Cherry Creek Schools hotly debates Critical Race Theory, how history should be taught

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DENVER (KDVR) — The Cherry Creek Schools monthly board meeting turned into a passionate debate about how history should be taught in the classroom.

On Wednesday’s agenda, the board was due to vote on revising its resources and materials for its social studies curriculum.

In April, the superintendent sent a letter home to parents saying, “We are working collaboratively with teachers and administrators to review existing curricular resources through a lens of racial and cultural relevance.”

Here’s what we know: no curriculum or curricular resource is perfect. However, it is critical that we identify resources that accurately reflect the contributions and narratives of our diverse community.”

The board clearly stated Wednesday night that Cherry Creek Schools has not and is not adopting the Critical Race Theory. However, it has sparked a fierce debate about the issue among parents.

“Things have gotten really radical lately. They’ve been pushing a lot of politics in classrooms at a young age,” one parent, who declined to give her name, told FOX31.

“They really need to hear the truth and they need to hear their history. They need to hear all history: Black, white, Hispanic, every minority group,” former educator and Cherry Creek parent Estelle Mattis told FOX31.

According to Cherry Creek district officials, Critical Race Theory is a theoretical framework, not a curriculum.

It includes ideas about how minorities have shaped history. Critics argue it focuses on the oppression imposed by white people throughout history.

“They’re programming the children to look at skin color rather than character,” a member of UDAF Militia told FOX31. He says he traveled from outside of Denver to attend the meeting and “provide limited protection” from Antifa.

Dozens of parents, former students and community members attended the meeting to weigh in on how history should be taught. The line to get into the meeting stretched down the sidewalk and into the parking lot. The board room and lobby were full of attendees and people watched the live stream on cell phones in the parking lot.

In a statement to FOX31, Cherry Creek Education Association president and middle school science teacher Kasey Ellis said:

“We want to thank the Cherry Creek School District for their continued work on equity within the district and look forward to continuing to work with them on this. No matter our color, background or zip code, we want our kids to have an education that imparts honesty about who we are, integrity in how we treat others, and courage to do what’s right. But there are those who are now stoking fears about our schools, trying to dictate what teachers say and block kids from learning our shared stories of confronting injustice to build a more perfect union. They push for outdated and inaccurate lessons, redlining the realities of our history in order to justify the harms of our present. What a good teacher knows is we can’t just avoid or lie our way through our challenges; we must find age-appropriate ways to tell hard truths about our country’s past and present in order to prepare our kids to create a better future.”

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