No Indoctrination to See Here, Move Along Now — Albemarle County Edition

Source: Henley Middle School (Albemarle County)

by James A. Bacon

A disturbed parent of an Albemarle County middle school student has directed me to materials used in classroom presentation as part of the “Courageous Conversations about Race,” initiative at the Henley Middle School website.

“We’re unique among school divisions and, for that matter, organizations of any kind, for having adopted an anti-racism policy,” says Albemarle County school superintendent Matt Haas in a video to parents. “To me, and I hope to you, our anti-racism policy is more than words on paper.”

The anti-racism policy mission statement says, “Personal and institutional racism have historically existed and continues to exist in the Division. Combating racism in our schools is a legal and moral imperative.”

Combating racism is a moral imperative. I share that goal. The question is how. Do we help or hinder the effort to eliminate the significance of race in our society by creating formal anti-racism policies, updating anti-racism policy evaluation reports, conducting anti-racism policy orientations, asking people to engage in navel gazing about their status as racially privileged or oppressed, and setting up an “Anonymous Alerts” system to “report instances of racism?” — in sum, by preoccupying ourselves with race every single waking minute of the day?

Matt Haas. Dude, get a shave!

Do we help or hinder the effort to eliminate racism by creating a formal “Anti-Racism Committee” of 25 school teachers, staff and administrators, including an “equity specialist,” whose mission is to identify and extirpate ever more rarefied and nuanced traces of racism?

Do we help or hinder the effort to eliminate racism by quoting Ibram X. Kendi, a popularizer of Critical Race Theory, as saying, “Our children are going to learn racist or antiracist ideas. … If we don’t actively protect them from this dangerous racist society, what do you think they will be taught?”

Do we help or hinder the effort to eliminate racism by associating racism and intolerance with the “dominant” White, middle-class Christian culture?

Do we help or hinder the effort to eliminate racism by asking students such questions as:

  • As you were reading and answering the questions … were you aware or your privilege or lack of privilege?
  • Why is it challenging for white people to think about (and do something about) white privilege?
  • What is the cost of white privilege for persons of color?
  • What is the cost of white privilege for white people?

“White privilege doesn’t mean your life hasn’t been hard,” states one of the anti-racism units. “It means your skin tone isn’t one of the things making it harder. There’s plenty of other privileges (socio-economic, male, heterosexual, cisgender, Christian, able-bodied) but white privilege is perhaps the most enduring throughout history.”

These are valid questions to explore in a high school social studies class where students can exchange perspectives and debate the issues. I participated in such discussions about race in high school 50 years ago. (The transgender thing wasn’t on the table back then.) But when the issues are defined and answers are supplied as “lessons” to be taught in middle school, this is no longer education, it’s indoctrination of children who are not intellectually equipped to think for themselves.

Bacon’s bottom line: Can we stop pretending this indoctrination isn’t taking place? It’s an insult to our intelligence.

We live in a schizophrenic world in which serious people hold the mutually contradictory ideas that (1) “critical race theory” is a conservative bogeyman that is emphatically not being taught in schools, but (2) if it were, there’s nothing wrong with it, and you’re a racist if you disagree. What is undeniably being taught in many schools goes under the rubric of “anti-racism” — but not anti-racism as most people would recognize the term, as striving for a color-blind society in which race becomes a non-factor.

“Anti-racism” magnifies the role of race, makes it the central preoccupation for students, parents, teachers and everyone else in the school community. It advocates the overthrow of the “dominant” culture on the grounds it reflects the values of white, middle-class, hetero Christians.

If Matt Haas and his ilk wanted to de-legitimize public schools, there is no better way of going about it than this. White, middle-class hetero Christians pay a lot of taxes to support public school systems. At some point, those taxpayers will revolt against paying taxes to send schools that portray them as oppressors and reject their values.

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34 responses to “No Indoctrination to See Here, Move Along Now — Albemarle County Edition”

  1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
    Eric the half a troll

    Nope! CRT will be banned one day 1 of Youngkin’s administration. Move along…

  2. Eric the half a troll Avatar
    Eric the half a troll

    “To address disparities in course participation (including AP/honors participation):
    All school staff making class recommendations shall provide a written electronic explanation for the recommendation to students and/or families.
    School counselors shall be responsible for educating students and families as equitable partners in the selection process and course sequencing.
    Middle and high schools will offer opportunities for supplementary coursework, such as summer bridge programs or tutoring during or after school, to students interested in moving to higher level courses.”

