Anchorage School Board member Dave Donley has been beating the drum for months: The Critical Race Theory reading list from the Anchorage School District’s Equity Office is partisan, racist, and Marxist.
Now, the reading list has mysteriously disappeared. Those books may still be on a recommended list that the district’s Equity Office may make available to those who call, but the district website has been scrubbed of the worst offenders, including:
- Antiracist Baby by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
- How to be an Antiracist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
- Stamped from The Beginning by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
- The New Jim Crow by Michele Alexander
- An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz
- White Fragility by Dr. Robin DiAngelo
- So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Now, there are only a couple of tame podcasts and other resources listed.
Last year the Anchorage School District’s director of “Equity and Compliance” announced the intent to use Critical Race Theory to develop new training and policies.
In the Fall of 2020, the suggested reading list appeared on the ASD website of the Office of Equity and Compliance. “White Fragility” and “How to be an Anti-Racist” were among other CRT publications listed as recommended reading for “Self Understanding.”
The books, based on Marxist philosophy, contain radical racist propaganda and bias partisan attacks on Republicans, critics said. Donley, the only Republican on the Anchorage School Board, objected to these publications as inappropriate for a taxpayer-funded government website to identify as “recommended,” without any disclaimer and counter opinion being provided under Anchorage Municipal Code Section 1.15.110, prohibiting partisan use of public funds.
District lawyers disagreed and said the potentially ordinance prohibited parts of the books “are not explicitly supporting or opposing a political party, candidate or ballot issue” so they were ok.
But Donley cited specific examples of attacks only on Republicans in these books and continued to object to the District Superintendent that endorsing these books on a taxpayer funded website without any listing or recognition of opposing thought literature was unfair and inappropriate. Donley submitted a list of books that presented opposing opinions, but the Superintendent refused to list them.
In late 2020, under public pressure, the ASD added the following disclaimer to the website: “These books have been recommended by staff as self and facilitated study resources on equity and race. The authors represent prominent voices in the ongoing national discussion about equity and race. These resources are not part of the ASD student curriculum, nor are the authors endorsed by ASD.”
That was a start. But Donley continued to object at school board meetings to the unfairness and bias of listing only pro-Critical Race Theory books on the ASD website. In early July, without prior notice, the list of “recommended” books was removed from the ASD website and replaced with: “For additional resources on equity please contact the Office of Equity and Compliance at 742-4132.” A request from Donley for list of recommended resources was not responded to.
The ASD continues to provide classes in Critical Race Theory to its employees. So far over 130 ASD employees have taken these classes based on “White Fragility” and “How to be an Anti-Racist.”