Twenty-five states have taken steps to limit the teaching of critical race theory or to restrict how teachers can discuss racism and sexism, according to a recent analysis by Education week. But the president of the National Education Association said on Tuesday that educators are “doing a disservice” to students by failing to teach students about systemic racism.
“We have a rich history in this country,” Becky Pringle told Anne-Marie Green and Vladimir Duthiers of CBSN. “We have to make sure that this whole story is included in what we teach our students because we believe in them, and we know that when we teach the truth, they will become the leaders of a just society.”
Critical Race Theory is a decades-old academic concept with the central idea that racism is a social construct embedded in social, legal and political systems, Education Week reports.
Proponents of Critical Race Theory say its teachings show how race is implemented in history and that it does not teach that a race is inherently racist. Critics say the theory divides and is discriminatory.
In May, Idaho Gov. Brad Little became the first Republican governor to sign the law a bill that prevents educators from teaching concepts, including that “individuals, by reason of sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color or national origin, are inherently responsible for acts committed in the past by other members of the same sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color or national origin. ”
The bill said that teaching concepts of this nature “exacerbates and inflames divisions on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin or other criteria in a manner contrary to the unity of the nation and the well-being of the State of Idaho and its citizens. “
Iowa, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas have enacted similar legislation and lawmakers in 20 other states have introduced similar bills, according to Education Weekly analysis.
Pringle, who has been a teacher for over 30 years, said debates about critical race theory across the country are “tactics to distract our attention from what our students need.”
Pringle said the parents and educators she represents “want educators who have been trained to teach our children to make decisions about what they learn and how they learn, not politicians who try not to be transparent about what they’re trying to do. ”
Pringle also said there are ways to teach children about subjects like slavery in a way that is appropriate for their age.
“We should never underestimate the ability of our students to not only learn about the full and rich history of this country, but to come together with their shared stories and ensure that they have the opportunity to solve the problems that we need to be. we can tackle the institutional racism with which this country lives every day, “she said.
She called on educators to “keep raising their voices to make sure our students have the truth.”
“We’re not going to back down,” Pringle said. “We are not going to be afraid to teach it, because we know that in order not to teach it, we are not telling the truth.”