I received this letter in my email, and decided to share it with my readers in its entirety.
Fighting critical race theory and indoctrination in our schools
Welcome to my first newsletter Andrew Gutmann Jun 11
It has been a whirlwind 7 weeks since my letter to the parents of my daughter’s New York City private school, Brearley, went viral. To me, it feels like 7 years have gone by. I had no expectation that the letter would be read by any more than the 1300 or so parents to whom I mailed it. It has apparently been read by millions. The sole purpose of the letter was to encourage other Brearley parents to speak up to fight the school’s illiberal, racist and indoctrinating initiatives. I never expected my letter to light a match on the issue of critical race theory (CRT) across the country, nor did I expect to become a national spokesperson for these issues. But that is what has happened. I promise to continue to write, to speak out, and to help organize parents in this crucial battle over the proper education of our children, and for the soul of our country.
The first thing I want to do in this newsletter is to thank the many thousands of people who have written to me over the past several weeks. I would have liked to have responded to everyone who wrote me, but I quickly realized that was impossible. I have, however, read every single word of every single email and message that has been sent to me. And I will continue to do so and to respond to as many people as I can!
Many of the people who have written to me have shared a similar message. They feel newly emboldened to speak up for their children. This is happening. We are seeing newly formed resistance to CRT across America, increased media coverage, and we have started to witness some successful pushback, especially against public school boards. But I believe we are still at the very beginning of this fight and we face enormous obstacles ahead. The speed at which the cancer of CRT has spread across the country and infiltrated our schools is both shocking and unprecedented. We need to accelerate our resistance.
The second common thread of the emails I have received is the question of “how.” How can parents fight back against CRT in their kids’ schools? How can grandparents and other concerned citizens also join this fight? This is the topic for which I’d like to focus much of the rest of this newsletter. To be clear, I don’t pretend to have all the answers. There are others who have been fighting this fight in our education system for far longer than I, in some cases, for years. What follows are just some ideas, some suggestions, some thoughts.
As we travel this road together, some of these ideas will crystallize into actionable initiatives, others may not. But one thing that has become abundantly clear to me is that we need to fight CRT with as many resources as possible, and on many different levels. Make no mistake, this is a fight. And this is a fight we are currently losing. But we have not lost, and we have two things in our favor.
One, we are not alone! The majority of Americans, of both political parties, now understand the damage that critical race theory is doing to our children, to our education system, and to our country. True, many have been bullied into silence given the fear of being called a racist and because of the cancel culture that has enveloped our country. We must fix that so the voice of the majority is once again heard. But make no mistake, the numbers are on our side.
Two, we are on the side of good. We stand for our children, for their mental health, and for their proper education. We believe in freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and the freedom for parents to hold the responsibility of teaching morality to their children. We believe that skin color, race and ethnicity should have no bearing on our laws or on individual achievement. And we believe that our country, while by no means without flaws, has been, and continues to be, the beacon of liberty and opportunity to the rest of the world.
The proponents of critical race theory stand for fear and for indoctrination. They argue against free speech and critical thinking. They aim to shut down conversation and stifle debate. They are proponents of toxic Marxism and segregating divisiveness. If we follow their path, we risk the fracturing and ultimately the ruin of America.
Fighting CRT Locally
Much of the fight against critical race theory must be accomplished locally, and through grassroots efforts. There are many things that parents can do. First, try to find other parents that are also willing to speak out. If one doesn’t exist, form a local parent group. There is always strength in numbers, and you will be surprised how many parents feel as you do. Write letters to your schools, school boards and to elected officials. Ask (or demand) meetings with school principals and school administrations to find out what is really being taught in your children’s schools, and to voice your displeasure. File freedom of information act (FOIA) requests. Run for your local school board. Speak out at city council meetings.
These are just a handful of things you can do to make your voice heard, and to begin to effectuate change. There are a number of organizations that have recently sprouted up to help parents fight critical race theory, divisive and anti-intellectual diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, and indoctrination in our schools. Two that I would like to highlight are Parents Defending Education and the Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR). Both have substantial resources on their websites to help parents. FAIR is also setting up local chapters all across the United States.
