Is Critical Race Theory Being Taught in New Hartford?
Is Critical Race Theory (CRT) being taught in the New Hartford Central School District? Is it being taught in schools in New York, or in the United States, for that matter?
New Hartford CSD Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra says, in short, "no."
He said that he is not aware that CRT is being taught in the district and, based on the exposure that he has as a member of the American Association of School Administrators (The School Superintendents Association), he does not believe that it is being taught anywhere else in the country. He says that he talks with other administrators on a regular basis.
Tangorra says, "Not only have I been doing this for a very long time but I am uniquely positioned to know." Tangora has spent time with the New York State Department of Education as a Deputy Commissioner, an he has been a school superintendent for several years. He says that CRT is a popular topic among school administrators and he talks with educators around the country on a regular basis.
What is taught, Tangorra says, is "Culturally Relevant Teaching," sometimes called "Culturally Responsive Teaching," which unfortunately shares the same acronym, "CRT." Because of this, Tangorra says, they are referring to it as "Socially Relevant Teaching," just to avoid confusion. SRT is diversity, equity, and inclusion.
These concepts are designed to bring people together. Says Tangorra, "The work that we need to do is bring everyone together...We want to eliminate the predictability of who is not going to be successful."
We want better critical thinkers, he says, "I am sometimes alarmed at the diminishing role that facts and analysis play in our interpersonal communication." Included in that is media literacy.
"History is history," he adds. "This is only trying to make people feel good about themselves. The purpose is to eliminate hatred," not a class of people.
Should parents have input in the curriculum?
Tangorra says that parents should definitely have an input in the curriculum.
Should parents be able to vote on specific curricula items? Parents, he said, already have that ability through their school boards, which should be representative of their input and values. Every district is slightly different but the standards are the same.
Administrators do monitors classes to make certain that teachers are not using their classrooms as a platform.
Tangora on the latest school shooting in Texas...
Tangora said student safety is the one thing that keeps him up at night. The recent shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX, which took the lives of 19 students and 2 teachers, is another tragedy in a series many to hit schools. Tangorra referenced the tragedy at Sandy Hook and said, "My life changed as a school administrator that day...every year it becomes a growing concern for us."