TC Unites For Education recognizes that threatening ideologies are penetrating all aspects of our country; even our local education system. Traverse City is not a haven from these forces. We can no longer ignore the warnings. The tide is coming! The Traverse City community must unite to protect the values we hold dear.
Critical Race Theory (CRT) is the belief that racism is "engrained in the fabric and system of the American society" (UCLA School of Public Affairs). CRT is a tool that reveals systemic racism that marginalizes minorities. CRT finds racism in everything, it divides, it creates victims, it creates animosity between groups, it shames, it guilts, and it indoctrinates.
Despite differences, TC Unites believes that all students have worth. Therefore, they should be loved, respected, and treated with dignity. Acts of bullying, name-calling, harassment, and discrimination have no place in our schools.
We believe in freedom of thought. Schools should encourage critical thinking through civil discourse which includes listening, discussing, debating, and thinking about the competing ideas of our day in a respectful, dignified manner. Democratic societies benefit from the open exchange of ideas. *
A teacher should be neutral in terms of politics, controversial issues, and areas outside the scope of the curriculum. However, this does not mean teachers should avoid certain topics. Rather, teachers should provide a safe environment to encourage students to think, understand, and discuss all sides of an issue. This allows a student to develop a more thorough understanding of the positions they hold and the views others may have.
Critical Race Theory rejects our founding fathers, our Constitution, meritocracy, and liberalism (individual rights, civil liberties, and capitalism). TC Unties recognize that we have a painful history of racism in our country and racism still exists today. However, we reject the idea that American values are used as a tool of oppression. We do believe the principles of liberty are a promise each generation should secure for all Americans.
TC Unites treats those we disagree with the respect and love they deserve. We condemn personal attacks, threats, and any form of harassment or intimidation.
In the Summer of 2020, a former student petitioned TCAPS to combat systemic racism and promote anti-racism within the school system. The petition states, "Students who graduate from these schools must be able to understand the racial injustices within the United States and the role they play in upholding systemic racism." The concern with this petition is not opening the curriculum to diverse views but the idea that TCAPS needs to address racism and diversity through a CRT lens. The words "anti-racism" and "systemic racism" are CRT terms. In an August 2020 follow-up, the alumni claimed the petition was successful. TCAPS administration had "plans to make TCAPS an anti-racist, anti-bias institution."
Formation of Social Equity Taskforce
TCAPS responded to this petition and communication from concerned parents, students, and community members by creating the Social Equity Taskforce in November 2020. The task force consists of 22 members; administrators, principals, teachers, students, alumni, counselors, consultants, and community members. Some of the priorities of this task force include providing an equity definition/statement to the TCAPS Board for the creation of a Board Resolution, auditing the curriculum through an "equity lens", and providing resources and training to staff. Please see Taskforce tab for more information.
Draft Resolution 1
At the May 24th, 2021 Board Meeting, a draft resolution circulated. There are parts of this resolution TC Unites agrees with. We want all TCAPS students to feel valued, safe, and respected. However, the draft is concerning because a local anti-racism taskforce claimed credit for assisting with the draft in the June 14, 2020 Board Meeting. The resolution would give the Social Equity Taskforce a position of stature. This is concerning due to the make-up of the taskforce that includes members of the local anti-racist task force. Furthermore, the task force can influence curriculum decisions, staff training, and introduce CRT resources and content to teachers, staff, and students. Finally, TC Unites is concerned with the vagueness of the draft and the use of CRT terms in this resolution.
Draft Resolution 2
At the June 28, 2021 Board Study Session, the Board released a revised second draft resolution. The CRT rhetoric was toned down. This draft represents the Board's work, unlike the first resolution drafted on the Board's behalf. The Board agreed to look into reconstituting the Social Equity Taskforce to include all sides of the argument. The Board continued to affirm that TCAPS will not be teaching CRT. The Board noted that CRT is not appropriate for k-12 students and the resolution does not support a path to CRT. Finally, the Board emphasized that this resolution had nothing to do with policy or curriculum. A Board Resolution is simply a statement on how the Board feels regarding an issue. Curriculum changes come through the Curriculum Committee first then to the Board for approval. Public input regarding this resolution ended on July 11th.
Draft Resolution 3 and Final Resolution
1) The Board removed a statement that CRT was not appropriate for K-12 education because CRT could not be easily defined. The Board feared this would create fear and confusion for teachers. Matt Anderson stated that a framework should be developed to address the topic of CRT in a fair manner.
2) The Board created a DEIB Board subcommittee. The Board affirmed the work of the Social Equity Taskforce and stated that several taskforce members would remain on the Board's DEIB subcommittee. Sue Kelly stated the importance of the Social Equity Taskforce was “to know where we are at to identify where we are going”. In addition, Flournoy Humphreys said we have to make sure there are no “racists” on the new DEIB committee. Flournoy did not elaborate on her definition of a "racist".
3) Furthmore, the Board remained committed to professional development concerning the DEIB topic. The Board showed no concerns for the past DEIB trainings promoted by TCAPS that are chronicled on this site.
The final resolution can be viewed here.
TC Unites for Education adamantly rejects the idea we live in a society that is systemically racist. We do acknowledge racism has been a part of our history and unfortunately, it still exists today. We reject the ideas of thinkers such as Karl Marx, Antonio Gramsci, the Frankfort School, Peggy MacIntosh, Robin DiAngelo, Ibrim X Kendi, Patricia Hill Collins, and Derrick Bell who all have contributed to this theory. CRT is a destructive idea for our schools, community, and country.
Those opposed to the draft Anti-Racism, Anti-Discriminatory Board Resolution have been labeled as "racist, closed-minded, white European, angry, fearful, hurtful, misinformed, and privileged". TC Unites is opposed to hate, racism, and discrimination. We simply do not accept the view that our society can overcome racism by dividing us into groups, shaming groups, and labeling groups as either oppressors or victims. Love, respect, dignity, tolerance, understanding, grace, and forgiveness are the moral characteristics we should highlight and pursue to unify us.
TC Unites hopes to educate parents on critical issues facing public education.
TC Unites will take an honest look at what is happening in our district. We hope to share information directly from TCAPS.
There is power in numbers! TC Unites is a place to share resources and push back against the district when needed.
TC Unites will promote the ideas of liberty, free speech, tolerance, and open critical thought.