A Virginia parents group has identified no fewer than 20 examples of what it claims to be critical race theory in Virginia schools, but some of the school districts involved emphatically denied teaching CRT in the classroom, despite the documents and events the parents highlighted.
Parents Defending Education provided 20 examples of schools promoting critical race theory — a framework that involves deconstructing aspects of society to discover systemic racism beneath the surface. The list includes government contracts with CRT-promoting organizations, reading materials school districts have endorsed, so-called "anti-racism" policies, high school classes on "intersectionality," an "Equity" plan promoting the 1619 Project and the Southern Poverty Law Center's materials, and a $20,000 payment to Ibram X. Kendi.
Yet school districts told Fox News that they do not promote CRT.
Fox News asked Fairfax County Public Schools about the Kendi payment, a summer learning guide for second-grade kids that includes a "Woke Kindergarten" video, a community survey to develop a new "Anti-Racism" policy, and a $49,600 contract with NYC Leadership Academy to develop an "Anti-Bias Community Engagement Policy."
"None of this content promotes critical race theory," Helen Lloyd, an LCPS spokesperson, told Fox News on Thursday. "FCPS does not teach critical race theory nor is it included in any of the course offered to staff. The district does deal with issues of race and racism. The district does contend with issues of cultural diversity and the difference in positioning of various cultural traditions and identities in society. Neither of these means the division is teaching CRT."
Wayne Byard, an LCPS spokesman, told Fox News that the CRT development training "was given to a few upper-level administrators and explained how CRT was developed, not how to teach it or include it in our professional development."
"Loudoun County Public Schools does not teach Critical Race Theory (CRT) as part of its curriculum," Byard insisted. "CRT is not, and has never been, part of the social studies curriculum in Virginia."
He defined CRT as "an analytical tool used primarily in university-level courses. Developed in the 1970s, CRT was first used to help law school students think critically about the impact of historical and present-day racism on the legal system. In the 1990s, some colleges of education incorporated CRT in coursework to help educators understand inequities in the educational system."
"CRT has been discussed in LCPS staff development offerings to help staff understand a major school of thought," Byard added. "It is discussed as an academic theory and is not being used to ‘indoctrinate’ students or staff."
Fox News also reached out to Alexandria City Public Schools, asking about ACPS' promotion of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Learning for Justice curriculum, its promotion of the 1619 Project, and its "Equity for All 2025" Plan that promotes both of those materials and more.
ACPS Chief of Teaching, Learning and Leadership Dr. Terri Mozingo did not respond to criticism but merely explained the plan, saying that it "places racial equity at the center of everything we do as a school division and solidifies our commitment to eliminating opportunity and achievement gaps." She noted that the Alexandria School Board adopted a Resolution on Condemning Systemic Racism in June 2020.
"Within ACPS, we make certain that curriculum, content, and related materials are taught with age appropriateness in mind and are presented in ways that are culturally relevant, culturally engaging, and historically accurate," she added.
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, the Virginia Department of Education, and Henrico County Public Schools did not respond to Fox News' request for comment.
Nicole Neily, president of Parents Defending Education, claimed that the school districts' CRT denials are "disingenuous."
"Nobody would argue that the most important part of a child’s Montessori education is reading the works of Maria Montessori; the same holds true for Critical Race Theory," Neily told Fox News. "Nobody is asserting that children are reading the works of Kimberlé Crenshaw or Jean Stefanic, and it’s disingenuous for pundits and school officials to pretend that’s what parents are upset about."
"What matters is how CRT is implemented in classrooms, and that - teaching students to view all human interactions through the prism of race, and treating people accordingly - is, indeed, taking place in districts across the Commonwealth," she added.
Ian Prior, executive director at Fight for Schools, the organization filing petitions to remove Loudoun County School Board members, also countered the denials.
"Parents in Loudoun County aren't stupid and they are done with the cornucopia of lies that come from Loudoun County Public Schools and it's school board," Prior said.
He sent Fox News an email from LCPS Superintendent Eric Williams. "While LCPS has not adopted CRT, some of the principles related to race as a social construct and the shaping of stories of racism, racialized oppression, etc. that we are encouraging through the Action Plan to Combat Systemic Racism, in some of our professional learning modules, and our use of instructional resources on the Social Justice standards, do align with the ideology of CRT," Williams had written.
Prior presented his own definition of CRT that puts parents' concerns in better context.
"Critical race theory is a lens through which teachers are encouraged to teach through teachers trainings, specifically, that western liberalism, meritocracy, and equal opportunity perpetuate systemic racism," Prior told Fox News. "This lens is confirmed by their own consultant - the Equity Collaborative - and this use of critical race theory for teacher training and in the classroom was confirmed by the former Superintendent of LCPS in an email to a constituent."