Published June 30, 2022

Critical Race Theory in ND Schools

Written by
The Dakotan
| The Dakotan

This letter is to parents of school-age children.  

Why should you spend your valuable energy, time, and resources keeping an eye on your children’s school curriculum and what is happening in your child’s classroom?  

 Parents are the customers of the school system.  You, the parents, are the ones who elect the school board, with the authority to represent you within the school system, including the superintendent, the principal, the teachers, and the curriculum.  

You, the parents, pay the taxes that provide the revenue that supports the school system.   

You, the parent, should have a say in what is happening in your children’s classroom.  

The standard test scores of our nation’s children are poor and getting worse in many parts of our country. Recent North Dakota test scores have shown the impact of distance learning and the pandemic, with more students falling below grade level than ever before. 

Granted, many parents became aware of the curriculum their children were learning, during the Covid-19 pandemic. When the nation was in complete lockdown, students attended school virtually, which required parental supervision. It was quite an eye-opener for parents.  

 One could argue that educators have expertise in delivering curriculum and in child development. Educators have a least a bachelor’s degree in education, many have master’s degrees and 1% have a Ph.D.  

But does their educational background make them experts on race, gender, or social issues?  

Most children are very accepting of those around them. They don’t care about skin color, where children live, or whether they have disabilities, they just want to get along with their playmates and classmates, in harmony.  

During the 2021 special session, the legislature passed HB 1508, which prohibited Critical Race Theory in North Dakota school systems.   

However, this bill did not provide resources to identify a subtle critical theory that already exists in the ND curriculum and remove it. HB 1508 did not identify other names for critical theories, such as socio-emotional learning being used in our school systems.  

Where do critical theories exist in our school systems, you ask? Here are some examples: 

Books placed on a library selection list for K-12 include a book written by Ibram X. Kendi, a leader in CRT, and a book on transgenderism, both for 1st graders; a book for 8th graders on being a better white person. (How about being a better person?) Perhaps, these books will not be approved for the library shelves, but they were being reviewed for potential inclusion in ND.  

Socio-Emotional learning in some ND schools uses a computer communication system called ‘PowerSchool’.  A program called ‘Panarama’ within PowerSchool sends out surveys to students (without parental notification) that ask children in-depth questions regarding sexuality, emotional support at home, and if equality is being practiced.    

A potentially well-intentioned use of a type of discipline called restorative practices is being used in our local school systems.  However, the restorative practices program is closely related to the critical theory program of restorative justice. 

In western North Dakota, a teacher was discovered assisting a 4th grader to transition to another gender without parental consent.  

Why does this type of ideology still exist in North Dakota schools?  Likely because the curriculum is written elsewhere in the country, and textbooks are printed by large publishing companies.   

 Critical Theories on race and gender do not promote harmony among children in the school system. In contrast to promoting peaceful relationships, critical race theory labels children as oppressors and the oppressed or marginalized.  

How does applying labels to young children assist in teaching their children how to treat each other? How does introducing guilt and resentment assist in getting along in the world?   

Critical gender theory promotes gender confusion in pre-pubescent children. The theory supports 47 different gender designations, supports children selecting their preferred pronouns, and supports transitioning from birth gender to preferred gender, in children who are too young to make these life-altering decisions.  

At the basic level, critical theory is about using gender or race to divide us, not to promote harmony in our schools.  

Our children’s future depends on an excellent educational experience that enhances their reading and writing skills, mathematics ability, critical thinking skills, and ability to use logic to further understand the world around us. 

The North Dakota Code of Ethics for Education states students first, whereas the national Model Code of Ethics for Educators lists the educational profession as the number one priority.  When you prioritize the profession, you open the door to putting the students, parents, and school boards in the back seat, rather than the driver’s seat, where they belong. I am proud that our state is still focused on why public education was organized in the first place, our children. 

 Education should return to promoting academic knowledge while encouraging students to do their individual best and behave with integrity towards their fellow students and playmates. Children will then grow up with the skills needed for the workplace and the world.  
Kari Cutting 

Concerned Mother and Grandmother 
Education Organizational Leadership Ph.D. candidate

Freedom Matters USA Board of Directors  

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