Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) on Thursday called on State Senator Katrina Robinson (D-Memphis) to step down from her position, following an investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee.
The Memphis lawmaker was found guilty on two counts of wire fraud, stemming from an investigation into the improper use of federal grant money awarded to the health care school she operates. Originally, she was found guilty on four counts of the offense, but a judge dismissed two of the charges.
Legislators are looking to standardize Black history curriculum in grades 5 and 8, and have the state provide additional resources by 2025. The bill in question specified that fifth and eighth-grade students would learn about Black heritage, culture, experience, and the “ultimate destiny of all social, ethnic, gender and national groups and individuals, and that such are represented as interdependent, interactive, and complementary.” It also specified that the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) would provide internet resources and materials for K-12 instruction in the subject.
State Senator Katrina Robinson (D-Memphis) first introduced the bill, followed with a companion bill filed by State Representative Yusuf Hakeem (D-Chattanooga). Senate committees recommended the bill for passage with amendments. Although senators applauded the basis for the idea, they expressed concern over the fiscal impact of the bill. They also questioned the reality of schools’ ability to craft a new curriculum of that magnitude by this fall, as the bill required originally.