Dave Donley: Critical Race Theory does not belong in the Anchorage School District - Must Read Alaska
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Dave Donley: Critical Race Theory does not belong in the Anchorage School District

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By DAVE DONLEY

I support the Anchorage School District’s existing strong anti-discrimination policies and our constitutional guarantees of equal justice under the law.  Racism of any kind against anyone should not be tolerated.  

But, the political left’s control of labels and narratives gives it an extraordinary advantage. For example, liberals have become “progressives.”  Illegal aliens are now “undocumented persons.”  

“Critical Race Theory,” a form of reverse racism, is already in the Anchorage School District with a vengeance. New proposed “equity” and “anti-racism” policies to be voted on April 20 may officially empower the District’s use of this discriminatory pedagogy.

Critical Race Theory (CRT) is a radical pop culture movement based on Marxist theory of society and race.  CRT is found is books such as “White Fragility” and “How to be an Anti-racist.”  

It typically includes the belief that white supremacy exists and maintains power through culture and law.  CRT is anti-traditional family, anti-capitalism, anti-individualism, anti-merit-based success, and teaches that all white people are racists.  

“White Fragility” is one of the books that promotes Critical Race Theory. The core message of “White Fragility,” that all white Americans are racist, is by definition racist. It teaches that all white Americans are a product of white supremacy and are actively or unwittingly complicit in maintaining this power structure. If you are white and say you are not racist, that is only proof that you are racist.

To quote from “White Fragility”:

Page 22: “When I say only whites can be racist, I mean that in the United states, only whites have the collective social and institutional power and privilege over people of color.”

Page 27: “Whites also produce and reinforce the dominant narratives of society – such as individualism and meritocracy – and use these narratives to explain the positions of other racial groups.”

Page 61: “The romanticized “traditional” family values of the past are also racially problematic.”

Page 83: “While a white person may have been picked on – even mercilessly – by being in the numerical minority in a specific context, the individual experienced race prejudice and discrimination, not racism.”

To quote from “How to be an Anti-Racist”:

Page 19: “the only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”

Page 163: “To love capitalism is to end up loving racism. To love racism is to end up loving capitalism. The conjoined twins are two sides of the same destructive body.”

Page 222: “They were reacting to the same moderate and liberal and assimilationist forces that all these years later still reduce racism to the individual acts of White Klansmen and Jim Crow politicians and Tea Party Republicans and N-word users and White nationalist shooters and Trumpian politicos.”

Critical Race Theory advocates radically changing existing law and culture to discriminate against all people who, happen to be what they would describe as the race in power, to advantage people of some other races.  It is critical of civil-rights scholarship and anti-discrimination laws as mere tools of white supremacy. It advocates a revisionist negative interpretation of American civil rights law and progress against racism in the United States.  

However, CRT proponents struggle to explain the success of some minorities and Asian Americans within what they argue is a structurally unfair system.  Some CRT theorists group all Asian Americans within the “white” category to justify racial discrimination against them.  

This has led to strong opposition to CRT among many Asian Americans.  The Trump Justice Department brought suit against Harvard University for race-based discrimination against Asian Americans, but President Biden dropped the case.  On the first day of his presidency, President Biden issued an executive order to rescind President Trump’s ban on Critical Race Theory training for employees in federal agencies.

So, what has this got to do with the Anchorage School District?  Last year, the ASD began coordinating with the University of Alaska to train ASD teachers in Critical Race Theory.  When I requested to be allowed to attend a class, the superintendent refused to let me even observe.  

Also last year the ASD’s Director of “Equity and Compliance” announced the intent to use CRT to develop new training. A few months ago, a suggested reading list appeared on the ASD website of the Office of Equity and Compliance.  “White Fragility” and “How to be an Anti-Racist” are among other CRT publications as recommended reading for “self understanding.”  These books, based on Marxist philosophy, contain bias partisan attacks on Republicans.

I have objected to the District endorsing these books on a taxpayer-funded website without any listing or recognition of opposing thought literature.  I submitted a list of books and publications that present opposing opinions, but the District refused to list them. I objected to the lack of any disclaimer to the political and partisan content of the books.  Only recently, under public pressure, did the ASD add a very weak and inadequate disclaimer and several non-CRT books, but none in opposition to CRT.

In response to growing parental opposition, the superintendent has stated “Critical Race Theory is not being considered for ASD curriculum nor taught. The discussion of the term arose with self-interest courses teachers participated in on their non-work hours to gain an understanding of the present national discussion.”

