FIRST ON FOX: The temperature in Loudoun County, Virginia, is about to get hotter as an anti-critical race theory (CRT) organization launches $500,000 worth of ads criticizing the school board, Fox News has learned.
The ads, purchased by the Free to Learn Coalition, are set to air during the Washington Football Team's Sunday game as well as on local broadcast networks for the next two weeks.
For over a year, Loudoun has seen an increasingly tense political atmosphere explode over so-called equity trainings that some residents see as a form of CRT indoctrination. School board member Beth Barts is set to appear in court Monday in response to a recall petition that was months in the making. Fight for Schools PAC, which is led by former Trump administration official and Loudoun resident Ian Prior, continues working to gather enough signatures to recall several other members on the board.
Sunday's ad runs through a litany of criticisms that have been lobbed at the board in its very high-profile battle over CRT.
"Loudoun County, Virginia spent nearly half a million to develop a divisive curriculum promoted by political activists," says a female narrator.
The narrator added that "when parents spoke up, officials threatened to silence them." That was in reference to a tweet from the Minority Student Achievement Advisory Committee within Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS).
It also features footage of Tanner Cross and Laura Morris – two teachers who publicly protested the school district's policies at board meetings. Cross, for example, was suspended for opposing gender-related proposals and fought to keep his job in a months-long legal battle.
Free to Learn's ad ends by saying "let's get politics out of the classroom." The ad is part of a $1 million effort Fox News reported on in June.
Free to Learn Coalition, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt group, was just one of many organizations to start over the past year or so in response to racial content in education. Others include Parents Against Critical Theory, 1776 Action, Oregonians for Liberty, Educators for Quality and Equality, Parents Defending Education, 1776 Project, Fight for Schools PAC and No Left Turn in Education.
Defenders argue that CRT-type training helps enhance dominant groups' understanding and empathy of what the oppressed experience on a regular basis. These types of trainings have also been promoted as ways to "dismantle" or weaken alleged structures imposing burdens through bias and discrimination.
Loudoun County Public Schools' then-interim superintendent Scott Ziegler said earlier this year: "In explaining LCPS' equity priorities, it might be helpful to state what they are not. They are not an effort to indoctrinate students and staff into a particular philosophy or theory. What they are is an effort to provide a welcoming, inclusive, affirming environment for all students."
"LCPS' work on equity is a journey that requires the commitment of staff at all levels. I feel the staff's work, which has been sustained, honest and undertaken in good faith, has been misrepresented recently by some members of the public," he added.