Media, critical race theory and one serious disconnect

Critical race theory (CRT) and education in the United States as a whole is shaping up to be a huge campaign issue for 2022 and 2024. And that's terrible news for Democrats. Recent polling backs up this perspective. 

Exhibit A: A recent Harvard CAPS/Harris poll found 61 percent of registered voters said children should not be taught that America is “structurally racist.”

Exhibit B: A YouGov-Economist poll says almost 6-in-10 American voters have an unfavorable view of critical race theory.

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But hold on a minute: Many in traditional media, along with representatives of teacher unions, have said that CRT is not being taught in American schools; that it is a myth similar to the current Republicans-want-to-defund-the-police kind of myth. Here's Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, on July 6:  

 

Fast forward to just days later, and now we're being told by Weingarten not only that CRT is being taught in schools, but also that millions of dollars have been lined up to fight inevitable legal battles to ensure it stays:

 

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So, while we focus on CRT in our schools and teach children as young as five years old to see others through a racial prism, to judge others by the color of one's skin rather than the content of their character (which would only serve to divide this country further for generations to come), we’ll continue to lag behind the rest of the world in the key areas of reading, math and science, where the U.S. ranks 25th. 

First in math, of course, is China. Ireland is 11th; Australia, 21st. And the U.S. – with more resources and technology poured into education than almost any other country -- sits in 25th place. But don’t blame the teachers, for the most part — blame the teacher union leaders as well as the public officials, including the president, who fail to stand up to them. 

Know this: Parents aren’t taking this anymore. Look at school board recall efforts, for example; it’s a huge indicator of how parents are responding to CRT being taught in their children’s schools. 

Already, there have been more than 50 school board recall efforts this year — and we’re barely halfway through 2021. 

For comparison, 10 years ago, there were 21 such recall efforts for the entire year. In 2019, there were 20. This year, we're on pace perhaps to eclipse five times that number, with CRT being the primary driver. 

From a political perspective, Democrats should be horrified. Despite education policy being an afterthought in at least the past seven presidential elections, it certainly will be a top issue for the foreseeable future. 

Couple that with rising inflation, skyrocketing violent crime and a border that is anything but secure, and it's difficult to see what the Blue Team will point to as positives for their campaigns in 2022 and eventually in 2024. 

Consequently, we're looking at the overwhelming possibility that Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiFive reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season Bipartisan success in the Senate signals room for more compromise The GOP's post-1/6 playbook is clear — and it's dangerous MORE (D-Calif.) will be retired as House speaker if from Congress altogether. We're also looking at the 50-50 Senate flipping back to the GOP, thereby rendering President BidenJoe BidenGOP eyes booting Democrats from seats if House flips Five House members meet with Taiwanese president despite Chinese objections Sunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variant emerges; supply chain issues and inflation persist MORE or Vice President Harris (or whomever the next Democratic presidential nominee will be) weak and helpless going into 2024.

Critical race theory is coming to a school near you. The teacher unions are insisting on it. It also has the full backing of the Biden administration. 

The disconnect with parents is profoundly stunning — and politically suicidal.  

Joe Concha is a media and politics columnist for The Hill.