On CRT and the Las Cruces School Board

Las Cruces parents and concerned citizens were taken aback by the front-page article in the Las Cruces Sun-News, January 25, 2023 entitled “Movers & Shakers:  Dulcinea Lara leads the way through new Ethnic Studies program at NMSU” The key quote from the article is this: “Lara said the concepts behind CRT can be scaled down to apply to K-12 students, and she’s been working with school districts across New Mexico to do just that.”  “You can teach Critical Race Theory concepts to kindergarteners,” Lara said. But there’s a huge problem with Dr. Lara’s comments. They forgot to get the “note” to Dr. Lara to keep up the “no mention of CRT” in K-12. What this means is that Las Cruces parents have been purposely deceived by the LCPS School Board, the NM PED and NMSU for 2 years now, since 2021.    Go back to the Spring of 2021, when Las Cruces parents vociferously opposed Policy JBC, Equity.  In the end it passed, and all the while the LCPS Board repeatedly assured us that no “CRT” was contained within the Policy, which passed in May 2021. 

But the LCPS School Board weren’t the only ones twisting themselves into pretzels obfuscating around the term “CRT”, please consider the following regarding the newly adopted NM K-12 social studies standards.  Ethnic studies are a key component of the new standards. The NM Public Education department, in a Mar 4, 2022, AP article by Cedar Attanasio, deceived the parents, key quote: “The response to those criticisms stated that: ‘Critical race theory is suited for graduate school-level discussions, and is not contained in the standards.’”

Similarly, former NM PED Secretary Kurt Steinhaus.  From a Feb 02, 2022 Albuquerque Journal online article, key quote: “In a committee hearing before the confirmation vote, Steinhaus, responding to questions, said critical race theory isn’t part of New Mexico’s social studies standards and won’t be incorporated into them in the future.”

Similarly, former NM PED Deputy Secretary Dr. Gwen Warniment.  From a LCPS School Board meeting presentation on Oct 19, 2021, key quote:  “CRT should not be in the space of K-12 education, purposely it is not in the SS standards… “

And this just in, more recent chaos:  from KOB online, Feb 03, 2023, SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico Public Education Department Deputy Cabinet Secretary Jacquelyn Archuleta-Staehlin has resigned after just eight days.  Former PED Secretary Kurt Steinhaus retired last week. He served a little over a year and was the third appointee since 2019. The CCIA Education has lost trust with the LCPS School Board, the NM PED, and NMSU by its constant deception regarding CRT.  The newly adopted NM Social Studies standards, Ethnic Studies and the Culturally Responsive pedagogy of the NM PED are not credible.      

Rick Reynaud

Education Committee, Coalition of Citizens in Action (CCIA)


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