School board to hear from group against Critical Race Theory
The Nevada Joint Union High School District’s Board of Trustees will hear next month from a group presenting its views on Critical Race Theory.
A presentation from a group titled “Protecting American Ideals” was originally on the agenda for the board’s Wednesday meeting. The item was listed as covering the group’s “opinions regarding the dangers and detrimental policy effects of Critical Race Theory.”
The district board removed the item from the agenda Wednesday, deciding at that night’s meeting to add the presentation to the agenda for its Nov. 10 meeting — when the board will return to in-person attendance.
District Superintendent Brett McFadden said Wednesday that the district will continue to provide a medium for viewing meetings virtually, but that in order to participate, individuals must either attend in person or send in their written comments.
Jonathan Kors, who referred to the upcoming presentation as “our agenda item,” spoke during Wednesday’s public comment period, expressing his disagreement with some of the contents of a document that had been added to the presentation’s agenda item. It was an Association of California School Administrators “Frequently Asked Questions” on Critical Race Theory.
One of the points Kors mentioned was the FAQ’s statement that Critical Race Theory — which the document defines as “a high-level legal concept that holds that racism can impact multiple societal areas, ranging from housing, education and everything in between” — involves complex legal aspects which make it impossible to be taught in the state’s K-12 public schools.
“There would not be a nationwide backlash against Critical Race Theory if this were not occurring and being explicitly taught in our schools,” said Kors, adding that, at next month’s meeting, his group intends to provide the board with relevant, recent examples of that occurring.
Several other public comments expressed concern about the upcoming presentation.
Community members Sonia Delgadillo and Ken Santistevan each mentioned their work with the district’s task force on racism and bias, a group assembled last year with the purpose of giving McFadden recommendations to present to the Board of Trustees.
Santistevan said that it is his understanding the board will be receiving these recommendations “in the near future.”
“But, I am concerned that (the ”Protecting American Ideals“ group) will be presenting, or plans to present, to the board without knowledge of the hard work that we have done, without knowledge of the particulars of the work that we are doing, and without perhaps even knowledge of what Critical Race Theory is,” said Delgadillo.
Grass Valley City Councilwoman Hilary Hodge said in public comment that there are legacies and events in the United States’ history which have been racist, whether systemically, overtly, covertly, or even unintentionally, adding that students deserve to learn the truth of that history.
“We do not get the luxury of erasing the history of systemic racism by pretending it didn’t exist,” said Hodge. “Further, our community and the students in our school system do not deserve to be gaslighted by a small group of small-minded citizens who would rather pretend that the reality of history didn’t happen than learn from it.”
Asking for board input about adding the “Protecting American Ideals” group’s presentation to next month’s meeting, McFadden told the board that, at least during his administration, outside groups have not been allowed to give presentations unless they had a direct connection to the district, such as those it has hired or engaged in a partnership.
That is not to say that the board could not allow it, he clarified.
McFadden stated he had a concern, however, asking where “the line” would be drawn.
“So, if we are providing one particular group and other groups want to come and give their presentation on any number of issues, how do we control for that?” he asked.
Board president Jamie Reeves said a concern for her was that the presentation’s topic did not relate to any particular action item for the board to consider. She added that, in her tenure, groups wanting to share information with the board have often done so by email, a setting where the board can maintain a correspondence and ask questions.
“But they’re not given time on our agenda, and also taking time away from critical matters that need our attention and that we actually have action items that we need to take immediately,” said Reeves.
Board trustee Jim Drew requested that the group be placed on the agenda.
“We’ve had the other group (which) has given presentations and a lot of comments over the past year-plus,” said Drew. “It’s time we had this other group give at least a little bit of time to state their opinions and their facts on this issue.”
Victoria Penate is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at email@example.com
Tim Kiser, the city manager for Grass Valley, presented solutions to the growing number of short term rentals (STR) within the city limits at Tuesday’s city council meeting.
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