Critical race theory (also known as CRT) has become a hot-button issue among parents and teachers after the Left used the 2020 race riots to impose radical ideology in school curriculums across the country. However, Oklahoma state legislators passed a bill banning critical race theory in state classrooms, which was signed into law by Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt in early May.
Stitt’s office tweeted a video statement in which the governor said, “Now more than ever, we need policies that bring us together, not rip us apart.” Stitt continued, “As governor, I firmly believe that not one cent of taxpayer money should be used to define and divide young Oklahomans about their race or sex. That is what this bill upholds for public education. Verbatim it reads, ‘no teacher shall require or make part of a course that one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex.’”
The governor pointed out that the bill does not prevent teachers from teaching about the state’s history regarding the Tulsa Race Massacre, Black Wall Street, the Oklahoma civil rights movement, and the Oklahoma City Bombing.
The author of House Bill 1775, state representative Kevin West, expressed his gratitude that the bill was passed and said, “Already, this harmful indoctrination has infiltrated Oklahoma schools from as early as pre-kindergarten classrooms all the way through college courses. Some of our state universities currently are requiring this mandatory training for their freshman students.”
The law will go into effect on July 1, 2021.
But the bill was met with outcry and criticism from school board members and teachers, who claimed that it was an attempt to stop important conversations about race in classrooms across the state. Their pleas to Gov. Stitt to veto the bill were ignored.
All eight sitting board members on the Oklahoma City Public School board condemned the bill’s passage. Several of the board members are former teachers, who criticized the bill as micromanaging the classroom. Board chairwoman Paula Lewis stated, “HB 1775 at its core, it’s just a flagrant attempt to limit conversations about race and accurate history, and mostly because it makes Americans that look like me – white – feel uncomfortable.” One board member, Carole Thompson, said, “As a district, we don’t need this bill.” Meg McElhaney called it “racist” and “cowardly.” Mark Mann said it was “disgusting” and “absolutely appalling.”
Oklahoma City Public School superintendent Sean McDaniel also criticized the bill, “We have got to trust the professional, and the professional, we’ve proven it over and over again, is the teacher in the classroom. They know our kids, they know where lines are.”
KOCO, an ABC affiliate in Oklahoma, headlined the bill as “controversial” and claimed that it aimed to “restrict teaching of certain ‘critical race theories.’” The news outlet failed to outline how CRT supporters have pushed the one-sided, flawed, and factually-incorrect theory into America’s classrooms on a national level in K-12 schools and in colleges.
None of the bill’s critics addressed the problems underlying critical race theory. For example, none of the critics explained the factual evidence behind critical race theory’s insistence that America’s founding was racist. Neither did critics acknowledge that since much of critical race theory is opinionated, it is not neutral or fair to conservative viewpoints. Instead, critics offered boilerplate statements and name-calling without providing substantive evidence to back up their claims.