Columbus, Ohio — A group of Republicans in Ohio are worried about new ways some schools teach history and want to stop it.
This is called critical race theory or CRT for short. This is an academic concept based on the idea that racism is more than individual prejudice. This is a systematic issue built into our legal system, algorithms and laws.
Proponents say the CRT teaches how racism shaped American public policy and life. Opponents, like the sponsors 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” racial first “lens, which is the definition of racism. “CRTs fighting racism are funny. Students should not be asked to” check whiteness “or” check privileges. ” This anti-Americanism does not work in Ohio schools. “
What is a CRT?
Kimberlé Crenshaw, a critical racial theorist and professor at UCLA and Columbia University, says that people with racial bias (even unconscious ones) cannot create unbiased systems and laws. Explain that you understand that.
One example is how banks drew red lines in black-rich areas in the 1930s to show that mortgages are at 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 whites are inherently bad or that everyone is racist in nature,” said D-Columbus Rep. Erica Crawley. “It’s not a critical racial theory.”
She sees this as a way to stimulate conversations throughout Ohio’s classrooms about how racism appears in unexpected places such as mortgages and algorithms, and how to discipline children at school. ..
“You can’t deal with it without identifying it and discussing how it appeared in our history,” Crawley said. “But they want to be comfortable. I know I want to deal with it, not. “
It’s not how Jones and his Republican colleagues perceive this issue.
“What is being driven 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 in recent memory that there were more calls and emails from parents concerned about CRT than any other problem.
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 student skin color means they’re forever oppressed and irreparable, you’re also a bad teacher. That’s the core of the CRT.”
What about Jones’ bill?
Such thoughts are echoing all over the country. States such as Texas, Idaho, Tennessee, and Rhode Island have all introduced legislation banning teaching 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 passed, the school will prohibit teachers from using examples of current events or ongoing controversial issues in the classroom. Also, the school could not request lessons about some of the current laws or groups that support or disagree with them.
However, the focus of HB 322 is 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 boards of education, boards of education, and school districts from requiring teachers and staff to adopt the following beliefs:
“Characters such as meritocracy or diligence ethics are racist or sexist, or created by a member of one race or sex to suppress another member of the 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 assigned to a member of that race or gender because of its race or gender, or because of its race or gender. “” The emergence of slavery in the territory of the present United States constituted the true founding of the United States. That slavery and racism is nothing more than a deviation from true American values such as “freedom and equality.”
“Republicans are good at moral anger and cultural wars,” said D-Parma Rep. Jeff Crossman. “They want to find the problem of dividing people along the race line to distract from the bigger problems.”
The way he interprets critical racial theory is to understand the world from the eyes of others.
“For most of our history, we’ve talked about one side of the story,” Crossman said. “And now we are going to hear the perspective from the other side.”
Is this really taught in Ohio schools?
Whether critical racing theory is taught to Ohio children is a difficult question to answer.
Parents packed into state-wide school board meetings, and supervisors sent letters explaining what was taught and what wasn’t taught in the district, but Ohio said which schools gave which materials. I don’t have a list of what I’m teaching.
The Ohio Board of Education sets the standards that must be taught about the Civil War, but does not specify the books or materials used by teachers.
When asked about the New York Times-created CRT and 1619 project, Ohio coach Paolo Demalia told the House of Representatives in February, “We are not promoting the curriculum.” Respects that ultimately the most important thing is the professional judgment of the educator. “
He said state committees “do not promote the curriculum.”
This isn’t enough for people like Baer, whose board wants to take a stand against CRTs.
“This is another reason we are pushing for backpack pricing (universal vouchers),” says Baer. “If parents say,’I don’t like your way of teaching,’ I think the school board will be much more responsive. I’ll take my children out and bring their money.”
Teaching critical racial theory is described as a way to stimulate conversations about how racism manifests itself in unexpected places such as mortgages and children’s school discipline.