House Republican vows to investigate Department of Education probe of Texas school district
Daniel Buck: It is so much more important than CRT, it is critical pedagogy, a very radical, activist, politicized form of teaching that they teach in schools of education.NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
Rep. Beth Van Duyne, R-Texas, is demanding answers after the Department of Education announced it would investigate potential discrimination in a school district that has caught attention for its battle over left-leaning ideas.
Earlier this year, Carroll Independent School District (ISD) caught attention for its school board election, which has been portrayed as evincing the political saliency of critical race theory (CRT).
More recently, a Carroll ISD administrator encountered scrutiny for asking teachers to provide an "opposing" view of the Holocaust.
"It just seems to be very convenient that the Department of Education now is coming in and wasting resources following a media hit on this school district," Van Duyne told Fox News on Thursday.
Representative Beth Van Duyne, a Republican from Texas, speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, Texas, U.S., on Sunday, July 11, 2021. The three-day conference is titled "America UnCanceled." (Dylan Hollingsworth/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
She said that her office was working with others in Congress "to make sure that we get the information that we need."
Van Duyne alleges that the department "stonewalled" her when she asked for more information.
"As a sitting congresswoman, when you can't get this information, tell me what an engaged, invested parent can get and how they're stonewalled," she said.
Details about the investigation have been relatively sparse. On Thursday, the Education Department told Fox News: "We can confirm that OCR has opened three investigations at the Carroll Independent School District into allegations related to discrimination based on race, color, national origin, or sex."
Department of Education building, Washington, D.C.. (Photo by: Robert Knopes/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
The Education Department did not respond to Fox News' questions about the Holocaust incident and whether the probe was a response to efforts to combat anti-racism initiatives. Nor did the department respond to Van Duyne's claim of alleged stonewalling.
According to the Texas Tribune, an administrator asked for an opposing view on the Holocaust in order to comply with a recent anti-CRT law. News of the investigations reportedly came on the same day that the school district titled to the right by electing its new president.
According to NBC News, the CRT issue flared after a video surfaced in 2018 showing two students chanting the n-word. When the district responded with a "Cultural Competency Action Plan," parents revolted, and the diversity issue reportedly became the focal point of typically low-key elections.
Rep. Beth Van Duyne, R-TX., speaks at the House GOP news conference following the House Republicans meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021. (Photo by Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Reported earlier this week, the investigation comes amid questions about how the Biden administration views parents opposed to CRT. Van Duyne on Thursday worried that the latest investigation — conducted by the Education Department's Office of Civil Rights — represented an effort to intimidate parents.
Van Duyne said: "At a time when we have limited resources already in education and at a time when we are trying to come out of a pandemic … for the Department of Education to waste its resources on what is obviously a politically motivated attack on a school district that voted against a Democrat agenda, I just think it's weaponizing our DOE, and it should not go without being investigated."
In recent months, federal legislators have waded into the CRT battles with various pieces of legislation and oversight hearings for Attorney General Merrick Garland. On Wednesday, Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., introduced a "Parents Bill of Rights," which Van Duyne said she supported.
Defenders argue that CRT-type training helps enhance dominant groups' understanding and empathy of what the oppressed experience on a regular basis. These types of trainings have also been promoted as ways to "dismantle" or weaken alleged structures imposing burdens through bias and discrimination.
Angela Onwuachi-Willig, an expert on critical race theory at Boston University School of Law, told the Boston Globe that CRT helped people understand the complexity of race beyond "simple" narratives that they may have been taught.