She supports equity

Published 6:49 pm Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

I believe in equity. Whenever possible I believe the same opportunities being available to people, with access to the necessary resources to successfully navigate those opportunities, is a good thing.

For a variety of reasons, the above is impossible. It does strike me as a useful aspirational tool and this belief is the basis for my sorrow that Isle of Wight’s move toward parity for students has been lost within a narrative that was manufactured with an eye toward pushing an agenda of discord and disarray, which has been largely successful. An interview with Christopher Rufo, the creator of the movement, by Benjamin Wallace-Wells lays out his strategy in detail. (“How a Conservative Activist Invented the Conflict Over Critical Race Theory,” by Benjamin Wallace-Wells, June 18, 2021, The New Yorker)

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What has been called “Critical Race Theory” emerged from law school faculty in the 1960s identifying that racism, in addition to prejudice, includes systemic controls of one population over another. (One might say, it equally applies to sexism.)

Further reading indicates that this subject matter would be covered in college or graduate level courses if the student decided to pursue that subject area. It is a great distance from being taught in elementary and secondary schools (with the possible exception of one choosing to take an AP or dual enrollment course, both of which are college-level courses).

I was distressed at a recent school board meeting in which a parent reported receiving assurance in writing that Isle of Wight County schools were not teaching Critical Race Theory. The parent, however, continued to refer to the move toward equity as Critical Race Theory. I thought, “Where can we go from here?”

I spent 15 years teaching dual enrollment psychology in the high schools of a neighboring school district. I worry about students being unprepared for the wider world if we bar them from age-appropriate accurate information about our country and the world.

The high school students I taught were savvy and frequently asked thought-provoking questions. To hamper teachers in responding to students’ questions seems to me a disservice to the students. I was frequently surprised by the amount of educational programming the students reported watching and I suspect Isle of Wight County students are aware of a much broader spectrum of information than is known to many of the adults around them.

Jo Weaver