North Dakota school superintendent slams critical race theory, calls to teach 'Christian heritage'

A North Dakota school district superintendent sent an email that says racial injustice is being pushed by a "political ideology," called for a “Christ centered Republic” and deemed critical race theory “bigotry cloaked in academic theory,” according to InForum.

The news service, which obtained a copy of the email that was sent to a North Dakota Council of Educational Leaders-run listserv, reported that in Starkweather Public School District Superintendent Larry Volk’s email, he said that it was “time to move away from godless corrupt woke, left-wing ideology and back to the devout Christ centered Republic the founders envisioned.”

Volk also vowed in his email that critical race theory “will never be taught in our district. We will not teach institutionalized bigotry promoted by the left.”

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"Racial injustice has been pushed by a political ideology — not a race of people. There is no systemic racism in America created by our Founding Fathers — the racism is the project of the godless Democrat party that has rejected god, family, faith and America and embraced secularism in the form of Marxism," Volk said in another portion of the email.

“My district will continue to teach the Christian heritage and origins of the American Republic focusing on primary source documents from the founding era,” he added.

In an email to The Hill, Volk defended his email, which included some political commentary regarding a list of historical events, figures and groups, saying that “my goal is simply to teach as accurately as I can.”

“Simply look at the specifics of history and you will see that the events mentioned are historically accurate,” Volk told The Hill.

“Do you believe people should be [punished] for exercising their 1st Amendment Right? I don't! From what I can see — the American left does with their unconstitutional ‘Cancel culture,’ ” he added.

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“My goal is simply to teach as accurately as I can — the History of our Founding Fathers, using their own words, our founding Documents and to up lift the American experience,” Volk noted.

The email was also supported by the president of the Starkweather School Board, Chris Berg, who told InForum in an email that while he had not read the email from Volk, “I know Mr. Volk very well and know exactly what his views are.”

"I completely back his views 100% and we agree completely on that. We are very tired of the woke leftists pushing their garbage on the school systems and the United States as a whole," he told the news outlet. 

Aimee Copas, executive director at the North Dakota Council of Educational Leaders, said in a statement to The Hill that "it is important, on a personal level, that citizens engage in discourse to educate ourselves on these topics so we, as a society, can truly assess them."
 
However, she added that the intention for their listserv was never "to be an avenue for personal political discussions." 
 
"School district leaders are provided a number of ways to share best practices, ask questions, and ultimately become better leaders. This includes a professional list-serv that is provided to all (700?) K-12  members," Copas said.
 
"At NDCEL, we uphold high standards for each of those avenues for  professional support and growth, including the administrative listserv. It has never been the intention for this opportunity to be an avenue for personal political discussions," she added.

Critical race theory, a decades-old academic theory taught generally in higher education circles, examines racism in the U.S., including how its racist structures and institutions have lasting impacts felt by communities of color into the present day.

There has been no evidence that the theory is taught in North Dakota schools, but state lawmakers voted to ban the teaching of the theory during a special session last month, according to the Grand Forks Herald.

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But the academic theory has been widely criticized by conservatives, who consider it to be a hot-topic issue and allege it is being taught in public schools. 

The Hill has reached out to Starkweather Public School District for comment. 

— Updated at 4:42 p.m.