By Ryan Quinn, HD Media
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A coalition born from a Sunday School class is opposing bills that target what’s labeled, or mislabeled, the “critical race theory” controversy in West Virginia public school classrooms.
It’s a controversy several coalition partners said is manufactured, arguing that the bills could have a chilling effect on honest discussions about race, sex and U.S. history.
Critical race theory, or CRT, isn’t listed in West Virginia’s mandated statewide K-12 public education learning standards, but local curricula may add onto those standards, and conservatives have so broadly defined the term that its meaning is vague. Generally speaking, critical race theory is a way of analyzing society and history and the role of racism within it.
There have been almost no West Virginia news stories about the national controversy — there was a kerfuffle in Jefferson County about a math program clearly marketed to Black students but open to all, according to news media there.
John Bolt, one of the teachers of the adult Sunday School class at Morgantown’s First Presbyterian Church, said “the idea that the Sunday School class has is our faith leads us to do something, that we can’t just talk about it, we have to do something.”
Bolt, a retired spokesman for West Virginia University, said a nonsectarian group called Dismantling Racism Together emerged from the class and began meeting in fall 2020.