Obama’s Secretary of Education does not want racial criticism to be taught in schools, but he does support the “truth-telling” of American history.

John King Obama Secretary of Education

The then Secretary of Education, John King, visited Carver Elementary School in Indianaula, Mississippi on September 15, 2016. AP Photo / Rogelio V. Solis

  • King says the GOP’s attacks on ethnic education are “anti-truth” and “anti-teacher.”

  • The Maryland gubernatorial candidate is concerned that new state laws will have a “cold effect” on teachers.

  • “We can have both ideas,” he said of the “ugly” parts of history and development.

Republican attacks on K-12 generation education feel personal to Maryland’s governing candidate John King, not only as a former social studies teacher and education secretary to the first black president, but also one such person. As a descendant of a slave.

King, 46, lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, just outside of Washington, and about 25 miles (40 kilometers) from the property where his great-grandfather was enslaved. He has visited the cabin where his family lived.

“It’s real,” he said in an interview with Insider. “It happened. And that history revolves around slavery, around secession, red lining, certainly affecting many of the challenges that exist in our country.”

According to King, the state legislature that is passing legislation to ban K-12 education from “critical race ideology” – a college-level study of racial bias in legislation that Democrats and education leaders say K -12 is not taught in schools. Anti-teacher, “anti-truth” and trying to delete your history. He said laws in Tennessee and Texas are already having a “cooling effect” on teachers who are reluctant to discuss slavery, Japanese detention, or the civil rights movement.

“I think we have to make a strong case for education based on the truth of our history,” he said. “And I think we have to make it a point for the country to be strong enough to compete in ways that are less than our aspirations, and to celebrate the ways in which we’ve made progress towards greater equality over time.” We can have both ideas. “

King can certainly see both ideas reflected in his family’s personal experience. He said it has been an “exciting, complex journey” to get to know the direct descendants of the family who enslaved his family and who are living on the property today. They’ve had “thoughtful, complex” conversations about their shared history, and now he considers them friends.

Standing inside his great-grandfather’s cabin, about 30 yards (27.43m) from the main house, he informed him of the “extreme cruelty and closeness” of slavery. “These two families lived in the same physical place, owned each other,” he said, and that history has had a profound effect on the challenges to racial equality in this country.

At the same time, King said he spent time in the cabin, thinking about how “deep” his family had been in three generations, from slavery to the first black president’s cabinet as Barack Obama’s education secretary. Went to serve.

“I mean, trying to help people, yes, these are tough, ugly parts of our history, and there’s progress,” he said.

Concerns have been raised about the critical race theory in Maryland, including in August, when Republican Andy Harris, a Republican from Maryland, raised a critical race theory such as “equity” in a statement from the Education Mission during the Dorchester County Board of Education. Warning about code words. “I think we should teach students to appreciate America,” said Harris, an aide to the GOP House resolution opposing CRT education in K-12 schools. “The ideology of the critical race teaches them to hate the United States because it is militarily racist.”

At a meeting of the Placenta-Yoruba Linda School Board in California, a man raised the banner of 'Ban CRT' in protest of teaching racism in schools.

The Placentia Yorba Linda School Board is debating a proposed resolution banning the teaching of racial criticism in schools. Robert Gutierrez / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

‘Really just a political tool’

King said Harris’s speech “makes it very clear that this is indeed a political tool,” but added that it is not entirely clear that not every diversity workshop in the United States has been fully implemented. Goes “We need to think about how we talk about these issues,” he said.

Since serving as Secretary of Education, King has led The Education Trust, a non-profit civil rights education organization that provides public education for students of color and low-income backgrounds. I focus on closing the gap of opportunity. He is one of the nine candidates running for the Democratic nomination for governor of Maryland. On King’s campaign website, he pledges to put educational equality at the forefront of policy-making.

He said the campaign meeting and congratulations discussed the ideology of the critical race, but often in the context of what role it played in the Virginia Governorate race. Elected Governor Glenn Yingkin promised to ban it on his first day as governor. He also took advantage of a mistake made by his opponent, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, when he said that parents “should not tell schools what they should teach.”

King said McAuliffe would also say the answer was neither good nor bad.

“We desperately need parents as partners in the children’s educational experience, and it is vital for schools to involve families and to teach and learn with families and about their children,” he said. Talk.”

He said the phrase “critical race ideology” had been turned into a “poisonous slogan”, and that much could not be achieved by keeping the conversation there. Now it is important to step back and ask, “What is it that we are trying to accomplish in schools?”

If King becomes governor, will he support educating K-12 students about the critical ideology of race? No, he said.

But he will support the “truth account” of history and the honest debate about slavery. He wants teachers to talk about the exterminators Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglas and the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgud Marshall – all my landlords. Teachers discuss economic challenges, racial disparities, the civil rights movement, the voting rights act, and the role the state’s historically black colleges and universities play as engines of social and economic opportunities. should do.

“I think most people would agree that we should be taught the true history of slavery,” he said. “If we base our response on the real purpose of students who fully understand the complexities of American history, it is worth winning.”

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