* Correction – The initial year of gathering information from stakeholders, 2019, was the year before covid19 – article was corrected to reflect there would have been no issues related to pandemic lockdowns during this year with removal of comment skeptical that this could have been done effectively during the first year of the pandemic.
New so-called Culturally Relevant and Sustaining Education (CR-SE) competencies are being added to the Pennsylvania School Code / Certification of Professional Personnel.
This will be a part of all teacher certification, training and professional development and it is blatant indoctrination and/or forcing teachers to take on the “anti-racist” systemic racism believing mind set. They literally tell teachers that part of their responsibility as a teacher is to disrupt “norms”, to seek out further training in this world view and to identify their own biases.
Over the past few years many parents in our local area have brought up concerns about ideological extremist teachings they worry are making their way into public schools around the country. Things like assumptions that white people are inherently racist, that minority children must be constantly on guard for racist micro-aggressions and all children must be exposed to ideas of gender fluidity. Most in PA counties have heard from school officials denials that any such racial or gender ideology is in the curriculum or pedagogy, regardless of blatant evidence it is in other parts of the country or state.
Unfortunately these new CR-SE competencies assure that if that controversial teaching is not already present in PA school districts, it will be if teachers implement the standards they will be taught and judged by in their work.
Last month, at a hearing of the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), their Teacher and School Leader Effectiveness Committee gave its unanimous approval for the implementation of the new CR-SE competencies that will be integrated into all continuing professional development programs no later than the 2023-24 academic year and all educator preparation and induction programs no later than the 2024-25 academic year.
How did these competencies come to be? Were the legislators aware of these and did they approve of them?
According to the PDE website, this all began in 2018 when interested stakeholders were invited to participate in dialogue on issues surrounding educator preparation and certification.
From this the Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera recommended amendments to the School Code, Chapter 49 (Certification of Professional Personnel law) to the School Leader and Effectiveness Committee, who in the spring of 2019 “traveled across the state to gather feedback from vested partners on the Secretary’s recommended amendments”.
In July 2020 the CR-SE amendments were approved by the Teacher and School Leader Effectiveness Committee and the Council of Higher Education and adopted by the PDE and then submitted for review by Senate and House Education committees and the Independent Regulatory Review Commission all of which did approve them. From December 2020 to January 2021 the amendments were then submitted for public comment.
In March 2022 they were approved by the same unelected bureaucrats and the final amendments were “deemed” approved by the Senate and House Education committees which means they did not get a full hearing or debate but were basically rubber stamped.
The IRRC gave its final approval and they were published in final form April 2022 in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
You can look at the CR-SE competencies HERE
Though descriptions like Critical Race or Gender Theory are not used the buzzwords associated with these belief systems are readily seen: terms like “microaggressions”, “systemic” and “institutional racism” and “unconscious biases”. These controversial concepts are presented as accepted truth.
This is blatant indoctrination of teachers both through their training and the way they will be evaluated on these “competencies”, into the postmodernist critical social justice (aka “woke”) ideology. Worse yet they make sure teachers must not only recognize this but “disrupt harmful institutional practices, policies, and norms by advocating and engaging in efforts to rewrite policies, change practices, and raise awareness.” So this assures students will also be given these concepts as truth while getting less traditional education.
Forcing a belief system in this way by the government into requirements for teacher certification and by extension into government public schools is unconstitutional, period. Teachers and administration and school board members and the public must stand up to this blatant abdication of constitutional duties by our legislature and executive offices.