June 15, 2024

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Critical race theory, gender cultural divide is focus of free June 13 event

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Parents concerned about students being subjected to critical race theory (CRT) and gender indoctrination can hear from a panel of experts at a free forum Monday, June 13, in Overland Park.

A panel discussion will feature experts in the field of civil rights and education discussing problems and solutions.  The event is at the Doubletree Hotel, 10100 College Boulevard. A reception at 5:30 PM will be followed by the program at 6:30 PM.

The discussion is free and open to the public, but reservations are required as seating is limited. Advance registration is available here.

The forum is hosted by the Kansas Policy Institute, the Ralph L. Smith Foundation, and Parents Defending Education and will have as its blue-ribbon panel:

  • Robert Woodson, a civil rights leader and founder of The Woodson Center and 1776 Unites.
  • Dr. Wilfred Reilly, political science professor at Kentucky State University.
  • Mary Miller, private school advocacy associate with Parents Defending Education.
  • Dave Trabert, CEO of Kansas Policy Institute.

Woodson spoke recently with The Lion, a Herzog Foundation publication, and he pulled no punches.

“I think that the children in America are suffering as a consequence of our emphasis on racial disparity,” Woodson, who is black, tells the Lion. As his 1776 Unites co-founder Ian Rowe has noted, “the biggest crisis in America isn’t the education gap between whites and blacks. It’s all students against a standard of excellence,” Woodson says. 

Woodson notes that “among 8th graders, only 34% score at or above proficiency, three points lower than they did in 2017, and 37% of the 12th graders performed at or above proficiency. So, this is one of the greatest trends in education that’s very troubling. This existed before the pandemic, and it’s a national literacy crisis. 

“We’re not going to address that crisis if we’re more concerned about the race or sex of the students at the expense of literacy.” 

Critical Race Theory, Woodson says, is “a parasite that was restricted to higher education for decades. It’s just sort of this virus that leaked into the public, particularly following the death of George Floyd.” The “race grievance industry,” he adds, uses Critical Race Theory “as a template to really denigrate the country. They use America’s birth defect of slavery as a bludgeon against the values and virtues of the founding. And that’s why it metastasized into the 1619 project.” 

Dr. Woodson’s eponymous institution published “1776 Unites,” which he describes as an “aspirational, inspirational alternative” to the controversial 1619 Project supported by the New York Times, which traces America’s founding to the introduction of slaves here. He refers to Critical Race Theory as a “parasite restricted to higher education for decades”, but no longer:

It’s just sort of this virus that leaked into the public, particularly following the death of George Floyd.” The “race grievance industry,” he adds, uses Critical Race Theory “as a template to really denigrate the country. They use America’s birth defect of slavery as a bludgeon against the values and virtues of the founding. And that’s why it metastasized into the 1619 project.” 

Trabert says this is the inaugural event in a new KPI campaign called “Giving Kids a Fighting Chance,” designed to help parents understand that student achievement is much lower than they’ve been led to believe – and that the public education system won’t change that on its own. 

The Sentinel regularly publishes articles on education issues in Kansas, as the state struggles to address low achievement scores despite record-high spending-per-pupil of more than $16,000 yearly. Pieces range from bureaucratic inattention to obfuscation and multiple examples of CRT and gender indoctrination in Kansas public schools.

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