Critical Race Theory Presentation in West Plains

CRT, Communism, and Missouri Education Intersect
The public was invited to attend a presentation called Critical Race Theory Exposed last Tuesday at the Historic Post Office in West Plains. The presenter was Mary Bryne, Ed.D., a national speaker and co-founding member of Missouri Coalition Against Common Core. Dr. Byrne’s presentation was sponsored by Concerned Women for America. 
Critical Race Theory (CRT) refers to a view that America and its legal, economic and social institutions are inherently racist. It replaces the concept of equality, the concept that all are created equally, a right ensconced the Constitution, with “equity” which asserts that people have different starting points and therefore should be given different levels of resources. 
By tracing its roots to Marxism and highlighting the activist component to the movement, Dr. Byrne purported that CRT is not merely a “tool for legal analysis” or the “neutral lens” it claims to be. She walked listeners through a timeline demonstrating how CRT was developed from the “critical philosophy” of Hegel and Marx, to the “critical theory” of the Frankfort School, to the “critical legal studies” of Derrick Bell, and is now repackaged as Critical Race Theory.  By connecting the dots from Marx to modern day activists, she explained how “current events, most notably the recent violence ignited by claims of systemic racism, are grounded in critical race theory; and how critical race theory is grounded in Karl Marx’s writing instructing followers how to start a revolution in a nation.” 
Referencing the list of 45 Communist Goals that was read into the Congressional Record on January 10, 1963, Dr. Byrne explained how CRT is predicated on racial divisions and a social dichotomy of victim versus oppressor, and the goal is to divide and conquer. “In CRT, race struggle replaces Marx’s class conflict with race conflict for causing violent revolution. The goal is the same—to destroy Western Civilization and impose a top-down authoritarian, centralized government,” she explained. 
Readers may wonder if CRT will be implemented in local schools. She explained that while CRT may not be officially added to the curriculum, it is being implemented through other avenues such as teacher training and the strings attached to federal funding. Federal “covid relief” grants state the funds are “to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19” but the presenter asserts they are in fact tied to implementation of CRT described in “race and social emotional learning…” guidelines detailed in the grants such as the ESSER III. The Missouri State Board of Education, in a letter dated June 9, 2020, states, “In partnership with DESE and our legislature, we embrace the challenge to examine long-standing structures and policies that may now be hindering wide-spread educational equity and the preparing of a workforce-ready constituency… Education must fulfill its promise of being the great equalizer. This important work must shed light on intolerance, discrimination and systemic racism.” 
She also gave examples of how different school districts have responded to the federal grant guidelines. The Camdenton R-III School Board opted out of $8 million in COVID relief funds, citing “strings attached.” But in the Lee’s Summit School District, a Sunshine Law request for information on whether CRT is being taught in classes was answered with a $40,000 price tag in order to receive that information.
Dr. Byrne said CRT suppresses dissent with cancel culture, seeks to make some children feel guilt based solely on the color of their skin, and violates the the 14th amendment. She encouraged parents to educate themselves and be aware of CRT and its implications. 
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