DAVISON — In recent months, school districts across the country have grappled with controversy surrounding Critical Race Theory and its implementation in public schools.
Locally, Davison Community Schools has taken decisive action to oppose application of the theory in the district.
At the July 14 Davison School Board meeting, several school board members said that Critical Race Theory (also known as CRT) will not be implemented as part of the district’s curriculum. During the meeting, Trustee Matthew Smith said that he brought up the issue of Critical Race Theory in curriculum committee with Superintendent Kevin Brown and other school board members.
“Critical Race Theory is a divisive issue and a political agenda that has no business in any school, especially Davison Community Schools,” Smith said. “Based off of the committee’s response, Critical Race Theory is squashed in Davison Schools.”
Jamie Fielder, a parent in the district, asked the board if it’s possible for some teachers to still insert Critical Race Theory into their lessons—even if the school district maintains opposition to the practice.
In response, Brown said that any type of curriculum revisions or new curriculum must go through a vetting process with the district’s Advisory Curriculum Council (ACC), which is comprised of 25 Davison teachers and administrators and a Davison School Board member. Once curriculum is presented to the board of education, it then must be approved by board members.
“Those curriculum decisions are made with a lot of input and a lot of insight,” Brown said. “It’s not like our teachers have free will to implement whatever they want in their classroom. They have to follow Davison curriculum that’s aligned to the standards of the state.”
Trustee Nicholas Goyette then raised concerns that the National Education Association (NEA) has recently endorsed Critical Race Theory and its promotion in public schools.
Davison School Board President Karen Conover said that the NEA decision has no bearing on Davison Schools.
“The ACC process has been here a long time,” she said. “Everything goes through that committee—all textbook materials and all supplementary materials. As a board, we have the opportunity to read any textbooks and materials that are going to be accepted by the ACC and vote for them or against them. I can’t visualize how an edict from the NEA could just drop into our district.”
According to an article featured by the American Bar Association, Critical Race Theory “critiques how the social construction of race (in the United States) and institutionalized racism perpetuate a racial caste system that relegates people of color to the bottom tiers.”
CRT proponents say that putting the theory into practice will dismantle racial discrimination and inequity in economic, criminal justice and academic systems, which they argue are all inherently racist and must be altered to give equitable outcomes for racial minorities.
Opponents of CRT say that the philosophy causes racial division and reverse discrimination—particularly in educational settings—and that it promotes Marxist and anti-American ideology to students under the guise of the term “equity.”
Over the past few months, legislation to prevent CRT or CRT-related curriculum in public schools has been introduced in over a dozen states. In Michigan, proponents of Senate Bill 460 (which is currently in committee) seek to ban CRT and related “anti-American and racist theories” from public school classrooms.