McClelland, Hermen, Isom Interview – Podcast March 28, 2022

Critical Race Theory As A Political Weapon. Our guest host, Holli Ploog, welcomes Heather Hermen, Heather Isom, and our own Karen McClelland to discuss their views of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and public education in general.

To begin, let’s be clear that CRT is NOT taught in public high schools or elementary schools and never has been. Yet, thanks to certain media and individuals, it has become an overwrought issue for public schools across the country. Sedona is no exception.

Hermen explains that she was a school board member when the issue first came up and was contacted by a few people in the community who were asking about it. She says, “I responded to them and one of them was very challenging to me. And then I found out that they didn’t even live in our area.”

When asked her opinion of what all the fuss is about, Isom who teaches social studies and history says, “Well I just don’t see that there is the fuss at the high school level and teaching Critical Race Theory. It’s very complex and, as a master’s student, you were introduced to concepts like this where you’re looking at social conditions through a lens, if you will. We are teaching in high school, certain social circumstances and outcomes…statistics. But we’re not looking at things through a racial-oriented lens of who’s responsible and who is subject to it. In my classes specifically, topics come up that are discussion-based topics of poverty. We look at statistics, which can point to different racial groups. There’s no blame involved. We discuss events throughout history that are racially oriented and that certainly evokes feelings and new perspectives. But it’s not being taught from a lens of how did race factor in here.”

McClelland, who is a current member of the Sedona-Oak Creek Governing Board, adds that the idea is to help understand the past. Not to assign blame. She further explains that parents can opt their children out of any subject matter. And all three guests note that parents have access to the subject matter and materials, which are posted electronically.

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