In recent decades, the ACLU has supported transparency laws in schools when it came to sex education instruction, religious teachings in public schools, and segregating activities by sex.
So why are they opposing laws that would require transparency when it comes to the teaching of critical race theory?
Curriculum transparency bills are just thinly veiled attempts at chilling teachers and students from learning and talking about race and gender in schools. https://t.co/EqKN4EGX3m
— ACLU (@ACLU) January 21, 2022
Transparency is only bad when the right wants to expose something the left wants to keep hidden.
In fact, when the issue was sex education in Nevada public schools, the ACLU demanded transparency.
“The days of back door decision making are over. Compliance with the open meetings law is meant to secure the opportunity of parents, students, and community members to have a meaningful impact on the development of policy. We are all well served when decisions on the appointment of sex education advisory committee members is subject to public scrutiny, rather than the result of the presentation of a narrow range of interests,” Staci Pratt, Legal Director of the ACLU of Nevada, said at the time. The organization used the state’s public records law to request materials related to sex education in each of the state’s 17 counties.
Being “subject to public scrutiny, rather than the result of the presentation of a narrow range of interests” is a great concept — except when it comes to critical race theory.
Why is that?
Similarly, the ACLU in Kentucky was trying to ferret out any hint of religious instruction in schools and demanded “transparency.”
The ACLU-KY sent requests to all of Kentucky’s 173 school districts seeking policies and curriculum for “Bible Literacy” courses. While most districts are not offering these courses, the ACLU-KY found many of the courses that are being offered do not fall within constitutional strictures, which require any use of religious text in the classroom to be secular, objective, nondevotional, and must not promote any specific religious view.
The investigation uncovered public school teachers using the Bible to impart religious life lessons (Barren, McCracken, and Letcher Counties), use of online Sunday School lessons and worksheets for course source material and assignments (Letcher and Wayne Counties), and rote memorization of Biblical text (McCracken County) — practices which fall far short of academic and objective study of the Bible and its historical context or literary value.
In almost every instance in the last quarter-century that the ACLU has become involved in an issue involving schools, the organization has come down on the side of openness and transparency.
Why not critical race theory?
In arguing against transparency in the public school system, the ACLU is departing from its traditional mission. As has been written about elsewhere, the ACLU is increasingly becoming more of an activist progressive organization. Among activist progressives, sensitivities about race and gender have often brought them to take positions that are in tension with classical liberal values like freedom of speech, transparency, and equal treatment under the law. Those same sensitivities appear to be trouncing the ACLU’s longstanding principles in this case.
We have constantly been told that CRT is not being taught in schools and that this is all a political battle having nothing to do with education. Indeed, the precise concepts of critical race theory are not being taught. What is being taught are lessons based on the concepts of critical race theory. Every time a school administrator or their supporters on the left make that argument, you can almost see the sneer of contempt on their face. They know full well that those lessons are based on arguments advanced by critical race theorists.
It’s impossible to prove that’s their intent unless the underlying rationale for teaching a specific lesson is exposed. And that’s where the transparency laws come into play. Parents have a right to know if there is an effort being made at stealth instruction of an insidious academic form that most younger children couldn’t understand.
As the ACLU led the fight for transparency in sex education, they will now lead the fight in the effort to cover up the true nature of CRT instruction.