The Federal government goes nuclear in the battle over Critical Race Theory in a blatant attempt to intimidate parents at the behest of a powerful, left-leaning industry association who wants to unleash the PATRIOT Act. Meanwhile, the Attorney General’s son-in-law is poised to make millions of dollars selling CRT in schools. What could go wrong?
Last week, Attorney General Merrick Garland unleashed the full might and force of the Federal Bureau of Investigations against America’s parents. In a memorandum to FBI Director Christopher Wray, AG Garland claimed that “there has been a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff who participate in the vital work of running our nation’s public schools.” Perhaps needless to say, he provided absolutely no evidence of this claim, but that didn’t stop him from continuing to assert that threats “against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation’s core values” and the Department of Justice is “committed to using its authority to discourage these threats, identify them when they occur, and prosecute them when appropriate.” The next step is the announcement of a “series of measures designed to address the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel.”
What those measures may be, nobody knows, though the National School Boards Association has some ideas, more on that in a moment. In the meantime, what is incredibly clear is incalculably chilling: Parents are now officially in the sights of the full might of the Department of Justice, and are being warned to back off for voicing concerns that schools are, in the words of one educator in New York City, demonizing white kids for the crime of being born. This is outright intimidation, and they don’t even bother to hide it. They cite no cases of actual violence, provide no evidence at all that anyone has been hurt or harmed, or that any law has actually been violated across almost 14,000 school districts in the United States. Obviously, if they had a smoking gun, they would have fired it. Instead, they’re focus is far more generalized and insidious: They will “discourage” parents from speaking out, preventing their voices from being heard in advance, as if the Department of Justice has been suddenly transformed into some future though crime agency straight out of the love-child of Minority Report and 1984.
The subtext could not be more clear: Keep your mouth shut and stay out of your children’s education, or else. Even worse, there is also concern that AG Garland’s clumsy efforts at intimidation were made at the behest of the National School Boards Association (NSBA), a left-leaning association of thousands of school boards across the country. On September 27, the NSBA sent a letter to President Biden claiming that “America’s public schools and its education leaders are under an immediate threat.” In the letter, they begin by restating the outright lie that Critical Race Theory isn’t being taught in school, even as their counterpart unions, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, vote to implement precisely that and claim it’s essential to education. Incredibly, the NSBA claims it’s just “propaganda,” and that this “propaganda continues despite the fact that critical race theory is not taught in public schools,” repeating the canard that it remains a “complex law school and graduate school subject.”
From there, the NSBA proceeds to use language strikingly similar to the Department of Justice. They bemoan the “growing threats of violence” and “acts of intimidation,” then insert some odd language that “students, school board members, and educators” are “susceptible to acts of violence” — who isn’t? I could be the victim of a home invasion right now — but ultimately they go one step further than the Biden Administration. In striking, plain-as-day language, they equate concerned parents protesting policies, from masking to CRT, that they disagree with, to domestic terrorism. They claim “the classification of these heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes” and urge the administration to conduct a “joint expedited review by the U.S. Departments of Justice, Education, and Homeland Security, along with the appropriate training, coordination, investigations, and enforcement mechanisms from the FBI, including any technical assistance necessary from, and state and local coordination with, its National Security Branch and Counterterrorism Division, as well as any other federal agency with relevant jurisdictional authority and oversight.”
In other words, they want the entire alphabet army of Federal law enforcement turned loose, and that’s not all. Legally, they want every possible terrorism and other tool at their disposal, “the Gun-Free School Zones Act, the PATRIOT Act in regards to domestic terrorism, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the Violent Interference with Federally Protected Rights statute, the Conspiracy Against Rights statute,” and an Executive Order from Biden himself. All that’s missing is a call to “cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war” on America’s parents. Of course, no letter to the President could be complete without a sufficient level of brown-nosing. In between presenting their plan to round up the nation’s dissenting parents and ship them to Gitmo, PTA Branch, they spend an inordinate amount of time lauding Biden’s achievements. They “appreciate the leadership to end the proliferation of COVID-19” and the “recent discussions with White House and US Department of Education staff on many critical issues facing public schools.” They “applaud his actions to restore resources to school districts,” lauding the use of “face masks and other precautions to help prevent COVID-19 infections.”
