Virginia’s Largest Public School Asks Parents In ‘Anti-Racism’ Survey Whether It Should Teach Students To ‘Challenge Power And Privilege In Society’

(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
Font Size:

Virginia’s largest public school system is asking parents and other community members about their thoughts on how the school should approach teaching “anti-racism” in the classroom, a survey sponsored by Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) showed.

The survey, entitled “Revisions of the Controversial Issues Policy & Development of a new Anti-Racism, Anti-Bias Education Curriculum Policy,” was made available on Thursday and seeks the opinions of parents and other community members about whether the school’s staff are “equipped” to teach “antiracism.” 

In an introductory letter FCPS’s superintendent Scott S. Brabrand says the school will be developing a new “Anti-Racism, Anti-Bias” policy at the school. “Working together, we can build a vision of educational equity for every child by name and by need,” the letter says. (RELATED: Some Of The Country’s Most Elite, Expensive Private Schools Are Embracing ‘Antiracism’)

(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

“Antiracism,” and Critical Race Theory (CRT) — which “antiracism” instruction is often based on — holds that America is fundamentally racist, yet teaches individuals to view every social interaction and person in terms of race. Its adherents pursue “antiracism” through the end of merit, objective truth and the adoption of race-based policies.

The survey asks participants to say whether they agree or disagree with certain statements. “FCPS staff are equipped to teach about racism,” one question says. 

Other questions included: 

“FCPS staff are equipped to teach about racism.”

“FCPS staff are equipped to teach about multiple identities.”

“FCPS staff are equipped to teach about identity-based bias.”

“In discussions with students, staff should cover topics that relate to race, racism, identity, and bias in a similar manner as how they cover human rights issues.”

Survey participants are then asked whether the district’s curriculum “should teach students how to challenge power and privilege in society,” and whether teachers should offer students “ways to take action against racial and social injustice.”

“Teachers should have materials to guide them in creating anti-racist and anti-biased classroom environments,” another question says.

When asked how the school will handle situations where parents or guardians do not feel comfortable with their child being taught sensitive topics involving identity and social issues, a FCPS spokesperson said “changing attitudes” is not a “neutral matter.” The spokesperson did not respond to a question about how the school defined “antiracism” instruction.

The response said, in part:

FCPS needs an anti-racism and anti-bias policy that rejects all forms of racism, bias and discrimination, supports anti-bias education, and sets an expectation for staff to challenge racism, bias, and exclusion.

Changing attitudes, challenging inequality, and raising consciousness are not neutral matters. This is about authentically belonging in our schools and ensuring that all students and families feel welcomed, valued, and seen. 

We believe that engaging all stakeholders in authentic discussion and collecting their input will support more inclusive and equitable curricular policies.

In the superintendent’s letter, he says the school is working with The Leadership Academy to revise the curriculum policies. The organization seeks to dismantle and disrupt “systemic inequities in schools,” according to its website, and has operated in 210 school systems in 37 states. In a blog post on the organization’s website, the group says that President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ policies on the campaign trail “suggest the importance of using critical race theory to identify and dismantle racist systems and structures that undergird our nation.”

Numerous schools across the country have implemented “antiracist” instruction. “Antiracism” training sessions often instruct students and teachers on how they benefit from white privilege or are oppressed by it, and educators have reportedly been told to teach “antiracism” in their classrooms, although parents may not be informed that they’re doing so.

At Seattle Public Schools, teachers were told to explain how they would promulgate racial justice in the classroom, and white teachers were told to “bankrupt their privilege,” a report showed. (RELATED: REPORT: Public School District Holds Training Instructing White Teachers On How To ‘Bankrupt’ Their ‘Privilege’)

At North Carolina’s largest school district, administrators reportedly told teachers at a conference to “disrupt” whiteness and not let parents stand in the way of social justice instruction in the classroom.