In a front-page article in Monday’s print edition, the New York Times details the firestorm that erupted in Queen Anne’s County last year after the county school superintendent emailed parents a note about racism following the in-custody murder of George Floyd by a police officer.
“Racism is alive in our country, our state, in Queen Anne’s County, and our schools,” Dr. Andrea Kane, the county’s first black school superintendent, wrote in the June 5, 2020, letter.
The email led to the creation of a Facebook group seeking Kane’s ouster, the posting of racist comments, and the election of school board members opposed to Kane, the Times reported.
According to the report:
“Over the last year, the protests and reflection prompted by Mr. Floyd’s death reverberated in school districts throughout the country, as school boards and legislatures reconsidered how and what students should learn about race and racism, from the history of slavery and segregation to the Black Lives Matter movement.
“The debate has sometimes focused on K-12 curriculums after conservative activists began branding a range of topics including history lessons and diversity initiatives as ‘critical race theory,’ an academic framework that views racism as ingrained in law and other modern institutions. The term is now often deployed to attack any discussion of race and racism in American classrooms — pitting educators who feel obligated to teach the realities of racism against predominantly white parents and politicians who believe that schools are forcing white children to feel ashamed of their race and country.”
Letters to Editor
Matt LaMotte says
So, now she’s a professor at Penn, a top-notch, Ivy League University! Sigh…
Stephen Schaare says
Hi Matt, A bit generous with that “top notch”? Did you mean formerly? Glad Penn gave her a “niche”. Good riddance.
Carol Voyles says
Mrs. Schifanell is expressing her Patriot’s grievances on FOX News, and Mr. Schifanell has taken over the school board in what has been described as a bastion of hard right conservatism on our Eastern Shore.
Anne Stalfort says
Her letter was excellent. Sad that Queen Anne’s County lost an educational leader.
As far as not teaching about slavery, hard to imagine teaching American History without an extensive discussion about the institution of slavery and its legacy. Don’t understand the sudden fragility of white students. Frankly, I don’t think it exists. Kids will be fine if you give them the facts.
Have these white parents ever considered the feelings of minority students who learned American History with no consideration of the contribution of their ancestors to the building of our country?
Eva M. Smorzaniuk, M.D. says
This was a disheartening story to read in the NYT. We dont need to go to Mississippi to find glaring examples of racism. Ironic, that the spokesperson for the “Patriots” group took her grievances to Fox News. Likley, that is where she got her information on Critical Race Theory. CRT, a complex and apolitical practice of discovering the role of race and racism in our society that has emerged from the legal system and expanded into other areas of scholarship. It asks people and institutions to thoughtfully examine the influence of racism on all aspects of our society, from health to wealth. It does not promote “self-hatred” of any group of people. Yet, this has become the sound bite for those who feel threatened by the potential of discovering the truth in our history as well as in our present. I would challenge those who condemn CRT to spend some time reattaching scholarly articles on the subject to round out their knowledge base.
Eva M. Smorzaniuk, M.D. says
Last sentence should be “reading” rather than “reattaching”!
Rob Ketcham says
Thanks for reporting on today’s long article.
Probably too long for the Spy to reprint. Reading it helped me realize how much harder it is to find consensus when kids are involved. And I thought the “Talbot Boys” was divisive.
Deirdre LaMotte says
It is all a class war and the GOP is stoking the flames. “CRT”, or whatever one wants to call it, is an understanding of our society and how we have traditionally “white washed” it.
The courses taught at the women’s college I attended in the late 1970s-1980’s included such thoughtful analysis in many courses… Sociology, Political Science, History, Psychology. Why is this such an issue now? Because it hits a nerve at those who are insecure in this society and use their
whiteness as a badge of honor? Perhaps they are less educated or perhaps have some religious intolerance to acceptance of those they deem inferior? Pathetic. The world is in a climate crisis we will not solve because the fossil fuel lobby owns the right wing media. And they are worried about granting a fig leaf to the truth about racism and how it has shaped our nation.
I am sorry, but this is nuts.
Stephen Schaare says
The article in the NYT describes Queen Anne’s County as “only 6% Black, predominantly white and conservative.” So, this county chose a woman of color to oversee the education of their children? This is racist? Sounds very progressive and inclusive to me.
Followed the link and read Ms. Kane’s letter to parents. Full of mistakes and dishonesty. Michael Brown was shot by the white officer after the “gentle giant” grabbed the officer’s firearm, and charged the officer like a raging bull. The Obama Dept of Justice (led by a black Attorney General) found no wrongdoing. The witnesses that claimed the decedent raised his hands and said “don’t shoot” were found to be liars.
With Freddie Gray, all six accused officers were released. Seems to be no mention that Mr. Gray had jumped from the third floor while evading capture. Likely injured? Never mentioned.
The letter from former Superintendent Kane was shameful, dishonest and entirely inappropriate. Had I been Governor and made aware of this letter, I would have fired her immediately.
Perhaps further research and “vetting” of Ms. Kane would have exposed her anger and less than objective view of race relations.
VIKKI TAYLOR says
I am so very weary of those who think the racial actions apparent in the government, criminal Justice system, economic system, and educational priorities of many to most citizens 0f this country should be kept secret and hidden from the youth. AS if they are so bind, ignorant and innocent that they would never figure it out on their own. This is not our parent’s world. We are in a constant state and environment of CHANGE. Technology has rendered our world SMALLER, easier to view the lives and circumstances of our neighbors, more opportunity to experience and have compassion, more ability to feel their social and almost physical pain. When we want it to; our isolati0n is no longer a circumstance we must maintain, but abandon and feel the realities of overcoming the deceptions we once allowed to keep us in the dark.
Get over yourselves, PERPETRATORS OF DARKNESS!!! Let the PEOPLE witness what is real and judge for themselves!! STOP TRYING TO DIRECT ALL THOUGHT!! Let everyone think for themselves. You may find the results to be far more pleasing and less consequential than ever occurred to you. AND BETTER FOR OUR COUNTRY AND YOU,TOO!!! WHO KNOWS THE FUTURE???