Partisan War Over Teaching History And Racism Stokes Tensions In U.S. Schools

The school board of Virginia’s wealthy Loudoun County had planned to hold a routine meeting to close out the school year. Instead, it was pandemonium.

Many of the hundreds of parents who flooded the auditorium in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., on Tuesday night were there to accuse the schools of teaching their kids that racism in America is structural and systemic – which the board denies. Some signs read, “Education not indoctrination” and “You don’t end racism by teaching it.”

The evening grew so heated that the board walked out of the room, leaving sheriff’s deputies to disperse the crowd.

Republican Party officials and strategists say they increasingly view the controversy as central to their efforts to paint the Democratic Party as having been taken over by its left wing.

Focusing on the issue could help Republicans win back college-educated suburban voters in next year’s elections that will decide control of the U.S. Congress, particularly women they have lost to Democrats in recent cycles, said Ford O’Connell, a Republican operative in southwest Florida.

“This is the issue that will get suburbanites with you,” O’Connell said. He cited an Economist/YouGov poll conducted last week that showed that 76% of independent voters hold a unfavorable view of CRT.

Democrats say Republicans are seeking to stoke cultural conflict because they lack an affirmative policy agenda in Washington after losing the White House and both chambers of Congress in 2020.

Read more from Gabriella Borter and James Oliphant at Reuters

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published this page in In The News 2021-06-24 13:45:24 -0400
Analysis & Political Strategy