APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – The Appleton School Board heard a nearly hour-long presentation from district administration on ‘Critical Race Theory’ and ‘Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Education Practices’.

Assistant Superintendent of Assessment, Curriculum and Instruction Steve Harrison explained the two are different concepts.

He said the academic framework known as ‘CRT’ is not taught in AASD, while ‘CLR’ is a teaching pedagogy teachers do use to create a more inclusive classroom.

“At its core CRT exerts that race is a social construct and not one that can be defined biologically,” said Harrison. “To be clear CRT does not focus on individuals and people but on systems and structures.”

The districts said they implemented CLR education practices to help try and close some achievement gaps.

“It improves their capacity to engage, to challenge and to support students,” said Harrison. “To be absolutely clear this is not about lowering the bar for students. Rather it is about providing what each student needs while having the same end goal for all our students in our schools and our classrooms.”

The board heard from three community members, two in support of CLR and one against.

Andrea Klitzke said, “Politics do not belong in our schools. The propaganda is not addressing the achievement gaps our district has been sitting at a 68 to 70 point mark on our district scorecards since 2011. Meeting expectations while surrounding districts exceed expectations.”

Jacklyn Fischer said, “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand why a student might do better in class when their identities and language are acknowledged, validated and affirmed in the classroom. When they see themselves in stories, textbooks and classroom activities when we feel included respected and heard we are all more likely to engage.”

The district presentation clarified they use CLR as a way to get students college and career ready based on their own individual needs and reminded listeners this is different than ‘Critical Race Theory,’ which is not taught in their district.

Watch the full meeting here.