Eastern Iowa — This week, American political columnist and chief creative officer at Turning Point USA, Benny Johnson reported that the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency mandated “all educators and employees” to take Critical Race Theory training, where some questionable items were marked as “white supremacy.”
The assertion came from some leaked documents from the agency.
In a statement released by the agency, which serves school districts in the easternmost part of Iowa, they say that they apologize for the content of the documents, but that they had not been used to train anyone and had not been properly vetted.
The documents categorized concepts, sayings, and actions as being “overtly white supremacy” and “socially acceptable” or “covertly white supremacy” and “socially acceptable.” The items that were listed as “overtly white supremacy” included such things as the KKK, the ‘N’ word, hate crimes, and swastikas.
Among the items on the list as being “covertly white supremacy” was one that probably drew the most ire — the saying, “Make America Great Again,” the campaign slogan for former President Donald Trump. Other items on the list had varying degrees of controversy, from discriminatory lending practices to police murder of “POC” or People of Color, English-only initiatives, believing we are “post-racial,” people saying they are “colorblind,” racist mascots, and more.
Johnson reported that all of the “district”…”educators and employees” were forced to take the training. Incidentally, the agency is not a school district, but an Area Education Agency or AEA. The Iowa’s Area Education Agencies website says AEAs “work as partners with children, families, and educators to ensure equitable, efficient, and effective educational services that prepare all Iowa children for a life well-lived.” Most of what they do is focused on special education.
The Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency released a statement in response to the controversy:
“The presentation in question was put together by a volunteer committee of staff members and was not properly vetted through the necessary channels. The presentation was then shared internally only as a part of departmental meetings.
“As an organization, we deeply regret that some of the content was not properly sourced and was unnecessarily political. We sincerely apologize for this misstep. This presentation was not approved, would never be approved, and will never be used in the future. The Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency Board of Directors and Agency Administrative Leadership emphatically disavow the political nature of the presentation and will make appropriate corrections to processes and communication expectations.
“As a trusted resource for educators, parents, and students, the Mississippi Bend AEA’s mission is to improve teaching and learning for all students through active partnerships and assertive leadership in a climate of mutual respect. We are proud of the impactful work we do on a daily basis to assist the districts and educators who are supported through our agency.”