On Thursday, Harry Jackson, the first black head of the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology's Parent Teacher Association, resigned from his post, citing issues with the PTA's state officials and the implementation of critical race theory teachings at the school.
Jackson, who won his position in May, did so by campaigning against what he called misguided left-wing moves by school leadership and opposed the lowering of admission standards and the implementation of critical race theory based curriculum and professional development, according to The Washington Times.
Thomas Jefferson, a magnet high school in Fairfax County, Virginia, has been ranked as the top high school in the US, according to U.S. News & World Report. The Advanced Placement participation rate at the school is 100 percent.
Jackson has pointed fingers at the "progressive, hard-left" mindset of the Virginia PTA, which attempted to revoke TJHSST's PTA charter after Jackson's election.
The state organization has allegedly attempted to disrupt the work of the TJHSST association and vilify Jackson.
"They were basically calling for a lynching," Jackson told The Washington Times. "They are looking to suppress speech and they are taking a very partisan, progressive, hard-left agenda on all sorts of issues that have nothing to do with education."
Pamela Croom, president of the Virginia PTA, disputed Jackson's claims in an email to The Washington Times, calling his comments "defamatory."
"We are aware that false and defamatory statements are being made about our officers and association. Virginia PTA, at all times, acts in accordance with our governing bylaws and policies," she said in the email statement. "Our leaders provide consistent guidance to all of our local units across Virginia and acts at all times in the best interest of the association and members."
In his resignation letter, Jackson wrote that he would continue to fight against the education establishment he believes is undermining K-12 education in Virginia, rather than improving it.
Jackson, while stating that he would not be silenced by "the Virginia PTA," "the teachers' unions," and "the FCPS school board," also took aim at Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, who has stated that parents shouldn't have a say in what their kids are taught, and that critical race theory is a "racist dogwhistle" that hasn't been taught in Virginia. McAuliffe's latter claim has been debunked. A review of McAuliffe's education plan entails pushing school districts to re-draw school boundary zones to be "anti-racist," similar to 1970s-style busing.
"And finally, I refuse to be silenced by education activists who believe, as does The Washington Post and certain politicians, that parents have no role in the education of their children," Jackson declared.
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