Accuracy in Media’s investigators went undercover in various parts of Utah, where they discovered that school officials, similar to those in Ohio, are willing to use “loopholes” so they can push social justice and Critical Race Theory.
Both Ohio and Utah are red states, which is why activist educators have introduced stealthier ways to teach controversial topics.
Talking to AIM’s investigators on hidden camera, Jordan School District Teacher Specialist Letitia Vigil explained that their language and culture department has been instrumental in “helping teachers front load those lessons that might be considered CRT, or white privilege–things like that. How to name things and talk about things.”
Asked about how the department would deal with a ban on CRT, Jordan School District Director of Culture and Diversity Michelle Love-Day said that they’ve already “kind of gone around” related measures.
According to her, “the board did a, state board did a definition of ‘what is equity’ and what is contained in schools and they have like a whole policy on professional development around equity.”
“There was like loopholes with it,” she divulged. “It just goes back to the [Local Education Agency] for equity.”
What’s more concerning for parents is what Love-Day revealed next: They’re willing to do what they need to push Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and ask for forgiveness later, rather than permission beforehand.
“Whenever our team goes out we don’t do an opt-out prior to,” she explained. “They just go out, meet the kids, work with them … And then we give a letter after they go out saying ‘we were in your school and this is what they talked about.’”
Further, Love-Day said that part of these conversations revolves around talking about “microaggressions,” adding that both the board and superintendent have been consistently supportive.
Murray City School District Director of Teaching and Learning Missy Hamilton laughed as she told investigators about a teacher who hangs a Black Lives Matter flag, which is bigger than the American flag, in his classroom.
He wasn’t worried about the school board taking action, however. Hamilton confirmed that this is because he enjoys teachers union backing.
“When all of the stuff happened, he had a Black Lives Matter flag, great big one and he was just loud and proud,” she said. “And even after the board said, you know, ‘you can’t have a flag bigger than the American flag,’ … he was like ‘no.’ ‘No, I’m not going to.’”
“He was like ‘fire me,’ right? And he had enough tenure and they’re like ‘Oh, OK.’ You know, he was like ‘write me up. Fire me. What are you going to do?’” she said.
Unfortunately, Black Lives Matter flags are not the extent of social justice’s and CRT’s permeation of Utah schools.
JSD Teacher Specialist Katrina Kennedy told AIM’s investigators, “Before I was in this role, my department did, we did a discourse unit on social justice issues.”
According to her, parents were kept in the dark because “You teach it to a group of seniors at West Jordan High and they don’t tell their parents.”
If that weren’t enough, she revealed that it took place within a required English course.
Kennedy also claimed she was “frustrated” by a “bullcrap” law that barred her from requesting students’ preferred pronouns–but she said she did it anyway, and so did some of her colleagues.
Union involvement in this quest to push social justice doesn’t end with backing teachers who openly embrace Black Lives Matter.
Over in Salt Lake City School District, Professional Development and Library Technology Supervisor Katie Leremia told AIM’s investigators that “The American Federation of Teachers and several other groups, they have this curriculum that they bring in and we have trainers… So we’ve had to train the trainers. So, now we have trainers internally in our district trained on social justice and NEA programs about that.”
Part of how educators hide this content from parents is by using Social-Emotional Learning as something of a trojan horse.
According to Ogden School District Executive Director of Instructional Leadership For Elementary Sarah Roberts, “We have an SEL curriculum in every school and that’s the state expectation. That comes from the legislature, you guys.”
The “woke curriculum,” Roberts told investigators, is just the Social-Emotional Learning component of the curriculum. When parents don’t want their children receiving those lessons, she said she has alternate curricula that still “meets the same objectives” of SEL.
“It is still an SEL curriculum,” she told investigators.
There is notably a law in Utah that allows books to be challenged in schools. But, as these educators revealed to AIM, the process is tedious and difficult.
“It’s really, really, horribly hard,” said Roberts.
The law, signed by Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R) last year, was intended to prohibit “certain sensitive instructional materials in public schools.” However, this clearly isn’t the case in local districts.
According to Ieremia, “anybody who requests the book to be banned has to have read the entire book, and their child has to have read the entire book. And then they have to meet with the committee, that includes parents and teachers and administrators and district people.”
The school officials explained that not many actually pursue the long, arduous process.
Ieremia later revealed to investigators that Planned Parenthood actually contributes to her district’s curriculum. “We have a very close partnership with Planned Parenthood and they come speak in our district all the time,” she said.
The Information regarding this is on the website, she said, but isn’t explicitly announced to parents.
By either putting parents through the wringer with tedious processes or passing off controversial topics as SEL, Utah districts are willing to do whatever it takes to continue teaching social justice and CRT principles, even if it’s expressly prohibited.
However, there may be a solution for parents. HB 215, titled Funding for Teacher Salaries and Optional Education, would establish the “Utah Fits All Scholarship Program.” This program would allow for funding to be allocated directly to students if their families choose to seek alternative education.
The bill passed the state’s Senate on Thursday by a vote of 20-8. It will now head to the desk of Cox, who has signaled support for the measure. The governor called the proposal “a very balanced approach” in order to get “teachers the pay raise they deserve.”
By directly funding students as opposed to just funneling money to public schools, districts would be forced to get their act together and stop deceiving parents to compete with private and homeschool options.
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