Randi Weingarten left no room for doubt. “Critical race theory is not taught in elementary schools or high schools,” the American Federation of Teachers president said in a speech last year. Even if that’s true, a Pennsylvania father’s battle with a school district demonstrates that public-school teachers are being trained in the deeply divisive racial ideology—and defensive administrators are playing semantic games to allay parental concerns.
In 2018 the Tredyffrin-Easttown School District near Philadelphia signed a contract with Pacific Educational Group, a California-based consulting firm. According to the school district’s website, the partnership’s purpose was “to enhance the policies and practices around racial equity.” The district assured parents in an online update last summer that no “course, curriculum or program” in the district “teaches Critical Race Theory.”
Benjamin Auslander didn’t buy it. The parent of a high schooler in the district, he wanted to see the materials used to train teachers. Mr. Auslander, 54, made a formal document request but was denied. Officials told him the materials couldn’t be shared because they were protected by Pacific Educational Group’s copyright. His only option was to inspect them in person—no copies or photos allowed. “What are you trying to hide?” he asked school board members at a meeting in December.