LEWISTOWN — By an 8-1 margin, the Mifflin County School Board voted to keep Critical Race Theory and the 1619 project out of the classroom.
The board elected to prohibit CRT and 1619 in the district, but Don Wright, the only member to vote no, said the reason he did was because the resolution wasn’t strong or clear enough.
“We agree in this proposal that Critical Race Theory will not be part of the curriculum. I accept that,” he said. “But there is no way of knowing whether it’s getting through or not. We’ve seen it across the county through online learning and supplemental downloads. It’s happening in this state. I accept this because it’s the best we can get, but it’s up to the parents and students to let us know when it comes in.”
Critical Race Theory (CRT) is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of race, racism, and race-based social and political systems. It was developed by legal scholars and activists in the late 1970s and early 1980s to address issues of racism and racial inequality in the United States. It has since been used to examine race-based disparities in areas such as education, criminal justice, housing, employment, and health care.
The 1619 Project is a New York Times Magazine initiative that aims to reframe the way Americans think about the legacy of slavery in the United States. The project was launched in 2019 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Virginia.
It is an ongoing project that consists of essays, podcasts, videos, and other forms of media that explore the history of slavery and its modern-day implications. The 1619 Project seeks to challenge the notion that the American Revolution was a victory for freedom. Instead, it centers the story of slavery and its impact on the country’s history and present-day society.
Critics of CRT and the 1619 Project believe Critical Race Theory is bigoted, seeks to divide Americans along racial lines, and is a form of “reverse racism” that puts white people at a disadvantage.
Also, critics feel the 1619 Project is revisionist history and ignores the contributions of white Americans to the nation’s history. It is biased and unfairly portrays the United States in a negative light and is part of a larger “cultural Marxist” agenda to undermine traditional American values.
Supporters view CRT and the 1619 Project as necessary to achieve a more just and equitable society. Opponents argue that both are part of a larger agenda to undermine traditional American values and promote a “victim mentality” in the United States.
In other board news,
• Approved the minutes of the Reorganization meeting held December 1, 2022.
• Approved the minutes of the Committee of the Whole meeting held December 1, 2022.
• Approved the minutes of the rescheduled Regular Board meeting held December 19, 2022.
• Approved the following draft policies as a first reading, to replace the board’s previously adopted board policies of the same number: PSBA updated, previously approved policies: 011–Principles for Governance and Leadership, 200–Enrollment of Students, 202–Eligibility of Nonresident Students, 204–Attendance, 217–Graduation, 221–Dress and Grooming, 233–Suspension and Expulsion, 251–Students Experiencing Homelessness, Foster Care and Other Educational Instability (This updated policy has merged policies 251 and 255. Once adopted, policy 255 will be deleted.), Section 200 – Pupils: 229–Student Fundraising, 230–Public Performances by Students, 231–Social Events and Class Trips, 235–Student Rights and Responsibilities, 235.1–Surveys, 239–Foreign Exchange Students, Section 300 – Employees: 301–Creating a Position, 302–Employment of Superintendent, 304–Employment of District Staff, 304.1–Nepotism, 305–Employment of Substitutes, 306–Employment of Summer School Staff, 307–Student Teachers/Interns, 308–Employment Contract/Board Resolution, 309–Assignment and Transfer.
• Approved the following Financial items: Review of Treasurer Reports for month ended December 31, 2022, Review of listing of bills for payment, Review of Revenue and Expense Summaries, Real Estate and Per capita Tax Collector Reports, Per capita Tax Exoneration Requests from Elected Tax Collectors (changes from originals).
Approved to exonerate Cindy McKnight, Decatur Township Tax Collector, from collecting 2022 real estate taxes for parcel # 15,09-0211–,000
Approved to exonerate Sherry Miller, Oliver Township Tax Collector, from collecting 2022 real estate taxes for parcel # 19,07-0101D-,000.
Approved the Cafeteria Financial Report for December 2022
Approved authorization to pay Cafeteria Bills for December 2022.
Approved the following drivers: Ashley Freeman (Fisher Brothers), Domeeka Harris (Krise), Casey Yoder (Krise).
Approved for student #14-13-10 to complete Homebound Instruction for an additional 3 months.
Approved the MCHS Indoor Groups (Drum Lines and Guards and Dance Team) to attend the Tournament of Bands – Tournament Indoor Association Susquehanna Valley Region 4 Championships on Sunday, April 30, 2023, held at Bellefonte Area High School beginning at approximately 2 PM.
Approved the following coaches for the spring 2023 season: Jeremy Herwig (volunteer junior high girls soccer), Wayne Specht (head JV softball), Hannah Bubb (paid assistant JV softball), Keith Yoder (volunteer junior high boys soccer), Todd Peters (volunteer junior high boys soccer), Tamara Sechler (head boys track and field coach).
Approved the following coaches for the fall of 2023: Jennifer Johnson (head cheer), Neil Breneman (head girls cross country), Greg Loht (head boys cross country), Shane Breon (head football), Aaron Bubb (head golf), Keith Yoder (head boys soccer), Barrett Knepp (head girls soccer), Jenna Slepicka (head volleyball), Joe Daubert (volunteer football coach), Meredith Schwenk (head girls tennis).
Approved the following event staff for the 22-23 school year: Tracy Shade.
Approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the MCESPA (Support Personnel) contract regarding seniority.
Approved the contract for Act 30 services provided by the TIU 11 at a cost of $43,908 for the retroactive start date of July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023.
Approved the updated MCSD Health and Safety Plan as of 1/26/2023.
Approved the contract to provide supervisory services for Penn State University doctoral student, Christieanna Tawiah, the district’s Mental Health Coordinator, funded by under the PCCD grant for a term beginning retroactive to September 23, 2022, through July 23, 2023.
Approve the updated Power Purchase Agreement from McClure Company.
Approved the Outdoor School for LIS 5th grade students on April 3-6, April 11-14, April 18-21, and May 2-5 to Camp Blue Diamond (part of Shaver’s Creek Center). Students stay for 4 days and 3 nights.
Approved the proposed 2023-2024 MCSD calendar.
Approved to accept the Audit Report for year ended June 30, 2022.
Approved Breslin Architects as the architectural and engineering design service for the two field houses for the Multi-Sports Facilities Project at a rate of 7% of the construction bids for the field houses.
Approved the ELA Group at a cost not to exceed $300,000 for the Professional Engineering Services Fee for the Multi-Sports Facilities Project. This project will be good for land usage for 5 years.
Approved the draft Policy 235.1 – Survey as a first reading.
Approved salary adjustment for Thomas White, Jr. to $92,500 annual salary retroactive for the school year, 2022-23.
Approved Lindsay E. Gehman as Interim Board Secretary effective retroactive to 01/19/2023.
Board member Mark Baker asked to be removed from the Policy Committee and Board member Don Wright replaced him.