Who is Ian Rice? Black father slams school board for teaching critical race theory
Ian Rice, who reportedly has two children in the school district, said, 'Critical race theory is teaching that White people are bad. That's not true'
CALEDONIA, MICHIGAN: Critical race theory has for some time been part of the public conversation, especially with conservative lawmakers insisting it is “un-American” and that it should not be taught in public schools. Recently, in Kent County, Michigan, a Black father decried it, saying that it influences students of different races to "hate each other."
Ian Rice, who reportedly has two children in the school district, told the school board, "Critical race theory is teaching that White people are bad. That's not true. That would teach my daughter that her mother is evil."
Amazing parent testimony on Critical Race Theory in our schools. pic.twitter.com/Llbe0yBn4U— James Lindsay, uncitable (@ConceptualJames) July 5, 2021
"This board and this school district is failing," Rice reportedly said. "[Critical race theory] was never meant to be brought into grade schools, high schools -- at all. It's actually taught in the collegiate atmosphere -- and more importantly, the legal portion of the collegiate atmosphere to see different laws through the lens of race -- from an ethical standpoint," he said, adding that it was not meant for "grade-schoolers and high schoolers."
He further said that "the problem with bringing it to the high-school and grade-school level is we don't have the educators to properly teach these kids. Instead, they're using as their own agenda to indoctrinate the kids to hate each other."
Rice told the school board that at one point a staff member pulled his daughter aside and said, "Well, you're a minority, so you know better than to engage in certain things."
"What are your criteria to educate the educators?" Rice asked the school board. "And who are you to educate my children, or any of our children, in life issues? That's our job. Your job is to teach them math and science. Our job is to teach them about life," adding that although there's still "a long way to go," racism and issues surrounding it are "nowhere near what they used to be decades ago." He said, "But I believe the people here don't look at me as a Black man; they look at me as a man standing in front of you addressing the issue that we all are very passionate about.”
Following this, Rice also appeared on Fox News on Wednesday, July 7, and said much of the same. "Life issues are being taught in school that should be left to the parents in the home," Rice said on the network. "Our kids need to be taught mathematics, English, reading, writing, those things. And those things are what they are supposed to be teaching. Our kids' life issues are our jobs as parents."
Rice also said that while educators believe that they are "helping racial tensions," they are doing “the exact opposite." He said, "All they're going to do is continue to draw racial lines and try and create those wedges and walls higher and higher. It's not a good idea to teach kids to look at different issues through the lens of race in these school settings.”
He added, "They can get along with each other just fine and let them live life up and learn how to live life through their parents as well. Let the schools teach academics. I believe they think they're doing the right thing, but really doing the wrong thing. And it's causing larger issues."
Is it being taught in Michigan schools though?
Reportedly, Republican lawmakers in the Michigan Senate introduced a bill in May to ban critical race theory in school curriculums beginning with the 2021-2022 school year. Senate Bill No. 460 reportedly dubs the theory “anti-American” and “racist.” According to the bill, if a school is found to be teaching critical race theory, five percent of the total funds due to the school district or school will be withheld.
Dorinda Carter-Andrews, a professor of race, culture, and equity in the Department of Education at Michigan State University, who has experience studying issues of racial equity and justice, primarily in K-12 schools, said critical race theory is “different from what teachers are currently doing in the classroom in that they are discussing throughout the curriculum race, racism and other forms of discrimination.”
Carter-Andrews explained that critical race theory was not currently being taught in K-12 schools anywhere in Michigan or the country. “Educators are beginning to talk to young people about how racism and other forms of bias impact people in their everyday lives,” Carter-Andrews said. “Kids have not typically learned that through the school curriculum.”
Carter-Andrews said that most teachers do not learn the theory in their teacher preparation program. “If they studied it while they were in college, it might inform the way they teach, but they’re not teaching the theory to students,” Carter-Andrews said.