Choose educational excellence over ideology
By Governor Pete Ricketts
November 30, 2021
official governor’s photo here.
Chancellor Ronnie Green believes the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) is racist. Under his leadership, UNL recently released a plan to tackle “institutional racism” as part of its “Journey for Anti-Racism and Racial Equity”. From racially motivated hiring practices to divisive formations, the plan would inject Critical Race Theory (CRT) into every corner of campus.
Underlying the UNL plan are the writings of Ibram Kendi, who openly called for discrimination on the basis of skin color. Kendi wrote that “The only cure for racist discrimination is anti-racist discrimination. The only remedy for past discrimination is current discrimination.
This plan is the product of ideologues, not thoughtful Nebraska academics. Needless to say, I couldn’t be more disappointed with the Chancellor’s plan, and I strongly disagree with the idea that the UNL is a racist institution. The UNL should focus on educational excellence, not ideological indoctrination. At its core, the plan is legally questionable, intellectually flawed, and politically charged.
The UNL’s approach not only pushes the CRT, but also goes against the Nebraska State Constitution. Article I-30 expressly prohibits racial discrimination in public education by stating that “the State shall not discriminate or accord preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnic or national origin in the operation of … public education. “
Nebraska strives to be a place where people are treated fairly, and we recognize that we must always be open to doing better. We must fight specific acts of racism whenever we encounter them, and we must seek to continually improve the quality of education offered to Nebraskans of all backgrounds. However, the accusation that the UNL is institutionally racist is false and scandalous. It is the product of the slogans of political activists, not thoughtful academics.
The UNL plan is also based on the mistaken assumption that differences in outcomes between racial groups are the result of systemic racism and the way people are treated based on skin color. The data, however, does not support this conclusion. The University’s plan claims that racism is “often structural and embedded in systems,” however, it does not set out specific examples of what it looks like at UNL besides vaguely stating that it is there are “different results for different groups”. In reality, the graduation rates for white and Asian students at UNL are virtually identical. In fact, Asian students in Nebraska (on average) have the highest measure of college readiness of any racial group.
In addition, factors other than “institutional racism” help to explain school results. For example, nationally, students in groups with high family income levels and low out-of-wedlock birth rates tend to do better on measures of academic performance. In Nebraska, data shows that students from high-income families are more likely to attend college than their peers from low-income families. Additionally, men from low-income white households in Nebraska are less likely to attend college than men from low-income Asian, Black, or Hispanic households. There are a variety of factors that influence academic performance, and it’s important to take a close look at the data to understand the full story.
The UNL also presents its plan as non-political, however, the plan fails its own diversity test by presenting only one view of race relations in America. The Chancellor’s Resource List features the writings of critical race theorists like Ibram Kendi and the New York Times Project 1619, while excluding the academic work of conservative black intellectuals like Glenn Loury, Shelby Steele and Robert Woodson who are strongly disagree with CRT. The University’s plan gives the impression that the CRT enjoys universal academic support, when it clearly does not. In fact, some respected academics, including Columbia University linguist John McWhorter, have gone so far as to call CRT a new form of racism.
McWhorter has been a vocal critic of Kendi, noting the circular logic Kendi uses to advocate for “anti-racism.” Kendi writes that “Racism is a marriage of racist politics and racist ideas that produces and normalizes racial inequalities. McWhorter points out the redundant and unacademic nature of this and other Kendi claims. McWhorter’s work is not included in the list of resources recommended by UNL.
The University’s mistaken emphasis on achieving equity of outcomes, rather than equality of opportunity, drives a Marxist and Communist ideology. It does not honor our American values of respecting individual rights and focusing on excellence. And it betrays the legacy of our nation’s great civil rights leader, Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr., who dedicated his life to the dream of Americans judging each other on the basis of their character content and not on their character. the color of their skin.
The university is not going to stop pushing the CRT without Nebraskan action. Nebraska residents must let the university know that they are rejecting their plans to apply CRT to the UNL campus. The University of Nebraska Board of Trustees meets at 9:00 a.m. this Friday, December 3e, at Varner Hall in Lincoln. Three regents, Paul Kenney, Jim Pillen and Rob Schaefer, systematically opposed the CRT. No need to step up anymore so that we can stop this radical ideology. You can attend the meeting or contact the Board of Regents by visiting: nebraska.edu/regents/board-members.
If you’ve seen CRT imposed at a college or K-12 school, please let me know by emailing [email protected] or calling 402-471-2244. Our children deserve an education without narrow ideology. Together, let’s work to keep education focused on excellence, not identity politics, in Nebraska.