A Pennsylvania father’s determined effort to find out what’s being taught to his children’s instructors.

Nicole Ault and Megan Keller:

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.