By: Marc A. Scaringi
[Update 10.15.2021 at 9:50 AM: I submitted this response to Mr. Micek of the PA-Capital Star on 10.15.21, but he refused to publish it. So I am submitting it to Harrisburg 100].
Camp Hill, Pa – I write in response to the October 14, 2021 commentary by John L. Micek published in the PA Capital-Star entitled, “How a suburban Pa. school board race became a Trumpian battleground | Thursday Morning Coffee.”
Mr. Micek stated that one of the main contentions in an anonymous letter that was mailed to Camp Hill Borough residents, who had signs supporting certain Democratic candidates for the Camp Hill School Board, was false. Mr. Micek referred to the letter which stated in pertinent part that these candidates supported, “The mandatory inclusion in the curriculum of critical race theory as that is commonly defined.”As proof of its alleged falsity, Mr. Micek referred to a letter by the school district’s Superintendent which stated, “No, Critical Race Theory is not included in our curriculum nor are there any plans to do so.” Mr. Micek then considered his claim vindicated and the case closed.
However, the author of the anonymous letter pointed out that he or she was referring to Critical Race Theory (CRT) “as that is commonly defined.” None of those who oppose the introduction of CRT into the Camp Hill School District (CHSD) mistakenly believes that their children are attending a law school and are taking a seminar in CRT, which is where CRT originated. Parents who oppose CRT in the CHSD are well aware that our children attend K-12. We also understand that the idea at the core of CRT, that America is systemically racist and that our laws and institutions must be used to remedy that racism through reverse discrimination, has influenced academic theories and concepts such as Anti-Racism, Intersectionality, Transformational Social & Emotional Learning, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, among others – all theories and concepts advanced by the CHSD Equity Advocacy Council (EAC).
Instead of listing the various academic theories and concepts that are derived from CRT, in the interest of brevity and ease of comprehension, those of us who oppose them often use the word CRT as an umbrella term to refer to them all. However, when we are communicating about a particular theory or concept that is derived from CRT, we will use the name of that particular theory or concept. By way of example, writers will often write in general terms about the political/economic theory commonly known as Marxism and will refer to it by that name. But when discussing particular derivations of that theory these same writers will refer to Leninism, Trotskyism, Maoism, etc. Clearly,that is what the anonymous writer was doing.
Having cleared that up, I now turn to where Mr. Micek zeroes in on me. He claims that I am undeterred by what he claims is the truth – that the CHSD does not intend to incorporate CRT into its curriculum. He writes, “But that didn’t stop some local parents, led by attorney Marc Scaringi, a Trump loyalist, from trying to conflate CRT with a since-suspended equity council, FOX-43 reported.” However, I did not conflate CRT, as it is commonly defined, with the CHSD’s EAC. EAC did that on its own. I just pointed it out.
For example, in the EAC meeting minutes dated 4.28.21, members stated they intended to examine the CHSD curriculum using the resources published by the NYU Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and Transformation of Schools. Its Executive Director has referred to “the elegant and beautiful concepts that come from CRT” and about how he is “using CRT to change schools.” The meeting minutes also reveal that EAC intended to examine the CHSD curriculum using the NYU Culturally Responsive Curriculum Scorecard. The Scorecard is rooted in the scholarship of Professor Gloria Ladson-Billings, a CRT scholar and one of the first to apply CRT to education., There is so much more evidence. To review it your readers are welcome to go to @MarcScaringiFanPage on Facebook where I present it in detail.
Mr. Micek labeled other assertions in the letter as false. However, he did not explain how or provide any proof. Although he did not interview me before commenting on what he thinks I am trying to do, he did interview the candidates referred to in the letter. Notably, none of them pointed out one falsehood in the letter, other than one stating she does not have yard signs. Another described herself as a “talker” but did not say that any of the issues identified in the letter are false. The letter claims the candidates support four specific issues of importance and relevance to the elected positions for which they are campaigning. As a voter and resident of Camp Hill Borough, I would like to hear from the candidates – are the claims in the letter true or false?
Lastly, no, I did not write the letter and did not know of its existence until someone texted it to me after it was mailed. However, I will assume the claims in the letter are true because the candidates have chosen not to deny them.