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Tredyffrin/Easttown School District Meeting On New Race Curriculum Draws Full House

BERWYN, Pa. (CBS) -- Controversy tonight at a Chester County high school over new curriculum. Parents have questions but school officials say it is all about inclusion and diversity.

This was the first in-person school board meeting for the Tredyffrin/Easttown School District since the start of the pandemic, and it was a full house.

A national debate over school curriculum and the way that race is discussed in the classroom rang out from Conestoga High School's cafeteria.

"If you have somebody in kindergarten that learns you're the oppressor or the oppressed based on your skin color, how well are they going to make friends?" one parent asked.

"The fact is right now kids are only learning parts of our history parts, parts selected by people who don't look like me," a parent said.

The back and forth stems from a partnership between the Tredyffrin/Easttown School District and the Pacific Education Group, or PEG, that has provided teacher and student training in promoting racial equity.

Some parents though believe the group is actually promoting the 1970s-originating but much-recently-discussed critical race theory.

"Furthermore will divide our community. It divides from the same root as critical Marxism," a parent said.

"It doesn't mean that white people are awful and racist. It's a way at looking at society and talking about the way it's impacted our lives," a parent said.

According to the American Bar Association, critical race theory, "...critiques how the social construction of race and institutionalized racism perpetuate a racial caste system that relegates people of color to the bottom tiers."

"The left sees it as permanent proof, a stamp of victimization," a parent said.

"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it," a parent said.

One school district official says that the diversity and inclusion training through PEG is not promoting critical race theory, adding that it's important for education to include diverse perspectives on history.

Parents opposing the district's partnership with PEG say they have not been allowed to see the racial equity curriculum. According to the district, it's the property of PEG and not theirs to distribute.

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