But School Board now faces huge pressure to adopt new “equity” and “anti-racism” policies that will authorize the District administration to adopt “administrative regulations” that can impose Critical Race Theory on students and families.  At a recent townhall, ASD administrators seemed excited to start the work of instructing parents and ensuring that you are discussing these issues in at home with your children in a District approved manner.  

The State of Florida recently banned the use of CRT in public schools. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said, “Teaching kids to hate their country and to hate each other is not worth one red cent of taxpayer money.” In Idaho, a proposal to ban CRT from public schools is in the State House. Schools in other states that have instituted CRT are having huge problems, as parents stand up to imposing its racism and warped philosophies on their children.

The new “equity” and “anti-racism” policies are scheduled to be voted on at the April 20 Anchorage School Board meeting before newly elected members are seated.  

To be clear, equality means equal treatment, unbiased competition, and impartially judged outcomes. Equity can mean equal outcomes, achieved if necessary by unequal treatment, biased competition, and preferential judging.  

Elements of such policies wrongly applied can attack America’s foundational principle that people should be treated equally and judged as individuals, not as members of groups.

At the April 20 meeting, I will offer amendments to the proposed policies to prevent the administration from using them to justify imposing Critical Race Theory on our children and discriminating against any student based on race.  If that is not the intent then the advocates of these new policies should support such protections.  

I anticipate loud opposition to any amendments to the proposed policies. That opposition will tell you all you need to know about how dangerous these innocent sounding policies may truly be.

Anyone can testify at School Board meetings in person, by telephone or Zoom.  To sign, up to testify contact the Board Secretary at [email protected] by 2 pm the day of a meeting or calling 907-742-4315.  

Your voice can make a difference.

This communication is from Dave Donley as an individual and not on behalf of any elected, appointed, or military position he may hold including the Anchorage School District and School Board. Donley is a lifelong Alaskan, parent of 13-year-old twins, and served in the State Legislature for 16 years.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Texas passed legislation against the critical race theory teachings, which is a Marxist tool to divide us further.

  • Thanks Dave Donley for raising attention to the use of CRT in the ASD. Where are the other school board members on this issue?

    It seems that the ASD has a hard enough time teaching math and English. CRT is a distraction from ASD’s continual failure as an educational institution.

  • The only white supremacy happening is within the Democrat Party. Alaska-Anchorage Muni Democrats had their chance throwing their political weight sponsoring Martinez for Mayor rather than Dunbar. They also had their chance sponsoring questionably Republican Marcus Sanders for school board, rather than their four White school board candidates. As well as why not throw out AK democrat Democrat chair Casey Steinau?

  • While the Alaska Democrats are using people to change everyone else, their own white people won’t step down from their power.

  • Thank God for Dave Donley on the School Board. He is a sane voice about the virulent battle going in our schools to indoctrinate our kids.

    The good news is that private schools are ready, willing, and able to teach our kids traditional courses in reading, writing, and arithmetic, among others. As the public schools go farther and farther left, parents will press for school choice and achieve it.

  • Agree 1000%. Turn out on April 20th and make your voice heard by ASD!!!

  • If the ASD moves further down this path, they should be prepared to shutter schools and cope with reduced revenues as students depart for other education providers. A key inquiry to be asked of everyone involved in this matter: Do you believe that people, including children, should be judged on the content of their character? Or the color of their skin? It is a relevant question.

  • Great explanation on the destructive path being pursued by ASD with Critical Race Theory and other progressive issues. It is sad to see a school district that was one of the best in the nation in the 19080’s now rank at the bottom for reading, math, and science. ASD is tone deaf to parents and community interests. It is dominated by an administration and a School Board majority, pandering to the ultra-Left. We should all be thanking Dave Donley for his fortitude to continue focusing on providing a quality education to all students and trying to turn the ASD away from the social emotional re-engineering of our children into socialists clones that are not educated to the level necessary to be successful later in life. Keep up the good work, Dave.

