News Analysis Nov 30, 2021 5:18 PM EST

Teachers to take courses in critical race theory in Washington state

Randy Paddock, the Equity & Diversity Coordinator and the WEA will be teaching a continuing education to members of the union he has given before entitled Institutional Racism and White Privilege.

Teachers to take courses in critical race theory in Washington state
Ari Hoffman Seattle, WA

As activist teachers' unions across the country continue to be exposed for teaching critical race theory and pull back their radical curriculum, the Washington Education Association is doubling down on the controversial content.

On December 1, Randy Paddock, the Equity & Diversity Coordinator and the WEA will be teaching a continuing education to members of the union he has given before entitled Institutional Racism and White Privilege. Past classes listed that were given by Paddock include a series on "Implicit Bias" trainings on Gender and Intersectionality, LGBTQ, Race and Ethnicity and other similar topics. The classes repeat regularly throughout the schedule.

Paddock has also served as a representative for the National Education Association’s UniServe program in Washington State which offers trainings for staff that have included, Supporting Staff Learning on Becoming Anti-Racist which addressed "…whiteness and how the institutionalization of this is showing up during the COVID pandemic, how to recognize bias in yourself and others, addressing and redressing everyday racism." The cirriculm included "…analysis about race, privilege, and systems of oppression in affiliate work."

The NEA, America's largest teachers' union, announced that they supported the teaching of CRT and that they intended to hire staff to "fight back" against those who oppose the radical curriculum. This while parents were protesting critical race theory across the country.

The WEA, which is an affiliate of the NEA, over the summer released a talking point guide for their members in order to push back to parent complaints about the radical curriculum. The talking points blog entitled Teaching Truth: Educators' Rights included methodology to convince parents CRT was not being taught.

"Educators are experts on making sure our students learn honesty about who we are, integrity in how we treat others, and courage to do what’s right.  Recent broad-ranging attacks on how we teach and what we teach has created confusion about how we can safely continue teaching accurate and updated curricula…"

Though Washington state Public School Superintendent Chris Reykdal has claimed CRT is not being taught in Washington’s schools, the talking points clearly outline that not only is it being taught, but that teachers cannot be disciplined for teaching the radical curriculum.

"I have been told by my administration I cannot teach Critical Race Theory.  How does that impact me? Critical Race Theory is taught in universities and law schools, but at the PK-12 and community college levels we teach age-appropriate lessons that help our students understand and communicate across differences and portray a holistic and accurate picture of our nation’s history."

Additionally, the union told their staff that they could not be disciplined for teaching "…prescribed curricula."

"You are protected in teaching the curriculum. We are instructed by our school districts to teach prescribed curricula and cannot be disciplined for teaching these."

Union members were also told they do not need to respond to parent concerns or complaints. "You do not singlehandedly need to justify or defend the curricula. We are aware that parents are sending emails to educators asking questions about what exactly we are teaching regarding equity, anti-racism, LGBTQ inclusion, sexual health education, and more. As an educator, you do not have to reply to these. It is also fine to reply to the parents that you are teaching the curricula as designated by your district and the state and they can ask for more details from those entities."

The talking points for teachers read that they cannot take political positions or espouse personal beliefs and that "…the First Amendment does not extend into the classroom. When instructing students, legally speaking, we are considered to be speaking on behalf of the district." This included classroom displays. Yet just a few paragraphs later the blog justifies teaching curriculum provided by the radical Marxist group Black Lives Matter and the historically inaccurate and debunked 1619 Project as well as hanging BLM flags in the classroom.

The post then falsely claimed that BLM is not a political organization. "Some non-Black people have harmfully and wrongly assumed that Black Lives Matter is a political statement or suggests unconditional support for an organization and its actions.  WEA maintains that Black Lives Matter is appropriate, and indeed needed, in our schools."

This document foreshadowed the revelation in October that the National School Board Association had colluded with the Biden administration to label parents domestic terrorists. The talking points also encouraged teachers to report concerned parents who they referred to as "activists."

"If you feel your students or yourself threatened by activists, report this to your administration immediately, and to the police as well if necessary."

If that failed, the blog recommended that if a teacher was exposed for teaching the radical curriculum that they should contact they union representative for help and blamed "corporate interests" for "undermining public education."

"What do I do if a parent has a problem with something I am teaching? Corporate interests that seek to undermine public education are inciting paranoia among families, causing some to jump to conclusions about our materials and teaching. If a calm conversation with the family does not diffuse the situation, seek backup from your administration.  If you fear you will be disciplined due to parental complaints about your curriculum, contact your building rep."

The tide may be turning against the unions’ efforts. Parents are pulling their children from Washington public schools in record numbers which is likely to cause a massive funding gap for the schools. Bills are also being proposed in the legislature to push for school vouchers

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