To the NSBA’s (small) credit, they do attempt to provide something resembling evidence to support their contention that the Federal government is required to police out of control parents. The problem is how paltry and miniscule it is to demand this kind of Federal action. All told, they report that school board meetings have been “disrupted” in a handful of states, including California, Florida, and Georgia, without actually defining disrupted. Otherwise, they note that one individual was arrested in Illinois for aggravated battery and disorderly conduct during a meeting, and that in Michigan one man performed a “Nazi salute” in protest of masking requirements, and another “prompted the board to call a recess because of opposition to critical race theory.” There are somewhere close to 50,000,000 students in the United States,, and they’ve identified one parent in the entire country that was arrested. One! By comparison, there are 35,000 FBI agents and countless others in the departments they want to bring down on parents. In matters of war and peace, we sometimes hear the phrase “proportional response,” meaning any retaliation for an attack should take into consideration the scale of the initial incident. If a suicide bomber kills one person, the proper response is not to nuke the city, but that’s exactly what the NBSA is calling for here, the equivalent of a hydrogen bomb dropped on a handful of parents who might have crossed the line.
Personally, I abhor violence of any kind to the point where I’m not even completely comfortable with the “Fuck Joe Biden” chant sweeping the country, though I will admit to being amused. I would support the federal government taking action if there were hundreds of incidents of parents storming school districts with pitchforks, intent on tarring and feathering board members and faculty. At the same time, it’s very difficult to take anything progressives have to say on the topic seriously. Last summer, there were hundreds if not thousands of rioters looting and pillaging major cities, and progressives routinely dismissed the notion of any federal action at all, referring to guards at federal buildings as storm troopers. When Senator Tom Cotton wrote an op-ed in The New York Times recommending using the Insurrection Act to unleash federal law enforcement, the outrage was so swift and severe, the editor of the Times editorial page was fired. This was actual violence, occurring on a nightly basis, and we were told the federal government should stay out of it. What rationale could possibly support them going after concerned parents now?
It’s also no secret that intimidation has long been an approved, widely used progressive tactic. Who can forget the immortal words of Maxine Waters urging her supporters to “push back” on anyone affiliated with Trump, they’re not welcome “anymore, anywhere?” “Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere,” she declared. Just last week, President Biden claimed progressives following Senator and fellow Democrat Kyrsten Sinema into the bathroom and filming her was just a “part of the process.” Now, however, parents are pushing back, less forcibly, against schools they believe are demonizing and indoctrinating their children, and the FBI should be unleashed against them, armed with every legal arrow in their expansive quiver?
Nor is Merrick Garland himself the ideal messenger for this crusade. It turns out his son-in-law, Alexander “Xan” Tanner, is the cofounder and president of a company called Panorama Education, a company devoted to providing Critical Race Theory based teaching tools to educational institutions, poised to make huge dollars if the unions are successful in their push to bring CRT into the classroom. Panorama refers to their curriculum under the euphemism “Social-Emotional Learning,” but even a cursory look reveals deep roots in CRT and intersectionality. For example, one of their “workshops” is titled “SEL as Social Justice: Dismantling White Supremacy Within Systems and Self.” The program is designed “to explore actionable strategies for using SEL as a vehicle for social justice and advocacy in your community,” and the materials include calls for educators to “affirm” their intersectionality,” and examine their “unconscious biases.” It even defines “systemic racism” as “the systematic distribution of resources, power, and opportunity in our society to the benefit of people who are white,” while encouraging stakeholders “learn more about how Panorama centers the voices of community stakeholders to dismantle white supremacy and systems of oppression.” The leader of the workshop, Becky Barstein, said Panorama viewed “SEL as social justice — seeking to dismantle white supremacy” and it the “vehicle” to achieve “equity” and “racial justice.” What is this except CRT by another name, plain as day?
Contrary to what the NSBA and other progressives are claiming, Panorama Education is being used and paid for by K-12 schools as we speak and has been for some time. Recently, the former governor of Virginia and current candidate for governor again, Terry McAuliffe, told parents they have no right to be involved in their children’s education and claimed emphatically that CRT was not being taught in Virginia schools. The idea was so ridiculous, he didn’t even need to define it for a reporter because it simply wasn’t happening. This was a bold-faced lie, however, as public documents clearly show Loudoun County, for example, engaging Panorama Education for precisely this purpose. One invoice uncovered only details “follow up meetings on Critical Race Theory development,” and includes multiple Equity Leadership Coaching services, Instructional Leadership Development for the Culturally Responsive Teaching Framework and Equity Committee Planning and Agenda Design. The superintendent of Loudoun Schools, Eric Williams, offered this little bit of doublespeak in response. “While LCPLS has not adopted CRT, some of the principles related to race as a social construct and the sharing of stories of racism, racialized oppression, etc. that we are encouraging through the Action Plan to Combat Systemic Racism, in some of our professional learning modules, and our use of instructional resources on the Social Justice Standards, do align with the ideology of CRT.”
But, no, there’s nothing to see here: They’re not teaching CRT, they are just aligned and inspired by it, and now they want to unleash the federal government to intimidate parents into keeping their mouths shut about it, while the AG’s son makes millions off it. What could possibly go wrong?