  • I would challenge everyone to actually read the policies instead of just going off the opposition of this school board member. If anyone actually reads the Anti Racism and Instructional Equity policies that are up for adoption, they do not mention CRT , they do not imply CRT, nor was CRT thought of when writing the policies. The policies were written in 2018/2019 far before the racial tensions in the US were at a point of combustion. Some of the reason that students within the ASD are struggling to be better in reading, writing, and math is due to certain inequities and antiquated testing methods. White students are performing 2-4 times higher across the board within the ASD in comparison to students of color. We must get to the bottom of why that is the case, it’s not because White students are just somehow superior in knowledge. White people will not lose anything due to these policies. The policies are meant to explore the racial disparities within the ASD, address those disparities, and get a framework in place so that racially motivated incidents can be dealt with accordingly. If you ask may students, they do not know who or what they should do in racially motivated or perceived racially motivated incidents. There has been cases of retaliation in the ASD when things have been brought up. The policies are not meant to perpetuate reverse racism at all, because that is wrong. Racism across the board is wrong no matter the skin color. Dave’s definition of equality is correct, but the definition on equity is wrong. Equity is helping those who have barriers in the way to be able to help them reach the same opportunity as someone who has little to no barriers. So, with that, White students would not be discriminated against because they are already are having access to opportunities with little to no barriers. However, if a White student does have barriers, then the opportunity to receive equity will be given to them as well. The policies up for adoption aren’t just for students of color, they are for everyone if they need equity to experience opportunities to do better and be set up for success in the best way. The policies are not meant to put in place teaching White Fragility or that all White people are racist, or anything similar. If racism wasn’t an issue than we would not be experiencing the racial tensions and explosions in our country right now. I do not feel that we should invalidate the experiences of those experiencing racism in the ASD nor the people who feel these policies are necessary. Almost all of the opposition I have seen have made their main point that racism and the policies being discussed make them uncomfortable and will put them at a disadvantage. Again, White people will not be at a disadvantage, White people will not be taken down or harassed or made to feel bad about being White. Not all White people are racist nor are all of any particular ethnicity racist, the policies up for adoption do not say that nor is the intent to teach that. All the policies do are set a framework to make the ASD better, to help students who have barriers address those barriers, and to improve the ASD’s numbers in all subject areas. I would implore everyone to read the policies as written before forming a negative opinion. Please understand that the negative comments by Board Member Donley are influenced by an obsession with CRT which have nothing to do with the policies up for adoption nor do those that wrote the policies endorse. Through addressing roadblock for our students, we can improve the overall education received for ALL students. Again, these policies not just for students of color. A second note to please consider is that the books listed on the ASD website are not part of curriculum that students are learning or will learn. The books listed are from teachers and staff who are reading about certain topics and wanted to share with others as a resource. In the last school board meeting, the Superintendent repeatedly told Board Member Donley that if he had opposing theories or other references he wanted up on the website, that he should email her and she would put them up. The books currently up, are accessible for anyone to see and as people, we have the free will to choose to read them or not, we choose what we believe or not believe. Teachers are not pushing the books on the website to their students in any way shape or form. However, there’s no reason why in anyone’s free time that if a student’s parent allows that they can explore any kind of theory. We can all be more culturally sensitive to other people who are not like us. We should all appreciate diversity, appreciate cultures other than our own, and learn to expand our own view. All of being different is a good thing! We all bring something valuable to the table. I would ask that Board Member Donley remove the association of CRT with the Anti Racism and Instructional Equity policies. The ASD has much room for improvement and the policies at hand are a good step in achieving what we all want, which is for all of our students to be set up for success, learn without barriers, and be well rounded productive members of our society. Students should learn to think for themselves and be able to dissect information given. If you are someone who doesn’t feel the ASD should be teaching or influencing their child, remove your child from the ASD, do not sign up for any ASD sanctioned homeschool program, and teach your child your own curriculum. The whole point of education is to teach people by influencing them to believe information as true(think reading, writing, math, and science principles). We teach them as truth. The Anti-Racism and Instructional Equity policies should teach all of our students to appreciate other cultures, learn about other cultures, and explore the contributions to our society. The policies should aim to ensure that all our students can learn free of unnecessary barriers and excel in life. We have to do better and change can be uncomfortable. I would ask people to consider that there are other people outside themselves who while may have equality in opportunity, but may experience inequity in reaching those opportunities….just because I have access to something doesn’t mean I have the ability to cash in on that access. I believe that people must strip down their own personal bias and try to look objectively for a moment. We are experience racial tension all over the country and so people are approaching these racial issues overly charged. Please inform yourself before assessing extreme negativity on policies such as these.

