By this point, you likely have seen some of the truly egregious material being taught in schools – yes, even private – around the country. Rhode Island has been no exception. In South Kingstown, a mother was threatened to be sued by the school committee for tens of thousands of dollars because she wanted to know what was being taught to her kindergarten child. She was worried because a teacher said she does not refer to the children as boys and girls.
No doubt Critical Race Theory and Gender theory has covertly seeped in and taken over our schools, and everyday Americans are fighting back. This pushback is good because students should not be taught radical racial theory and incoherent gender theory. However, what is the alternative? It is easy to support jettisoning CRT and gender theory, but without a set alternative we leave the teaching of history to college graduates who increasingly believe in the teachings of Howard Zinn and the 1619 project.
The curriculum we should put forward should be one of liberty.
Mainly, how a light of freedom arose in a set fog of tyranny and subjugation. We should start with Greek teaching and the Hellenization of Rome, and from there the integration of Christianity which culminated into the teachings of the enlightenment. English Law’s impact on liberty in the form of property rights and the presumption of innocence should not be understated in classrooms. With these teachings, a student will be able to understand the basics of the philosophy of the founding fathers and the origins of American Freedom which culminated in the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
The importance of the forethought and insight imbued in the founding documents cannot be understated. As the son of a proud Haitian mother, I can attest to the importance of the American Constitution. Haitians, being the second successful revolutionaries, developed their own constitution which was influenced by the American Constitution. While the document vigorously declared the rights of its people, checks and balances were not present in their constitution which ultimately led to its collapse. Around the same time, the French Revolution began, and they too did not have the foresight of our founders. This revolution ended with the mass slaughter of French citizens and the imposition of another dictator.
This is not where the teaching of liberty to end. Unlike the disingenuous CRT proponents like to argue, the teaching of slavery is key in this road to liberty curriculum. It should be taught slavery was widely practiced throughout the world and took a very racialized tone in America. The important part of this unit is the inherent contradiction between the Declaration of Independence and the institution of slavery. The founding fathers view on the abolition of slavery in light of the Declaration of Independence should be examined – while holding slaves, they attempted to abolish it in the original draft the U.S. Constitution.
Then, the ideas second founding fathers, Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass as two examples, should be taught. Mainly, slavery should be taught as another obstacle to liberty the United States had to overcome to make itself the beacon of freedom in the world. This framework also holds true for actual institutionalized racism such as Jim Crow.
Students today are not being taught legitimate, context rich, history. Instead, many of our students are being subject to anti-American and anti-liberty education. If we are to oppose Critical Race Theory in our schools, it should be coupled with teaching how we became free people and how America became the beacon of freedom in the world.
Of the following two issues related to Rhode Island’s public schools, which one is a greater concern?