Kimberly M. Richey | August 18, 2021

CRT in private schools? Here’s some guidance for parents

Kimberly M. Richey

Many Oklahomans are familiar with the battle (which has only just begun) that state lawmakers and Gov. Kevin Stitt are waging against race-based Marxism in our schools, universities, state agencies, and other public entities.

Unfortunately, OCPA has received disturbing reports from parents about the efforts of private schools to indoctrinate children in these principles. House Bill 1775, which prohibits the teaching of fundamental tenets commonly associated with critical race theory (CRT), took effect on July 1, 2021, and the State Board of Education approved rules to implement the provisions of the new law on July 12, 2021. However, the prohibitions in this new law do not apply to private schools.

Although private schools have more autonomy to engage in such behavior, there are several steps parents of children enrolled in a private school can take to get engaged, become informed, and work to stop these practices—which can constitute racial discrimination—from occurring in private schools.

Schoolwide Policies or Plans

  • Has the private school adopted an equity, diversity, or inclusion plan? Request a copy!

  • Engage with members of the school’s governing board and encourage them to adopt policies prohibiting the teaching of CRT or any principles that assign traits or characteristics to students based on race.

  • Has the governing board of the private school adopted a teacher discipline policy that would apply in situations where a school employee teaches the principles of CRT? Request a copy of the school’s teacher discipline policy.

  • Has the governing board of the school adopted a student handbook or student discipline policy that includes discipline penalties for racial harassment? Review your school’s policy to see how it would apply to students who reject the principles of CRT.

Instruction and Training

  • Is the school providing instruction on racial equity or social justice issues? Request a copy of any curriculum being utilized by the school.

  • Is the school utilizing social and emotional learning or trauma-informed instruction? Request to see any curriculum or lesson plans being utilized by the school.

  • Is the school requiring teachers to participate in mandatory diversity, equity, or inclusion training? Request a copy of the training materials.

  • Is the school requiring students to participate in mandatory diversity, equity or inclusion training? Request a copy of the training materials.

Ask Questions

  • Ask school administrators or governing board members what equity goals have been established by the school. Request copies of any policies, equity plans, or equity assessments that have been performed by the school or by outside contractors.

  • Find out what process the school utilizes to investigate complaints by parents in situations where teachers or other school staff are teaching the core tenets of CRT.

  • Is there any provision in teacher contracts for teachers to be suspended or terminated for the violation of school policies or the teaching of principles of CRT? Request copies of teacher contracts.

Get Engaged

  • Use social media to form a parent group so that you can communicate and keep each other informed of incidents or even policies adopted that occur at school.

  • Work with other parents to schedule meetings with school leaders to discuss issues of concern.

  • If school leaders are unresponsive, work with other parents to request a meeting with members of the school’s governing board to discuss issues of concern.

The teaching of CRT’s core tenets can be destructive and have a deep impact on students. No child is defined by the color of their skin. Moreover, the teaching of these devastating principles violates the basic religious tenets many of these schools claim to uphold.

It is time to get involved and stop the use of these racially divisive and exclusionary practices.

Kimberly M. Richey Senior Fellow for Education

Kimberly M. Richey

Senior Fellow for Education

Kimberly M. Richey (J.D., University of Oklahoma) is a senior fellow for education at OCPA. She served in the Trump Administration as a deputy assistant secretary at the United States Department of Education. Formerly, Richey served as the managing director of federal advocacy and public policy at the National School Boards Association and as general counsel for the Oklahoma State Department of Education. She is a certified teacher and is licensed to practice law in Oklahoma, Texas, and the District of Columbia.

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