  • Reverse discrimination against whites or more accurately pink people has been going on for decades. I am a native American but I look white just like Bryce edgman claims to be native but it’s mostly Scandinavian. College scholarships mostly go to non pink people. Brown / black people have the United negro college fund. If you are a person of color, a color different than pink that is, and you are not the most qualified applicant, you will be moved to the head of the line during that college scholarship decision. It’s the same way with jobs. It’s hard for a pink looking person to get the job. It seems like companies want to appease voters and the government and not hire the most qualified person to benefit their company. Shareholders should take notice of this because it’s not in the best interest of the company all the time it’s in the best interest to fulfill some leftist socialist agenda.

  • Thank you Board member Donley for standing up for our kids. This policy teaches kids to hate each other based on race. It reminds me of Bloody Mary in South Pacific when she sang “You Have to be Taught to Hate”. This will pit kids against one another by the color of their skin. BTW, the State of AK is providing funding for the leaders of this action–the Alaska Black Caucus. Many others including the Rasmusson Foundation provide funding. Most of the funding comes from the Solidaire Network which is funded by George Soros. PAY ATTENTION AND GET ACTIVE or you and your kids will lose.

  • “It’s so easy to be wrong-and to persist in being wrong-when the costs of being wrong are paid by others.” Thomas Sowell

    It is truly sad to think how many children are going to be damaged by the insanity of CRT. They will pay the price, not the woke crowd that are pushing the agenda.

  • Equity” is hogwash.
    “The government cannot measure equality of opportunity, but it can measure equality of result. If the results are not equal they wrongly assume unequal opportunity. Ingenuity, inventiveness, entrepreneurial skill, determination and most important effort are extremely difficult to measure, but those are usually the key factors in creating result.
    Until the government figures out how to measure those factors, “equity” will never be properly measured.”
    Thomas A.Murphy

  • To Governor Dunleavy we respectfully request an Executive Order immediately prohibiting critical race theory indoctrination, or any semblance thereof, in any Alaskan school or university.

  • Is this blog the standard Rino capitulation?
    If we were to say that the left has pushed for the deracination of White people for generations would we be censored? If so this might as well be another CNN talking head.

  • While I understand the author’s message and his sentiments, please stop referring to any and all aspects of CRT as “reverse racism”. CRT, which is a racist ideology used to attack white people, is simple racism. That’s all. Calling it “reverse racism” implies that only white people can be racist and for racism to be directed at whites via policies like CRT it has to be “reversed”.

    As for Taylor M., above, s/he/it can take the ASD’s “Racist Reading List”, shove it up somewhere dark, and Foxtrot Oscar.

  • Good on yourself, Mr. Donley, for exposing these people for their propoganda and ridiculous contrivances. Academics have run out of original altruisms, so they have brandied-up these new designer terms and relabeled them under the blight of capitalism. CRT is nothing more than socialism repackaged, under a new banner, which espouses some great failure of white people to aid and abet assimilation. Biggest crock of bs in the 21st century, yet the elected fools see this as their intellectual Crusades. It doesn’t get any dumber than this.

  • I agree James. Well said. I’m “white” and I strongly disagree with this overt institutional support for CRT or “reverse racism” not because it offends me as a white person, but because I think it is an incredibly unhealthy approach to race. When liberals here “reverse racism”, they always think they are listening to a person whining about being discriminated against like poor little babies. It isn’t that at all. It’s just that racism is bad, end of discussion. Thinking a person is morally inferior or superior just because of the color of their skin is racist and should not be promoted regardless of the colors of skin involved. That being a controversial statement in this modern era is solid proof to me that these trends coming from the BLM movement are regressive, not progressive. Orwellian times.
    ***************************************
    Taylor, I think you mean well, but “antiquated testing methods” seems like you believe things need to be dumbed down for other races. I know you don’t believe that, but what are “antiquated testing methods” that would be such a disadvantage for someone with a different color of skin? Are you talking about cultures? Ya, cultures are different. Languages are different. But there is still proper English and to speak proper English isn’t to talk “white”. And that book list is trash. To think that book list is not controversial and radical is just brash arrogance. And this bs of, “well if you don’t like it, pull your kids out”. This isn’t a private enterprise! Apparently all cultures matter to you except conservatives. What a bunch of arrogant trash, sorry. I’ve gotta call you out. Not calling that stuff out has lead us to here. If students need more help with speaking proper English because English is their second language, then help them. Why does that require new policies? It doesn’t. The only reason for these policies is to placate BLM rhetoric, which from the very beginning has been based on marxism and victimizing people only to enrich oneself and its politically divisive by design. You should ask a black conservative what they think of these policies and the book list? Please don’t tell me they don’t exist because if you truly believe that then you are bigoted and I take back that you mean well.

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