Friday, April 30, 2021

State House passes bill prohibiting “Critical Race Theory” curriculum in public education systems

Critical Race Theory (here's a brief primer on it from Pulpit & Pen, plus some more videos and podcasts on it from Todd Friel and Wretched) is going to destroy American society unless leaders rise up and speak out against this Marxist ideology that is sweeping through the education and entertainment industries. 

Kudos to the Oklahoma Legislature for taking a stab at this issue.

In this post: press release from the authors of the measure, press release from House Democrats who are just appalled at it [insert shocked face], and supportive comments from OCPA President Jonathan Small.


Bill Prohibiting “Critical Race Theory” Curriculum Passes House

OKLAHOMA CITY – A House bill, amended in the state Senate, that will prohibit Oklahoma public schools, colleges and universities from incorporating certain messages about sex and race into any course instruction earned final passage in the House today. The bill also will prohibit requiring mandatory gender or sexual diversity training or counseling in the schools.

House Bill 1775 is authored by Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore.

“This bill will in no way stop the teaching of history or anything currently in our Oklahoma education standards, including curriculum that shows historical examples of racism or genocide,” West said. “This bill simply says that teachers can’t force a student to answer that they are inherently racist or sexist or that they must feel personally responsible for things perpetrated in the past by people of a similar race or gender.”

West said state public schools and universities are currently teaching the curriculum and requiring the training, which brought the need for the legislation.

He said much of the curriculum known as “Critical Race Theory” is based on Marxist ideology that is designed to teach children to hate American exceptionalism and distrust others based on skin color or gender. Additionally it teaches that most laws and systems in America are historically rooted in the racist oppression of black people and other marginalized groups. It promotes the theory of implicit bias and inherent racism due to one’s skin color.

Rep. Sean Roberts, R-Hominy, a co-author of the bill added, “In a time when our country must unify and work through problems together, the last thing our students need is to learn divisive rhetoric not based in fact. We should be teaching the fundamental equality that is part of the American ideal, not teaching kids that by virtue of their race or sex they bear some sort of responsibility for past atrocities.”

The bill specifically states that no teacher, administrator or other employee of a school district, charter school or virtual charter school shall require or make part of a course the following concepts:
  • one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex,
  • an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously,
  • an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex,
  • members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex,
  • an individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by his or her race or sex,
  • 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,
  • any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex, or
  • 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.
HB 1775 also specifies that no enrolled student of an institution of higher education within the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education shall be required to engage in any form of mandatory gender or sexual diversity training or counseling. Voluntary counseling is not prohibited.

“These trainings have our students taking multiple choice tests asking them a litany of questions about gender and sexual diversity,” West said. “If they get the question incorrect according to the parameters of the test, it does not move onto the next question, but rather it makes them choose answers until they land on the approved choice. This is a blatant attempt to indoctrinate our children to not think for themselves, but rather think how the test program would like them to think.”

The bill requires the state Regents and the state Board of Education to promulgate rules to implement the provisions contained within it. If signed by the governor, the Act would become effective immediately.

Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant, drafted the amendment to the bill as the Senate author.




Democrats See House Bill 1775 as Divisive, Unnecessary

OKLAHOMA CITY -- House Democrats released statements today in response to legislation that undermines diversity training in Oklahoma colleges and universities.

House Bill 1775 prohibits state colleges and universities from requiring gender, race or sexual diversity training or counseling. 

House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman: “As we’ve seen countless times this legislative session, with the consideration and passage of House Bill 1775, today the majority party chose to prioritize legislation that divides Oklahoma instead of unites us. Instead of focusing on the real issues facing Oklahomans, the majority party continues their attack on anyone in Oklahoma who might not look, think, love, or act like them.”

Rep. Meloyde Blancett, D-Tulsa: “The scariest part of this horrendous bill is the limiting of difficult discussions in a place that is supposed to be about learning and free thinking -- our education system. How can we truly believe that the concept of diversity and inclusion should not be broached in a learning environment where we openly discuss diverse perspectives?”