    Why would you find such policies offensive…?

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      when you can cherry-pick a small part of it to demonstrate your illegitimate point?

      1. I agree. Eric does seem to have cherry-picked some innocuous parts of the policy to try to make his point…

  3. LarrytheG Avatar

    Part of the issue is whether or not one believes that racism exists primarily in individuals rather than in our institutions.

    And should we address it in school curriculums.

    It’s NOT taught – but it IS under discussion at VDOE and in schools administrations and in training – yes.

    And this guy has “come out” on it…. brave soul or stupid…

    This has in my mind strong parallels to the memorials and whether they represent legitimate history or Jim Crow ideas….

    The Dems overplayed their hand, no question.

    But I think the GOP can to because they often completely neglect how blacks actually feel as if they don’t even count and the real “enemy” is “liberals”.

  4. tmtfairfax Avatar

    How about how Catholics feel about the attempt by Senator Hirono and then-Senator Harris to impose an unconstitutional religious test on a nominee for a federal district court position? Lumping all Christians together is an act of bigotry. Haas is an open bigot. Why is he being protected?

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      did they try to impose or just exercise their free speech?

      You got a thing about this… not sure it’s really fair and objective.

      1. tmtfairfax Avatar

        Get real. Article VI of the Constitution stipulated that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

        SCOTUS, way back in 1901, discussed the meaning of that clause by referring to an 1849 Seante discussion between Senators Underwood and Webster (Daniel) in 1849.

        “‘Mr. Underwood: ‘. . . Suppose we provide by our legislation that nobody shall be appointed to an office there who professes the Catholic religion. What do we do by an act of this sort?’

        “‘Mr. Webster: ‘We violate the Constitution, which says that no religious test shall be required as qualification for office.”. Downes v. George Bidwelll, 182 U.S. 244 (1901).

        Yet, that is exactly what the two Senators tried to do when they argued the nominee should not be confirmed by the Senate because he was a member of the Knights of Columbus and that organization exercised its First Amendment rights by opposing abortion. I don’t agree with the position but strongly support other people’s rights to advocate for their beliefs. You cannot be for constitutional rights when you would deny them to others.

        Also, keep in mind that the Vice President flunked her first bar exam.

  5. DJRippert Avatar

    American public school BigEd has failed Black students for the past 50 years. Rather than work on solutions BigEd advocates like Haas are now using “structural racism” as the excuse. After all, if racism is structural and Whites are the oppressors then what chance do public schools have in teaching children of color? Uhhh … children of color except for those pesky Asians who do very well in school. Apparently, White privilege doesn’t apply to them. But anyway … as long as there is structural racism you can’t hold BigEd people like Haas accountable for results.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      Non-“Big Ed’ has had opportunity all along to show the better way, right?

      what happened to non-public schools in showing the correct way to teach?

      Do we actually know the results of those non-public schools in terms of teaching the “right way” ?

      1. dick dyas Avatar

        Private schools in Virginia are as Woke as public.
        And, they are seeing rapid exoduses this year.
        My private HS alma mater in NOVA has a shortage of students for the first time since the 80’s.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          Private schools all over… which ones prove they can educate economically disadvantaged kids “better” than public schools?

          If that were the case, wouldn’t the public DEMAND change?

          All we really have is critics of public education and totally unverified claims of better at private schools.

          I’m ALL FOR:

          provides the results from private schools


          using tax money to send kids to the schools that actually deliver results.

          but methinks the critics like being critics… and not that interested in real results..

    2. dick dyas Avatar

      And, those pesky Caribbean Blacks.

      1. Good point.

      2. Nancy Naive Avatar
        Nancy Naive

        They are the descendants of somebody else’s slaves. To them, now, America does seem like a land of opportunity. Of course, in the 1970s, for the cost of a B-2 bomber, we could have fixed Haitian economy, and throw in a B-1, Puerto Rico’s too.

        1. Matt Hurt Avatar

          If I’m not mistaken, the only folks who don’t view this country as a land of opportunity are some of its citizens.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            I agree but if you read the wiki on Jamaica, you’ll see they also have a disparity between the haves and have nots… and it’s a problem there also.

            All things equal – there is more opportunity in America than Jamaica for many – and that’s no surprise, in most countries in the world that are not developed/industrialized countries – America is better.

            But if you look at the other industrialized/developed countries – that may not be so.

