MISHAWAKA, Ind. — In a 5-2 vote last night, the Penn Harris Madison Board of School Trustees voted against a resolution that would make Indiana Department of Education standards regarding Critical Race Theory policy within the school district. The meeting included statements from multiple teachers in support of CRT, including PHM’s 2018 teacher of the year, Danielle Black, who wrote her master’s thesis on how she has incorporated CRT into her curriculum and the steps that could be taken to put CRT into curriculum district-wide.
Only two board members, James Garrett and Matt Chaffee, voted in favor of the resolution being added to Monday night’s agenda. The other 5 members, including Board President Chris Riley, VP Ryan McCullough, Secretary Clare Roach, Larry Beehler and Dana Sullivan, voted against the move. The vote flies in the face of the IDOE and its policies set forth for schools statewide.
Chaffee tells REAL News Michiana he plans to hold a vote at every board meeting from now on to get the resolution added to the agenda.
The resolution is essentially a district-wide acceptance of an Indiana Department of Education memorandum condemning the teaching of Critical Race Theory and its tenets. The resolution reads as follows:
WHEREAS, in recent months there has been much discussion and debate locally and nationally regarding the inclusion of Critical Race Theory as part of the curriculum of K-12 public schools; and
WHEREAS, in Indiana, K-12 schools are required to teach the Indiana Academic Standards and the Indiana Employability Skills Standards
WHEREAS, the Indiana Department of Education has recently provided guidance regarding Indiana’s Academic Standards and Critical Race Theory; and
WHEREAS, the Indiana Department of Education has indicated that the State of Indiana will not support, condone or fund anything that alienates, discriminates or negatively divides students based on race or background; and
WHEREAS, it is the desire of the Penn-Harris-Madison Board of School Trustees to provide its position on the teaching of Critical Race Theory in PHM schools.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that neither the Indiana Academic Standards nor the Indiana Employability Skills Standards include Critical Race Theory. Critical Race Theory is not designed for elementary, middle or high school students; and
NOW THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation should and does fully support Indiana’s racially and ethnically diverse communities and believe all PHM students benefit from learning a full and factual account of our country’s historical events, shortcomings, and progress in addressing those past shortcomings; and
NOW THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation encourages efforts to highlight a diverse set of historical figures who are role models for our students regardless of race, religion or gender.
According to a Department of Education Memorandum sent to every school district in the state, “Critical Race Theory is not designed for elementary, middle, or high school students. Additionally, the State of Indiana will not support, condone, or fund anything that alienates, discriminates, or negatively divides students based on race or background.”
PHM School Board President Chris Riley has been a vocal opponent of such a resolution and claims CRT is not being taught in PHM schools. This is despite several examples of CRT indoctrination at PHM including a Social Emotional Learning (SEL) lesson involving the Pyramid of White Supremacy, another SEL lesson involving microaggressions and PHM’s own teacher of the year writing her Master’s thesis on how she has incorporated CRT into her curriculum and how it can be adopted district-wide.
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