Praising Marxism: Virginia Inquiry Collaborative. Virginia Beach Schools joins 6 other schools across the state to rewrite VA History Curriculum.
The Virginia Beach Schools Superintendent and a majority of the School Board firmly deny that Critical Race Theory is being used in Virginia Beach Schools. I will prove to you that either they are giving “misinformation” or they don’t know what is going on in their own district.
Critical Race Theory and Wokeness have been quietly infiltrating our schools nationwide, in VA and even here in Virginia Beach for the last few years. In 2019, teachers and school leaders from Virginia Beach joined 6 other schools across the state in an effort to rewrite Virginia Public Schools History curriculum through a series of workshops in a group called the Virginia Inquiry Collaborative (VIC). The group has a partnership with C3 Teachers who assist in the Inquiry Design Model. Let me try to explain what I have found.
I have downloaded most of the documents from the website but you can explore it for yourself and I will provide some highlights. I also have documents showing that Virginia Beach Staff and Teachers have participated and are participating in this VIC and some are leading.
One of the top resources listed on the C3 Teachers website is “Making Inquiry Critical”. This document is also mentioned in one of the presentations. Let’s focus on this document as it seems to be a leading document that drives the work of the Virginia Inquiry Collaborative.
The article states that “Critical Theory is one of the predominant schools of thought in social sciences… Critical Theory pays special attention to the social world, focusing on the hierarchical nature of social relations and examining how these unequal power relationships lead to privilege for some and oppression for others”. It goes on to say that “critical theory is about identifying and confronting social injustices” and “action taken from a critical perspective eschews neutrality, actively siding with the oppressed and promoting their liberation”.
It further discusses the roots of critical theory which is traced to the Frankfurt School. They state that “these thinkers sought to extend Marxist theory into the changing social, political and economic landscape”… The “Making Inquiry Critical” document goes on to praise these Marxist ideals and states that “the Frankfurt School’s extension of Karl Marx’s call to produce knowledge and to take action from the standpoint of the oppressed may be its greatest impact”.
The document then highlights the purpose of the C3 Framework: with citizenship education as its central mission and with content that allows for examination of past and current injustices, social studies should be a natural home for critical theory. The footnote at the end of that sentence references Gloria Ladson Billings article on “Critical Race Theory Perspectives on Social Studies”.
The concluding thought is that “we hoped to make it clear that one must be purposeful when designing a critical inquiry. To truly stay within the bounds of critical theory, there must be a focus on identifying unequal power relationships in society coupled with the goal of transforming those unjust social relations. To remain true to critical pedagogy, teachers should work to identify questions that are important to students’ lives and that encourage them to reflect on the ways that they are either privileged or oppressed by social dynamics.