A conservative group found teachers in anti critical race theory states have been working around the laws by renaming their curriculum, reported Newsweek. Per an investigation by Accuracy in Media (AIM), school administrators from Idaho and Tennessee admitted to “rebranding” the lessons so they could teach the same subjects.
Per Newsweek’s report the school officials were caught on video explaining how they were teaching the same subjects to students under the guise of “social-emotional learning.” AIM President Adam Guillette called the plan “diabolical.”
In Caldwell, Idaho, Melissa Langan, the chief academic officer of the Caldwell School District told Guillette in the video that she recently attended a superintendents’ meeting at which it was recommended to refer to social-emotional learning as “Behavior Adaptations.”
“Changed the label, same stuff. And I thought, it’s kind of a bummer they have to do that, but at the same time it was kind of brilliant,” she said in the taped video. “Because they don’t care about this, even though it’s the same as this. But it’s the label. So I thought it was brilliant on their part.”
A school administrator from Tennessee’s Marion County Schools, Kimberly Shurett, noted that even though CRT isn’t “actively being taught” it’s also “not actively not being taught,” via Newsweek.
Additionally, AIM found the administrators learned ways to work around how to source their materials as well. Cindy Dion from Idaho’s Nampa School District said the 1619 Project by The New York Times was off limits to school staff. Instead, she used a direct partner of the project called Newsela, a platform for “taking real content from trusted providers and turning it into learning materials,” reported Newsweek.
Dion also told Guillette that the district updated the curriculum name to include “mental health” because “social emotional learning” was frowned upon, reported Newsweek.
Nampa School District responded to clarify what Dion meant.
“The district has not changed the name of SEL; rather, adding the words “mental health” seeks to help clarify what is being taught. Similarly, important social studies topics such as civil rights history continue to be taught, although as the employee pointed out, some less experienced teachers might shy away from deeper discussions due to the current political climate,” it also read.
Though Guillette acknowledged how educators believe CRT is important for student learning, he did say he believes it is “morally outrageous” for them to ignore state laws and “push racist Marxist ideas,” per Newsweek.
It’s unclear what may happen to these “social emotional learning” lessons as a result of the AIM investigation. However, this situation confirms that not only students but educators are fighting back against the new restrictions on how racism is taught.