Through the Bill of Rights that amended the U.S. Constitution, Americans have individual and legal protections. Although often debated as to the intent of its authors, the Bill of Rights offers a precise series of protections.

So it’s almost disingenuous to narrow the concept of “rights” solely to parents living in Indiana, as Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita does in a recently released 53-page “Parents' Bill of Rights.”

Certainly, parents need to know what their children are learning and hold schools accountable for teaching state standards. But Rokita is adding fuel to disruption of school board meetings and placing undue scrutiny on alleged classroom practices.

Rokita’s “Parents' Bill of Rights” offers legal remedies, in some cases, for parents who think their schools should be more accountable. In addition to a 10-point listing of rights, Rokita writes a preamble — shades of a refounding of America.

While helpful in listing access spots for further study, the booklet is misguided and vague when discussing the controversial “critical race theory.”

In defining CRT, the booklet reminds Hoosiers that “Indiana s tudents are taught to reflect upon the important contributions and struggles of racial and minority groups, which are ingrained in the heart of American history.”

But soon we are taken back to 1937 German Marxism’s critical theory teaching, a common source point drawn from the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank. CRT is an outgrowth of that teaching, according to Rokita’s booklet.

“The common theme of these CT offshoots,” the booklet states, “is that they view all aspects of life through the lens of race or gender (containing two classes of people, the oppressed and the oppressor), therefore promoting the need to replace systems of western civilization with a Marxist worldview.”

The definition does little to alert parents to what classroom concepts should be acceptable, instead demonizing “culturally responsive teaching,” “intersectionality theory,” “radical genderism,” “microinequities,” and “diversity and equity” initiatives.

Like much of this booklet, code words like these seem intended to inflame, not inform.

By the way, the Heritage Foundation narrowed down the definition: CRT makes race “the prism” through which American life is analyzed; identity politics is a key factor which splits America into groups that claim victimization; and CRT normalizes a belief in systemic racism found in schools, the workplace and the entertainment sector.

That may be the closest America has come to defining CRT’s concepts. Hoosier parents will find that the answer to many of the 66 questions posed by Rokita’s booklet is to approach the Indiana General Assembly and seek changes in law. But common sense tells us it would be foolhardy for state law to micromanage approaches to teaching history in Indiana classrooms.

Rather than being a precise roadmap for parents, Rokita’s trigger-ready “bill of rights” comes across as a political manifesto to be waved in front of school boards and at future Rokita-for-governor rallies.
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