June 22, 2021 – Slinger, Wi – During the public comment portion of Monday’s Slinger School Board meeting, a parent addressed the board and asked that Critical Race Theory (CRT) be banned from the school district.
Bill Brewer asked the district to conduct an audit of its curriculum. Below is his statement.
For those in attendance or on the Zoom call who don’t know me: My name is Bill Brewer. I’ve lived in Slinger for 18 years. I’ve served the youth in Slinger for nearly that whole time, and I’m currently in my seventh year as President of Slinger Gridiron. And I’m a black man.
There has been a lot of recent attention in our country regarding critical race theory, or “CRT” for short. CRT proponents claim that our nation was built on a system of racism that favors white people over blacks, and that this systemic racism still exists. They reject the notion that an individual white person can say “I’m not racist” because in doing so, they’re denying the privilege, power and control they inherently enjoy. On the other hand, black people are still powerless to change their status because they have no power or control. In essence, the goal of CRT is to divide America into “oppressed” and “oppressor” along racial lines for the express purpose of creating conflict that leads to a destructive uprising. It’s entirely accurate to say this is Marxist at it’s core; that’s a factual statement, not a political one. The purpose is to cause irreparable harm to our country and overthrow our system of government.
We are consistently being fed the lies of voter suppression, the need for reparations for slavery and the inherent evil “whiteness” in our society that is woven into our government and our way of life (I.e., “systemic racism”). We are being told that white people are evil just because they’re white, that they enjoy levels of privilege not available to blacks and that they’re simply racist to their core – whether they realize it or not. And all of the other ethnic groups: They’re just ignored in this conversation. Every bit of this is WRONG.
School curricula based on these horrific ideas (e.g., The 1619 Project) are being pushed into districts all across the country, in our state and, yes, in our own county. These dangerous thought processes are currently woven into educator courses required by our district. The enemy is inside the gates, and as a parent and grandparent of Slinger students – and as a black man – I’m very concerned that our school board has been silent on this serious issue. We need to take a stand, ladies and gentlemen. We need to do it now! We need to immediately ban teaching CRT as an integral construct from all of our curricula at every grade level. I believe we need to review all current curricula to identify any presence of CRT integrated into our coursework. We also need to review all training, coursework and reference material for our teachers and staff that, in any manner, promotes the concepts of racial superiority, white privilege, systemic racism or the misapplication of “equity.” CRT has no place in our learning environment in any form or at any level. I would suggest that we use Wisconsin Senate Bill 411 (https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2021/related/proposals/sb411.pdf) as a helpful starting point to draft this ban. And I’m personally willing to volunteer my time to help in the audit and/or review efforts.
To be clear: CRT can be an appropriate topic that can be taught alongside classical Marxism, socialism, communism and other socioeconomic and political ideologies as useful examples of failed governance when contrasted with capitalism and our federal republic. Our students should be equipped with the ability to recognize these ideologies so they can make informed decisions about them rather than blindly accepting them as truth due to indoctrination.
To the students and parents in our district: I want you to know that not all black people think alike. The media would have you believe that all black people think you’re oppressive and you should feel guilty for your supposed “white privilege.” This is patently ridiculous! You should not feel guilty for being white. In fact, you are NOT guilty for being white. Our country is not systematically racist. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the others who fought for change in our nation would be nauseated by the race baiters who continue to lie to you about this.
We only have one race. It’s called the human race. Yes, there are some bad actors, but our district and our society at large are not dominated by racism. I’ve l personally experienced kindness and respect in Slinger – with my own children, my grandchildren, in our district staff, on the football field … I could go on and on. This is a wonderful community, and our children and families deserve nothing but the truth in our district.
We must immediately ban CRT in our district. Thank you for your time.
School Board member Roman Weninger responded to the comment. “The United States is based on liberty and freedom for all,” he said. “We went to war and 300,000 people lost their lives fighting for freedom. That should be on record and that should be discussed more often then just right now.”
Slinger Superintendent Daren Sievers said the general rule of thumb is whenever there is public comment that is not on the agenda the board would make note of it and put it in future planning and communication.
“Certainly CRT is not in our curricular cycle right now and Jim Curler is prepared to tell you exactly what our priority is in K-12,” said Sievers.
“CRT has never been part of our curriculum,” said Assistant District Administrator Jim Curler. “Every year we go through a curriculum review … We do have hundreds of courses throughout the district and thousands of units and tens of thousands of assignments so if there is something a parent would have a question I’d ask the parent to respectfully ask the teacher what the lesson was and then move onto the principal if that is necessary.
“It (CRT) is not something we’re promoting and I guarantee you the school board I work for and the community I work for … if this is something we were moving towards this would be publicized and we would seek community input before we would do that,” Curler said.
Brewer then respectfully asked the district to conduct an audit. “I would not have believed that when we were asking parents to become volunteer substitute teachers during COVID. I would not have expected some of the course work they had to go through would have included this ideology… but it did,” he said. “There probably was not intent… but we should allow ourselves to just assume this isn’t happening.”
Superintendent Sievers said he would follow up on it.
Parent Robynn Hora then phoned into the meeting and said she signed up to help in the classroom. “I have screenshots and we were required to take online courses and we were taught to treat individuals differently in the classroom by the color of their skin,” she said. “We were also told if we went into the classroom colorblind that we were racist.”
Hora said the online courses were required to take and pass in order to be in the classroom in the Slinger School system.
“We were told if we treated children the same that we were racist and that they should have different consequences for the same action by the color of their skin,” said Hora. “This has already filtered into our system and it is very concerning. … There were also things in there about kids changing their gender and political issues that I don’t think parents understand are in there or the school board knows are in there.
“Also the quizzes kids take on their phones and those quizzes often have some pretty startling questions and I don’t think parents would like their children to answer and it definitely violates privacy like gender, sexuality, sexual experience and I think it is happening a lot more than people think.”
Hora said she would be willing to help in any way and be active in an audit of the district curriculum. “I think it is necessary,” she said.
Superintendent Sievers said this was the first he heard of this with teachers on call. “I wish we would have been notified about this earlier,” he said. “We could have worked on this months ago. If parents have a concern they should contact us at that moment.”
On Tuesday morning, June 22, 2021 Superintendent Sievers said he was following up on the parents concerns.
“We’ve already started a review of the substitute teacher services training and any concerns that many be in there as far as CRT and diversity and equity,” he said. “Jim Curler just downloaded it and he would go through the training personally to see what was in it.”
Sievers said Monday night was the first he heard complaints about the training.
“Until about six weeks ago I had never heard of CRT and it is not an element in our curriculum at this point in time,” he said.
Sievers stressed, if parents have concerns please call. “Right now we’re not embedding CRT in any of our curriculum. I value a two-way relationship with our community and any type of concerns … I have an open-door policy and we work with families to push forward together.”