October 6, 2021


Diversity of Thought and CRT: Are Both Compatible with a Quality Education?

By: David Collins

Diversity. It’s a word that conjures up a lot of thoughts and emotions, and a word that means different things to different people. These days, the word is almost always referenced in relation to race or sexual orientation. For example, “We need a more diverse workforce” or Google’s example sentence for the definition, “equality and diversity should be supported for their own sake.”

The counter-response to this, naturally, is “What about diversity of thought? Why does diversity stop short when it applies to different viewpoints?” Although progressives have touted diversity and acceptance, they are always on the frontlines of the battle of thought. As Thomas E. Woods, Jr. says, the only opinions allowed are the ones on “the 3×5 index card of allowable opinion.” Sadly this sentiment has seeped into education.

Diversity of thought is necessary for quality education. It’s the foundation of rationality, and it’s the reason why people can reconcile with and discard bad, harmful ideas. It’s the reason why Socrates asks so many questions, and why playing “devil’s advocate” is an effective means of challenging previously held notions. It’s why St. Augustine wrote hundreds of pages in the City of God solely to combat polytheism in a polytheistic world and why our Founding Fathers drafted the Declaration of Independence despite being a colony. If everyone believes the same thing, bad ideas and institutions in life will continue. Diversity of thought allows for upholding order and truth, while simultaneously challenging the status quo. This principle is at the heart of education, and it’s being challenged in a fundamental way today.

At its core, education is an experimental sandbox meant to explore (i.e. diversify) new ideas and simultaneously reinforce confirmed, objective truths. But what happens when new ideas or theories are presented as confirmed, objective truths? This is the crux of the matter in K-12 education regarding Critical Race Theory (CRT), and how, despite CRT being a relatively new idea, it flies in the face of intellectual diversity. CRT is not up for debate, but rather is steamrolled by edicts on students and parents across the country, where dissent can result in suspension, social alienation, or termination. 

According to EdWeek, CRT is “The core idea is that race is a social construct, and that racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and policies.”

Not only are the origins, content, and implications of CRT infuriating parents across the country, but also the fact that it’s being delivered in a dogmatic fashion, not as a topic worth debating. It’s not up for debate, and that’s why it’s dominated school board meetings across the country. CRT is either banned or implemented, it doesn’t work well in between.

So the question is: do we want our kids to have diversity of thought or CRT indoctrination with no nuance? The former allows for the latter, but the latter does not allow for the former.