Critical Race Theory-themed training in Wake County public schools: Anti-Racist Education

Training by Office of Equity Affairs staff included “Anti-racist education" and cited Critical Race Theorists as foundation

"Anti Racist Education" slide used during teacher training by Wake County Public Schools Office of Equity Affairs.

RALEIGH — Discussions about “Anti-Racist Education” were a part of the Critical Race Theory-themed training for teachers in North Carolina’s largest public school district.

Critical Race Theory (CRT) is the belief that all facets of society, people, and history are inherently racist and some supporters of CRT argue resolution of such racism is impossible. CRT is based on Marxist Critical Theory, which divides all aspects of society into two groups, oppressed and oppressors. CRT adapts Critical Theory using a racial lens, with Whites being the oppressors and all minorities the oppressed.

In a previous report, audio and video obtained by North State Journal revealed Critical Race Theory-themed professional development training conducted by the district’s Office of Equity Affairs staff. Those staff members include Special Assistant Christina Spears and Director of Equity Affairs Teresa Bunner.

The “antibias” training sessions conducted by the Office of Equity Affairs (OEA) in the Wake County Public Schools (WCPSS) discussed how to build on “culturally responsive” and “anti-racist” curriculum. It also included “four agreements” drawn from “Courageous Conversations,” an “antibias” training produced by Glenn Singleton’s Pacific Education Group.

Anti-Racist Education

Bunner described “anti-racist education”[SIC] as the “latest iteration in terminology” and began to describe what that means but was interrupted to notify her there was no more time in the current session. The topic would need to be tabled and addressed in one of the other upcoming session for those school employees.

The slide accompanying the topic uses a quote by Dr. Bettina Love, of the “Abolitionist School Network” organization.  The Abolitionist Teaching Network’s mission is “to develop and support those in the struggle for educational freedom by utilizing the intellectual work and direct action of Abolitionists in many forms.”

“Anti Racist Education” slide used during teacher training by Wake County Public Schools Office of Equity Affairs.

“Bettina Love is an educator who teaches, writes, researches, and advocates at the intersection of racism, education, and abolition. She is the author of the book We Want To Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom,” her bio on the group’s website states.

Abolitionist School Network “teachers resources” guide.

In her book, Bettina talks about “coded” terms used in education and district mission statements such as “grit.” She argues those terms are “racially coded feel-good, work-hard, and take-responsibility-for-my-actions buzzwords.” In the last few years, colleges have dropped standardized test scores and looked more closely at high school GPAs as evidence of “grit;” identifying those students as having the discipline and endurance to succeed in college.

The Abolitionist School Network website offers grants for activists, podcasts, “radical self-care,” “resources for agitators,” and features a “Guide for Racial Justice & Abolitionist Social and Emotional Learning” that was published in August of 2020.

The guide argues that Social and Emotional Learning, commonly known as SEL, can be “a covert form of policing used to punish, criminalize, and control Black, Brown, and Indigenous children and communities to adhere to White norms,” and advocates for replacing traditional SEL with “Abolitionist SEL.”

The guide contains a number of “anti-racist” resources including “Black Lives Matter at School” and links to organizations like “Assata’s Daughters,” a website dedicated to Assata Shakur, a.k.a JoAnne Chesimard, a member of the Black Liberation Army convicted in 1977 for the first-degree murder of a New Jersey State Trooped in 1973. Chesimard escaped from prison and remains at large. She is still on the FBI’s Most Wanted list along with a $1 million dollar reward for information leading to her capture and arrest.

This is part three in a multipart series on Critical Race Theory in training in Wake County Public Schools.
Read part four: Anti-bias education
About A.P. Dillon 531 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_