Loudoun County is in the news again with its last school board meeting of the year on Tuesday. Elicia Brand, a Loudoun County parent, forwarded to UncoverDC a whistleblower document and the phone number of a local candidate for Congress, Paul Lott, who is also fighting a similar battle in Prince William County.
Brand plans to present to the school board both the whistleblower documents and the text from a recent partisan (Democrat) House bill, HB1904, filed in January in Virginia. The bill seems to be slipping Critical Race Theory (CRT) in the schools via "cultural competency training." Parents in the county have been fighting for months to ban CRT from the curriculum. Brand and the other parents had no idea the law was passed in February.
Cultural competency training is usually code for CRT training. Specifically, the language for the training was added to a current statute, "Standard 5—Quality of Classroom Instruction and Education Leadership." The training is required at least every two years.
Amendment to Statute
Lott explained that instead of using straight curriculum and materials to implement CRT, the schools are training the teachers to be purveyors of the attitudes and mindset of the CRT curriculum—"and not calling it CRT."
Alarmingly, the training is required to obtain licensure or renew licensure. Several teachers have sent anonymous emails indicating not only are they required to participate, but they face tremendous peer pressure and backlash if they dare question the training framework. A teacher who does not cooperate with the training will see it reflected in their yearly evaluation. It is a top-down mandate to think and teach from a particular point of view that is then associated with penalties for not towing the party line.
HB1904 licensure requirements/cultural literacy
Cultural Literacy Training for Teachers/Prince William County
UncoverDC spoke with Paul Lott, who is currently running for Congress in Virginia. The bio on his website indicates he is no stranger to racism and the attendant barriers:
Paul Lott For Congress
"My parents were part of the Great Migration of Black Americans who came North in the 1950s to find better jobs and make a future outside of the South. They met, married, and had eight children together. I lived in the Deep South and Midwest from the 1960s to the late 1970s. I lived racism. I know what racism looks like. And, what pains America today is not caused by racism, systemic or otherwise. So, the question is, what evidence is there that poor race relations are preventing school systems from delivering education, and how can introducing aspects of Critical Race Theory, or other race-based ideologies, enable children to learn better? School systems need to justify their actions by showing that race is a significant factor in determining education quality for Black and minority students."
Lott is concerned about the law, set to go into effect this coming school year. He disagrees with laws that mandate teacher training or curricula that focus on CRT. He says it promotes "division" instead of addressing what he believes to be the real problem—"systemic illiteracy."
The rollout of the law this summer prompted a "Care Lead Facilitator" teacher to contact Lott via email. Care Lead Facilitators are charged with disseminating material associated with the equity training and then, according to Lott, "retraining the framework of the way teachers think."
The Care Lead told Lott that the training is a work-around to quietly insert Critical Race Theory in the schools without directly introducing the materials and books associated with it—possibly a sneaky way to avoid conflict cropping up at school board meetings all over the country.
Lott paraphrased the conversation with the teacher. The schools are training teachers in the concept of racism and "then using it against them to squash opposition...anyone questioning the prescribed definition of racism in a training session is immediately attacked and intimidated." In other words, no discussion or the free exchange of ideas is allowed in the training. An excerpt of the email from the teacher is quoted below:
"I can tell you many in (Prince William County School District) PWCS don't agree with this. We hate going to meetings where we are pitted against each other to talk about this. Many of the administration with principals don't want to push this training on staff, particularly after the brutal year of teaching virtual and hybrid.
Featured below are just some of the documents forwarded by the Care Lead Facilitator that are now being used in the "Cultural Proficiency and Culturally Responsive Instruction" sessions for teaching staff in the Prince William Schools. The Level 1 "Onboarding" training is captured below:
Level 1 Equity Training/Onboarding/Prince William School District
Level 1 Equity Training/Onboarding/Prince William School District/p. 2
Level 1 Equity Training/Onboarding/Prince William School District/p. 3
It is difficult to conclude from the above documents that CRT will not be taught in some way, shape, or form in the schools there. Words like equity, institutional racism, Euro-centrism, gender identity are all words associated with the doctrine of the Critical Race Theory movement. Phrases like "racist beliefs and structures are pervasive in all aspects of our lives" are classic CRT speak.
It is not CRT but it really is/Loudoun County
Lott also explained that the state education website—Virginia is for Learners—headlines racism as its top priority for the public schools there. Their Equity Resources page is just one of several devoted to concepts associated with CRT.
Virginia is for Learners/State Website
The June 22 LCPS School Board Meeting
Those who attended Tuesday’s Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) school board meeting were spirited and, at times, quick-tempered. Both local parents and outside groups showed up in droves—259 attendees. Loudoun County school board member Beth Barts, who has previously organized activities to counter the parents protesting CRT, helped organize transportation designed to bus in outside groups to show up at the board meeting and a rally run by Ian Prior's Fight For Schools group on Tuesday afternoon. Her call to action was retweeted and led to this donation website.
Loudoun County/Beth Barts bussing
Barts retweeted this call to action on June 15.
Early in the meeting, Brand sent UncoverDC a video as the school board meeting was in progress. Apparently, transgender parents spoke first, and according to Brand, "A pro trans parent started with hate speech slamming people who are Christian. The room erupted. The Board walked out and would not call Hate speech." Eventually, after a 5-minute recess, the board returned.
Brand and others were upset because of the double standard. On one hand, proponents of CRT were allowed to name call without repercussions, but if a parent from the Anti-CRT movement spoke disrespectfully, they were reprimanded or shut down.
However, toward the end of the public comment session, Brand sent UncoverDC another video. The footage below shows parents protesting the fact that the board members closed public comment, shut down the meeting, and then left. The parents who remained first loudly chanted, "Shame on You," and then proceeded to sing the National Anthem—some are heard voicing a wish to be unified as "one united people."
At least two people were arrested.