While crisscrossing the state in my campaign for U.S. Senate, I hear from Ohioans in all corners about the issues they care about. Lately, the issue of Critical Race Theory is front and center as concerned parents are worried about the curriculum that schools are teaching children.
These concerns became so prevalent that I launched a statewide listening tour on education to hear directly from parents about what is really going on behind classroom doors and whether or not Critical Race Theory is seeping into our schools.
The answer? It is.
Democrats and many in the media are trying to discredit this claim from myself and other conservatives in Ohio and across the country. They want to chalk it up as a fabricated “culture war” or say that Republicans don’t want America’s full history taught.
That is unequivocally false.
America’s history should be taught – the good, the bad and the ugly – in order for our children to understand our nation’s history, learn from our mistakes, and be better for tomorrow. No one is disputing that.
But that doesn’t mean that Critical Race Theory is good policy for our children – in fact, it is the exact opposite. Critical Race Theory is born of a Marxist doctrine that seeks to “otherize” our children and put society into boxes – White, Black, Oppressor, Oppressed, etc. If we look back through history, when has “otherizing” a segment of our population ever turned out to be good?
This “theory,” and others like it, become dangerous once we use it to assign labels to students based solely on their skin color or ideology, not on their character or how they treat people. This labeling – race, gender, and identity politics – is taking hold in Ohio schools.
A second grader taught to draw himself as a different race. Anti-police rhetoric causing one young child to ask their Grandpa, a veteran of the police force, if he did bad things to Black people. A “civil disobedience” walkout where if a student didn’t participate quick enough, they were labeled racist by their peers.
Grade-school children being forced to memorize 80 different genders. Gender-neutral bathrooms unilaterally implemented in elementary schools. A teacher dividing a high school classroom into those that believed biological males should compete in girls’ sports and those that didn’t.
These are just some of the stories I have heard while traveling Ohio that have left young children feeling marginalized, peer pressured, guilty and confused.
No, schools aren’t often plastering a curriculum on their website for the media to examine that says “Critical Race Theory taught here” – but it and other radical teachings are happening, and that also gets to the core of the problem. Parents all across the state are complaining that they cannot get access to what is being taught to their children. There is no transparency, no sunlight on the curriculum.
This debate isn’t just about the three words, Critical Race Theory. It’s about the future of our country.
Our schools are already falling behind, magnified by a year of virtual learning, and we have a major workforce crisis in this country. We need to be doubling down on math, science, and reading, focusing on skilled trades and connecting students with businesses and mentorships — things that will prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow. China is laughing all the way to the bank that our schools are more focused on political correctness than competing in a global economy.
It’s about school reform. The outrage over Critical Race Theory highlights the need to expand educational opportunities and access through school choice. No child should be confined to a school that is failing them solely because of their zip code.
And most importantly, I believe it’s about the soul of our nation.
God created us all equal. The tenants of America are that we all have equal opportunity. We should be teaching the ideals of America that have made it a beacon of hope for people all across the world who have come to achieve a better future for themselves and their families.
A good education is what allowed me, a daughter and granddaughter of immigrants, to achieve my American Dream. As a U.S. Senator, I will unapologetically and fiercely defend your children’s right to the best education so that they can live theirs.
Jane Timken is a candidate for the United States Senate. She was formerly the chair of the Ohio Republican Party.