Tom McKay (Alaska House, District 24) proposed anti-CRT legislation in a pre-filed bill last week. HB 228 includes the following nondiscrimination language for public education:
- a given sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin is inherently superior or inferior,
- an individual should be treated adversely based on the individual’s sex, race, ethnicity, color, or national origin
- an individual, by virtue of the individual’s sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin, is inherently responsible for actions committed in the past by other members of the same sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin.
Essentially, it is a ban on teaching Critical Race Theory (CRT) in the public schools.
The pre-filed bill drew a quick and earnest response basically denying any such thing was going on in ASD. The response claimed that none of these things are taught in ASD and asks why McKay believes otherwise. The respondent then went on to point out that the legislation would create a false impression among parents and the general public about what ASD students are being taught, create dissatisfaction and anger wrongly directed at dedicated hard-working teachers and schools. The note ended with the conclusion it would do much more harm than good.
That’s a lot to unpack. Let’s start.
At the very top level, parental concern over CRT nationally and here in Anchorage is very real and very deep. The official position of ASD and the Anchorage School Board is that there is nothing to see here, move along, move along. But their actions belie that. If there is no CRT at ASD, why then did they disappear a CRT reading list from their web site last July? If there is no CRT at ASD, why did multiple Anchorage teachers sign a pledge last June to break any laws that might prohibit them from teaching CRT?
For no fire, that’s a lot of smoke.
Teachers unions at the national level have been in full throated support of CRT since at least 2018. Alaskan teachers participate in the national union and if they are in opposition, haven’t seemed to have much impact shutting it down. Indeed, Jim Minnery writing in Alaska Watchman last July noted that the NEA passed Resolution 39 last year to continue pushing expanded CRT teaching and funded defense of teachers challenged by parents or lawmakers for doing so.
I do not have access to resolutions from either the Alaska or Anchorage Education Associations but based on the reaction to the proposed HB 228 and the action of ASD on its web site, the official position is to simply deny any of this is being done at ASD or in Alaska.
If ASD is not dabbling in CRT, then passing HB 228 will not do anything other than make parents and taxpayers more comfortable that their children and grandchildren aren’t being taught to hate one another based on nothing other than the color of their skin. All by itself, that will be a positive outcome. If, as I believe, they are lying to us, then their professional lives will get a little more uncomfortable, and they will have to defend themselves in public, another positive outcome.
Much was made last summer during the BLM protests and riots about the existence of what they described as institutional racism and how harmful that racism is. With CRT, and its complete support by the teachers unions, I believe we have identified the source of institutional racism here in the US. It is coming out of the teachers unions, who are busily taking our wonderful kiddos and filling them with as much racial hatred as humanly possible in the classroom on a daily basis.
Tom McKay is on the right path with this proposed legislation. He should be celebrated and supported in trying to get it passed. And the rest of the legislature needs to get on board.
Alex Gimarc lives in Anchorage since retiring from the military in 1997. His interests include science and technology, environment, energy, economics, military affairs, fishing and disabilities policies. His weekly column “Interesting Items” is a summary of news stories with substantive Alaska-themed topics. He was a small business owner and Information Technology professional.