Rep. Regina Goodwin, D-Tulsa: “House Bill 1775 represents white male privilege and those who do not want individuals to be discomforted by the teaching of black and white facts of individual and collective racism past and present in America. Responsibility is not separated from the general collective benefits of white society.”

Rep. Cyndi Munson, D-OKC: “We spent another day on the House Floor using taxpayer dollars to discuss a bill that solves a problem that does not exist. The author of the bill was consistently asked about specific examples of the problem he is trying to solve with his legislation. Each time, he was unable to provide specific examples. What was passed today is a further attempt to divide Oklahomans and uphold mistruths to win partisan points. It is a disservice to Oklahomans who are demanding their elected leaders take on the challenges we face in education, health care, and our economy.”

Rep. Jacob Rosecrants, D-Norman: “As a former 8th-grade and 10th-grade history teacher, the practical application of this bill could lead to censorship and undue pressure placed on history teachers as they attempt to do their job. House Bill 1775 is an example of major government overreach, and it absolutely strips away the autonomy of educators and local boards of education.”

Rep. Forrest Bennett, D-OKC: “There is inequity in our state, and it’s our job to work to level the playing field. But we tend to work to avoid that conversation instead, and now we’re dictating that our schools do the same. It hasn’t worked historically, and it won’t work now, to make Oklahoma a better place for all of us.”

Rep. Denise Brewer, D-Tulsa: “We have hungry children, desperate families, poor education funding, forgotten elderly, and an unstable economy. Yet today, we wasted three hours debating a bill which attempts to whitewash history and prevents diversity education.”

Rep. Mauree Turner, D-OKC: “At its base level the author of this bill is asking us to vote in good faith for a bill that he can't provide any evidence for. If we really look at this bill, it's a dog whistle to ‘ending discrimination’ by not recognizing the ways people individually uphold it. There is no way to talk about the history of this nation without getting emotionally invested. This bill doesn't solve any issue and actually creates an issue of writing vague bills so any state-sanctioned discrimination can slip through them.”

Rep. Melissa Provenzano, D-Tulsa: “Under the OK Academic Standards we teach about World War II, but under this bill, we’d have to leave out Hitler’s well-documented conceptual beliefs on racial ‘purity’ and the superiority of the ‘Germanic’ or ‘Aryan master race’ that led to the slaughter of 6 million innocent people.

“Under the OK Academic Standards, we can teach about the Osage Murders that are documented in Killers of the Flower Moon. Yet under this bill, we must avoid the concept of racism in this story.

“This bill is poorly and hastily written, and the language omits the actual intent the author says is the purpose.  It comes on the heels of embarrassing, sexist remarks made last week right here in Oklahoma, in this very building. Yet with this bill, we cannot discuss the concept of sexism in our schools. The fact that the ugly truth of those words spoken was lost on the person who spoke them is a telling reason to avoid this bill’s passage. Words matter. When we are gone, the bill’s language is all that we have left.

“We would do well to avoid playing the thought police with this bill.”

Rep. John Waldron, D-Tulsa: “This is government by innuendo. This is government by whisper. This is Orwellian intrusion unworthy of the great state of Oklahoma.”




OCPA applauds passage of HB 1775

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 29, 2021)— Jonathan Small, president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, issued the following statement to praise final passage of House Bill 1775, which prohibits schools from teaching students that “one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex” or that “an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.”

“Passage of House Bill 1775 sends a signal nationwide that Oklahomans will not tolerate efforts that force children to submit to the Marxist and racist theology of critical race theory, which demands that we judge people by the color of their skin, hold them accountable for the actions of others, and impose psychological harm based only an individual’s genetics,” Small said. “Oklahoma taxpayers pour billions of state and local tax dollars into schools annually. State-sanctioned and state sponsored racism has no place in our schools, and HB 1775 is an important step in removing this poison from our culture.”

The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs is a free-market think tank that works to advance principles and policies that support free enterprise, limited government, and individual initiative.

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