The new Columbus Academy discourages dissent and shuts down debate

Throughout its recently-released 10-page document, Columbus Academy repeatedly asserts that students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to “critically analyze” and “critique” the teachings of Critical Race Theory. Yet in practice, such dissent from authorized thought is discouraged and meaningful debate is made impossible.

For example, Columbus Academy admits that it included materials from Ibram Kendi in its summer reading and professional development materials for faculty and staff. As we’ve explained elsewhere, Kendi is a leading proponent of the notion that colorblindness is racism.

No alternative viewpoints were provided or discussed during the professional development.

Similarly, the document states that Columbus Academy does not embrace “all” elements of the 1619 Project. Yet, in the next sentence, it goes on to praise the project for winning the Pulitzer Prize.

No mention is made of the significant errors contained within the project, including its foundational claim that the American Revolution was designed to protect slavery, which has been criticized by numerous historians as factually incorrect.

Without presenting countervailing material, how does Columbus Academy expect students and faculty to engage in serious, meaningful analysis or debate?

Indeed, the orthodoxy around Critical Race Theory is so pervasive at Columbus Academy that it has even infected math class. The school published the following tweets on its official Twitter account:

Students cannot reasonably be expected to have the courage and confidence necessary to challenge a teacher’s decision that a particular topic is worthy of in-class discussion.

Although it may claim otherwise, Columbus Academy has become an ideological echo chamber for radical political extremism. Far from being presented as a “theory,” as the school’s document suggests, in the vein of fascism or socialism, Critical Race Theory is presented as fact–more akin the “theory of gravity.”

Any individuals who question the orthodoxy are forced to remain publicly silent for fear of retribution or social isolation. For all its talk of diversity, the material presented to students and faculty at Columbus Academy is remarkably uniform.

We at the Pro CA Coalition do not seek to ban controversial material from Columbus Academy. But we do insist that Columbus Academy create a culture where genuine critique is not only allowed, but encouraged.