I must ask, ‘Why not?’


In response to two opinions published in the July 7 Courier News, please note a few observations:

In the opinion letter titled, “Afraid to Talk about the Truth,” by Liz McGeachy, recall the following quote from the seventh paragraph: “First of all, ‘Critical Race Theory’ is not taught in public K-12 schools… therefore, a made-up problem for public schools.”

Such comments bring to mind a rather obvious question: if Critical Race Theory is “a made-up problem” not taught in K-12 public schools, why object to a law prohibiting it in these schools?

Ms. McGeachy further complains that “[w]hat the bill actually did was allow our government to tell teachers what to say and how to say it … ”

What teachers say and how they say it outside of the classroom was not mentioned in the bill which Ms. McGeachy addresses. However, in the classroom, concerning this assertion, I must ask, “Why not?”

Are teachers not employed to teach standards set by the State School Board in the classroom?

In short, are employees not hired to do the work their employer expects them to do, in the manner the employer specifies?

Legislators appropriate the funding for staffing and otherwise supporting public school classrooms. They set the licensure requirements for teachers and administrators in public schools and approve the rules for the State School Board and Department of Education.

The students in public school classrooms are constituents of these legislators, as are their parents.

Therefore, within the bounds of constitutionality, what authority excludes legislators, representing their constituents, from telling school employees, i.e., teachers, “what to say and how to say it” in the classroom?

In a similar vein, from the guest column titled, “Bamboozling Anderson Countians,” by Dr. Eric Keller, recall this quote from the 14th paragraph: “Whereas lawyers, sociologists and political scientists study these ideas, it does not translate to public school education.”

This assertion brings a very similarly obvious question: if Critical Race Theory “does not translate to public school education,” why object to a law prohibiting it in these schools?

Notwithstanding his previous admission, Dr. Keller penned that discussing legislation disallowing Critical Race Theory K-12 instruction was political legerdemain. His asserted that the purpose was to somehow “distract folks from the cold hard numbers that reveal that the educational and medical outcomes in Tennessee are not good.” In fact, he alleges that I am trying to bamboozle in order to rhetorically “heat up” his allegation.

Perhaps a good question to ask is, indeed, who is the one trying to bamboozle with which hard cold numbers? Could it be that the bamboozler is the one who failed to mention that Tennessee’s K-12 schools academically ranked 49th out of 50 in 2010?

Indeed, this ranking was after 140 uninterrupted years of Democrat Party control of the General Assembly. Similarly, could the bamboozler be the one who failed to mention that Tennessee’s K-12 schools academically improved to 35th since Republicans took control of the General Assembly?

John D. Ragan

State Representative