The Kansas City Star reportedly refused to publish an op-ed by Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt after publishing a column that criticized him.
How we got here: Kansas City political journalist Dave Helling penned a column for the newspaper that criticized Republicans and “1776 Pledge to Save Our Schools” that gubernatorial candidates Derek Schmidt and Jeff Colyer recently signed.
The 1776 Pledge is a legislative pledge that opposes the teaching of critical race theory in Kansas schools.
Helling argued that students should learn both the good and the bad about American history and its founders.
He also singled out Schmidt and Jeff Colyer and took a jab at them for signing the pledge.
“… it is true that the Declaration of Independence, which we will all celebrate in a few days, insists all men are created equal, and are free at birth. But it’s also a fact that the man who wrote those words, Thomas Jefferson, rejected liberty and equality in his own life,” he wrote.
“How should teachers and parents approach this contradiction, and others like it? If you’re Jeff Colyer or Derek Schmidt or anyone else in the 1776 crowd, you stick your fingers in your ears and hope it goes away.”
Helling argued that signing the pledge effectively means teaching students about American history “without examining its contradictions and failures …which is teaching a lie.”
Instead, he proposes teaching “American history in all its abundant messiness. Embrace the brilliance and the errors of the founders and the other great figures of our nation. They were patriots. They were hypocrites. They were intelligent. They were prejudiced. They were human beings, flawed and miraculous at the same time.”
The story: Schmidt penned an op-ed in response to the criticism in the column and sent it to the opinion editor at The Kansas City Star, Breitbart reports. He had previously asked whether the publication will consider publishing his op-ed in which he intended to rebut Helling’s arguments.
The Star argued that the op-ed puts an emphasis on critical race theory rather than the 1776 Pledge.
“The column…was about the ‘1776 Project,’ not critical race theory. The ‘1776 Project’ explicitly doesn’t mention critical race theory, so make the column about AG Schmidt’s full-throated support for it. That’s exactly what he should be laying out clearly: that he thinks its goals are 100% laudable,” the Star wrote.
The publication rejected Schmidt’s op-ed, described it as a “straw man argument” and said it would not publish it, according to the outlet which cited internal emails.
What he wrote: Schmidt took issue with Helling’s insinuation that those who reject critical race theory oppose teaching students about racism and slavery.
“The false implication is anyone opposed to injecting divisive, politically-charged theories or narratives into classrooms opposes teaching children facts about racism or slavery. Not so,” Schmidt wrote.
“In reality, no Kansas school teaches American history without slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Civil Rights movement. Kansans in particular are proud of our heritage – it’s quite literally impossible to teach our history without the abolitionist movement. In my many travels across our state I’ve not met a single person advocating the bizarre approach the column sets up and then decries,” he wrote.
“Across America, too many are pushing beyond the facts to incorporate revisionist CRT, ‘antiracist’ teachings, and the New York Times’ much-maligned ‘1619 Project’ into lesson plans. Call it ‘extracurricular political action’ or indoctrination – this is at odds with continued shared allegiance to the Founding-era ideas that still make America an exceptional nation,” he continued.
“We should teach our children to celebrate the self-evident truth expressed by our Declaration of Independence that we are created equal and endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, not peddle CRT’s debilitating lie that historical racism constrains their opportunity now and in the future,” Schmidt added.
“Our kids should celebrate Martin Luther King’s dream that they ‘not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,'” Schmidt said.
Scroll down to leave a comment and share your thoughts.