Is Derry Going to Implement Critical Race Theory in the Schools? - Granite Grok

Is Derry Going to Implement Critical Race Theory in the Schools?

Town of Derry NH Seal

Is derry going to implement critical race theory in the schools? That’s a great question.  After the school board meeting (November 9th) parents are still left wondering.

The Derry School Board was presented with a summary of Misty Crompton’s 1-year sabbatical where she was paid to take a year off of teaching and instead, learn how to promote “Just Schools.” She talked about how she spent a year on sabbatical, with the help from the Center for School Climate and Learning and The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, who paid her salary for the year.

What did Misty do for a year on sabbatical and how will this impact the children who attend the Derry schools? Some of that was answered in her presentation, but parents still had questions based on what was not presented.

What will Misty provide to the school community now that she has returned from this sabbatical?

She talked about some of what she learned during the sabbatical. She said that now that she’s gone through the sabbatical she can improve school culture and climate. That’s pretty much what DEIJ – Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (Critical Race Theory) change agents all say.

She touched on the importance of educational equity which she described as each child receiving that which he/she needs to develop her full academic foundation. I don’t think anyone can argue with that goal.

So how will that be measured? Who will report on whether or not the school district is meeting the goal of developing each child’s full academic foundation? Does this mean that this was not a goal in the past? Here is what is posted on the Derry Coop website:
The Derry Cooperative School District’s mission for school age children is to create a safe and successful learning environment for all students; one that fosters challenging situations, promotes self worth, encourages learning as a lifelong activity, and produces healthy young adults who will contribute to society.

Some of this seems like common sense, but some of the parents in the audience said they were still looking for something more substantive and tangible.

Misty then explained how district personnel should now focus on other things like, creating empathy, going beyond academics, counter de-humanization, and more cultural understanding.

To show empathy is to identify with another’s feelings. It is, too emotionally put yourself in the place of another. This is certainly a virtuous act that teachers have tried to instill in children in various ways.

Teachers could assign a classical book by writers such as Charles Dickens or Téa Obreht. This is one of the reasons why critics of Common Core did not support the Common Core English standards that replaced great works of literature with technical manuals. The guidelines worried English-lovers and English teachers, who felt they must replace literary greats like The Great Gatsby and Catcher in the Rye with Common Core-suggested “exemplars,” like the Environmental Protection Agency’s Recommended Levels of Insulation and the California Invasive Plant Council’s Invasive Plant Inventory.

Is this why there is such a push for teaching empathy to children– because the shift to workforce development via Common Core, has denied children that ability to connect with the characters they are reading about?

Fictional stories can help children learn to respect humanity, so there wouldn’t be a need for them to counter de-humanization. Be pro-active rather than reactive.

Cultural understanding can also come from reading books about characters who live in a different culture. This is why so many literature teachers resisted this change. Administrators accepted this change without any pushback.

Misty never mentioned conducting an analysis to see if there has been a reduction in assigning books that promote virtues in children. Would she really have an opportunity to make a substantive change like that?

She did mention that they need a safe space, and a place where children can feel as if they belong. This is supposed to help students learn at higher levels. It makes sense that children need to feel safe inside the school, and want a sense of belonging.

But here is what parents picked up on. You got a sense that the focus would also be on political activism. Children would now be taught how to become political activists. This is another common theme among those pushing for the DEIJ/CRT agenda. The students were referred to as “change-makers. They were to advocate for change and develop action plans to “take action”.

Whatever happened to a student council or student government? 

We are now seeing a change to how students take on the role of addressing issues or problems within the school– they are to become activists. But is this something that was discussed or debated? Is this the best way for children to learn how to deal with issues or problems that arise?

Here is how a student council is described:

Student Council Overview

A Student Council is a group of elected and volunteer students working together with an adult advisor within the framework of a constitution or bylaws to provide a means for student expression and assistance in school affairs and activities, give opportunities for student experience in leadership and encourage student / faculty / community relations.

Through projects and activities, student councils work to:


A student council is a group of student leaders who work with an adult advisor to collaborate with others to impact their school community, which impacts their city or town, which impacts our state, which impacts our country, which changes the world.

Where is a student council? Not only would students be able to address issues within the school, they would have a framework with which they could work through any issues that pop up. Children would learn how to advocate, and learn a system of governing. This would give students the ability to learn leadership skills, communication skills and citizenship.

A Student Council isn’t about turning children into political activists, but instead engaging them in a political process to impact positive change that may be needed.

The students who spoke at the presentation described a game that they played where they had to put different colored dots on their heads. Then they separated themselves into groups. This activity showed them about stereotyping and discrimination.

None of what was presented touched on the negativity surrounding Critical Race Theory. The 1-hour presentation may have only scratched the surface of what is planned for the students in Derry.  It’s hard to say because there was a lot left out.

One parent mentioned that from the 4-5-21 School Board notes, the school board included links as a resource for this new initiative from Misty.  This is why parents have been concerned. Misty never addressed the CRT links embedded in the resourced links on those school board minutes.  The presentation left parents to wonder, what’s really going on? Why didn’t anyone address the elephant in the room: Communities for Just School Fund. 

Parents visited this resourced website and saw that Communities for Just School Fund, funds organizations that fund schools committed to community organizing. (*Source: Education Anew: A Strategic plan for the communities for Just School Fund 2017-2020) Once again, we see an effort to turn children into community organizers.

Just School Fund references Black Lives Matter on their website. They explain how the Black Lives Matter at School, week of action is now a national campaign.

The Communities for Just Schools, fund’s Education Anew Fellow (EAF) who is currently housed with grantee partner, Teaching for Change (TFC), in Washington, D.C.  Teaching for Change is all about Critical Race Theory as they promote anti-racism on their website.

In addition, Howard Zinn’s Education Project is also featured on the main page. But has anyone delved into Zinn’s version of history he has promoted in history classes across America? One that has been highly criticized for being anti-American and sows the seeds of anti-Americanism in children who are subjected to his skewed history lessons?

None of this was brought up at the school board meeting, yet these are the resources that Derry provided in their school board meeting minutes. Those who took the time to visit these websites will see something far more nefarious and radical than what was presented during November 9th’s meeting.

So what is it Derry? Will parents later discover that their kids are being groomed into a radical mindset while learning to become political activists?

None of this was addressed. Instead the School Board members praised Misty Crompton for her presentation and never asked the hard questions that parents wanted answered. It was all praise and worship, instead of school board members using critical thinking skills in an effort to determine what children will be doing and learning. They provided these resources in their school board notes, why didn’t they actually look at them and question how they wanted to turn the Derry children into community organizers and activists to benefit Black Lives Matter and other progressive organizations?

What was presented might have parents concerned that their kids will be used to push them into becoming political activists. I believe there are better ways to promote leadership, civic action and at the same time, have them learn about the democratic process.

So what is it? Will Misty leave out the radical motives ? Will she just spend time on political activism with the children?
Why wasn’t the elephant in the room addressed? Why didn’t anyone mention the organizations the district included in their notes that are supposed to guide Misty in her new role?

Parents had wonderful things to say about Misty as a Social Studies teacher in the school district. She’s well respected and appreciated, and that’s good. But the presentation should have put to rest these concerns and it did not. The few parents who did speak said they wanted this conversation to continue. Maybe next time, someone will offer parents the information they deserve to know.