Christopher Rufo, pro and con, 1/12
Christopher F. Rufo, James R. Copland, and John Ketcham have written what they call A Model for Transparency in School Training and Curriculum.
The governing body of a public school, including public charter schools, shall ensure that the following information is displayed on the school website in an easily accessible location:
(1) All instructional or training materials, or activities, used for staff and faculty training [OPTIONAL: add “on all matters of nondiscrimination, diversity, equity, inclusion, race, ethnicity, sex, gender, or bias, or any combination of these concepts with other concepts”].
There is more at the link. But will this matter if half of the schools of education are determined to inculcate teachers with CRT?
About Christopher Rufo, Sumantra Maitra writes,
he argues that the right should “cripple the critical ideologies within the federal agencies through executive order; defund the left by blocking, delaying, and stalling federal grants that support the critical ideologies in universities, schools, and nonprofits; force all agencies to run any identity-based programs through OMB [the Office of Management and Budget] and strangle them in red tape.”
…Rufo’s second policy recommendation is to decimate university bureaucracies, which are responsible, in his view, for pushing and enforcing the dictates of critical theory. Currently, university bureaucracies are allowed to endlessly grow via government subsidies regardless of whether they provide students with a meaningful education. An easy way to halt this unchecked bureaucratic growth is to put pressure on universities by making them partially responsible for student loan defaults. Doing so lessens administrators’ power and will likely incentivize schools to reduce the cost of public university tuition.
But some of us worry that Rufo’s political aggressiveness could backfire. Robert Tracinski writes,
If the problem with wokeness is specifically that it quashes debate—that it delegitimizes all dissent—then the way to oppose it is to advocate for open debate, with many different viewpoints being heard. But if wokeness is just a catchall for any ideas held by supporters of a rival party or faction, then the way to oppose it is to oppose any expression of your opponents’ ideas.
. . .It is quite an achievement to take a woke movement that has made itself unpopular by being scolding and censorious and deputizing busybodies to harass anyone who utters an unauthorized thought—and counter it with an anti-woke movement that is scolding and censorious and deputizes busybodies to harass with anyone who utters an unauthorized thought.
I am still on a Randall Collins kick. In Interaction Ritual Chains, he writes,
group solidarity makes individuals feel a desire to defend and honor the group. This solidarity feeling is typically focused on symbols, sacred objects [e.g. a flag]. . .failure to respect them is a quick test of nonmembership in the group. . .ritual violations lead to persecution of heretics, scapegoats, and other outcasts.
A religion can be strengthened by persecution. Its adherents may bond more tightly to religious symbols and to one another.
To the extent that Mr. Rufo inspires more people to champion liberal values, that will be good. To the extent that he instigates symbolic battles that only harden the positions on both sides, that will not be good.
Rufo admits that the only real answer is to defund public schools and give people no strings attached ESAs, but then only like 5% or less of his lobbying goes into that. Exposing CRT, transparency bills, and red state bans are nice, but it's precisely because they are easier that they are less effective. That these people are monsters is already transparent, the problem is nobody can do anything about it.
Taking on local county funding of public schools, especially in blue and purple areas, is both the most impactful and most difficult option. Probably Rufo sized up in his mind the odds of passing ballot initiatives to seriously threaten public school funding and decided that it would be a costly and low probability venture for him.
Lastly, I think the focus on CRT is probably the least objectionable thing about public schools right now. COVID is #1 and gender nonsense is #2. CRT is unpopular but is a distant third. I know Rufo doesn't like that other stuff either but CRT isn't going to dive enough outrage to defeat the teachers union on its own.
The best path forward would be to try to develop a very robust pro-reform teachers movement. In the past the union has had a lot of solidarity because it was really just focused on getting more money. All this new nonsense, CFT, gender, COVID, is as abusive to the teachers as the students in most cases. You've basically got to run on "you hate working for these people too and ESAs will fund the competitors that will allow you to tell people putting you in a mask all day to take their job and shove it." You make the great enemy the bureaucrats rather than the teachers.