            While we have a crap-load of people from Central America wanting to come to America, not so much with Canadians or UK or Germany, etc…


            We all have a bit of a problem with these issues.

            We want to feed our own biases more than we really want to know a harder truth.

            The harder truth on this issue is that if you came from Jamaica as a non-poor person for “opportunity” , it’s different than being a native in the US with a bad education and economic harm as a result.

            How many truly, poor and badly educated/uneducated people from Jamaica are able to immigrate to the US for “opportunity”?

          2. Matt Hurt Avatar

            I think my point really is that we need to stop the argument over whether the US is inherently awesome or unashamedly horrible. Either argument is pure hyperbole spouted by folks trying to make a point. It is what it is, a country full of imperfect people founded by imperfect humans. That’s all any country is, but there are apparently some benefits to being here. People vote by their feet all the time. The rate of folks coming in far outpaces the rate of folks going out.

            Similarly, instead of arguing that CRT is here and should not be, or it isn’t being taught in schools, or it should be, we need to really look at a measurable problem. We have failed to ensure that a certain segments of our student population have met a very basic proficiency in literacy and numeracy. This is the argument that matters. The problem is that no one really wants to do anything about it.

            When the Republicans are in power, they have either overlooked the problem, or tried to pawn the problem off on someone else (i.e. charter organizations). When the Democrats were in power, they tried to implement very devisive programs aimed at perfecting the heart of humans (which would not have moved the needle an inch) as well as lowering expectations to obfuscate the real problems with “higher” proficiency rates.

            If we’re (collectively) going to have an argument about education, let’s have one that has the potential to make a difference rather than just having all of these political LARPing events.

          3. LarrytheG Avatar

            re: ” We have failed to ensure that a certain segments of our student population have met a very basic proficiency in literacy and numeracy. This is the argument that matters. The problem is that no one really wants to do anything about it.”

            well.. both sides say they do.. and they differ quite radically in the “how”.

          4. Matt Hurt Avatar

            I respectfully disagree. Name one person who has owned this problem. Name one person who says this is how it is, we need to own it, and here’s how we’re going to do it. There have been programs, training, money, etc. thrown at the problem, but no one has grabbed the bull by the horns and addressed that problem head on. All the “attempts” to do anything about it have been tangential at best.

          5. LarrytheG Avatar

            Lots of players with lots of “ideas” but agree that no one has demonstrated an approach that actually works although Jim Sherlock might disagree and assert that “Success Academies” in NY have succeeded and other Conservatives will claim that “choice” or private or charter schools are the answer.

            I’m on board with ANY approach that demonstrates results but I’m skeptical that non-public schools will do any better with that demographic, especially when the claims are not really backed up by demonstrated results.

            And yes.. a good bit of this is really not about the kids – it’s about politics.

        2. tmtfairfax Avatar

          Given that Haiti was a French colony, how does the U.S. have responsibility for its economy? And keep in mind that a desire for a better economic life does not constitute grounds for asylum or entry to the U.S. without permission. Millions of people followed the laws of the United States and immigrated here lawfully. Why should the lawbreakers come ahead of them?

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            I heard that most of the “illegals” in the US are actually people that came here on a temporary visa and then stayed and ‘disappeared’.


    3. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      50? 150, maybe.

  6. Stephen Haner Avatar
    Stephen Haner

    As was proven once again just a few days ago, by our friends in the other party, lying to voters and assuming they are too dumb to believe their own eyes is not a wise political strategy. Let’s see if they keep up the mantra of “we’re not doing this in VA schools!”

  7. Citizen X Avatar

    I would not be surprised if the so-called “Anti-Racism Committee” exemplified leftist hypocrisy by having primarily white members form its ‘dominant culture.’

  8. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    You see a presentation of definitions that could easily describe South Africa’s apartheid state and assume they are talking about you?

    Paranoia strikes deep…

    1. It’s not paranoia. One of the “definitions” actually states in no uncertain terms that they are talking about me: “…white, middle class, Christian, and cisgender.”

      1. Nancy Naive Avatar
        Nancy Naive

        Do what I did. Change gender.

  9. “Personal and institutional racism have historically existed and continues to exist in the Division.”

    It distresses me, but no longer surprises me, to see grammatical errors in written policies and statements from the people and agencies responsible for educating our children. How can they teach students proper English if they cannot use the language correctly themselves?

  10. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
    James Wyatt Whitehead

    There is an entire “Code Speak” to CRT. Sort of like this one.

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