Discover more from Wonkette
Oklahoma Won't Even Tell Tulsa Schools How They Did 'Critical Race Theory,' So It Must Be BAD.
This Kafkaesque Race Theory is just the WORST.
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) took to the Twitters yesterday to call for an audit of the Tulsa School District, to investigate "potential mishandling of public funds," and also accused the school system — extremely vaguely — of having violated House Bill 1775, the state's cookie cutter bill banning the teaching of "divisive content." (They are all modeled, more or less, onone pile of model legislation crap from rightwing crank Stanley Kurtz.)
In the video, Stitt pledged the state would "get to the bottom of what’s going on at Tulsa Public Schools," although honestly, even the state Board of Education hasn't specified how exactly a training session for faculty allegedly broke the law.
But come on, the school district wouldn't have been accused if it weren't guilty, now would it?
Here's Stitt's video, in which the governor suggests something very nasty happened in the educational woodshed, whatever it may have been.
“Today I am calling for a special audit of Tulsa Public Schools and the potential mishandling of public funds. I'm also concerned TPS may have violated state law by teaching critical race theory. We will get to the bottom of what’s going on at Tulsa Public Schools.”
— Governor Kevin Stitt (@Governor Kevin Stitt) 1657223395
Also, whatever the CRT accusation is about, it appears to be completely unconnected to the alleged financial mismanagement, which the Oklahoma City Oklahoman explains involved something like $20,000 in "contract management irregularities." Kind of important to keep that in mind, since in the video, Stitt complains about Tulsa schools having received $200,000 in federal pandemic aid, and hints — misleadingly, if you can believe it! — that somehow the entire grant was fraudulent because Tulsa's schools remained closed for 300 days during the pandemic.
Golly, mister governor! We know you're mad about that, but it really appears to have fuck-all to do with the "contract management irregularities" that two members of the Tulsa school board said they'd uncovered, and which they wrote to you about, requesting this investigation.
As the Oklahoman explains, the "special audit" Stitt requested would check "whether an entity complied with state law and internal control procedures." So we're talking bookkeeping here, not crazed liberals making up the pandemic, and not innocent children being indoctrinated to hate America.
As for the other part of Stitt's accusation, state education officials have been remarkably — strategically? — vague about what exactly the offense was. The closest thing to an explanation we could find comes from Tulsa's Oklahoma Eagle, which says there's been a "veil of secrecy" around the alleged violation of HB 1775.
All that's known is that it involved a complaint about "professional development training to school district employees” in March of this year, which was provided by a third-party vendor.
Oklahoma State Board of Education attorney Brad Clark said at a June 23 meeting of the state board that Tulsa Schools had somehow violated the law. But by golly, the unidentified offense was serious enough to put the school district's accreditation at risk:
In the June meeting, Clark did not cite the specific provisions of the law the Tulsa Public Schools may have violated. Instead, he referred to the “spirit of the training or design of it.”
He further announced to the Oklahoma Board of Education he was recommending the district’s accreditation be downgraded to “accredited with deficiency.” The district has about 33,000 students, 23% of whom are Black – whose education will be affected by the Oklahoma Department of Education’s actions.
As of yet, the Eagle reports, the state board has not taken any action on the newspaper's Open Records request. The school district was a bit more forthcoming, although even it still hadn't been informed of the details of the alleged violation. In a statement, the district said it had contracted with a company called Vector Solutions to provide implicit bias training, to meet a state requirement that school districts offer training on "race and ethnic education."
In March 2022, one individual made a complaint about this training, and the Oklahoma State Department of Education has made us aware of their finding of a deficiency related to that complaint. We anticipate receiving a written explanation of the deficiency within the next few weeks.
So yeah, the state requires annual "race and ethnic education" training, but such training also must not run afoul of the state's extremely broad prohibition of any content that might be construed as teaching any of a number of divisive concepts such as the idea that "an individual … bears the responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex."
As we always say, OF COURSE nobody would teach that, but the concepts are defined so broadly that the laws have been used to attack teaching about school desegregation, because if you point out white people did segregation in the '50s, then all white children will be unable to handle being told they're racist, even if you take pains to explain "past" and "present."
In any case, nobody has any idea what happened in that training, but it was horrible and Tulsa schools are promoting CRT and maybe when the state board meets on July 28 we'll finally find out what specifically this was all about. The materials probably said something really horrifying, like racism in the past still has effects today, and how dare you say all white people are racist, the end, fuck Oklahoma, fuck Kevin Stitt, and can we start drinking yet?
Yr Wonkette is funded entirely by reader donations. If you can, please give $5 or $10 a month so we can keep you informed of whatever the Star Chambers in the Several States are up to, at least if we ever find out.