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Critical Race Theory and Parent Involvement

POSTED OCTOBER 20th on Face Book


Happy Thursday to all!


Yesterday, I shared more requested details about my educational background and work

experience. Now that folks know more about those two areas, I would like to provide

clarification regarding my positions on some key issues. My purpose in today’s post is to

address two of these issues, Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Parent Involvement, with more to

come over the next few days.


CLIFFS NOTES VERSION - For those of you who do not wish, or do not have the time, to read

all of this post, I understand, but please know that my beliefs are as follows:


A. Critical Race Theory (CRT) has no place in K-12 Education nor does it exist in any State

Standards or State-sanctioned curriculum; additionally, there is a Proviso in place from

our legislators that prohibits CRT. If you are aware of CRT’s being taught to your child,

report it to your child’s principal.

B. Parent involvement in every aspect of a child’s education is absolutely essential and a

non-negotiable.


If you want to know more about “why” I make these statements so declaratively, please keep

reading.


One of my favorite things about running for school board has been the myriad of opportunities

I’ve been afforded to talk with literally hundreds of stakeholders, parents, grandparents,

educators, community members, business and industry leaders, church members, and

representatives from higher education, just to name a few. As true believer in the absolute

necessity of frank conversations to tackle tough questions and issues, the time I’ve been able to

spend with people has reinforced for me two, key understandings. First, we all have the best

interest of students at heart. After all, why would so many people take time out of their busy

schedules to share their thoughts and to hear mine if they did not deeply care about our children

and their education? Second, there continues to be common questions and concerns that surface

at each and every event I attend, some of which are very difficult to tackle, as they have no

“magical solution,” because if they did, we would be fixing the problem. Others, however, can

be quite simply answered and placed in perspective.


Before I continue, I want to acknowledge (again) that this post will be lengthy. Notice I said

“acknowledge” instead of “apologize.” The reason for “acknowledging,” but not “apologizing,”

is that there is absolutely no way to tackle some of these complex issues in a couple of sentences,

not if what we are seeking is truly a deeper understanding of the issues. I worry a great deal that

some people intentionally bring up these issues just on a surface level, not with the hope of

providing clarity to assuage fear and misunderstanding, but instead with the purpose of

channeling and inflaming that fear and understanding for reasons that may not have children at

the center. So with CHILDREN, clarity and deeper understanding, and hope for a collective

pathway forward as my main purposes, let’s get started.


1. CRITICAL RACE THEORY (CRT) – As a Director in the Division of College and

Career Readiness at the South Carolina Department of Education, part of what I’ve led

for the past seven years is the development/revision and approval of State Standards,

eight sets to be exact (Visual and Performing Arts, Physical Education, World

Languages, American Sign Language, Health, Computer Science, Social Studies, and

finally Science). South Carolina’s process for Standards development and revision is

very public, involving 100’s, even 1000’s, of stakeholders during the writing and public

review processes. I share all of this to say that there is absolutely NO REFERENCE

whatsoever to Critical Race Theory (CRT) in any of those Standards Documents, nor is it

represented in the English Language Arts or Mathematics Standards, which are currently

under revision. My office’s most recent project, the development of Social Studies

curricula to support districts across the state also has NO REFERENCE to Critical Race

Theory (CRT) in any of the units, lessons, or resources. Anyone needing further

clarification or direction to the actual documents themselves, please call me at (864) 770-

3251 or email me at pressleyanne71@gmail.com, and I will be more than happy to

provide you with additional information.


As both an educator and a parent, I DO NOT believe that Critical Race Theory (CRT) has

a place in K-12 education. A dedication to teaching and growing future leaders and

contributors to society who are civic-minded and who possess REQUISITE Civic

Dispositions such as empathy, respect, honesty, compassion, and the ability to collaborate

and to think critically does NOT require instruction in the tenets of Critical Race Theory.

It does, however, require a continued commitment to what some folks like to call “the

basics,” English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, World Languages, the Arts and

PE. Those are the standards I reference earlier, the ones developed specifically for South

Carolina students with no reference whatsoever to Critical Race Theory.

Finally, if any parent or guardian should become aware of an assignment that does

contain Critical Race Theory, he or she should report it to the principal, as there is also a

Proviso in place from our legislators that prohibits CRT.


2. PARENT INVOLVEMENT – Again, as a parent and an educator, as tempted as I am just

to write, “Is this not a given?” and leave it at that, I will elaborate. Parent involvement in

EVERY SINGLE aspect of a child’s education is one of the most critical keys to success.

Ask any classroom teacher how deeply concerning low turnout at Open House Night can

be. Sometimes parents are precluded from being as involved as they would like to be due

to work situations or other issues; however, teachers usually find ways to become, and to

remain, connected despite those barriers.


TOTAL TRANSPARENCY regarding CURRICULUM is also an absolute necessity.

This is certainly NOT to say that it is feasible for a teacher to provide detailed, granular,

daily lesson plans for review prior to implementing them, as this would take away the

teacher’s ability to monitor and to adjust based on the needs and interests and levels of

mastery of students during the learning process. Parents should, however, understand the

text choices and basic content in any course of study in which their children are enrolled.

This not only provides them with the ability to request an alternate, equally-challenging,

choice if the text is not appropriate for their child, it also allows them to connect with

their children and ask questions about their learning while it is happening. This level of

connectivity is what true parent-involvement should involve, and teachers will tell you

the same thing.


Finally, no decisions or steps or interventions regarding a child’s health (mental or

physical or emotional) should EVER be made without the knowledge and/or consent of

the parent. This statement is a stand-alone and does not require any further explanation

other than if decisions or interventions made for a child without parental

involvement/consent do occur, they should be reported appropriately

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