Ky. lawmakers present pre-filed bill to ensure critical race theory isn’t taught in schools
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WSAZ) - A growing group of lawmakers around the county said they’re troubled by a new way some schools are teaching history. As of last week throughout the country, 29 states filed types of legislation either mandating how critical race theory is taught in schools or ban it altogether.
In Kentucky, two proposed bills for the 2022 General Assembly would ban the teaching of critical race theory as well.
Rep. Matt Lockett, R-Nicholasville, the main sponsor of the bill, says it would ban teaching in Kentucky’s public schools, K-12, along with public universities and colleges. The pre-filed bill was the main topic of the Interim Joint Committee on Education meeting Tuesday.
Lockett believes his bill, Bill Request 69, “will be one of the most vital pieces of legislation” to be considered when the General Assembly convenes for the 2022 legislative session.
Lockett said critical race theory (CRT) teaches that the political and social system in the U.S. is based on race and labels those who are white as the oppressors and those who are Black as the oppressed.
The two bills filed never mention CRT but would prohibit teachers from talking about eight concepts that promote CRT.
“While the bill does not specifically say critical race theory, it’s intentional. One of the criticisms was we’re not teaching CRT, but they are teaching those concepts,” Lockett said. “We want to make it clear it’s not the term CRT we want to get out of school. We don’t want our students to be taught they are less than somebody else because of their skin color.”
Kentucky Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Jason Glass testified that curricular decisions are left to school-based decision-making councils.
“The Kentucky Department of Education is not aware of any districts or teachers specifically teaching critical race theory, and neither CRT nor terms associated with it appear in our state standards,” Glass said.
Rep. Lisa Wilner, D-Louisville, criticized the bill’s language.
“When I read Bill Request 69, I found it vague,” Wilner said. “…The goal seems to be to want to ban discomfort, but you know, unfortunately, that’s not really something we can legislate.”
Lockett responded by explaining the goal of the bill isn’t to just eliminate the term critical race theory but to make sure students are not taught they are less than somebody else due to the color of their skin.
Any official action lawmakers choose to take on BR 69 cannot begin until the legislative session begins in January 2022.
In West Virginia, a bill was introduced last legislative session but tabled when the session ended. Two bills, also relating to CRT, in Ohio have been introduced for the next legislative session.
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