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Tennessee’s legislature is the latest red state to block the teaching of critical race theory in public schools, as a number of Republican-led states have taken steps to limit or ban such “woke philosophies” from becoming part of the curriculum.
The Tennessee bill, which came at the end of the legislative session, would ban schools from teaching that “the rule of law does not exist, but instead is a series of power relationships and struggles among racial or other groups.”
“That is the very definition of critical race theory,” Republican state Sen. Brian Kelsey said, according to The Tennessean. “I was subject to this teaching 20 years ago in law school and know it very well, and that is the very definition of it.”
Republicans in Texas are also moving ahead to forbid the teaching of “woke philosophies” like critical race theory, arguing that “traditional history” should be taught in classrooms.
A Senate bill, authored by GOP state Sen. Brandon Creighton, says that “no teacher shall be compelled by a policy of any state agency, school district, campus, open-enrollment charter school, or school administration to discuss current events or widely debated and currently controversial issues of public policy or social affairs.”
That and a bill in the House would ban teachers from teaching “anti-racist” material, and from receiving private funding or material for teaching the controversial 1619 Project.
“To prepare the next generation, Texas public schools should inspire a love of learning, foster students’ natural curiosity and provide a strong foundation to understand history from a balanced approach and navigate current events, not require educators push a political agenda,” Creighton told The Hill.
He said teachers should concentrate on “the ideas that make our country great and the story of how our country has risen to meet those ideals, not that any race is inherently superior or place political requirements on students.”
Idaho Gov. Brad Little was the first to sign legislation earlier this year that would withhold funding from schools that force students to adopt viewpoints expressed in critical race theory.
Other measures are under way in Oklahoma and Arizona.
Supporters of critical race theory say racism is ingrained in the country’s history and its remnants remain today in regulations and laws that discriminate against minorities.
Teaching the theory challenges racism and encourages people to improve “equity” between the races, they contend.
Last month, two Republican congressmen sent US Education Secretary Miguel Cardona a letter urging the Biden administration to reconsider spending taxpayer money on critical race theory lessons for the nation’s students — addressing a new rule proposed by the Education Department for financial grants to encourage schools to “incorporate teaching and learning practices that reflect the diversity, identities, histories, contributions, and experiences of all students.”
Reps. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) and Jeff Duncan (R-SC) sent the letter to Cardona urging Team Biden to rethink the effort, according to Fox News.
The plan posted on the National Archives’ Federal Register website cites as examples the New York Times Magazine’s controversial “1619 Project” and the work of Ibram X. Kendi, author of the best-selling book “How to Be an Antiracist.”
In his book, Kendi writes “the only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”
“It is therefore counterproductive and even dangerous to allow our vulnerable school children to be taught the falsehoods prevalent in the 1619 Project or in Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Anti-Racist,” they wrote, according to the outlet.
“This book is antithetical to the American Dream … Moreover, the 1619 Project is a racially divisive revisionist account of history which intends to ‘reframe US history by marking the year when the first enslaved Africans arrived on Virginia soil as our nation’s foundational date.’ The 1619 Project is in fundamental opposition to our true foundation date in 1776,” they continued.
Lamborn told Fox News in a statement: “Our schools obviously have a crucial role to play in helping make students aware of the negative consequences of slavery and significant contributions of Black Americans.
“However, we should never prioritize educational grants for schools that promote attacks on the principles enshrined in our Constitution,” he added.
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