From left to right: speakers Denise Hunter and Aaron Boyd.

Conservative activists in Plano are protesting in fervent opposition to Plano ISD including “critical race theory” in its curriculum.

Despite the fact that no evidence exists of Plano ISD requiring instructors to teach the theory, dozens of speakers nonetheless raised concerns at a recent Board of Trustees meeting.

“Critical race theory and its acronymic twin, culturally relevant teaching, are ideological cancers, and they have no place in our schools,” said speaker Aaron Boyd to the trustees. “Americans do not share a common blood, a common religion, a common ethnicity or race… All we’ve ever had was the exceptionally good luck to be citizens in this country in which we shared a unique and inalienable liberties. We had better and right soon return to a patriotic education that emphasizes these shared values and dispenses with abhorrent, junk theories that breed animosity and assign broad, ethnic guilt.”

Other speakers expressed favor toward “CRT” at the meeting, saying the historical framework helps students to properly understand the reasons and mechanisms behind current racial disparities.

“It’s not a racist indoctrination; it’s a diagnosis to the symptoms displayed in our society,” said speaker Denise Hunter. “Critical race theory critiques the social construct of race, which was not, by the way, created by people of color … Racism is not a bygone relic of the past. You must teach the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God.”

Following the intense public comment period of the meeting, Assistant Superintendent Katrina Hasley dispelled the notion that this theory was part of the curriculum.

“Critical race theory does not appear in any of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for courses that we have. Therefore, it is also not included in our curriculum,” she explained. “As we design units of study for each course, we do bring in other resources and materials like we’re talking about tonight, but none of those include any items that would be considered part of the critical race theory.”

Critical race theory is an academic framework of social sciences that examines disciplines as they pertain to racial justice. Starting in the 1970s and gaining traction in the 1980s, critical race theory asserts that systemic racism is upheld by various policies and exists in its current form as part of the legacy of historic ills such as slavery and colonialism.

The subject has been an especially contentious one in Texas, whose Republican-controlled House of Representatives recently voted 79-65 in favor of H.B. 3979, which critics say is specifically targeted against critical race theory. A similar bill gained traction in the state legislature earlier this month and was, as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said, a rejection of “critical race theory and other so-called ‘woke’ philosophies.”

“These divisive concepts have been inserted into curriculums around the state, but they have no place in Texas schools,” he said in a statement.

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