Banning the teaching of critical race theory and its principles in public schools may not be as easy as passing a law. Idaho was the first of nine states to pass an anti-CRT law, and so far this new school year, some parents are not seeing any change.
“However they can get in there, they get it in there, using words like fairness, teaching white supremacy,” said Kristen Young, a parent in the Nampa school district who formed a chapter local Power to Parents. .
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Idaho law does not explicitly prohibit teachers from evoking critical theory of race, privilege, systemic racism, or white supremacy. It simply says that students cannot be compelled to personally affirm some of the principles of the CRT. A clear example, the law prohibits teachers from forcing students to do an exercise in which they must identify their level of privilege based on their race, gender or religion.
For the National School Boards Association, CRT is not an issue. According to Jason Amos, spokesperson for the NSBA, “Critical race theory is not taught in public schools from Kindergarten to Grade 12. are really essential for the education of the students of our country. “
The president of the Idaho State Board of Education also denies there is a problem. “To date, I have not seen any evidence of indoctrination in our public education system,” said Kurt Liebich.
But Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin said that despite the new anti-CRT law, the racial divide is still going on in the classroom. “People are realizing what has been going on for some time now in our higher education institutions and are looking at the evidence in our K-12 schools,” McGeachin said.
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McGeachin recently led an Education Task Force to examine critical race theory in education. Among those who testified was Kayla Dunn, a black woman who called CRT the Jim Crow of modern times. “To me as a woman of color, what CRT means to me is that I am inferior, that I am academically unfit, that I am unable to speak for myself, and that when someone one sees me, it automatically sees my skin color, “Dunn said.
Boise State University has briefed faculty and staff about the new law. One memo has repeatedly defended academic freedom, but reiterated that instructors should focus on teaching students “how” to think, not “what” to think. Additionally, the annual “Tunnel of Oppression” event, which in recent years has focused on things like white terrorism, was not scheduled this year.
For Chris Rufo, a leading CRT critic who has uncovered many examples of critical race theory in education and the corporate world, progress is being made with the new laws. “Schools, and especially teachers, are much more careful,” said Rufo of the Manhattan Institute, “They are restricting some of the more egregious lessons because they know it’s now illegal.”
Rufo says parents are much more aware of the problem and are trying to empower educators.
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But Kathryn Jones, founder of the African-American Chamber of Commerce in Idaho, says the anti-CRT law has a chilling effect. She says students are encouraged to register teachers to get them into trouble. All of this for a problem that she says has been exaggerated. “His [CRT] just a lens to watch the story. It’s not indoctrinating a child into believing one thing or another, “Jones said.” It gives proper context to the historical events that have happened and what continues to happen. “
Several states are also considering banning critical race theory in the classroom. But the next fight on the issue will likely be in the courtroom. Four lawsuits have been filed against school districts that allegedly use aspects of the CRT. In addition, the American Civil Liberties Union is reportedly considering whether to prosecute one of the nine states that have banned the teaching of CRT by calling the laws unconstitutional.