A bill banning the teaching of critical racial theory


Columbus, Ohio – A group of Ohio Republicans are worried about the new ways some schools are teaching history and want to stop it.

This is called Critical Race Theory or CRT for short. It is an academic concept based on the idea that racism is more than an individual prejudice. It is a systematic problem built into our legal system, algorithms and laws.

Supporters say the CRT teaches how racism has shaped American politics and public life. Opponents, like the authors of House Bill 322, make it dangerous and disruptive. I call it theory.

In a statement announcing the bill, Congressman Don Jones of R-Freeport said, “It is designed to look at everything from the lens of ‘racism first’, which is the definition of racism. “The CRTs that fight racism are funny. Students should not be asked to “check whiteness” or “check privileges.” This anti-Americanism doesn’t work in Ohio schools. “

What is a CRT?

Kimberlé Crenshaw, a critical race theorist and professor at UCLA and Columbia University, argues that people with racial biases (even unconscious) cannot create impartial systems and laws. Explain that you understand this.

One example is how banks drew red lines in rich black areas in the 1930s to show that mortgages are high risk. Or how Amazon and other companies working on facial recognition software created software that doesn’t accurately recognize black faces in 2019.

“I’m not saying that not all white people are inherently bad or that everyone is racist by nature,” said Erica Crawley, representative for D-Columbus. “This is not a critical racial theory.”

She sees it as a way to stimulate conversations in Ohio classrooms about how racism shows up in unexpected places like mortgages and algorithms, and how to discipline kids in school. ..

“You can’t face it without identifying it and discussing its appearance in our history,” Crawley said. “But they want to be comfortable. I know I want to take care of it, no. “

This is not how Jones and his Republican colleagues see this problem.

“What is being pushed in our school is a racist ideology,” said Aaron Bear, director of the Christian Virtue Center. “There is a big leap between respecting and celebrating CRTs and diversity.”

Bear, a longtime supporter of school selection, said recently there were more calls and emails from parents concerned about the CRT than any other issue.

It’s not just because former President Donald Trump ordered the Office of Management and Budget to stop funding federal staff training at the CRT in September.

“If you don’t teach slavery in American history classes, you’re not a good teacher,” Bear said. “But if you say that the color of the students’ skin means that they are forever oppressed and irreparable, then you are a bad teacher too. This is the heart of CRT. “

What about Jones’s bill?

Such thoughts echo throughout the country. States like Texas, Idaho, Tennessee, and Rhode Island have all passed legislation banning the teaching of CRT in public schools.

Here in Ohio, Jones’ Bill has 26 Republican supporters and is counted. And Congressman Diane Grendel, R-Chesterland, is working on a similar bill.

If HB 322 is adopted, the school will prohibit teachers from using examples of current events or controversial ongoing issues in the classroom. In addition, the school could not request lessons on certain existing laws or groups that support or disagree with them.

However, HB 322 focuses on how racism is taught. Teachers could not be required to “confirm the systematic nature of racism and similar ideas, and their beliefs in the diversity and fluidity of ideas such as gender identity”.

The bill prohibits state school boards, school boards, and school districts from requiring teachers and staff to adopt the following beliefs:

“Characters such as meritocracy or ethics of diligence are racist or sexist, or created by one member of one race or gender to suppress another member of race or sex. “Individuals must experience discomfort, guilt, distress, or other forms of psychological distress because of their race or gender.” “False, blame or prejudice is race. It should be attributed to a member of that race or sex because of their race or sex, or because of their race or sex. “” The emergence of slavery in the territory of the present-day United States was the true foundation of the United States. That slavery and racism are nothing more than a deviation from true American values ​​such as “freedom and equality”.

“Republicans are good at moral anger and culture wars,” said Jeff Crossman, representative for D-Parma. “They want to find the problem of dividing people along the race line to distract from the bigger issues.”

The way he interprets critical racial theory is to understand the world through the eyes of others.

“For most of our history, we’ve been talking about one side of the story,” Crossman said. “And now we’re going to hear the point of view from the other side.”

Is it really taught in Ohio schools?

Whether critical racing theory is taught to children of Ohio is difficult to answer.

Parents gathered in statewide school board meetings and supervisors sent letters explaining what was being taught and what was not being taught in the district, but Ohio indicated which schools gave what material. I don’t have a list of what I teach.

The Ohio Board of Education sets the standards that must be taught about Civil War, but does not specify the books or materials used by teachers.

Asked about the CRT and 1619 Project created by The New York Times, Ohio coach Paolo Demalia told the House of Representatives in February, “We are not promoting the program. Respect that in the end the most important thing is the professional judgment of the educator. “

He said state committees “do not promote the program.”

This is not enough for people like Baer, ​​whose board wants to take a stand against the CRTs.

“This is another reason we insist on backpacks (universal coupons) pricing,” Baer says. “If the parents say, ‘I don’t like the way you teach,’ I think the school board will be much more responsive. I’ll take my kids out and bring their money.

Teaching critical racial theory is described as a way to stimulate conversations about how racism manifests in unexpected places such as mortgages and school discipline of children.

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