By Kevin Wilson

Portales joins districts in effort to delay social studies


Last updated 9/25/2021 at 3:38pm

PORTALES — In a 20-minute special meeting, the Portales Municipal Schools Board of Education joined other school districts in an effort to delay new social studies curriculum for a year, with instructors and board members criticizing what they referred to as critical race theory.

Board President Alan Garrett said the board’s effort came after he’d talked with a member of Artesia’s school board, and the goal is to have around 40 districts opposed to implementation of the standards.

The News attended the meeting virtually.

Wade Fraze, the only public speaker at the meeting, said the proposed standards are a symptom of the state having the wrong priorities on education.

“I’ve got a lot of kids who don’t know who George Washington is,” said Fraze, a longtime history teacher at Portales High School. “We as a state are so eager to get to all of this periphery stuff we’re leaving out or rushing the basics, and it is showing more and more every year.”

Fraze said the standards take “buzzwords” like power struggle, class conflict, social justice, equity, diversity and identity to cover for what he called personal evil agendas. He said standards include gender identity for kindergarten students, global diversity for early grades and environmental concerns placed above history.

Board member Rod Savage, who as a county commissioner brought a resolution against critical race theory, said he had concerns the Public Education Department wouldn’t allow proper time for feedback or implementation.

“They’re being indoctrinated with leftist ideology,” Fraze said, “starting in kindergarten.”

Superintendent Johnnie Cain said he agreed with Fraze’s sentiments, noting, “There are some things I don’t think need to be taught (in) kindergarten and first grade,” and that conversations on gender identity are best left to individual households. He was unsure if the effort would get 40 school districts, but he believed it would be close to that amount. Even so, he’s not sure the united message would change much, as many school districts are in favor of the new curriculum.

The next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m Oct. 12.


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