Elise Stefanik in feud with NYC education boss over critical race theory
State Education Department Commissioner Betty Rosa accused Upstate Representative Elise Stefanik of meddling in conspiracies with her questions about critical race theory — but the member of the Congress countered that the school boss had yet to fully address his concerns.
The GOP legislator faced sweeping denial that the state ‘doesn’t provide critical theory of race’ after asking Rosa for a ‘full accounting’ of how her department was spending federal recovery funds in pandemic, and if any of the dollars went to Instruction related to the CRT.
“As frequently stated, the State Department of Education does not provide critical theory on race. It does, however, allow for critical thinking. It allows our children to distinguish fact from opinion, deepen their understanding… replied Rosa in a May 10 letter.
“Your accusation – whether intentional or negligent – is disappointing. What lesson do we teach our children when a US representative engages in conspiracies and confuses opinions with facts.
Stefanik, a senior House Republican, then accused Rosa of dodging and refusing to provide the documents while spouting a nasty personal attack.
“Instead of asking my questions about the gross misuse of federal taxpayers’ money, Commissioner Rosa shamefully attacked me. The facts in my letter were clear and implementing CRT by any other name in New York City classrooms is wrong,” Stefanik told The Post when asked about the commissioner’s criticisms.
“It is no surprise that the far-left department does not fully comply with my demand for the truth and reverts to petty name-calling, because they know how outraged parents would be if they knew that hard money earned from taxpayers was used to peddle this radical ideology.
She continued, “This isn’t a conspiracy theory – it’s a commitment to the facts. I will continue to lead the charge for transparency and, as the longest-serving New York member of the House Committee on education and work, I am committed to providing critical oversight on behalf of New York parents and families.
Stefanik sent a follow-up letter to Rosa — co-signed by Virginia Rep. Virginia Foxx, the ranking Republican on the House Education Oversight Committee — asking for more information on Wednesday.
“Your failure to offer a full response to the advance information request appears to be an attempt to obscure how you use the funding and what you encourage local education agencies to implement,” the letter reads.
A spokeswoman for the state Department of Education said, “The commissioner’s response provided the requested information.
“Use of funding provided to New York schools has been consistent with federal law and plans submitted to USDE,” the statement said. “The premise of the original and most recent letter is based on a disgraceful and openly partisan campaign to denigrate and undermine efforts to ensure that our children are welcomed and supported in our public schools with fair treatment, equity and opportunities for all.”
Congressional scrutiny of the CRT isn’t going away anytime soon. Republicans will likely take majority control of the House of Representatives, which means they will have the power to hold hearings on racialized education and recruit educators to testify.
Stefanik and Foxx are lobbying New York education officials on how they are using federal taxpayer money provided through Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) on “l ‘social-emotional learning’ and ‘sustainable and culturally appropriate education’.
Lawmakers said education officials did not provide requested documents on how the funds were used and instead referred them to the state’s elementary and secondary school emergency relief plan on its website.
The state’s plan said students should “learn to critically examine the root causes of inequality” and promote “justice-oriented citizenship” and that school districts “share best practices” on these approaches. .
But lawmakers say many of the state’s social and emotional learning resources “contain conflicting and politically charged ideologies that don’t belong in American K-12 classrooms” — in other words. , a critical theory of race that focuses on white guilt, white privilege, or white oppression.
“This underlies our great concern about your use of taxpayer funds,” Stefanik and Foxx said.
They noted that one of the resources promoted by NYSED is the “Say Their Names” toolkit used by Chicago Public Schools which states “no white person has ever lived in a non-racist North America” and “having white privilege…means we have certain advantages, just because we are white,” while upholding the beliefs of the Black Lives Matter organization.
“The fact that these are the resources that NYSED promotes only reinforces the need for full transparency,” Stefanik and Foxx said.
Stefanik and Foxx asked Rosa for correspondence between state and federal education officials regarding the SED pandemic stimulus package, a full accounting of expenses, all memos and advice provided. to local school districts, including “discussing the decision to use federal pandemic funds to support critical race theory.” or its key concepts under cover of SEL [social emotional learning’ and CRSE [Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Education].”
Last month, The Post revealed that some New York schools were offering an inflammatory children’s book called “Our Skin.”
The book teaches children as young as 2 that the concept of race was created by white people who claimed they were “better, smarter, prettier and more deserving than everyone else”.
Rosa, in her initial response to Stefanik, explained that the congresswoman had “confused” social-emotional learning with critical race theory, a “duck” she said came from conservative activist Christopher Rufo, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, who is not an educator.
She said the SED’s use of funds in the US bailout is in accordance with the law and has been implemented in a transparent manner.