My name is Dan Harder, and I’m running for Seattle School Board, district 5, because I want every child to know they can succeed, that they are not defined or limited by any group identity and that they can accomplish whatever they can dream in our great country.
Growing up I had the opportunity to travel to various parts of the world as part of my father’s charity work. I saw then and in my travels since the difference it makes in people’s lives when they had a sense of pride and hope, that they could improve their lives, and I saw what happened when those in similar situations felt hopeless. The lack of hope was devastating even though the physical situation was similar. This impressed on me the significance of a positive versus negative outlook.
Living in Capitol Hill for the last 12 years, I've watched the city deteriorate. I watched as the events last summer turned from peaceful protests to riots and violent acts. As I sat at a sidewalk café, college age and younger protestors threatened and cursed me when I recorded video. An apartment building nearby was almost set on fire with people inside, as was the police station. This anti-social violence was irrational. More than just working for change, they seemed to be trying to tear society apart. I was shocked to realize that many of the young people leading and participating in this chaos are motivated by a radical ideology they learned in schools – ideology that promotes a form of hopelessness - ideology generally known as Critical Race Theory.
The premise of CRT is that all social disparity is the result of systematic racism, and that American society as a whole is based on racism and set against minorities. And so, the situation is almost hopeless, without a radical overthrow of the “system”. It is this understanding of the world that motivates the violent acts we saw in Seattle this past year. Even worse, it promotes racial essentialism, dividing people into racist oppressors and helpless victim classes based on skin color. Of course this ideology is toxic and harmful to children’s confidence and achievement, because it instills either a sense of hopelessness or of shame. But this same toxic ideology has been endorsed and promoted by SPS and is deeply embedded in SPS' curriculum.
As your Director I will fight to reverse policies that have promulgated CRT into the curriculum. I will work to clarify existing policies against discrimination and bias. I will work to implement policies that ensure all students are respected equally regardless of skin color or group identity.
I have also seen the rise in homeless encampments that encroach on public schools, making it unsafe for children to walk to school. The city and the board have been slow to deal with this issue, and that is unacceptable. When I am elected as Director for the 5th district, I will put the safety of students first without apology, and adopt policies that require immediate removal from school grounds of tent encampments.
I want to be the voice of every parent who simply wants their child to have an excellent education, to grow in confidence and capability and thrive in a supportive school community without being subjected to indoctrination. If you agree that student individual civil rights and equality are important, that we need to teach the bad and the good history of our amazing country, and that we need to drop the extreme ideology and identity division and return focus to excellent academics, I would be honored to be your voice on the Seattle school board.