Virginia parents are making their voices heard over concerns about Critical Race Theory ideology being taught in the state’s public schools. However, as parents speak out and protest their local school boards, many in the media are claiming that CRT concerns are made up, because the ideology isn’t being taught in the classroom.

“Critical race theory isn’t actually in Virginia’s K-12 curriculum,” said NPR’s “Up First” on Tuesday morning.

Critical Race Theory is “not being taught in schools,” repeated POLITICO.

Critical race theory has “never been taught” in Virginia’s public schools, claimed former Democrat governor Terry McAuliffe.

Are they right?

“Critical race theory isn’t actually in Virginia’s K-12 curriculum.”
-NPR’s “Up First,” November 2, 2021

Mostly false or misleading. Significant errors or omissions. Mostly make believe.

As City Journal’s Christopher Rufo documented in detail, McAuliffe’s claim that CRT has “never been taught” in Virginia public schools is demonstrably false. In 2015, then-Governor McAuliffe’s own Department of Education instructed Virginia public schools to “embrace critical race theory” in order to “re-engineer attitudes and belief systems.”

Rufo also details how the Virginia Department of Education has more broadly adopted “critical race theory” into its work. Today, the term appears multiple times on the Virginia Department of Education website as a “best practice.”

In one of the books that the Virginia Department of Education instructs teachers to read, it says “teachers must embrace theories such as critical race theory.”

On the district level, Rufo points out that Loudoun County Schools have “hired a consulting firm to implement ‘critical race theory’ and developed a high school class explicitly teaching ‘critical race theory.’”

Superintendent Eric Williams said that while the school district “has not adopted CRT,” “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.”

Author, journalist and Virginia mother Asra Q. Nomani has also exposed the Fairfax County “Antiracist Educator” syllabus, another major suburb in Virginia. The teaching “borrows key concepts from the dour, divisive doctrine known as critical race theory, which holds that all white people are intrinsic oppressors of all minorities and especially black people. Lessons include ‘the Creation of Racist Systems,’ ‘the building blocks of racism in the United States,’ not to mention the ills of ‘whiteness’” she writes.

These are just a few of the many examples that parents and education advocates are unraveling, which make it clear that when members of the media, politicians and policymakers claim, “Critical race theory isn’t actually in Virginia’s K-12 curriculum,” they’re being deceptive at best, and purposefully dishonest at worst.

The specific tenets of critical race theory might not literally be written into Virginia’s public school curriculums yet, but the ideology is pervasive, both locally and at the state level.

As IWF education policy expert Inez Stepman explained in a previous fact check, this is not by coincidence; rather, it’s by design:  

“Now that polls are showing that a strong majority of Americans who have heard of critical race theory oppose it, and angry parents are swarming school board meetings, there is an effort to narrow the definition of CRT. Increasingly, proponents of many of the underlying premises of CRT are nevertheless insisting that it – and common bedfellow ideology labels like ‘culturally response learning’ or ‘anti-racism’ – remains solely the province of law school debates, and that opponents are ‘making up’ its broader impact outside of higher education.”

In order to understand the ways CRT is seeping into Virginia public schools and beyond, you must understand the core tenets of CRT, which Stepman details here:

  • America is Systemically Racist: The American system, and the Western Enlightenment tradition from which it sprung, are built on pervasive racism, and that systemic racism cannot be eradicated without a fundamental transformation of the system itself. Racism is not an aberration, but the ordinary state of affairs in the United States, from its Founding to the present day.
  • Progress is a Myth: No real progress has been made in race relations in the last two centuries. Instead, systemic racism has simply gone “underground,” covertly perpetuating a racial hierarchy that deprives black Americans of power and resources.
  • Collective Equity Over Individual Equality: The primary unit by which the fairness of a society should be measured is the racial group, not the individual. Every group disparity is presumed to be the result of racial bias and discrimination. Equal treatment of individuals perpetuates racial inequality. Equity (or equal results) between racial groups should be the goal, not individual opportunity.
  • Race Essentialism: Racial identity is central to existence and how a person experiences the world. A “colorblind” society is a cover for the maintenance of white privilege.