It’s no secret that Johnson County schools are indoctrinating kids with the tenets of critical race theory, but now a Sentinel investigation shows that county officials are also using taxpayer money to promote CRT.
A program called Racial Equity in Communities (REIC) organized by United Community Services of Johnson County (UCS) in partnership with the Critical Social Change Project, the cities of Lenexa, Mission, Prairie Village, and Roeland Park, Johnson County, the University of Kansas Public Management Center, and the Kansas Leadership Center.
REIC is based on Courageous Conversations about Race by Glenn Singleton and Curtis Linton. The authors say, “It is our belief that the most devastating factor contributing to the lower achievement of students of color is institutionalized racism, which we recognize as the unexamined and unchallenged system of racial biases and residual White advantage that persist in our institutions of learning.”
The authors create straw-man arguments throughout the book. One example amounts to accusing people of being racist for thinking that low achievement can be related to anything other than racism. To say some kids, regardless of skin color, need to work harder is called racist because, according to the authors, it is telling Black students to “act White.” They say that working harder is code for White-associated terms like “traditional values” and “work ethic,” so Whites cannot say anyone should work harder because everyone knows they are really only talking about Blacks when they say it.
The authors don’t attempt to explain why white students have low achievement. FYI, 33% of white Olathe high school students are below grade level, and only 28% are on track for college and career. Even the revered Blue Valley district has 25% of its white high school students below grade level.
Hans Bader, a former attorney for the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, writes that Singleton’s approach is particularly damaging to minority children.
“What is commonly overlooked about Glenn Singleton’s racist approach is who his real victims are: America’s minority children. The Maoist indoctrination by Singleton that civil-rights historian and professor David Beito recounts here and here is no doubt humiliating and uncomfortable for the white teachers and professors forced to undergo it, especially given Singleton’s claim that racism is “ubiquitous” among whites, and his assertion that white teachers are to blame for minority students’ bad grades.”
Conflict of interest concerns
Johnson County Commissioner Charlotte O’Hara is concerned about the nature of the training and says the county’s participation in REIC wasn’t discussed in public.
“I am horrified that staff is spending county money (there was not a BOCC vote on this expenditure) and county staff time on this divisive and racist Racial Equity In Communities, which is simply Critical Race Theory repackaged. Our Johnson County government must reset to focus on core responsibilities of public safety, roads/infrastructure, parks and libraries instead of diverting resources to support leftist agendas.”
UCS received $10,000 from Johnson County for the program. The County is also sending employees to participate in the program, including representatives of County Commissioners, County Manager’s Office, Health and Environment, Corrections, Emergency Services, Human Resources, Developmental Supports, Library, and Wastewater, according to Assistant County Manager Joe Waters. Participants will attend six sessions of about four hours each.
O’Hara also questions whether there is a conflict of interest between Johnson County and United Community Services. Assistant County Manager Joe Connor is on the UCS Board of Directors, and Commission Chair Ed Eilert and County Manager Penny Postoak Ferguson are members of the Council of Advisors.
In addition to providing $10,000 for the Courageous Conversations CRT training, the Agenda for the December 9, 2021 County Commissioners Meeting includes two Action Items to benefit UCS. One was an allocation of $151,500 for the 2022 Human Services Fund, and the other allocated $140,559 of the county’s Alcohol Tax Funds.
The overview of Session 1 says the goal of this ‘training’ is “to support implementation of culturally responsive leadership that leads to racial equity inclusion…”
The Sentinel asked county officials to identify examples of racial inequity in Johnson County government, but they declined to do so.
Taxpayers have a right to know how their money is being spent. Participation in REIC should have been openly discussed and voted upon in a regular public meeting. Eilert and Postoak Ferguson owe residents an apology for pursuing the tenets of critical race theory, and they should immediately withdraw the county from participation.