North Dakota Republican Gov. Doug Burgum signed a new law on Friday banning the teaching of critical race theory in K-12 public schools in a strong response to the controversial rewriting of American history and race.
The bill was only one page long, but packed a punch.
“Each school district and public school shall ensure instruction of its curriculum is factual, objective, and aligned to the kindergarten through grade twelve state content standards. A school district or public school may not include instruction relating to critical race theory in any portion of the district’s required curriculum … or any other curriculum offered by the district or school,” the bill read.
The bill specifically called out “critical race theory and banned teaching that racism is “systematically embedded in American society.”
“For purposes of this section, ‘critical race theory’ means the theory that racism is not merely the product of learned individual bias or prejudice, but that racism is systemically embedded in American society and the American legal system to facilitate racial inequality,” the bill added.
North Dakota joins several other states that have issued laws or executive statements against the liberal perspective in schools. For example, in Texas, a September law says teachers must not discuss the concept that one race or gender is “inherently superior” to another, or that a person is responsible for past actions of members of their race. The Texas law, however, did not specifically mention the words “critical race theory.”
In Arizona, a law passed against critical race theory include a school fine of up to $5,000 for violations.
An Oklahoma law, similar to the one passed in neighboring Texas, allows parents permission to inspect lessons and report complaints.
In Tennessee, a 2021 bill threatens to withhold state funding from schools that promote critical race theory teaching. South Carolina passed a similar law.
In South Dakota, Republican Gov. Kristi Noem signed an executive order against the teaching of critical race theory in public schools.
Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis also banned teaching certain ideas about race and history. While the bill does not explicitly ban the teaching of critical race theory it does require “instruction on the required topics must be factual and objective and may not suppress or distort significant historical events, such as the Holocaust, and may not define American history as something other than the creation of a new nation based largely on universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence.” Governor DeSantis said he didn’t include the words “critical race theory” in his ban because “CRT isn’t the only issue.”
The movement continues to grow. 13 states have laws on the books banning the idea behind critical race theory, and another 7 have plans to introduce similar legislation. The push to ban CRT in more states has become so important, it’s likely to be a central part of the 2022 midterms. For example, the recent governor’s race in Virginia focused on education as the top issue. How did it turn out? Republican Glenn Youngkin won, making him the first GOP governor of the state in more than a decade.
Critical race theory is exactly what it’s words say. It is critical, it is racist and it is a theory. A wrong theory at that.
Our schools have many needs, but teaching critical race theory is not one of them. Thank God for one more conservative governor willing to stand against one of the worst liberal policies of our time.