Georgia state lawmakers are debating a bill that would ban the teaching of the concepts of Critical Race Theory (CRT) by prohibiting “discrimination on the basis of race, skin color, or ethnicity.”
State Senator Bo Hatchett (R-Baldwin), the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 377, defended his legislation Monday as Democrats claimed the bill was unnecessary, arguing that CRT is not taught in Georgia public schools, and that the bill would prevent students from learning about America’s history concerning slavery and racism.
“I think the divisive concept that we’re trying to prevent is for a teacher to look at a student and say, because of the color of your skin, you should feel discomfort, you should feel guilt, you should feel anguish,” Hatchett told the Senate Education and Youth Committee, according to WSB TV.
The bill would require Georgia state colleges and universities, and local boards of education and school systems:
… to take measures to prevent the use of curricula or training programs which act upon, promote, or encourage certain concepts, with exceptions; to provide for such exceptions; to provide for construction; to require such entities to prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, skin color, or ethnicity; to require that diversity and inclusion training programs and similar efforts directed to the employees or students of such entities shall encourage such employees or students not to judge others based on skin color, or ethnicity.
Another measure, HB 888, would cut funding to schools that teach the United States is a systemically racist country:
Slavery, racial discrimination under the law, and racism in general are so inconsistent with the founding principles of the United States that Americans fought a civil war to eliminate the first, waged long-standing political campaigns to eradicate the second, and rendered the third unacceptable in the court of public opinion, all of which dispels the idea that the United States and its institutions are systemically racist and confutes the notion that slavery, racial discrimination under the law, and racism should be at the center of public elementary, secondary, and post-secondary educational institutions.
“Americans should be allowed, in the words of civil rights activist Robert Woodson, ‘an aspirational and inspirational take on America’s history, debunking the misguided argument that the present-day problems of black Americans are caused by the injustices of past failures, such as slavery,'” the legislation continues.
State Senator Lester Jackson (D-Savannah) questioned Monday whether the bill is necessary, reported Capitol Beat News Service.
“Most racist theories are taught at home, not in the classroom,” he said, according to the report.
State Senator Elena Parent (D-Decatur) added the legislation could have a “chilling effect” on teachers, many of whom are leaving the profession.
State Senator Matt Brass (R-Whitesburg), however, noted the bill would not prohibit teaching history, but would ensure Georgians are treated as individuals, and not simply part of an identity group.
“When you put people in groups and assume they’re a certain way or treat people a certain way, that’s what we’re trying to get away from,” he said. “We want to learn from our history. … Nothing in this bill prohibits that.”
The Georgia Star News reached out to Hatchett for comment and is awaiting a response.
As The Star News Network reported Friday, DeKalb County School District participated in Black Lives Matter at DeKalb Schools’ “Week of Action” last week, which used lesson plan “resources” based on the activist organization’s stated core principles that seek to disrupt Western family structure, and teach children to affirm the “transgender” and “queer” lifestyles.
Day two of our Black Lives Matter Week of Action celebrates Black-owned businesses and Black business leaders. What are three DeKalb Black-owned businesses that you support? #BlackBusinessesMatter #SupportBlackBusinesses #dekalbschoolsblm pic.twitter.com/fWLE90fSg8
— DeKalb Schools, GA (@DeKalbSchools) February 1, 2022
National grassroots organization Parents Defending Education (PDE) reported extensively about DeKalb’s “Week of Action.”
PDE Vice President of Investigations Asra Nomani said in a statement reported by Fox News:
Most rational thinkers agree that public schools should not be home to political activism, from any side of the political divide, but public schools across America, from Boston to Seattle, have opened their doors for activist teachings from the divisive Black Lives Matter political organization.
Schools & school districts across the country are participating, including schools in Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington, & Wisconsin, according to a list compiled by [@DefendingEd]https://t.co/T1YLTE13Zn
— Parents Defending Education (@DefendingEd) February 1, 2022
“Under the cover of a week of action, called ‘Black Lives Matter at School,’ children as young as five years old are being trained how to be political activists,” Nomani added. “What we are witnessing is state-sponsored political indoctrination, using coloring books, downloadable slide shows and contests to teach a next generation ‘social justice activism,’ in the program’s own words.”
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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Bo Hatchett” by Bo Hatchett. Background Photo “Georgia Capitol” by connor.carey. CC BY-SA 3.0.