Fighting CRT Nationally
I believe that in addition to fighting at the school and school district level, we need to also be fighting critical race theory on the state and national level. Some organizations are already doing this through legislative efforts. Here are a number of initiatives I think we need to start in order to win the battle against CRT. I have begun to focus on several of these and will provide updates in future newsletters.
Social Network for Parents
One of the biggest problems in the fight against CRT in our schools is mobilizing parents, especially given the fear of being publicly outed on this issue. We need a new social network that will allow like-minded parents within a school, or within a school district to connect with each other privately. There must be functionality to collect signatures for letters and petitions, to organize meetings, and for parents to anonymously post documents and messages about the curriculum being taught in schools. We also need a common place to aggregate all of the small parent groups that have recently formed to fight CRT. With a single platform for parents to connect with each other locally (separate from existing social media platforms), we can harness the collective power of millions of parents.
#DefundCRT – National Donor Strike
It seems that the best (and perhaps the only) way to convey a strong message to private K-12 schools and universities is through their fundraising efforts and endowments. To that end, we need a national donor strike against every private K-12 school, college, university, arts organization and religious organization that teaches or espouses critical race theory. We must cut off the funding for these institutions. #DefundCRT.
Boycotts of companies
As most of us now know, critical race theory is not just a problem in our schools, but has become pervasive in our workplaces and in corporate boardrooms, due to the overwhelming cowardice of our business leaders. We need to start boycotting each and every company that tries to indoctrinate their employees, hires diversity and equity officers or consultants, and terminates, punishes, or cancels employees because of their political views. Write letters and use social media to get the message to these companies. Contact their investor relations and customer service departments. And for public companies, divest your stock. We must also find a way to protect and reward whistle blowers.
Coordinated State Protests
Over this summer, we need coordinated demonstrations in the state capitals of all 50 states to protest against critical race theory being adopted in public school curriculums. These protests must be non-political and must include parents as well as educators. We must get the message to governors of both political parties that they are personally responsible for the destruction of public education, for damaging our children, and for compromising the future of our country due to divisive, anti-intellectual and Marxist teachings.
Building New Private Schools
It has become devastatingly apparent that our education system has failed us. I believe we need a massive philanthropic effort to build new, affordable private schools all across this country. These schools do not have to be fancy. They just need to teach proper history, civics, science and critical thinking. Such schools should be available to any family that values the education of their children, regardless of income. We must break the public school monopoly in this country. Charter schools, which have been oases of quality for many minority and underprivileged kids, are near impossible to start in many Democratic-led states.
National Civil Rights Movement
We need a new non-partisan civil rights movement focused on returning our country to the color-blind and race-blind ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We are not black or brown or white in this country. We are humans and we are Americans. We must stop the divisive hyper-focus on race that will inevitably lead to ethnic strife and quite possibly will result in a fracturing of our country.NYC Homeschooling Pods / Co-opsI have spoken with many parents desperate to pull their kids out of private or public schools in New York City but feel there is nowhere else to go. There is somewhere else to go: homeschooling pods/co-ops. I have been in contact with a number of parents who have set up such co-ops and I would like to help connect New York City parents interested in having their children joining such a group for the 2021-22 school year. If you are interested, please use the contact form on this page.
Funding and Donations
A large number of you who have contacted me have offered me financial support in the fight against critical race theory. For that, I am incredibly grateful. However, I have been reluctant to take donations until I have a clear idea of how the money will be used. I am still in the process of figuring out what existing organizations with which to get involved and what efforts to start from scratch. But I am getting closer to those answers. I will almost certainly start taking donations soon through a 501(c)(3) that I will start. I will provide more information soon.
Getting in touch
My plan is to write a newsletter at least once per month, or more often if I have news to share. If you are interested, this link lists some of my media appearances and articles that I have written. You can always contact me through my website: speakupforeducation.org or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing your comments, suggestions and thoughts on how to win this fight for education and against CRT.
Please also tell your friends!