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State School Board holding meeting to discuss ban on teaching students about racism

Metro ATL

State School Board holding meeting to discuss ban on teaching students about racism

Brian Kemp. Photo obtained via http://sos.ga.gov/
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Atlanta, GA — The Georgia Board of Education is holding a called meeting at 1 p.m. on June 3 to consider a resolution that support a ban on teaching students about racism.

The resolution appears to target so-called “critical race theory,” and the resolution is in response to a letter sent by the governor.

To see the meeting agenda, click here.

As WABE reported, Gov. Brian Kemp sent a letter to the Georgia Board of Education asking members to take “immediate steps” to ensure CRT isn’t part of the state’s educational standards. Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr recently signed a letter opposing the U.S. Education Department’s plans to provide grants to schools that “incorporate racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse perspectives into teaching and learning.”

The same day the governor made his letter public, parents showed up at several metro Atlanta school board meetings, urging districts not to teach Critical Race Theory.

CRT isn’t part of Georgia’s state standards and isn’t included in local curricula.

Anthony Michael Kreis, an assistant professor of law at Georgia State University’s College of Law, defines CRT as a very specific legal theory.

“It’s a subset of legal academia and legal scholarship that came out of the 1970s, or began in the 1970s,” he says.

Kreis says some legal scholars realized that even after civil rights legislation became law, racial attitudes didn’t necessarily change overnight.

Here is the full text of the resolution being considered:

A Resolution of the State Board of Education of the State of Georgia June 3, 2021

WHEREAS, all public educational systems of the State of Georgia operate on the principle that all teachers, administrators, other employees, and students in the respective educational system are, and are to be treated as, individuals endowed with equal inalienable rights, without respect to race or sex; and

WHEREAS, concepts that impute fault, blame, a tendency to oppress others, or the need to feel guilt or anguish to persons solely because of their race or sex violate the premises of individual rights, equal opportunity, and individual merit underpinning our constitutional republic, and therefore have no place in training for teachers, administrators, or other employees of the public educational system of the State of Georgia; and

WHEREAS, for the same reasons, such concepts should not be inculcated in students of the public educational system of the State of Georgia; and

WHEREAS, true civic education is not political action itself but rather preparation for life; and

WHEREAS, respect for the liberties of students and teachers, the views of a politically diverse citizenry, and the tradition of institutional neutrality that flows from these, means that political activism has no place in education funded by the State of Georgia; and

WHEREAS, the free speech, conscience, and religious liberty rights of teachers and students ought to be respected; and

WHEREAS, the ability of the citizens of the state of Georgia and its publicly funded school districts to control K-12 curriculum content in courses on history, civics, social studies, and similar topics through their elected representatives should not be ceded to either the federal government or private entities.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT:

We, the State Board of Education for the State of Georgia;

1.      Believes the United States of America is not a racist country, and that the state of Georgia is not a racist state,

2.      Affirms we will continue making decisions affecting K-12 public education based on the best interests of all students regardless of their race or sex, and that our collective focus remains that of providing the highest quality education to every child in Georgia without political bias or political influence,

3.      Affirms that Education in Georgia should reflect our fundamental values as a state and nation – freedom, equality, and the God-given potential of every individual,

4.      Affirms that we will not support, or impart, any K-12 public education resources or standards which (i) indoctrinate students in social, or political, ideology or theory, or (ii) promote one race or sex above another,

5.      Believes that no state education agency, school district, or school shall teach, instruct, or train any administrator, teacher, staff member, or employee to adopt or believe any of the following concepts: (a) one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex; (b) an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously; (c) an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of the individual’s race; (d) members of one race cannot or should not attempt to treat others without respect to race; (e) an individual’s moral standing or worth is necessarily determined by his or her race or sex; (f) an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex; (g) an individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex; (h) meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by members of a particular race to oppress members of another race; (i) fault, blame, or bias should be assigned to a race or sex, or to members of a race or sex because of their race or sex.

6.      Believes that no teacher, administrator, or other employee in any state education agency, school district, or school administration shall approve for use, make use of, or carry out, standards, curricula, lesson plans, textbooks, instructional materials, or instructional practices that serve to inculcate in students the following concepts: (a) one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex; (b) an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously; (c) an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of the individual’s race; (d) members of one race cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race; (e) an individual’s moral standing or worth is necessarily determined by his or her race or sex; (f) an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex; (g) any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex; (h) meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a members of a particular race to oppress members of another race; (i) that the advent of slavery in the territory that is now the United States constituted the true founding of the United States; or (j) that, with respect to their relationship to American values, slavery and racism are anything other than deviations from, betrayals of, or failures to live up to, the authentic founding principles of the United States, which include liberty and equality,

7.      Believes that no teacher of history, civics, U.S. government and politics, social studies, or similar subject areas, whether for regular credit or advanced placement credit, shall be compelled by a policy of any state education agency, school district, or school administration to discuss current events or widely debated and currently controversial issues of public policy or social affairs,

8.      Believes that teachers who choose to discuss current events or widely debated, and currently controversial issues of public policy or social affairs shall, to the best of their ability, strive to explore such issues from diverse and contending perspectives,

9.      Believes that in any course on history, civics, U.S. government and politics, social studies, or similar subject areas, whether for regular credit or advanced placement credit, no school shall require, make part of such course, or award course grading or credit to, student work for, affiliation with, or service learning in association with, any organization engaged in lobbying for legislation at the local, state, or federal level, or in social or public policy advocacy,

10.  Believes that in any course on history, civics, U.S. government and politics, social studies, or similar subject areas, whether for regular credit or advanced placement credit, no school shall require, make part of such course, or award course grading or credit to, lobbying for legislation at the local, state, or federal level, or any practicum, or like activity, involving social or public policy advocacy,

11.  Believes that no federal grant shall be applied for, or federal funding accepted, if such grant or funding requires or encourages the teaching of the concepts or implementation of the practices set forth in paragraphs (6) through (11) above, or if such grant or funding requires or encourages training teachers in such concepts or practices,

12.  Believes that no private funding shall be accepted by state education agencies or school districts for curriculum development, purchase or choice of curricular materials, teacher training, professional development, or continuing teacher education pertaining to courses on history, civics, U.S. government and politics, social studies, or similar subject areas, whether for regular credit or advanced placement credit, and

13.  Will, if not already codified, consider actions codifying in part or whole paragraphs (6) through (13) herein within State Education Rules filed with the Georgia Secretary of State as “Department 160. RULES OF GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION.”

In this resolution, “school” means public school, including open-enrollment charter school.

WABE contributed reporting to this story. 

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