The roughly 155,000 texts will highlight how Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe disparaged concerns about CRT, describing them as a “right-wing conspiracy.”
“Loudoun County has become ground zero in the fight over Critical Race Theory-inspired curriculum in K-12 schools,” reads the text from 1776 Action. “Terry McAuliffe says this is all a made-up conspiracy, but these moms & dads have a very different take.”
The message then links to a webpage highlighting how candidate Republican Glenn Youngkin, unlike McAuliffe, has taken the group’s anti-CRT pledge. It also features a video of Loudoun parents and one student discussing their views of racial content.
Over the past year, several parent-led organizations have emerged to counter CRT in the state, which has mulled eliminating accelerated math courses along with other equity-focused initiatives.
Loudoun, in particular, has caught national news attention with parents issuing fiery denunciations at school board meetings. That county and others in population-dense northern Virginia will likely play a pivotal role in November’s off-year election and could serve as a bellwether for the midterms, as it represents the type of shifting demographics that have turned a red state into a purple state that leans blue in recent years.
Thursday’s texting campaign comes from 1776 Action, a national group with backing from GOP stars Newt Gingrich and Ben Carson.
“As much as some politicians try to play word games and pull the wool over people’s eyes, parents in northern Virginia aren’t stupid,” said Adam Waldeck, the group’s founder.
“Their children happen to live with them. They see this toxic, anti-American curriculum first hand, as well as the effects it’s having on their kids. We want to make sure people are informed on this issue, and that means knowing where their current and potential elected officials stand, from Governor down to school board.”
Evidence points to CRT influencing Virginia schools
McAuliffe has remained relatively quiet about the comments he made about CRT in June. His campaign did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Besides McAuliffe, other Democrats and media outlets have attempted to downplay the CRT controversy as manufactured or misinformed. Meanwhile, Republicans have capitalized on the issue.
Amid the raging debate over whether CRT is taught in schools, various documents and proposals have emerged indicating that CRT at least influences educators’ decision-making. For example, a Loudoun County invoice shows an equity consultancy explicitly charging the school system for training related to “critical race theory.”
An email obtained by Fox News also revealed the district’s former superintendent, Eric Williams, acknowledging that its practices align with CRT.
“While LCPS has not adopted CRT, some of the principles related to race as a social construct and the sharing of stories of racism, racialized oppression, etc. that we are encouraging through the Action Plan to Combat Systemic Racism, in some of our professional learning modules, and our use of instructional resources on the Social Justice standards, do align with the ideology of CRT,” he said (emphasis his). School board member Beth Barts also acknowledged that portions of CRT “probably” influenced the district’s policies.
Most recently, the National Education Association (NEA) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) both expressed support for the theory. Often taught in law schools, the theory is often said to influence schools through “praxis” or a practical application of its ideas. School districts’ focus on systemic racism, their criticism of meritocracy or colorblindness, and their framing of racism as subtle or ordinary bears striking resemblance to CRT source material.
Each of those features and other similarities can be found in the book “Critical Race Theory: An Introduction.” Kimberle Crenshaw, one of the theory’s primary founders, also co-wrote a book devoted to “countering colorblindness.”
Regardless, Loudoun County Public Schools has repeatedly denied teaching CRT and defended so-called “equity” trainings for faculty.
Defenders generally argue that CRT-type training helps enhance dominant groups’ understanding and empathy of what the oppressed experience on a regular basis. These types of trainings have also been promoted as ways to “dismantle” or weaken alleged structures imposing burdens through bias and discrimination.
“In explaining LCPS’ equity priorities, it might be helpful to state what they are not. They are not an effort to indoctrinate students and staff into a particular philosophy or theory. What they are is an effort to provide a welcoming, inclusive, affirming environment for all students,” said then-Interim Superintendent Scott A. Ziegler.
“LCPS’ work on equity is a journey that requires the commitment of staff at all levels. I feel the staff’s work, which has been sustained, honest and undertaken in good faith, has been misrepresented recently by some members of the public,” he added.
Oxford Reference defines CRT as: “A radical movement within jurisprudence that traces its origin to a conference held in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1989. Sometimes called outsider jurisprudence, it sets out to challenge the conventional liberal approach to civil rights issues, in particular the notion that there can be a colour-blind [sic] view of social justice.”
Virginia, like other states, has adopted racial language when discussing curricula. The Virginia Department of Education lists as a reference a statement titled “Mathematics Education Through the Lens of Social Justice: Acknowledgment, Actions, and Accountability.”
The statement, released in conjunction with “TODOS: Mathematics for All,” similarly criticizes “tracking.” It also argues that schools should take a “social justice stance” that “interrogates and challenges the roles power, privilege, and oppression play in the current unjust system of mathematics education – and in society as a whole.”
Another statement adds that even eliminating “tracking,” or removing different lanes for math advancement, is not enough and that students must be willing to forgo their “privilege” in order to address inequities.