rather than providing struggling students with the help they need based on their academic performance – regardless of race – schools that use equity frameworks appear to distribute resources to students based solely on their race and , in some cases, do away with merit-based systems. learning. It is a dramatic and profound change in the way we educate our children.
Several school board members expressed reluctance to vote for these fairness principles because of their vague wording and uncertainty about how they would be implemented in the classroom.
Some board members seemed to suggest that the controversy over non-negotiable fairness and critical race theory was really just a big misunderstanding. Board member Glen Allgaier said: “It’s like we speak two different languages. One group thinks we are doing critical race theory, and the other group thinks people who feel that are racist. Board member Jennifer Roskopf said she believes these principles are not a critical breed theory and that more work needs to be done to explain this to concerned parents in the community.
Board Chairman Scott Wheeler said, “I don’t believe in Critical Race Theory and I don’t think it belongs in our schools… I want to reiterate again that Elmbrook School District does not belong to our schools. will not teach critical race theory.
Despite this council rhetoric, we have evidence that Critical Race Theory is present in the classrooms of Elmbrook. As MacIver already has reported, in a Freshman Honors biology class at an Elmbrook high school, students had a presentation on race and identity. This presentation accompanies the assigned reading of the book to the students The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. The book “tells the story of the collision between ethics, race and medicine; scientific discovery and healing by faith; and a daughter plagued by questions about the mother she never knew. It’s a story inextricably linked with the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we are in control of what we are made of. While the book itself touches on biology and human cells, it’s clear that the accompanying presentation focuses on issues of equity and race, rather than science.
Despite this victory, parents opposed to Critical Race Theory know they still have a long way to go. While the principles of fairness are not on the table at this time, it is clear that the district will be revisiting them in the coming months.
Concerned parents will need to monitor and continue to express their feelings about Critical Race Theory in the classroom.
Be sure to follow along as MacIver continues to track instances of Critical Race Theory across the state.