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Critical Race Theory’s Link to ‘Technocracy’

Robert Pondiscio writes at Real Clear Policy about the small base of support for Critical Race Theory.

If publicly “woke” charter school leaders at schools committed to antiracist work say, at least privately, that their students’ families are indifferent to it, who or what is driving the train? … “This is really coming from elite teachers,” mainly white women, “who are pushing ideology that is not coming from parents.”

… Taking the long view, if minority parents aren’t asking for critical race theory and antiracist practices in charter schools, and if it’s politically unpopular in public school districts — if indeed it’s mostly the hobby horse of academics and elites — it raises questions about the viability and sustainability of the “equity” agenda. I’ve made no secret of my misgivings about critical race theory and “antiracist” practice, and whether it’s really in the best long-term interest of Black and brown children. So, it’s unlikely its proponents are looking for my advice. But it’s hard not to wonder if deeply committed social justice advocates in education are making the same mistakes that previous generations of would-be ed reformers made, overspending their moral authority to impose on schools priorities and practices parents don’t much like, regardless of their good intent. …

… It seems reasonable to think that vocal proponents of antiracist policies and practices are making the same errors in judgement, indulging in the same “we know what’s best” technocratic groupthink that pushed ed reform off the rails and shattered its coalition. There’s long been a strain of thought in education that attempts to impose social justice aims on schools. And the technocrat’s reach reliably exceeds his grasp. Put the two of those together in the service of a movement that (let’s be honest) is more about politics and culture than teaching and learning, and it seems all but certain that efforts to remake America through the work of its schools faces long odds unless antiracist advocates become more willing to “do the work” of selling their ideas to parents.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...